Ryan Holmes, CEO of Vancouver-based Hootsuite declared the role of Social Media Manager dead. While it’s true that positions with this title have decreased, the need for social media skills has not. Social media hasn’t gone away, on the contrary it has moved closer to the center of business.
Studies show that 94% of business buyers research online first. 58% of customers (and 64% of millennials) research products on Facebook before buying. It’s not a question of whether or not a business needs a social presence, it’s just a question of who is going to handle it. If social media keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the agenda it might be time to hire an in-house social media specialist or a social media agency to ensure that your company is making the most of social marketing opportunities.
What does a Social Media Manager do?
The role of Social Media Manager is evolving. It used to be simpler, now it’s a multifaceted role better suited to an experienced communicator with superhero-like digital skills. A Social Media Manager is a communicator first and foremost. Whether she’s speaking for the company as she replies to tweets or strategizing about a campaign, she is constantly communicating. Beyond the words these managers need a keen eye for numbers, a strong sense of strategy, a good understanding of sales and the creativity to nimbly hop between platforms. In her article, “6 Jobs the Best Social Media Managers Actually Do” Ellie Mirman from Hubspot suggests that Social Media Managers function in six basic areas:
- Content Creator
- Marketing Analyst
- News Junkie
- Customer Service Rep
- Community Facilitator
- Funnel Marketing Manager
If it’s time to hire a Social Media Manager, look for someone with skills beyond fluency in social platforms. It can be tempting to view this as an entry-level position and save some money by hiring young. But this person is the very public voice of the company. It’s critical to ask for examples of specific, measurable results they have achieved.
- How would they allocate a budget for Social Media advertising?
- Have they ever had to handle a social media crisis?
- What marketing strategies do they plan to use to generate leads?
How will they handle and analyze the data from their campaigns? Simply “driving engagement” is not enough. It’s important to be able to measure what is gained to know if the efforts are succeeding. Ask the candidate which metrics will they track and how they will report those results. Look for a candidate who can break down the data to show clear ROI and make suggestions for increasing the bottom line.
Social media is constantly evolving. Hiring an agency or an individual immersed in new trends in online PR, content marketing, and mobile marketing will keep a business ahead of the pack. Some companies have found success hiring an agency to develop a social media strategy first. Hiring a marketing marketing agency rather than a full-time Social Media Manager in-house manager can save time and money. It’s a particularly good choice for small businesses, especially ones that are just getting into social marketing. Working with an agency lets a company’s social media presence grow as business grows.
“Business requires people with the skills and understanding on how to use … social media professionally in an integrated and strategic way.” – Dr. William Ward, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University.