While hiring a social media guru to guide your expanded PR efforts typically makes good sense, it’s important to find a proven practitioner with the tools to take your marketing to the cutting edge. If you are searching for a social media manager to bolster your PR/marketing team, consider these five skill sets in qualifying candidates for hire:
1. Broad knowledge of social platforms. From incorporating hashtags and using bit.ly link shorteners to understanding blog formatting and communications scheduling best practices, the person you are searching for has a deep, practical knowledge from which they can tailor a detailed plan.
• Look for a manager who’s capable of implementing your existing corporate strategy, along with financial goals and objectives.
• A competent candidate can effectively communicate your message, but is also focused on reputation management and the importance of monitoring reactions and stoking the ongoing conversation.
2. Journalistic chops. Strong writing skills and an understanding of techniques that work for the various social media formats is a must, as is a command of proper grammar and practical experience proofing and fact checking.
• See what the candidate can do within a Twitter character limit, but also test his or her ability to write and edit clearly, cleanly and concisely.
• The right candidate naturally acclimates to your branding voice and mission, demonstrating a commitment to leading a campaign that adheres to established standards and guidelines.
3. Tech/Web savvy. From working with do-it-all social media platforms, such as Sprout Social or HootSuite, to using channel-specific analytics tools like Facebook Insights and PinReach, the compelling candidate has a passion for identifying and mastering the latest innovations.
• A social media manager should exhibit a broad perspective on Internet marketing, from the ability to track, analyze, and report on activities, to a working knowledge of the close relationship between social and advanced SEO strategies.
• A versatile leader features complementary skills, ranging from the ability to create infographics and edit online videos, to possessing a core understanding of WordPress, basic HTML and security practices.
4. Superior communication skills. Not only does the position require exceptional writing skills, but the ability to communicate and present ideas and concepts verbally. In addition to having a sound grasp on all outgoing communications, a manager must be able to listen and comprehend in order to clearly deliver (and accept) criticism and guidance.
• Fluency in C-suite lingo plays a vital role in ensuring your department is addressing upper management’s concerns, while also demonstrating its effectiveness in terms of ROI.
• From relaying expectations to internal team members to working with peripheral departments with shared goals, the willingness and ability to coordinate and collaborate are desirable traits.
5. Networking and promotion abilities. Does your candidate have the network of media contacts, online influencers and freelance providers to achieve objectives, ranging from reaching qualified pools of targeted consumers to producing media collateral primed to going viral?
• The proficient social media manager is linked with the people and online places where trends are born and occupies a central position within a community of thought leaders.
• Look for an ambassador with a grasp on the nuance and etiquette of working with brand advocates, and is capable of interacting with customers and clients in order to build relationships forged on trust.
By identifying individuals with a broad knowledge of the social media terrain; the experience to identify efficient solutions and the ability to build a culture of communication and collaboration, you can ensure your new hire pays immediate dividends to your broader PR and marketing campaigns. PRN
This article originally ran in the December 23 issue of PR News.