The Essentials Hiring a Social Media Community Manager

Aim Clear recently posted a pretty extensive social media job description. (I think it can be a tad simpler. I think an understanding of the adjacent landscape (video, podcasting, PPC, SEO, and conversion optimization is pretty critical but seemingly omitted. I think those are far more important than knowledge of CSS. Thats what your web designer is for):

Qualifications and Experience

• Has a bachelor’s or associates degree in music, advertising, marketing, graphics, web development, communications, English, IT, music, theater, anthropology, history or related.
• Excels at research, possesses excellent writing skills and the ability to crank editorial and technical writing output without brooding.
• Has work experience or training in advertising, PR, online marketing or similar field
Proficient with Microsoft Office products.
• Dedicated to blogging and use of Facebook
• Understands the power of feed marketing

• Demonstrated ability to map out a marketing strategy and then drive that strategy proven by testing and metrics
• Experience sourcing and managing content development and publishing
• Ability to jump from the creative side of marketing to analytical side, able to demonstrate why their ideas are analytically sound
• Management experience or obviously ready for promotion to management
• Discretion to identify threats and opportunities in user generated content
• Understands social media universe including YouTube, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Flickr, Forums, Twitter, Wikis, blogs, etc…We’re looking for a social media addict who maintains a personal mix of participatory expertise from among these channels.

I think I would definitely replace the words “social media addict” in order to secure employment from a community manager with balance. This will provide for much better integration into the work environment, including the board room.

Social media strategist, Chris Brogan has a great list of principles to keep in mind in the interview to shape your hiring decisions when meeting face to face with prospective social media hirees:

The best community managers are like a good party host mixed with a fine restaurant host. I make a distinction because a party is more personal and a restaurant requires their host to think with a business mind. Community managers need both skillsets in equal space. A party host will connect people together, praise incoming guests appropriately, maintain conversations throughout the event, and see everyone safely off with a smile and a wave.

Community managers must be experienced communicators. One thing a communicator needs to do well is LISTEN. Part of that involves building sites and community spaces such that people have a place to engage you directly, and part of that means using listening tools to understand what’s being said about you elsewhere. Upon hearing and understanding, a community manager should engage with their own authentic voice, not with a marketing message.

Community managers are ambassadors and advocates in one. This is complex, but a community manager’s first responsibility is to her employer, and yet, she must convey the voice of the people (customers and other stakeholders) such that the company fully understands the mood of the marketplace, the needs of the people, and the customer’s intentions. Further, the community manager must clearly understand the community’s position in the marketplace and communicate that in such a way that customers don’t feel they are being fed a line.

Check out Chris Brogan’s post for more details and insight. I think equally important to Brogan’s analysis, Beth Hartes explanation of what one wants in a social media consultant is very on point. You can probably get by with 17 to 20 of the core 25 social media competencies she discusses, but the criteria for a social media consultant she provides is very on point. Here are the first seven skills she highlights:

• Believes in the generous web and practices cross-linking in their blog (example:Kami Huyse)
• Highlights others’ work in their blog (example: Chris Brogan)
• Integrates social media as part of larger marketing strategy (example: Razorfish)
• Doesn’t pretend to be an expert in all things digital; instead simply focuses on what he/she/they do best (Example: Common Craft)
• Gives away best practices in an effort to educate, grow social media in general (example: Todd Defren/SHIFT Communications)
• Understands that Radian6 and other monitoring tools are vastly superior tracking tools in comparison to Technorati (which really isn’t an indicator of much these days) (example: Fleishman’s Matt Dickman)
• Will tell you that there is no magic bullet for determining social media ROI and that you need to go further to accurately monitor, measure and determine the effectiveness of social media. (example: K.D. Paine)

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