If you're reading this, chances are that your business has finally decided to invest in having a full blown presence on social media. No more tinkering, asking staff to squeeze a bit of social media activity into their packed day jobs. No more settling for a mediocre presence and mediocre results.
By investing in hiring your first social media manager, you're taking the first step towards seeing more tangible business results from social media.
But if you're the Recruitment Manager or HR Manager who's been charged with making this hire, the challenge is how do you hire someone of the right profile and with the right skillset to deliver on your social media strategy? I'm writing this article - and running presentations on this topic - to try and share our experiences of getting this right.
The first thing to understand is that not all social media manager roles are equal - and therefore the profile of the person you'll want to hire could also differ enormously from company to company. Consider for a moment hiring someone to join your recruiting team. Are they going to be screening incoming applications from thousands of graduates each year? Or are they going to be proactively sourcing and headhunting senior executives?
Just as the hiring profile for these two extremes of recruiters would differ enormously, so too will social media hiring criteria vary enormously. So where on the spectrum does your hiring requirement sit?
My recommended first step is to clearly understand the social media strategy the business wants to implement. I would categorise this as falling into one of three degrees of investment in social media:
1. Investing to look professional on social media. If potential clients, business partners, hires or existing customers take a look at your social media presence, will it inspire confidence in your business or will it undermine your company's credibility. In many sectors, a credible social media presence is now as important as having a professional website. The lowest level of investment in social media is ensuring that such a presence is maintained.
If this is all your company is seeking to achieve on social media, an admin or recent graduate hire would be perfectly adequate, provided they spend a couple of hours being coached by a social media expert.
2. Investing to look professional and grow an audience. Looking credible on social media is important, but to have a more significant impact on the business you really need to be growing your social media fans and followers base. You need to be using influencer marketing to have your updates shared to a much more sizeable audience. You need to be proactively getting your profiles in front of the types of people that your company would want to engage with.
If this is your desired outcome on social media, your social media manager is going to need experience - an admin or recent grad hire will not suffice. Think more of hiring someone who's been a social media co-ordinator or social media assistant, who's had experience of growing a social media audience and a company's social media reach.
3. Investing to drive tangible business results from social media. Looking professional and growing an audience certainly helps to raise the profile of your business within your target sector. But for many businesses that will not be enough. Is your business expecting your social media manager to significantly boost website traffic, drive online sales, generate client leads, drive up demo requests - or something else that's similarly a much more tangible win for the company?
If so, you're going to need to hire an experienced social media manager to join your team. Someone with a track record of having produced such results in their previous roles, ideally in your sector or in one with similarities to your own. Don't expect someone who's been driving social media traffic to a travel agency website to necessarily be able to generate lots of client leads for a law firm. At the very least, it'll take a period of time and some social media training to bridge the gap.
Tools are essential for generating social media results, so it's important that you understand the tools and subscriptions your first social media hire will need in order to do the job effectively. To continue with the Recruitment analogy, if a potential hire has had a full LinkedIn licence, people aggregator subscriptions and a top-notch recruitment marketing platform at their disposal in their previous role, you wouldn't expect them to be able to generate the same results if they joined your company and no longer had access to any of these things would you?
The exact same challenge would be faced by your new social media manager. So when interviewing and assessing candidates, be sure to understand the tools they are reliant on and factor these into both your budgeting and your assessment of how the different candidates compare. As you would expect, these costs escalate according to the ambitions of your social media investment. So at the lowest level of investment, you'll only need a couple of inexpensive tools. But at the top level of investment you'll potentially need many more tools, some of which may be enterprise-level subscriptions, plus an ongoing social media advertising budget.
If you're the person in HR or Recruitment who's been charged with making your company's first social media hire, hopefully the above has helped. We could certainly go into far more depth on this topic - and I do so in my presentation on the topic of hiring a social media manager. You can check timings for this and register to attend here. There are, of course, various other options you may wish to consider. You may want to use an agency to build this social media presence for a fraction of the cost of employing a social media manager in-house. You may feel you need some external help in assessing your final shortlist of candidates. If we can help in any way, please feel free to book in for a call and we'd be delighted to help.