From 2010 to 2014, the number of positions involving social media that companies were hiring for skyrocketed by nearly 1400%. It’s probably no surprise, as it was during this time that social media began meaning something very tangible and measurable in the business world. While in the process of becoming something that businesses took very seriously, plenty of business owners realized that they couldn’t handle their social media on their own.
Whereas in the past, businesses may have assigned social media management to a Millennial intern, that is no longer enough. If you have a large enough marketing staff, it might be possible to task someone in the department to handle it, but even doing so is not ensuring that social media is being used as an effective marketing tool. As a small business, your social media manager may need to wear multiple hats depending on the size of your business and your personnel budget, but it’s no longer an option to constantly put off hiring a full-fledged social media manager.
The next questions are: Do you know what the traits of a great social media manager are or what you should look for when deciding to hire someone? Do you know how to identify the type of person you wouldn’t want handling your social media? Are the right people managing your social media? In today’s post, we’ll break down the types of people that you don’t want to hire, as well as what to look for when deciding who should manage the social media for your business.
Who to Avoid
It can be very easy to hire the wrong person to handle your social media, especially if you don’t fully understand social media and the role it plays in your business. We’ll begin by taking a look at traits to avoid for a social media manager.
Just a Millennial
Before there is a misunderstanding — many, if not most, of your best candidates are likely to be Millennials. However, a candidate isn’t going to be a top choice by virtue of being a Millennial alone. After all, age is non-indicative of education, training, or other relevant experience. You want to hire someone that is familiar with social media and knows what they’re doing, and one who can track, analyze and provide the reporting and metrics to prove it.
All Sales, All the Time
There are different kinds of social media managers. Some may have a focus on advertising; however it is an obvious fact that pushing sales on your audience will only alienate them. It’s boring, and customers don’t have a real reason to stick around and engage with your content or your business. Sales aren’t what social media is about. While there’s a place for both action and awareness marketing, social media should be about building a relationship and engaging with your audience.
Strategy? What Strategy?
Like all other forms of marketing, your social media should have a plan or strategy to follow. This doesn’t mean you should be unaware of the importance of spontaneity in social media, but that also doesn’t mean you should simply wing it either. Not having a strategy or plan in place also indicates that the candidate probably does not understand the type of content that should be shared or the frequency of social posting. It is important to note that part of the strategy should include being up to date on current events and staying in touch with PR/legal to ensure that they don’t make any major faux pas at the expense of your business and your reputation.
An integral part of social media is re-sharing information. It is one of the ways to engage influencers in order to establish credibility in your industry. Especially when you don’t have much content of your own, content curation can be a way of creating engagement and building the beginnings of your audience. With that being said, you must create content of your own. Candidates that do not create content rely primarily on third party content sources and will serve only to drive your audience to competitive sources instead of to your own website or business.
There’s not quite a consensus on what social media channel is the best for businesses. Some may say Facebook, while others prefer Twitter — and in general it’s better to use more than one social channel. However, marketing has also never been a one-size-fits-all affair. Remember that not all businesses need to use every available social media platform. Understand who your audience is and where they are, so that you can focus your time, effort, and money in all the right places. This allows you to create solid content as well as engagement.
What and Who to Look For
We mentioned that there are a number of different types of social media managers, and each one has its pros and cons. Like any top performing employee, you’ll want to hire someone who is willing to tell you “no” when appropriate, who is consistent with their work and with your brand image, and who is on the ball when it comes to communication.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to focus solely on candidates that have marketing degrees. Yes, they’ll need to have a certain amount of training, however, in the market today, only a quarter have some sort of business or marketing degree. The large majority have a degree in majors like Journalism, English Literature and Public Relations. This is because social media marketing is very much about telling a story and listening directly to the audience to develop a compelling call-to-action. Let’s take a look at what you should look for.
The key to social media is original content. It expands your reach, positions you as an authoritative and credible source in your industry, and helps drives traffic to where you need it most — your website. This isn’t just about sharing original content that goes up on your website either. What it comes down to is that a great candidate is going to offer you the ability to create more original content to suit each of your social media channels. That means writing creative copy at the very least, but also to include some measure of graphics creation and/or video creation.
Savvy with Analytics
Creative types aren’t always spectacular with numbers, but that doesn’t change the fact that a social media manager needs to be capable of understanding the analytics involved with each of the social media channels that they use. It’s the only way to understand what is or isn’t working, as well as the ROI involved with any given campaign. This also expands out into a few other areas, namely developing and testing new ideas. Do videos have more views on certain days but not on others? How does your audience engage with images over content posts without images? Social media managers will need to understand how to decipher basic analytical information and metrics to determine what is producing the most results for your business.
Ear to the Ground and Finger on the Pulse
We mentioned that a social media manager needs to be able to handle spontaneity, which means not only having a plan or strategy, but being able to prioritize and re-prioritize that plan at the drop of a hat in order to achieve your marketing goals. It also means staying on top of current events, not just in the news, but also in your specific industry. It means knowing what content is worth curating and when it should be curated to be most effective for your business. It means listening to your audience and determining their interests, needs, and desires, and understanding how your business can fit their needs. Furthermore, it also means being aware of new opportunities and being ready and able to take advantage of them. For example, discovering and utilizing a new social media platform that may play a role in the marketing plan for your business. (Snapchat usage has increased this past season as a method of engagement for all types of businesses thanks to its new geo-fencing filters – and it was just in time for Black Friday.)
It’s All About Customers
Social media has not nor has it ever been about making a quick profit off of your followers. It’s about building relationships, engagement and growing brand awareness. Through social media your business and brand has a face and a voice. This invariably means that social media puts your social media manager in the position of handling a good amount of customer service. Your social media manager will need excellent communication skills and be experienced at problem solving and troubleshooting. They will need to understand not only your industry but also your business in order to address customer issues and needs via your social platforms.
How to Get the Right People to Run Your Social Media
Start by using this information to evaluate whether or not the person currently in charge of your social media has any traits that you do or don’t want to see in a social media manager. Then determine whether or not this person is the right fit for managing the social media for your business.
Start the discussion with your employee to determine whether or not additional training, resources or other solutions will help bring them current with the needs of your business.
Keep in mind that you may need to rehire for the position and find the right social media manager. You can use the information in this article to help find the right candidate. Remember that hiring a savvy social media expert will be adding to your staff, so before beginning to search for candidates, determine what your budget will be for their pay and if you will need someone full-time or part-time.
If you cannot hire an individual, consider hiring a company with expertise to handle it for you.
Social media is a process and it takes time. Oftentimes it’s not something that can be confined to only a few hours every day, or even a regular 9-5 schedule. This is an important factor for both the business owner and also the candidate to understand, and build expectations and goals with this in mind.
Furthermore, ensure the candidate understands how they’re going to share and communicate information with you about the social media schedule, how to report progress, and ROI. Use our 10 Social Media Management Time Savers as a starting point.
The candidate will greatly benefit from already knowing about your industry and your business, or be willing to quickly learn, and that they need to avoid these common mistakes: underestimating how much work it will take, failing to properly identify or understand the target audience(s), failing to identify or understand your competition, using goals and metrics that are either unclear or irrelevant, spreading too little content across too many social media channels, and weak or irrelevant content full of brand mentions.