For most small business that decide to join the social media world, there inevitably comes a point when all the important Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin (etc.) accounts becomes too much work to be passively managed by someone within the company. You need someone more knowledgeable to take charge of it. The position of social media manager is itself a fairly recent development.
What do they do?
A social media manager is responsible for overseeing your day-to-day social media efforts. This includes posting content (according to the company’s guidelines and the company’s online strategy), monitoring what others are saying about the company to others or directly to the company, and responding or creating conversations around the company’s brand(s), products or services.
So who might that person be?
A potential social media manager has several qualities but these seem to be the most important:
He or she must be a digital native, someone who’s comfortable with the Net, who knows his way around social media and has been using it in personal or professional capacity—and someone who really enjoys spending time online.
Strong writing and editing skills are a must. Any candidate for the social media manager job should be a good writer—somebody whose writing style is right for the “voice” and personality of your business. It’s critical that social media manager not sound like some automated robot but sound like a real human being. This person’s words will become a key part of your company’s client-facing communications.
A potential social media manager should have a customer-service, sales, or marketing background. Social media is a conversation with your customers.
Sharp problem-solving skills is key. Social media is fast-paced. You’ll need someone who can think on his or her feet—handling sticky customer service issues quickly, efficiently, and with compassion and understanding.
The best social media managers have above-average listening skills. Part of any good social media plan is listening. Listening to what’s tweeted, written, posted, or re-posted about your company. You’ll need someone who is smart, tuned in and can hit the ground running. Good listeners will make this process easier.
The most important quality a company’s social media manager should have is the ability to connect with people, to start up conversations with critics, customers and potential customers. The ability to get people onside is key. Some people are natural connectors, they’re people people.
Before you hire…
It seems companies of all sizes throughout Asia are investing millions into hiring social media staff. Many however, are woefully underutilizing these people because they failed to develop a clear social media strategy before hiring people. So it is essential that you figure out what exactly your company or organisation needs to achieve through social media—before hiring them. No point hiring clever people if you fail to use them properly
There’s a big difference between hiring someone to manage a few social media accounts, and hiring someone to develop a social media strategy. The latter requires someone with far more experience, and entirely different skills.
Experience says do not outsource social media management, as it is always better to have someone inside the company run the actual social media feeds. For companies with between 25 and 50 people, it makes sense to have someone with communications experience.
What to ask
When interviewing potential candidates for the job, ask them a couple of the following questions:
- What’s your philosophy on solving client or prospect problems?
- How would you go about turning a negative situation into a positive one—making something right?
- What kind of strategies have you worked with in the past? What channels? What messaging requirements?
And don’t forget to apprise your interviewees’ listening skills.
Mike Fromowitz is president and chief brand officer of Mantra Partners, a full-service advertising and branding agency. The company works for clients in Asia, South America, USA and Canada.
The article first appeared on Campaign Asia