Everyone has realized the potential that social media holds for business. But how do you go about facilitating your social media efforts? Ideally, you want to hire someone else to take care of these online efforts in your stead. But you can’t hire just anyone. You need someone who knows not only the ins and outs of how each platform works, but also what makes an interesting and relevant post. You need someone with experience and knowledge, but also creativity and passion.
So how exactly do you go about finding such a person? Thus far, there is no specific major that absolutely prepares one to be a social media manager; therefore relevant work experience becomes the most important pre-requisite for any candidate. (They should be able to explain not only what past experiences in social media they have, but also how their efforts proved effective for the company). Furthermore, these social media positions are a relatively new addition to the company roster and thus both the career path and the positions are undefined and flexible. There are many areas in which people can work with social media, from advertising to statistical analysis to social strategy. However, most often what companies are looking for is a social media community manager.
Community managers are responsible for taking the company voice and translating it onto the various social media channels that one chooses to pursue. While the job title seems singular and simple, a community manager will be asked to wear many hats. Here are some of the roles you should expect your community manager to fill:
- Industry Pro: First and foremost, your community manager should have an extensive working knowledge of various platforms. They should be aware of the inner workings of each, know exactly what can and cannot be done, and how to go about doing so. Should a question arise about a social media site, they should be the one with the answers. If there are certain platforms they aren’t as familiar with, they should demonstrate the ability to pick up new platforms quickly and feel at home with trouble-shooting and experimenting. Simply put, they need to have a fundamental understanding of how to use these social media tools.
- Strategist: With knowledge of how to use each platform, your community manager should understand how each platform can be of use to your company. Moreover, they should be able to devise a strategy that works with the strengths of the platform to benefit your company’s goals and ideals. The interview process is a great time to see what a candidate has in mind to improve your company’s performance on social media. See what kinds of ideas they have to make promotions more effective and audiences more receptive.
- Author: With this strategy in mind, your community manager should be able to design interesting and relevant posts that not only relate to the company’s strategy and goals, but also represent the company’s brand, image and voice. An agency managing many brands will want a community manager able to smoothly and distinctively switch between brands.
- Analyst: Everyone uses social media, but to make a career of it candidates have to know how to analyze and understand it. Your community manager should be able to access and understand social media analytics in order to back-up their strategy and discover what approaches are proving most effective. If you can’t understand the effect your social media efforts are having, what’s the point?
- Watchdog: Finally, your community manager should be a careful observer. In addition to creating your content, they should also be keeping track of trends and what consumers and other brands are saying and doing online. They should document competitors, and listen and respond to consumers. Social media isn’t just one-way broadcasting; it’s a conversation. What you are saying has no meaning if you aren’t paying attention to the dialogue that is going on around you. Social media is as much about research and monitoring as it is about content creations and distribution.
Each of these areas should be reflected in the day-to-day capabilities and responsibilities of a community manager. Beyond that, it’s up to you to tailor the expectations for the role to your company’s needs and operations.
On a side note, in case you are curious, salary for these positions can vary greatly depending on where your company is based, what exactly your social media role entails and of course what suits your company. However, for an idea of what some of the going-rates are check out this infographic: http://www.onwardsearch.com/career-center/social-media-jobs-salary-guide/.
Author: Katherine Pearce