Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by! One of the most frequently asked questions we get involves resources and social media. Business owners often understand the importance of social media but they lack the skills and time to properly execute a social media plan. Who should manage your social media? What types of skills should that person have? What are some of pitfalls of inexperience?
The scenario that I like to put forward involves offline media. If a local TV station were to contact you for an interview about your company, who would you send out in front of the camera? Would it be you? A key employee? Someone with little knowledge of the company?
Chances are pretty good that if you didn’t do it yourself, you’d get someone with a lot of company knowledge to speak on your behalf. You would want someone with the ability to answer any question that might get thrown their way while still maintaining a level of professionalism. I highly doubt you’d put a new employee with little experience in front of a camera to answer questions that they don’t have the answers to.
This same scenario applies to social media. I see a lot of companies designate the “young person that knows a lot about computers” to head their social media efforts. Sure this person might understand the various platforms and how to use them, but how knowledgeable are they on the company? What do they say when they don’t have an answer to a question? Do they understand the organizational voice and tone?
I get it… business owners often don’t have time to manage their own social media. There are millions of other things that occupy their time and typically maintaining a quality web presence falls by the wayside. It’s not unusual to designate someone to handle these things for you.
What should this person look like? Here’s a starting point:
- Someone with a strong understanding of the business – Make sure they have information on the history of business, products, clients, technical expertise, etc.
- Someone with a moderate understanding of social media platforms and how to use them – I wouldn’t make this the most important aspect of the role. Social media posting is relatively easy. Understanding the “what”, “why”, “who” and “where” takes some time to learn though.
- Someone with a background in marketing, communications or public relations – In a perfect world, I’d take a communications or public relations person over a marketer but maybe that’s just me.
- Someone with the ability to not get discouraged when things go wrong – It’s not always flowers and rainbows. People are going to say things you don’t like. You might also have to share information that will make people upset. If the person doesn’t have the ability to move on and get over it, they’re in for a long haul.
- Someone willing to try new things – It seems that there’s a new technology on the market every day. A savvy individual that takes the time to research trends and emerging technologies and then make a determination of their value to the company is key.
Even the right person can fall victim to a bad plan. It’s in your best interest to equip this person with the tools required to succeed:
- Access to those individuals in the company with all the knowledge and answers – This might mean direct phone or text access to the business owner 24/7.
- A mobile device – A pretty basic tool but one of the most important ones.
- Strategy and direction – This person needs to understand your objectives and strategy. They need to have a good understanding on how social media fits into the overall marketing and communications strategy.
- The ability to make decisions – Quick and nimble is the name of the game. Keep your social media person tied down in approvals and process, and you might be doing more harm than good.
In a perfect world, business owners would all happily do their social media and provide regular, informative updates to all of their adoring fans. Unfortunately, it’s probably not going to happen this way. If you do look for inside or outside help with your social media, take some time to make the right decision. If you do decide to simply use the “young person that knows a lot about computers” and things start to go sideways, give me a call. It might be a fun thing to watch.