5 Mistakes in Hiring Social Media Managers

Many companies are hiring social media talent, and I have seen many of my clients hire on social media managers over the years.  Many of these companies end up finding out that they hired someone with the wrong skill set.  This can be an expensive and time consuming mistake.  The problem is that most companies don’t know what to look for when hiring in social media, and those who are qualified are difficult to find and in high demand.

Here are the top 5 mistakes that I have seen made by companies who are hiring in social media.

1. Assuming that Playing on Social Media and Working in Social Media are the same

These days, everyone is a social media expert. Apparently having a Twitter account (even if you hardly use it) and having Facebook friends makes you an expert on social media.  The reality is that many people are enthusiastic about social media, and they may use it personally, but that doesn’t mean that they can translate their knowledge of personal use of social media into your marketing strategy and results.

Many companies hire an intern or recent grad.  The problem is that while they may understand the tools, they typically don’t understand how to link the opportunities with the tools back to business objectives.  In addition, many of them are unfamiliar with the business side of social media and have limited experience with Facbeook Pages and Blogs.

2. Not Understanding the Skills for Success

The skills for success in social media depend on the type of position and level within the organization.  It is important to determine how strategic vs. executional the position will be, and also to understand how much support the position will have from others in the organization.  A role that is very strategic in an organization with limited social media knowledge will require a more seasoned candidate than a position with senior social media managers to provide additional training and strategic support.

In addition to technical skills, social media managers should be passionate about social media and the product and customers that they are interacting with.

Many companies also underestimate the analytical skills required for success in social media.  Constant testing and learning, plus linking in to web analytics is vital to long-term success.

3. Hiring on The Cheap

Many companies set the salaries for their social media marketing positions on the low end of the curve, and look for recent graduates to fill the gap.  If the position is new and requires testing, learning and building a strategy, you want to staff it with a seasoned marketer, which comes with a seasoned salary.

Don’t go for the cheapest candidate.  Many of my clients have hired their social media positions as entry level because of the salary expectations, only to find that the employee couldn’t work independently and think strategically.

4. Confusing Enthusiasm with Strategic Skill

Just because someone plays on social media a lot, and even loves it, doesn’t mean that they are the best strategist for your business.  Would you hire the kid who watches the most TV to build your television marketing strategy?  No.

Enthusiasm can sometimes even be a downfall as the candidate may have difficulty separating personal and professional social media time.

5. Not Providing Training and Mentorship

Social media changes quickly, and if you want to continue to get results from your social media talent, it is important to support their investment to keep their skills up to date.  Be sure to invest in regular training and help to find a mentor (inside or outside of your company) where your social media manager can get advice.  Social media is still evolving and some parts of social media are very subjective.  Make sure that your candidate has the skills for continued success.

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