Tuesday, 30 July 2013 11:59
Why pay for your social media and not use a friend of a friend?Written by Helmut Watterott
Social media is often neglected or even worse handed to a friend, family member or some 'person that knows how to create a facebook page'. This is a result of misunderstanding the danger, power and the importance of Social Media.
Let's put this into perspective:
- Would you allow a person not skilled in Communications or PR to handle your brand?
- Would you want an untrained person with his finger on your largest advertising medium?
- Would you want a person with no real connection or interest in your company at the very forefront of your online networking and relationship building?
- Would you want a person without any real ties to your company be the one that manages your reputation online?
Too often the people responsible for social media are young, inexperienced and only really know how the functions of twitter, facebook, instagram etc works and maybe know how to post a blog or two. They don’t really understand business, communications, marketing, networking or any of the vital skills needed to properly represent a company especially in our connected age.
Interns, friends or family members are often hired to run social media for small companies that can’t afford (or think they can't afford) a full-time social media manager. Businesses believe the job is easy and they have the skills to handle it because they regularly use social media in their personal lives. They forget that social media is just a vehicle and that traditional communications and pr skills are still required. Most people are not fit for this purpose and it should be left to the professionals. We promote open and transparent communications at every level abstaining from spin and being informal, but this has to be done thoughtfully and professionally.
Skills required to be a social media manager:
- Communications and PR Skills
- Article and blog writing experience
- Networking and collaboration
- Brand management and crisis management
- Advanced SEO knowledge
- Pay Per Click experience (PPC)
Technical skills Required
- Basic web design and development
- Competent with the most common content management systems
- Know the functions AND limitations of Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels
Remember that the people you use to manage your social media should:
Have full control over web presence
Social media managers are often put in charge of a company’s Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Many have full control over what they say, when they say it and who they say it to. In smaller companies, they are often their own department, and in many cases, there's no one mentoring these people.
Have direct interaction with current and potential clients, customers and users
When you’re monitoring all interactions on social media, you have to create conversations with people. This means generating publicity and responding to customer service messages. Both of these responsibilities require the person to have a wide range of skills. Direct interaction with clients is a real responsibility that should result in real compensation.
Build relationships online with businesses, clients, potential clients and the media
Most people have none or very little experience with media relations. It is a minefield and should be handled like a feral cat with young. Get the ‘media’ wrong and your reputation might never recover.
Relationship building on social media is about sharing, giving and understanding. It is vital that the person who runs your social media understands when not to overstep boundries and how to address people. The person you are interacting with on social media might be just another employee or it might even be the top decision maker in a company. Interacting appropriately can make the difference between a fiend/partner for life or a snub.
Work with other branches, departments and businesses
A company’s social media should embody the entire organization. This means, to a degree, it should have input from many departments in the company. You need to work with marketing, customer relations, public relations, internal communications and more. One person should not have to be a liaison to all of these departments, in addition to creating content. In smaller companies the person might need to be all of the above.
Manage your brand and crisis manage
Another important goal of a company’s social media is to represent the brand. This means consistent messages across all platforms, as well as sharing relevant, quality content. When something bad happens, whether it’s directly in the company, industry, or somewhere else in the world, it often has to be acknowledged on social media. Brand management requires a lot of time, experience and dedication. It is important that the person that handles your social media can step back from an argument, keep his/her cool and not take things personally.
Be available 24/7 because social media happens 24 hours a day every day
Social media is busy busy busy. Interactions, questions and messages happen at any time of the day. It is important to be fast at responding and pro-active on social media. The person that runs your social media must accept that and become an online ambassador 24/7. Your social media presence might not be as strong as it could be if you do 9-5 days.