Have you hired a social media manager?  A social media guru/wizard/ninja/diva?  Each of these job "titles" are increasingly being used by companies to attract individuals who specialize in marketing a company’s brand and/or services in social media.  A recent article in the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times highlights just how prevalent these job titles are becoming corporate America.  

As companies struggle to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of social media, they are turning to hiring to hiring social media managers to handle their social media presence.  However, companies should be leery of the “jump first, look second” approach.  In fact, several key questions should be asked when delving into the realm of social media and hiring a new, typically younger employee with responsibility for a company’s social media existence and, therefore, its brand

Qualifications:

  • What qualifications are you looking for?  Often companies seek a younger employee who is "tech-savy."  Traditional employment issues notwithstanding (i.e. age discrimination when an "older" employee is not hired/considered for a position), companies must also consider what their social media mission/focus will be.  For example, to the extent a company utilizes social media as a marketing tool, will you want your social media manager to have a background in marketing?  Similarly, to the extent you wish to utilize social media to handle client/customer complaints, will you want your social media manager to have a background in customer relations? Will you hire an external candidate who is perhaps unfamiliar with your company and its mission, or will you hire an internal candidate?

Responsibilities:

  • What products/services will the social media manager be responsible for discussing/marketing?
  • Will the social media manager have total freedom to explore and execute social media opportunities? 
  • What policies will the social media manager be responsible for implementing?  Will the social media manager have responsibility for implementing the company’s social media policy to employees and managers as well?

Training/Protocols

  • What training will be provided to your social media manager?  For example, will the social media manager be trained on what information he/she should or should not consider when examining posts by customers and/or employees? 
  • What policies will govern your social media manager’s employment?  Will the social media manager be permitted to “friend” employees/subordinates on social media or establish policies for employees to follow? 
  • What safety protocols will be in place?  For example, if your company has a Facebook page, will you social media manager be responsible for maintaining the password and access to same?  How will the company transition its social media presence if and when the social media manager separates from employment? 

While the above list is by no means exhaustive, it demonstrates some of the additional considerations that must be examined when a company wishes to expand into social media.   Companies are often unaware of the need to consider these questions prior to implementing a social media policy or hiring a social media manager.  However, examining these points will help ensure your company’s social media experience flows more smoothly.