Picking the Right Social Media Manager

Earlier this week I participated in the Social Media Today webinar “Is Social Still Cool?” It was a wide-ranging discussion and for me the topic that hit home was identifying the right social media manager/community manager.

Moderator Maggie Fox and panelists Paul Berry, Gabby Nelson and Erika Napoletano all offered thoughts about who would make a good social media manager for an organization. Maggie even posed the controversial idea that the career path for any organizational leader should include time in that role or some other direct customer-serving role.

There was general agreement that the person or people who are the voice of a brand online should be a passionate advocate for the brand who knows the brand and its customers well. This is not a job to be outsourced. It is a key organizational role that needs to be filled by the right person.

As someone in the job market who has recently applied for several digital strategist and related roles in the Washington, DC market, I can say that this consensus among panelists is not shared inmost organizations. This role, which tends to have many other public relations and strategic communications duties rolled into it is generally targeting the new to career professional. Over and over, I am being contacted by employers to let me know that my experience (and salary) expectations are well beyond their scoping.

So, for what it is worth, let me acknowledge my agreement and appreciation for the webinar panelists, who articulately defined why a band’s voice online is one of the key roles in an organization. And, the right person needs to know the brand and how to communicate well.

Some other key takeaways to share:

  • From Gabby: the way to reach a brand goal is to invest in relationships with customers; numbers alone should not define what you are doing online
  • From Paul: every business must define the right usage of social media; the answer is not the same for all
  • From Erika: Understand the conversation online before you jump into it; business is human to human and you need to be willing to make mistakes