In the post “Will a Community Manager Take You to the Next Level?” I explored the question of whether or not adding the position of a Social Media Community Manager would be beneficial to your business. If you’ve clicked on this post, the answer to that question is probably, “Yes.” But what traits are most promising in a social media community manager? We have some pretty specific ideas of what makes a great social media community manager because we hire and train our own people and only have the best social media community managers working on our own client projects. Our internal process of training is quite extensive and it starts with hiring the right person to sit in the seat and wear the hat “social media community manager.”
Here are 12 tips for hiring a social media community manager that will rock your world:
1. A Passion for the Art and Science too…
I think this tip is pretty self-exclamatory. Make sure whoever you pick shows a keen interest in social media and the direction it’s headed- and is generally excited about it! As professionals we all know that if we’re not 100% invested in what we’re doing, the results are less desirable. So make sure they’re hyped to join the effort! You can tell when someone is excited about social media by their knowledge, their reading list, their ability to connect with the thought leaders in the social media world. Their desire to learn more. If you ask someone who love social media what they think about curating content for a business channel they should have a list of ideas of what makes great content and how they would go about curating that content.
But passion is not the only part of a great social media manager, they also have to have the desire to learn the science behind it. That’s right, science. When I say science I am not referring to biology or chemistry – I am referring to the desire to really understand the technical aspect of social media. While it is an art to select and create great content, it is a science to know when the best time to post is, understand the inner workings of social media tools and how to leverage them and understand the metrics and analytics that can help you do better in this space. There is a lot that goes into a great social media presence and it is both art and science. Find someone who is excited about the entire process and who has the analytic brain to really think through the process.
2. A Knack for Writing
Seek out someone with a fair amount of writing experience. The social media community managers at SocialNicole typically have degrees in journalism, marketing, writing or a related area of study. They have an obvious flair for writing and have also been trained in proper editing techniques. Now it’s not necessary to find someone with a proper degree in writing, but it is important you evaluate writing samples of anyone you are considering hiring into this position. Social media, after all, is just another medium where successful writing oftentimes dictates success.
One more tip. While all of my social media community managers come in with a very solid ability to write, they all have needed training on what makes a great social media post, how to write a great blog post and all the inner workings of social media marketing. We have a lengthy internal training process and it is ongoing. With social media marketing one never stops learning and our social media community mangers are constantly working to improve their skills and keep up with changes that are occurring in social media on a daily basis. Make sure you are prepared to offer training for your social media manager whether that is internal, through a coach or some sort of course.
3. Ongoing Quest to Learn More
Your social media community manager will need to stay on top of the latest developments in social media in order to be effective. The community manager you hire should be an avid blog reader. As social media platforms are always evolving, it’s important that your Manager remains updated.
One of the first things a Community Manager should set up is a Google Reader. They should spend some time searching for the latest and greatest RSS Feeds from which they may be able to find valuable links related to your business. You can provide them with a list of blogs or online sources that you read. Chances are you have signed up for some resources that are delivered to your email box each day, week or month. Send those thinks to your manager so they can start reading those sources. If you do not have a list help your community manager brainstorm where to find this list and help find sources to add to their RSS. At SocialNicole we create a list with client help and then the client approves all our sources. As we go into the social media world to manage their channels we often find new sources and will send those links to the client for approval so we can curate from new sources we find as well.
4. Just the Right Amount of Enthusiasm
Your Community Manager needs to know how to toe the line between too much enthusiasm and too little. The danger with too much enthusiasm in social media may scare away potential customers, while too little may lead your customer to believe there is a lack of intrigue around your company. Social media is like a conversation, so your Manager should go about it as such- not too strong but not too weakly. Even more-so, your Manager will need to understand towing the line between sales and personality. No customer conversation is likely to happen if your social media manager is sending out messages that seem boxed or robotic.
This requires your social media manager to have someone watching what they are doing and giving feedback on a regular basis. Even the best social media managers have someone else overseeing their work and giving feedback. This is the same in any industry. Experts need feedback too. SocialNicole community mangers are experts in what they do, but guess what? They have several people giving feedback on a regular basis. Including a social media director who is in charge of all the strategy and success of the client channels they are managing. This is what makes social media marketing profitable. You need to invest in a team approach. This is not just posting to Facebook or Twitter. It is leveraging strategy on a day to day basis.
5. Can Fall and Get Back Up
This part is so important. As the social media sphere is constantly evolving, so too will your community manager. They’re going to have to be open to the idea of trying their hand at certain new endeavors, only to have it fall flat on its face. But they will also need to be able to pick themselves back up and get back into the game of trial and error in social media management- without taking it so much to heart.
