By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Congratulations, you convinced your senior management to re-invest in social media for the coming year! N ow let’s ensure you are hiring the right person for the job. Industry analysts and recent surveys have affirmed that social media is beyond the honeymoon phase, and 2011 is the year of INTEGRATION. Please read Jeremiah Owyang’s blog post on “2011: the year of Integration,” really good insight on how to plan for your social media activities next year.
One question I get asked repeatedly is, “What should I look for while hiring a social media manager?” Hopefully, this blog post gives an insight into the key skill sets your team must have in 2011 in order to be successful with digital marketing. I also have tried to give you some interview questions you might want to consider asking during the interview.
1. Hire a strategist not a hot shot: Depending on your budget and the overall business goals, you are better off hiring a strategist who understands the big picture and has experience in running digital campaigns — from planning to execution — than a personal brand with no track record of doing actual work. A key differentiator between a social media strategist and a hot shot is very simple: the former can speak to business goals, social media strategy and metrics and sounds more like a marketer versus the latter (hot shot) who eventually talks more about his/her personal brand. Yeah, one of the banes of social media is that we create huge personal brands out of community managers who get caught up in their own social glory.
Interview question: Describe a social media campaign that you were involved with?
2. Technology and social media is like fish and water: Back in August, when the CRT/tanaka Social Media Practice was hiring an account executive, I received tons of resumes, and of course, the majority of them claimed to be social media strategists. Once I got down to the final 10 and started interviewing them, I found out some of them were actually technology-averse. If your candidates don’t get excited talking about iPhone apps, Foursquare check-ins, WordPress plug-ins and live streaming video, that’s a red flag. How can someone be good at social networking without being an active technology consumer? A true social media enthusiast takes to technology just as fish takes to water.
Interview question: What do you consider the best innovation in technology and/or social networking?
3. Experience in traditional and new media a plus: Some of the more successful social media managers are those that come from a journalism or traditional PR background, because at the end of the day, the tenets to good media pitching, writing and editing act as a great foundation to good new media practices (blogger relations, digital content creation for an audience that has an attention span of 5 seconds).
4. Ability to speak metrics and measurement: I firmly believe that someone who is able to intelligently speak about metrics and best practices to measure social media (especially because there is NO one standard formula) and is able to demonstrate that through past experience is a promising new hire. 2011 is the year of tangible ROI for social media, when your management will be looking closely at your online activities with a microscope. Your social media team member better be ready to quantify versus just qualify all the Facebook, Twitter and blog activities on a quarterly basis. All the more reason to hire someone who is more a strategist than a tactical person with sound knowledge of all new social tools and apps.
Interview question: What is your thought on Ad Value Equivalency (AVE) versus engagement metrics? How would you demonstrate engagement?
5. Your Social Media Manager is Your Chief Engagement Officer (CEO): Alright last but not the least, if you have any inclination the candidate is more introverted than social and shies away from making new connections at an event, time to say goodbye. Your community manager is the face of your organization interacting with your customers both online and offline. A great sense of humor, wit and the ability to connect and make friends out of strangers are all key characteristics of a good social media manager. You want to hire someone who can listen first and then engage your stakeholders in a meaningful conversation that results in long-term relationships, and no you don’t want someone who doesn’t get excited at the prospect of meeting new people at a networking event.
Interview question: Explain the role of a community manager as a facilitator.
As team leads, we all know how important it is to take the time to hire the right person and even more so when you have tons of social media rock stars out there claiming to be gurus, pundits and strategists. Your investment in the right social media member will go a long way in achieving your business objectives, so good luck and may you find the right one for your social efforts in 2011!