How to Structure a Social Media Job in Your Company

As organizations continue to build and expand their social media marketing positions, many are still learning how to structure their organization for social media.

How should your social media position be structured?

The answer depends on your budget, team size and industry.  The Altimeter Group has provided some guidance and information on how social media marketing roles are typically structured for organizations at different stages.

As shown in the chart, the best approach is to start small if you are just getting your feet wet at the novice level, and grow your spending and staff over time.  Depending on where your organization is, your plans for the future and your industry you will want to consider different structures for your social media positions.

As your organization matures, you should expect your team size to grow.  An average novice social media team has only 3 employees, intermediate has 8 and advanced has over 20.

How Much Should Your Business Spend on Social Media?

Many businesses who are just getting started with social media marketing are not sure how to staff the position and how to budget for social media.  Since each organization is different it is important to make sure that you understand your goals, needs and objectives first.

The chart below (from Altimeter Group) shows how businesses are spending in social media.

Internal costs are among the highest, with staffing as the majority of the expense.  Staffing social media is one of the highest investment areas, with corporations investing an average of $278,000, up 48% in 2011 on staffing.  Also of interest is the investment in training.  Companies are only starting to invest in social media training for their organization, a number that we expect will grow over time.  Companies are expected to invest $23k on training, up 28% from last year.  Since social media and digital marketing change so quickly, training is key to success for social media practitioners.

How does your organization stack up in your social media investment in staffing and training?  Are you keeping pace?

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.

Social Media Salaries

Since social media jobs are still relatively new, many companies struggle with the appropriate salaries for social media professionals.  Since positions in social media and digital marketing range from entry level to senior executive, there really is no rule of thumb for these types of jobs.

When determining the appropriate salary for a social media or internet marketing position, there are a few things to consider:

  • The level of the position
  • The specialized skills required for success
  • The difficulty to fill the position
  • The amount of strategy vs. execution
  • Salary for similar marketing/pr positions
  • Bonuses based on performance has a salary guide that is based on pulling keywords from job titles and comparing the salary range.  As you can see below, social media jobs tend to be in between marketing and PR positions in terms of the overall range.

Keep in mind that this is only a guide.  The actual salary will vary dramatically depending on the specific role of the position.  More senior roles, or those with more specialized skills typically have a higher salary.