Knowing what to look for in a social media “specialist”/”marketer”/”guru”/”expert”/”rockstar” is a difficult thing to do. There are a million people out there who are purporting themselves as experts in the social media and marketing space because they have a blog or have a 10,000 followers on Twitter. Although having those things is a good sign, don’t let those be the sole basis of how you choose the person to manage your social media presence. Here are a few skills, proficiencies, experiences and personality traits your social media (“fill in the blank”) should have.
1) CUSTOMER SERVICE – This should really be the number one thing that you are looking for. Social networks are a two way, real time interactive communication medium that should be used to predict, address and manage issues that your customers have. You can’t have somebody who forgets that the “likers”, “followers”, “friends” and “fans” are generally the people/customers who are paying their bills. If somebody has a grievance or a problem that goes unresolved or wasn’t addressed at least…well you just got a person who is telling all their friends about how bad your service was. You have a person who always posts on your page and raves about your service, you should probably reward them with something so they feel appreciated.
2) SALES – Unless you’re in some magical business whose goal isn’t to make money, you want to find somebody who has some sales experience and understands that social networks do you no good unless it results in increasing/maintaining sales. What good are 1,000 likes if none of those people are buying your products or services?
3) RESEARCH/ANALYSIS – You want somebody who can find the appropriate tools to measure the effectiveness of what you are doing. Your expert should be able to look at the numbers and analytics from many of the social networks to be able to see what effects happen when certain things are done? What time are your followers interacting with your social networks? What days? What banners, images, videos, content are they clicking on? What are people sharing? Who is sharing?
4) PROMOTIONS – Just a digital presence alone is not going to cut it these days. Your specialist should be able to engage people both on and offline by creating special promotions that result in your customers having something they can take with them and experience. They should be able to create special contests or events online that make people wait until their next chance to win.
5) BRANDING – The social networks are extensions of the brand and things done online should mirror, compliment and be consistent with the overall brand. You can’t have somebody who doesn’t understand the core values, mission, goals image and brand of the business. Choose somebody who understands what your business does and hopefully has some experience in the field.
1) OUTGOING – Choose a candidate who is just as energetic and engaging in person as they are online. You want somebody who likes people and likes interacting and networking.
2) ADAPTABLE – If your expert isn’t constantly seeking out the newest tools, apps technologies and information and adapting to integrate them into your plan…Houston, we have a problem. The social media space is constantly evolving and you must be evolving at the same pace if not quicker.
3) PROBLEM SOLVER – The expert has to figure things out and be able to make decisions quickly on the fly.
4) PROFESSIONAL – People think a lot of the social media experts are either hippies or introverted IT geeks. Not so much. The social media expert should be able to able to work in a business setting and uphold the company image. This does not mean they have to wear a suit to work everyday, but they should know when to.
5) TEAM PLAYER – The social media professional has to be able to work with other departments and should have an understanding of what the roles and responsibilities are from CEO’s to the people in the field or the front lines. By having an understanding of what they do, it will help all parties involved understand how they work together as a unit.
6) BIG PICTURE VIEW – There is no I in team and the social media professional should know that he or she is merely a piece of the puzzle, not the completed work of art. They should be able to see how all the pieces fit together in the grand scheme of things. If they only know about social networks, beware. They should already be knowledgeable about mobile and traditional forms of media as well and make them all work together.
7) FUTURIST/DREAMER – This may sound contrary to what most corporate people want in their organization because most businesses want somebody who fits into a box. You want/need somebody who sees only the limits of their imagination (budget and time too) because those are the people who will keep you innovative and cutting edge.
8) ” COOL” MULTITASKER- Not Snoop Doggy Dogg cool, but cool as in they can manage and juggle multiple things going on at that same time without having a nervous breakdown.
9) KNOWLEDGE HOUND – Your expert should know a lot, but should know that they don’t know everything. The social media expert who doesn’t know that they need to continue their education and learn more about the field is a disaster in the making. With the evolution of the social networking space moving so rapidly, you need somebody whose skills are not going to be dated in the next 6 months.
10) COMMUNICATOR – This is a no brainer, but is often not a skill that is look at in a holistic view. Your social media expert needs to have a high verbal and written communication prowess and needs to be able to communicate to internal and external stakeholders.
1) HTML – Your social media expert should have a working knowledge of html, This will allow them to make your social networks more integrated and cohesive with each other and will increase the creative aspects of your presentation.
2) CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (CMS) – Having knowledge of CMS will make everybody’s job a lot easier. Rather than having to have a million logins and updating your website in traditional html, knowing how to use CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Mambo, etc. will allow your social media expert to create articles and blogs and content that will show your expertise or special aspects of your business outside of the brochure/static aspects of your web presence.
3) BLOGGING – Knowing what and when to blog is crucial. Blogging is a part of marketing often overlooked. Creating articles relevant to your business and highlighting some of the things that are going on in your business gives your customers and users a running update of what is going on in your business. Blogs need to be more conversational in nature and rather than overtly straight selling your products. With that being said, the blogs should have a call to action that leads ultimately to a conversion/sale.
4) CONTENT CREATION – Check writing samples of your social media expert and make sure their writing is representative of the type of image you need to uphold. They need to have good grammar, spelling and have a good writing style. Being knowledgeable of your industry is definitely a plus, but not necessarily a requirement.
5) PROJECT MANAGEMENT – Being able to prioritize projects and coordinate launches and deadlines with other departments is a huge skill. Every project or addition to the social networking mix has effects on the other pieces of the puzzle. You need to have somebody who knows when something needs to start, end, when things need to be adjusted and when they need to be scrapped.
6) SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) – Search engine optimization is going to have your articles and your business showing up in the search engines when people search for your topic or business. This is important to make your business and various social networks rank higher when people use Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. There needs to be tags, keywords and certain phrases that these search engines pick up on that keep attracting new users to your cloud.
7) ANALYTICS/MEASUREMENT – Any social media expert that doesn’t look at measure your campaigns effectiveness through data is NOT an expert. There are so many tools like Google Analytics, Radian 6, Facebook Insights and more that translate what you’re doing into data and numbers that give you major insider info and will help you respond to what your customers and supporters are liking and learn how to engage them more effectively.
8) MOBILE PLATFORMS – Social media experts need to be thinking about users ultimately. As the numbers of people accessing and using social networks on mobile devices grow exponentially, your expert needs to be extremely well versed in mobile platforms and technologies. They need to be able to build for mobile starting… now. Any agency or business that doesn’t have a mobile website already is behind the times. Knowing how and where to use QR codes, text platforms and applications are going to keep your business relevant.
9) BEST PRACTICES – There is a certain code of ethics and practices that social media experts should be aware of when writing, posting and interacting with your customers and counterparts. The Golden Rule always applies, but there is more to to social networks when it comes to marketing online. One rule that they should always follow is the NO SPAM Rule. People want relevant, timely messaging and interactions , but don’t have the time or patience to be bombarded with your business. Know when to say what, how to say it and where to say it. This may fall into a legal conversation depending on what business industry you are in, so your expert needs to be aware of what will get your organization into trouble.
10) APPLICATIONS – Applications will help your social media expert manage all the moving parts of your communications more effectively. Your expert should have used and tested multiple applications to see which ones work for them the best and make them the most efficient. Dealing with all the different audiences requires being able to manage the various networks.