In our last post we made the case for prioritizing your social media strategy in terms of staffing. We challenged you to think through who will actually do the work defined in the strategy. Today we offer some guidance for you to consider as you decide who you will entrust with this great responsibility.
You may already have someone on your staff team who fits the bill perfectly… it may even be you! Read through the following qualities and skill sets and see if any names automatically come to mind. If not, you may need to hire from outside of the organization. In many cases, you will already have a strong candidate on your payroll. Just remember, if you do add this task to the plate of one of your current staffers, be sure to take something else off the plate and allow for the time and space necessary to do the job well. The best case scenario is to make this a full time responsibility, and not arbitrarily piecemeal the duties among current staff. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up the bill for their smart phone and wireless service.
Here are some qualities to look for in a social media manager/online community director:
Passion for your Brand. In order to be effective, your social media manager must be passionate about your brand. You want to find the person who can’t seem to “clock out” because they love the subject matter so much. The content of your organization is what they eat, sleep and breathe. We are not suggesting you set an expectation that this person would work 24-7 and never have a break, but you do want someone who will not feel its a chore to keep up with and stay interested in the content and context of your business. For example. you probably don’t want someone who flunked biology to be Tweeting and Facebooking on behalf of a pharmaceutical company.
Loves People. Sometimes its difficult to strike the right balance between someone with a strong technical mind and superior social skills. But when you are looking for someone to build your brand’s online community, make sure the person has good people skills. Think of this role as online customer service. Remember, this is going to be the person speaking on behalf of your brand to the online world. You want someone who is friendly and personable, not cynical and defensive.
Avoids Overreaction. This is a biggie. It is so easy to pound out a knee jerk reaction to online messages. Countless people have gotten themselves into big trouble as a result of hastily crafted tweets. You want to be sure that whoever you select to become your “online spokesperson” is cool, calm and collected, or you will drive your PR department crazy putting out avoidable fires caused by someone’s short-fused carelessness.
Uses Discretion. Some folks just don’t seem to have a filter. The last thing you want is someone saying inappropriate things on your company Twitter account. Look for someone who you know chooses words carefully and is deliberate and intentional with what comes out of their mouth.
Is an early adopter. An early adopter is someone who is always trying on and testing out the latest and greatest tech tools on the market. They don’t need to be a tech expert, but familiar enough to quickly understand how things work and advantages/disadvantages of incorporating new technology into your strategy. This will help you stay ahead of the tech curve.
Reads blogs. Your ideal social media person will follow blogs and have already established processes for themselves to keep up with online content. They may use Google reader, or a smart phone app, or something they built themselves. The point here is that you want someone who already knows how to organize and keep up with large volumes of online content. Even if their reader is full of fashion blogs or sports commentary, you can still observe their level of skill and ability in keeping up with the info as it comes in.
Has Klout. No, that’s not a typo! Klout is a web based rating service that can help you determine your candidate’s level of online influence, including their Facebook and Twitter engagement. Their Klout rating/score should not be a deal-breaker, but this info will give you an idea of how much of a learning curve this candidate may require. For example, if you worked for a non-profit relief organization and were looking to hire a social media staffer, it would be great to find someone whose personal Klout rating already indicates some level of influence in the topics advocated by your organization. If the person’s Klout score is Zero, you probably would not want to consider them for a social media staff position.
After reviewing these qualities, if no one in your organization fits the bill, it may be time to look outside for the right candidate. They are out there, and you can’t afford to skimp on recruiting the right person. At Cross and Crown, we offer online communication strategy development as a service to our clients. If you choose us to develop your social media strategy, we can help you interview and vet your candidates to make sure you have the right person running the ball down the field. Contact us for more information, we would be honored to come alongside and help strengthen your team.