Marketing your product or brand on social media is one of the more pervasive ways people will learn about your business. You don’t want to leave that responsibility in the hands of an amateur -- even one that might be conversant in Facebook and Twitter.
Social media marketing requires a lot of work, a certain amount of technical savvy, excellent writing skills, empathy for customers, and an awareness the company's strategy. Here are the traits look for when hiring a social media manager:
1. Naturally Curious. Being naturally curious about what everyone’s working on in your company and the impact on customers, is important. A good social media manager should tap into different areas of the business and gather appropriate information that is engaging.
2. Writes conversationally. Your messages shouldn't sound like advertising. It's important to hire someone who can write in a conversational voice, which isn't always an easy task. Well-crafted conversational content for social social media opens up a dialogue between business/brand and customers, and ideally, between customers themselves.
3. Operates with a sense of urgency. Unlike traditional corporate communications tools like press releases or prepared interviews and speeches, social media demands immediacy. A question or comment posted on Twitter or on your brand’s Facebook Page or blog must be answered right away. Professional social media managers understand this and respond real-time, with the company's set protocols and guidelines.
4. Understands your business-related goals. All content on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel, etc., has to support your business-related goals. Which means that your social media manager must have an intimate understanding of the company's goals. That requires an editorial calendar displaying a majority of your company’s posts for the next 30-60 days -- each tied to your goals for the current fiscal quarter or year.
5. Seeks input from others. Social media managers shouldn’t work in a vacuum. They need to be proactive, checking with those who know best like department managers, executive team members and front line staffers. Social media managers are only as good as the people around them and the information they freely offer up.
6. Respects confidentiality. A social media manager needs access to all areas of your business. They must know what’s okay to share and what can never be revealed. Forward-looking or safe harbor statements for instance, are never meant for public consumption. Neither are topics related to personnel, vendors and regulatory issues that impact your business. Your social media manager should possess a "when in doubt, kick it out" mentality.
What traits and skills do you think a social media manager should have? Let us know in the comments.
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.