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Is Your Social Media Manager the One?

Social media strategist/marketer, online community manager, new media evangelist—whatever you call them, it’s always good to have one on your team.
If you have a small business or startup, handing over you social media tasks to someone else can be time-consuming, resource-draining and risky. So whether you’re planning to hire one or have already, here’s how to figure out if they’re a good fit for your business.

Do you trust them?

Being a social media manager, it’s a nice feeling when a business owner hands over control of their online platforms (passwords, managing permissions, etc.). It’s a nice boost to the ego and also makes you feel slightly powerful. However, this is something that should never be abused.
For you, as a business owner, trust is crucial to having a peace of mind. If you keep giving your social media manager more and more responsibility, you should be able to feel that they’ll always respect confidentiality even if things go sour between you. And, to avoid any online mishaps, remember to brief them on what aspects of the business they can or cannot share.

They should understand your business and its goals.

Not only that, but they should actually like what you do. If the person seems apathetic about your company and its mission, you’ll know immediately that they’re not the right fit.
They should also be familiar with the industry you work in, or at least be willing to learn about it. Because, after all, social media activities need to be tied to your objectives.
Unfortunately this is something that I, as a social media manager, was guilty of. I briefly worked with a startup that’s involved with ecommerce platforms—something that I have very little knowledge of and am not really interested in learning about. This disinterest started leaking into my social media efforts and, needless to say, both parties agreed that it was time for me to move on.

Importantly, they should have a real zeal for all things social.

If not, why are they in this role?
Firstly, the person you hire should enjoy virtually hanging out on social platforms and being social. (As a die-hard introvert, this is not the best field for me to be working in.) It’s important that your SM manager is comfortable with and great at interacting with people—especially since some clients or audiences eventually want to communicate through telephone, video chat, or even meet in person.
Secondly, as the new media landscape is constantly developing, the ideal person would also be enthusiastic about learning and trying out the new tools and trends that keep springing up.

They have proven professional social media experience or successful projects under their belt.

Increased followers by the thousands, run a successful Facebook contest—what has this person done, which shows you that they’re good at what they do? It’s always best if they have a portfolio of past online successes.
Of course, this is tricky if the candidate is recent graduate, for example; someone has to give them a chance in order for them to be great. However, you can still see the signs of a talent for social media. Perhaps they have a very popular personal blog, or they’ve run an impressive online marketing campaign as part of an academic course.

Can they do more than just post to a social network?

Social media managers are often asked (or forced) to do things outside their scope of work. While I don’t encourage doing this often, it’s useful to have someone who can do more than just work with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
Having other abilities—such as working with multimedia, knowledge of design, basic web development skills and so forth—is increasingly required of any marketing professional.
But be very careful of asking them to take on too much though. I’ve worked with a client who had me managing the social media for three companies. They kept adding more and more (unrelated) tasks to my existing workload, despite the fact that I had forewarned them about my limited time. Soon, of course, the core job that I had been hired to do—social media—started to suffer.

They are data-driven individuals.

I mentioned earlier that a social media manager should know how to do more than just post content. The thing is, this role is essentially a marketing one, so being able to understand and analyze data, and then make informed decisions based on that data, is vital. Numbers don’t rule everything though, so a clever social media manager should always be happy to experiment and take (calculated) risks.

Are they in it for the long haul?

Unless you don’t mind training and retraining, you’ll need someone who’s committed. Social media demands immediacy and stops for no one, so it’s almost always a full-time job.
So get someone who understands this urgency and who knows that something like a question on Twitter must be answered right away. This often requires being online during weekends as well as non-work hours of the week. Unfortunately, this can put a lot of strain on a person, so find someone who can and wants to handle that.

They are go-getters.

Slightly clichéd, but good social media managers are naturally curious, take initiative, and are ready to come to you with ideas. They should be interested in all aspects of your business (work process, employee roles, impact on customers, etc.), and ready to take that information and turn it into engaging content.
Similarly, although being proactive is great, they should also willingly seek input from others in the business. It’s not advisable to leave everything up to one person; a company’s online presence should be a collaborative effort.
Successful social media is, a lot of the time, a matter of trial and error. Remember that every business’s social media needs are different, so don’t be too hard on your SM manager if they don’t tick all the above attributes… they might not need them.
And don’t forget that if you’re looking for social media professionals who have extensive experience with small businesses, Have Presence offers a variety of services to suit your needs.

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