So you’ve decided to take your business to the next level by forging into the exciting new world of Social Media. Now where do you start? There’s Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Yahoo, Google, Youtube, Blogger and god knows what else to keep a presence on. There is so much that it makes your head spin and the idea of hiring a social media headcount is starting to make sense. But before you jump in, there are a few things you should consider. This quick guide should give you the ground work to understand and hire the right candidate for the new media of the internet.
Do you need to hire?
A social media expert is really three jobs rolled into one; marketing, public relations and web design. What kind of scale are you looking for? Does your current staff have the ability to do a cross department project to achieve your goals? Remember, cross function teams might have time now, but social media is a fluid environment and needs constant update and monitoring. Will your cross function group be able to keep up with these updates?
Background and Education
When you post for social media you will be presented with all sorts of people who claim they can do the job. Almost every Echo Boomer understands social media in a way that will overwhelm you in an interview. Keep your expectations in mind and look for individuals with experience or education in the following areas: Public Relations, Marketing, Media, Communications, Web Design, and Business to Business sales.
Set a threshold of anyone with a four year degree or equivalent experience in these fields. Remember, they will be representing your company in writing and unprofessional or inexperienced mistakes can cost you a great deal of business. Since this relies on creative function, request and expect a portfolio of previous projects. Ask them to explain it to you in detail and find out how involved they were in the projects presented.
First and foremost, they must have an excellent ability to communicate both orally and in writing. I cannot stress enough how important this will be since this individual has the potential to touch millions of customers with just one sentence. A grasp of budgeting is a plus since their efforts could cost money to develop when you factor in software, media storage, video and audio production costs, and campaign/discount promotions.
Candidates must have the ability work with media programs and mark up languages. Look for skills with the following: HTML, XML, Flash, Shockwave, ASP.NET, PHP, Java, Java script (or Jscript), Photo Editing, and Video Editing. While not all of these would be required, you would at least need the HTML and XML portions to be successful at any social media job.
What should you expect?
There should be two parts of your social media expert. First and most important is the ability to create dynamic profiles on multiple social networking sites. A good social media expert will draw attention to these profiles and gather followers, fans, or friends who will get updates and offers more efficiently than television, print, mail, or email. After the initial investment, content can be added with little to no cost unless you produce a major overhaul or big multimedia projects. You will naturally receive feedback from the followers that will give you an inside scoop on how your customers think and what they want.
There will also be administrative functions involved with your social media expert. They must monitor comments being placed on your portals to prevent solicitation from other business or comments that will leave the company being seen as unprofessional, such as vulgarity or obscene language and images. They must also proactively seek tweets, comments, blogs, and other posts that reflect negative experience with your customers and be able to either contact the customer or pass to a customer service agent to quickly resolve complaints and service failures.
Why Social Media?
The internet is no longer about websites and chat rooms. Social Networking has brought thousands of people together to communicate on their own time and pace and provide instant gratification to the user. Social Media and Social Networking is bleeding into other mediums besides the computer including cell phones, television, and billboards (yes, I said billboards). It’s much less expensive than buying airtime and print with no way of knowing if your money is being well spent. Imagine being able to just look at a list and instantly see that thousands people are reading and following your updates and even given the freedom to comment back immediately so you can adjust business strategies with little financial obligation.
In summary, Social Media is dynamic, cost effective, easy to set up, and efficient. Make sure you hire the right candidate to take this awesome responsibility and drive your business into the future.