Gone are the days when daily social media tasks could be added to another marketing professionals’ list of job responsibilities. Today’s social media audience is savvy; they know when your approach to social media lacks commitment. Once that perception takes hold in your target community, you’ll lose them along with the benefits social media brings to your brand.
Adapting to this reality means that brands must find an expert, or a team of experts, to take on the consuming task of social media strategy and execution. Finding the right, skilled professionals for the role of social media managers can be a challenge. First and foremost, an organization’s social media managers must understand the brand message and the business. If they don’t, it’s easy to veer off brand and with social media, small mistakes spread like wildfire. A brand needs to ensure their social media efforts align with the core messages of the organization and it’s inherit campaigns. To do so, social media professionals should have the following five areas of expertise:
- Ability to identify an audience: Identify niche audiences through market research, social media efforts can be aimed at building targeted communities around specific interests.
- Generate a dialogue: Initiate and nurture interactive conversations with the identified audience that discuss topics related to the brand’s products or services.
- Create and share content: Develop and share valuable (not canned) content with the community in an enthusiastic and genuine way.
- Real-time distribution: Streamline content creation and approval, which will ensure that the information published is released quickly and stays current.
- Trust is key: Become a trusted spokesperson for your brand by knowing your products, services, and audience inside and out.
Now that you understand what a social media team should be able to do and perform, how do you find these professionals? When interviewing someone for a social media role, hiring managers should ask them what they know about your brand. They might not know the intricacies of how your company works, but they should know what you do, know who your competitors are and have an impression of your brand. Other things to look for in a great social media manager include:
What does their social profile look like? Check out candidate’s public profiles, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Facebook, to see how they socially portray themselves. A good social media manager understands how to professionally conduct themselves on social networks. If they are sending a message that doesn’t fit with your brand, they might not be the best fit.
Are they resourceful? Social media platforms seem to change by the week. Find out how the candidate stays up-to-date when features are implemented. Are they part of any groups around community management? Oftentimes there are only one or two community managers in a company; therefore, they need to be connected to industry peers for new ideas, news and updates.
Are they good multi-taskers? Managing different communities and social media channels requires the ability to jump from one conversation to another, then back to another in a timely manner. Responding to both negative and positive tweets and comments quickly is a key component to having a successful brand presence on social media. These tasks can feel chaotic and unorganized at times; however, a strong social media manager will be able to navigate through the chaos while upholding the brand’s reputation.
Often, it’s hard to gauge who’s going to be the right fit for your organization. Begin by outlining your expectations of a social media team and determine what those experts would ideally be responsible for. Then, start evaluating candidates based on their own personal experience on social media. Social media platforms are rapidly evolving, with new platforms launching regularly. For brands, this shifts the need for having a social media manager from a “nice to have” status to a “must have” status to stay ahead of the social media curve.