Never have I written anything that has inspired such response as my last article on Search Engine Watch on how to hire a social marketer.
Both lovers and haters responded in droves. Today's article addresses the major questions and issues that arose.
Perhaps the number one topic of commentary was to further define the skill sets and education of a social media marketer (SMM). A number of SMMs wrote to say that their college studies and prior jobs did not fit the mold I recommended, but they were doing just fine.
So, let's drill down.
1. Writing & Design Experience
If your company has limited resources and is hiring just one person to do it all, at a minimum you need to hire someone with strong skills and experience in writing and design. There simply has to be a portfolio of work that you can review. Otherwise, how can you judge an individual's ability to represent your company in the media?
I personally hired a team member who had a theatre degree and a background in theatre management. But then she went into PR and events.
This latter background made her great at outreach: She knows how to engage people, manage communities, inspire groups, and pitch ideas. This experience enables her to recognize and implement good social media content.
2. Support & Training
A solo social media manager needs to be supported by other resources. Yes, there are people who do absolutely everything themselves. However good their work may be, think of how much better it would be with support from a content development person, a PR person, and a designer.
Outside training can really help. Even in a department of one — or especially then — the company should consider budgeting for external training.
It's not just an investment in the employee; it's an investment in achieving the marketing goals. As a result of the initial article, I was contacted by a company who had just hired a social media manager. I'll be working with her for her first 30 days to train her to best achieve the company's marketing objectives.
3. Editing & Proofreading
You need an editor or proofreader to support the social media marketer. Someone needs to check what they're putting out. Otherwise, the errata reflect back upon your brand.
Granted, as a nation we're dumbing down on proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Even million-dollar-a-year newscasters tell us that, "A man that saw the fire called 911." Ahem. That's "A man who saw the fire." Don't believe me? Look up interrogative pronouns.
4. The Time Required to Manage Social Media Varies
Your industry and what your constituents expect from social media will determine where and how often you publish.
If you're in any field related to Internet marketing, you should be spending all day on social media. If you're in financial services, you don't need to be shooting out content 24/7, unless it's somehow germane to your product or brand.
5. Old School Methods of Managing Media Work
Good social media marketers have an understanding of classic marketing in general, the buying cycle, the media mix, and how brand equity is developed. Social media marketing is just another channel in the media mix.
6. Real Community Management Experience is Key
If a social media marketer interviewee has never managed an online community or offline event, you should think twice about placing this person in the social media manager role.
Social media marketing isn't about being active in all the channels. It's about understanding where to connect in the networks and how to engage, not once, but on a frequent basis which then becomes expected of your target audience.
Let's keep the dialogue open! Contact me here.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!