Who does your social media?

There is a question that is commonly asked in business today that wouldn’t have made sense a few years ago:
“Who does your social media?”
It used to be the answer was my nephew, or the socially awkward geeky daughter of a neighbor who loves Facebook. No longer (I hope). Social Media is an important part of your business and needs someone who understands the wider impact it has, not just knows how to use Facebook.

If you read this column on a regular basis (and I hope you do) you know that I’m interested in people – people and business, people and ideas, and people and people.  Social Media isn’t about the technology, it’s changed the conversation. It used to be that Public Relations was about talking – now it’s  about listening and interacting.

I spoke to Abi Augello, a PR professional and good friend of mine and asked her what a business should look for if they are hiring someone to manage their social media, She sent me a list:

A great social media consultant…

1. Is skilled at conversation: A skilled consultant must be able to build relationships on your behalf. They need to be able to speak with the authentic voice of your company or organization, keeping true to the personality of your business.

2. Encourages your participation: Unfortunately, hiring a social media manager does not mean you can forget about it completely and money will begin falling from the sky. A good manager will request a steady stream of content that they will use to create highly effective post.

3. Will focus more on content then tools: Tools are great. They do nifty things & help gage success as well as give you insight on analytics. However, whenever you are trying to build a brand & engage consumers, content is king. Be weary of the too-tech-oriented that may not be able to deliver on the conversation.

4. Has a background that shows their writing capabilities: Similar to #3, they must be able to write effectively. This goes beyond the skill of writing well. It means they understand how to incite action with their words.

5. Is interesting: Boring people write boring things: Likewise, boring social media managers will make your company or organization look like a Rotary club meeting. Not that there is anything wrong with Rotary club meetings but social media requires a sense of humor to navigate effectively. Think cocktail party, not Rotary club.

6. Won’t promise immediate results: Building a following and engaging in useful conversation takes time. Your social media consultant should be very clear on the time involved and focus on quality engagement instead of flashy results.

7. Has success stories: They should be able to explain in detail a goal they accomplished for another client.

8. Cares about your vision: A consultant’s main goal is to use the world of social media to help you get closer to accomplishing your goals. Not theirs.

9. Is interested in your business: They ask lots of questions. Sometimes ridiculous questions. They want to know what your product is, what your favorite customer is like, how you got into the business, what makes you wake up in the morning, why do you believe in the product, what your challenges are, what are your accomplishments, how many kids you have, and what your favorite band is. They should ask these questions because they should care and they should know the answers. They will be representing you to the public. It’s time to get intimate. But keep your clothes on.

10. Barges right in: Like in #9, any one who is trusted to build your brand in any capacity should make themselves a part of the family. It may take some time, but in a couple of months a good consultant should fit in comfortably around the office and maybe grow into other responsibilities.

Whether you do it yourself, or bring in a consultant, you need to start taking Social Media seriously, in a light-hearted way. You know people are talking – on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, forums, videos and all over the internet, make sure you are joining in the right conversations, in the right way.