Social Media is a unique communications channel. In previous posts I’ve talked about it being more than just marketing – a combination of marketing, PR, customer service, research and more.
I suggested that an organisation has to recognise the multi-dimensional impact of Social Media on its business.
And I recommended that an organisation should employ a multi-discipline, Social Media Manager.
So who is this extraordinary person and what qualities, skills, competencies and knowledge should such a superhero possess?
Who is that masked man?
Cool, calm and collected is a good description. The ability to remain aloof and not take comments personally. To think before speaking/posting. To consider all the possible ramifications of a post before committing.
Someone who checks facts before answering. And who plays the diplomat internally.
Often the social media manager also has to act as a consultant and ambassador – helping company employees to get to grips with social media, and selling the benefits to sceptical managers and directors.
Sometimes he/she has to assume a secret identity – posting as the brand, and then keeping that identity consistent and believable.
Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound...
Writing, spelling and grammar are essential superpowers for any social media position, and in particular, being able to write good marketing copy that does not feel like marketing copy to the reader, and write in a style that matches both the organisation’s brand and the customer’s culture.
But a visual eye is also crucial - so many social media channels rely on imagery or videos to capture the attention of fans. A post without a visual element is often a wasted post. Being able to source and pick great imagery is essential.
Being able to use photo-editing and illustration software is a definite bonus, often images need resizing and/or cropping before they can be used.
And the ultimate social media superpower is being able to create impactful infographics. (Although there are now many on-line services and websites that can make this easy).
Welcome to the Batcave
It is vital that the manager understands the organisation’s base of operations – how it works, how it makes it money, its culture, and its policies, along with its marketing plan and campaign goals.
Ideally, they should have a working knowledge of every department in the organisation and maintain good contacts within each department.
You cannot make promises in such a public medium as social media and not deliver on them. So it follows that the manager has to have enough responsibility and power to get things moving, to get other departments to act and to follow through.
Sometimes customer service requires refunds, replacement products, discounts on future service or additional work. The social media manager has to have the clout to authorise these.
Justice League of Social Media
If you have read this far, then you can see that this vast array of skills and knowledge – matched with the required temperament is going to be rare. Which is why some companies have a team of heroes in the role, or they outsource to agencies or consultants.If you do find someone who embodies all these qualities and possesses the right skills, they should be considered a valuable asset and recompensed accordingly.
Batman rather than Robin
It should also be obvious from reading this post that putting a young employee who is a ‘whizz with social media’ is not the right approach, and is potentially disastrous. They may not have an understanding of the business, they may not be mature enough to deal with customer issues, they may not have the respect of managers and directors and they may simply not have the life experience to make the best of the role.
It is relatively quick and easy to teach people how to use the various social media tools and platforms, but hard to teach attitudes and communications skills, and time-consuming to learn company strategy, marketing plans and culture.
It’s a bird…It’s a Plane…
Unless you already know someone with a mask and cape, or whose been bitten by a radioactive spider, or fallen to Earth from the planet Krypton, then finding your social media superhero may not be easy – but the right choice in this position is the key to the success or failure of your digital marketing strategy.