The fact is that digital marketing is all about testing. The answers are often in trying and seeing what the results are. Not every campaign is successful and not every post is ideal or perfect. Your social media community manager needs to be able to take feedback and improve themselves, they need to be open to constant feedback and they need to be able to handled failure knowing that failure is what leads to success in the long run.
6. A Strategic Mind
This lumps well into the previous tip. Social media management these days is largely about taking risks and seeking results. No one can write a book that says, “This is 100% correct way to perform media management…” because no one truly knows. The great thing about the social media sphere is that it allows so much room for creative ideas. And having a Community Manager who can weave creativity into a strategic social media plan for a client can indefinitely spell success.
7. Organization to a T
Another self-exclamatory one. Your community manager is probably going to be managing a fair amount of material, and for all of that to be successful nothing is more important than keeping organized. Make sure that whoever you hire on to be your manager has a history of being organized, and is not only good at it but enjoys it as well.
8. Time-Management Skills
Just as they will need to be organized, they’ll also need to know how to manage their time wisely. It’s your Community Manager’s job to make sure that, even if the time is not plentiful, the management is done efficiently and effectively during the hours you provide them.
9. Attitude is Everything
Your Community Manager is going to become the “face” of your business. Therefore, take extra care in hiring someone who can not only represent you professionally online, but offline as well. Make sure they are passionate about what you do and excited to be a part of your team. At SocialNicole we have the privilege of being very selective about who we bring on as clients and we only bring clients in who we are excited to work with and excited about their work. Our focus is to help businesses bring their talents to the world to make the world a better place, so it falls in line we want to work with businesses that we are excited about. Every client knows we are excited to be working with them and love their work because we tell them and it shows in our work. Make sure anyone who is behind the controls of your social media has a similar attitude. You want them to be a part of your team and excited to be there. And yes, online and offline they need to be great representatives of your company!
10. Training is Key
You wouldn’t hire any person off the street to represent your business, right? Don’t be fooled into thinking just anyone can do social media management; you need a well-trained professional. This is your company’s first line of connection with customers, so whomever you hire needs to understand not only social media inside and out, but also how to build relationships and customer service.
You are trusting this person with your business’ reputation so make sure you find someone who is highly qualified and make sure you keep them well trained. Ask yourself this: Who would you feel comfortable putting in front of news cameras if your company were interviewed? This is who should be managing your social media marketing.
11. General Business Knowledge
Let’s face it: You’re a business. And you’re hiring a social media community manager so that you can go further in your business and cultivate relationships through social media that could possibly carry your business to the next level. Take care to hire someone who has a working knowledge of how a business, and marketing, should generally be run- not to mention, a general knowledge of your industry. They’ll be the day-to-day point person, facing incoming questions and conversations in your social media- make sure they know what they’re talking about!
12. Self-Directed Motivation
Last but not least, you Community Manager will be driving your business’ social media on a day-to-day basis- they’ll need to be motivated to stay on track! Be wary of hiring an individual you feel you’d have to direct or stand over for extended periods of time. You have your own work to do in running your business, so hire a Community Manager who makes your life easier- not harder!
The Wrap Up: Final Thoughts on Hiring a Social Media Community Manager
Oftentimes a marketing director or business owner thinks that hiring a specific person to manage social media is the next step. And while it is true bringing in an experienced person to manage your social media is the right move, whether or not you want to make that person an employee is a good question. A quality social media team that is effective typically has a Social Media Director and a Social Media Manager (not to mention copywriters, graphic artists and other support people). And while the solution of hiring a company like SocialNicole may seem like it is not cost effective – as an employee means you have more hours and labor you can get from them – the real cost of having an entire expert team on board is one most businesses cannot cover.
Just posting on Twitter and Facebook is something that many people can do. Posting with a strategy and ensuring every post is on brand, fits the audience and fits the brand is a different thing. Make sure that you are ready to manage a person if you are going to hire them to run your social media. You need to be an expert to be able to direct and manage your social media employee. Do not expect a “unicorn” employee for a small amount to do it all and do it well. This is why many companies decide they do not have the capacity to hire a social media person and instead choose a full service management option such as what we at SocialNicole offer. The value of having an entire team on board for the cost of one employee makes this option very real for most small and medium sized business.
If you are interested in receiving a quote from us to manage your social media please contact us here. We look forward to talking to you!