The Challenge of Hiring Social Media Talent

Over the past few years, social media marketing has grown dramatically.  Today, most companies are active in some capacity on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, and those who aren’t are working to figure out how to leverage this new medium.  Facebook now has over 700 million users, and social media sites are among the quickest growing sites online.

With the growth in social media, many organizations are now forced with the reality of hiring social media managers, community managers or online marketing managers.

Hiring a social media coordinator or manager comes with a variety of challenges.  Many of these challenges exist because social media is a relatively new field, and many organizations lack an understanding of how to correctly define the position and objectives, as well as how to qualify candidates.

The basic problem is that most organizations don’t know what they are looking for in terms of social media talent, and they aren’t sure about the job itself.

Defining the Position

One of the first challenges with social media and digital hiring is defining the position. Many organizations “want to get online” but they aren’t entirely sure what the position involves.  It is absolutely a vital first step to understand what exactly the position is and the specific aspects of social media and internet marketing that are required for success.

Understanding the Level of the Position

It can be difficult to understand the appropriate level for a digital or social media hiring job. Consider the amount of high-level strategy required in conjunction with execution. Many organizations think that hiring a new grad or an intern to “run social media” is effective because younger people are “digital natives” who naturally understand social media.  The problem is that inexperienced hires may not be the best at strategically understanding your objectives and translating them into a social media strategy.

It is important to carefully consider the appropriate level for the position, given the scope of work and responsibility. Many of the clients that I work with have hired entry-level for their social media positions, and aren’t getting the results they want. The problem is that a strong strategic framework is required in addition to simply understanding the technology.

Defining the Skills Required

Many organizations who hire in social media are not entirely sure of the skills required for success in social media. The skills will vary based on the level and type of position, so it is important to think this through.

Consider both the knowledge and skill requirements from a soft-skill and hard-skill perspective.  Also consider which skills can be learned vs. the existing requirements for the position.  There are many skills required for success in social media, and it is important to understand your must have and your nice to have skills.





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