How to Hire a Social Media Manager

I love clients who think managing their social reputations should only take “a few hours a week.” If you want sloppy posting, zero SEO considerations and a lazy disregard for current events, by all means, set unrealistic time constraints, underpay and automate.

Okay okay, let me back up. I don’t think the majority of employers are purposefully chinchy. They just don’t know how to determine what they need in a social manager nor do they have solid benchmarks by which to measure the value of the position. Hey CEOs, I feel for you. Who has time to research this when you’re busy minding the mint?

I was inspired to write this post after reading this article Social Media Managers Just Tweet All Day And Surf Facebook, and while I agree with this portrayal of how much time is devoted to the job, I would like to shed some light on other aspects of this position that employers need to consider.

When employers hire a social manager, it’s critical to take into consideration the content they want to share. Are you hiring a social manager? Or are you hiring a blogger? Do you want someone who writes opinions or persuasive marketing copy? Are you expecting original content (better for SEO) or do you just plan to tweet links to your corporate website?

There’s a big difference in hiring someone with four years of experience for a paltry $45K to do your social bidding and hiring someone to be the voice of your brand.  The problem is, most employers don’t  understand the enormous capacity of the position.

Content is STILL King

Not only does a blog/article/promotion need to be valuable and interesting, but it needs to be optimized. Now copywriters are faced with the challenge of creating original and more importantly sharable content, while weaving in specific keywords in a human-friendly voice that’s authentic and transparent.  Okay Mr. CEO, go do that in three hours or less. No typos please.

Once you’ve crafted that masterpiece, that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s involved in terms of sharing on social platforms. You think you can Hootsuite and forget it? Think again.

So you have a brilliant, sharable, SEO-enhanced message all ready to go. Now what? 

On Twitter you need to say something in 140 characters or less that will peak someone’s curiosity enough to click and be relevant enough to retweet. Be sure to use keywords, bit.ly your link and don’t forget to knock off a few characters to make room for the proper hash tags, otherwise your brilliance will never be seen or retweeted.

Furthermore, did you do your morning research on topical conversation? Because no one wants to hear about your BOGO sale when there’s been a tsunami in Japan.

That’s just Twitter folks. What about Facebook?

If you automatically post and your blog isn’t set up correctly, your post on Facebook won’t have any images or interesting teaser copy, all it will say is “The Title of Your Post was just posted” or worse it will just pull the name of your website.

No one will ever read this.

If you auto-post to Facebook from Twitter, it won’t pull in images. On the flip side, if you auto-post to Twitter from Facebook, you’re limited to 140-characters. What you post on Facebook is what will automatically appear on Twitter, so you STILL have to use a perfectly crafted, keyword-infused tweet complete with relevant hash tags.

The problem is that doesn’t leave you enough characters left to tag friends and businesses or ask people to “like” or “share” your post (not to mention the fact that hash tags look stupid on Facebook).

That’s just the physical posting aspect of Facebook. I don’t even want to get into what’s involved with tagging, comments, cleaning up links within posts, sharing, etc., it’s enough to make your head spin.

Don’t forget Pinterest.

Did you remember to put a decent image in your blog? Because you can’t “pin” images from Facebook, you’ll have to use Pinterest right from your blog. Hopefully you have corresponding categories set up on your Pinterest boards so you can properly organize your images, and don’t forget to say something useful or clever to persuade people to click back to your blog post.

And what about LinkedIn?

Sure you can have your WordPress set up to automatically share your blog, but did you know that if there are any contractions or quotation marks in your post there are ugly formatting errors?

You^?#ll Wind Up With Something Like %#This%#.

Oh and best of all, social platforms and mobile applications change every single day. So be sure to take into account the time it takes to research and stay ahead of the social curve as that is a big part of the job.

As if all that weren’t enough, aside from these technical and formatting sand traps, you have to think about your audience.

Automation is not just sloppy, it’s LAZY!

When you post on LinkedIn, write an introductory comment that will appeal to the business-minded, preferably something that solves a problem or addresses a popular issue.

When you “pin,” take the extra step to write something that will make people want to click back to read your blog.

When you post on Facebook, make sure your introductory comment has stand-alone “liking” power (you’d be surprised how many people will like your post and never even click on it).

And when you tweet, be captivating enough to provoke action, while using the appropriate hash tags and mentions.

Be careful who you trust with your social reputation! See 13 People Fired for Tweeting

Social platforms have now become the front lines of your communication. Consider the maturity-level of this voice. This is your spokesperson, your public relations rep, your cheerleader, your defender, the person who is responsible for a two-way conversation with your customers and the person you depend on to both put out inadvertent fires and be ever-ready to pounce on fortuitous social opportunities.

Blunders in the social-sphere can be embarrassing and costly! Check out 13 Epic Twitter Fails

Wake up and smell the value of good e-cred! Employers seriously need to raise the bar (and the salary) when it comes to hiring their social savant.  Here’s what to look for:

  • 5-10 years of marketing or communications experience
  • A solid background in writing, advertising or journalism
  • A fully developed LinkedIn profile
  • A keen interest in staying ahead of the social curve
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • A proven track record in customer relations
  • A healthy knowledge of SEO best practices and basic HTML code

And at the risk of sounding quixotic, look for someone who is truly passionate about integrity and work ethic. Transparency is crucial in the social world, and you need someone who is innately honest with pure intentions. This person will go the extra mile for your customers not because it’s their job, but because it is the right thing to do.

Socially Challenged

You can’t take me anywhere…

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