It’s Not All Tweeting and Poking: A Guide to Hiring a SoMe Manager

This post is part of TNGG’s Career Week

It’s no secret that Millennials are struggling in the job market. Many recent grads have begun looking to social media as a viable career path. Surely it sounds like a great fit- we are, after all, the Facebook generation. Heck, my first foray into graphic design was playing with type in my AIM profile.

Social media, like any field of work or study, has distinct skills and requirements. And let me tell you from experience, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Picture this: your boss requests that you set up the Facebook page so that she is alerted via e-mail from Facebook every time a status update is put up, so he/she can review and edit it before posting. You and I may both know that this is impossible, but it is now your job to research and provide him/her with an adequate solution to meet his/her need. In some cases you may have to be your boss on social media, and figuring out how/what they would want to say to their closest friends and family on the internet is no easy task.

Now imagine how older managers feel when they need to hire someone to manage this complex new landscape. They already have doubts about our work ethic and our professionalism, yet they need a savvy social media user whom they can trust to manage their online relationships. They need someone who is not going to make them feel like a “n00b” when explaining what “the Twitter” is and, even more importantly, someone who won’t waste the company’s time trolling all day. They need someone who will take initiative to plan out content strategy and execute social media campaigns (hint: Hashtags are only the tip of the iceberg). Some argue that an individual’s Klout score can determine how good of a candidate they may be, but they couldn’t be more wrong. You wouldn’t hire an architect based upon their ability to build and design their own home. You’d want to see their ability to work with others and execute the vision of their client beyond their wildest dreams.

So who is this magical, mysterious social media maven? Here are some of the most important qualifications to look for when it’s time for your company to hire.

Yes, it’s the theme of an entire book by Josh Bernoff, but it’s the single most important quality in a SoMe manager. They are your number one advocate. They have to believe in what you are doing, understand the message and be loyal to the brand. They need to engage and empower your clients, customers, friends and followers to be an army of supporters, listeners and loyalists.

Focused & Driven
You want someone who wants to succeed for your company. Period.

Strong Writer
While it’s not necessary to recruit a journalist, your social media manager certainly has to posses strong writing skills. TNGG’s Jessica agrees, “Social media managers have to know how to write. From blog posts that leverage key words for SEO to succinct 140-character tweets, they have to effectively communicate the brand’s voice through multiple channels.”

Networking Skills
Your online network is only as strong as your network “IRL.” A successful social media manager will be a social butterfly. They will attend tweet-ups, conferences, industry social events and more. The stronger their network becomes, the more their reach will grow. With each business card exchange comes another LinkedIn connection and another engaged follower of your brand.

Evan Roberts said it best, your social media manager must demonstrate “endless creative ability and a knack for accurately interpreting written communication with little context.” They must be able to come up with solutions to problems in a field that has no set rules or standards. They have to be a teacher and a student all at once, and they must always think out of the box.

Social media is constantly changing and rapidly growing. The social media plan you make for Client X won’t work the same way for Client Y, so your social media manager may have to try new methods of connecting with your audience. Guaranteed: some of them will fail. Your company needs someone who will learn from their mistakes and come back with a stronger, successful plan of attack.

Kelsey Graham, New Business Coordinator at Small Army shares, “We look for someone who not only understands what is happening now in social media, but someone who also thinks about where social media is going. They must also be able to connect with clients to guide them toward a leap of faith on the scary, unknown world of new media.”

This may be one of the most important qualifications of them all. Nose ring and tattoo debates aside, it’s so very important that you trust your social media manager to conduct themselves in a manner that is professional at all times. They are one of the loudest voices of your brand, and you need to trust them to communicate as you or your company with potential clients and customers. While it may seem obvious, please and thank you go very far in the social media world, and it is imperative that your social media manager use appropriate and respectful language and provide prompt and efficient customer service.

What would you add to this list? What would you omit?

Photo by webtreats

Kaitlin Maud Gen Y optimist living in Boston and working in Digital Marketing & Strategy. Find more of my musings over at and on Twitter @kaitlinmaud.

View all posts by Kaitlin Maud

5 Responses to “It’s Not All Tweeting and Poking: A Guide to Hiring a SoMe Manager”

  1. Jessica

    It’s definitely not all it’s cracked up to be! I’ve spent hours trying to correctly run an app on a Facebook page (is Facebook the bane of other social media professionals’ existence, too?) and half a day combing through tedious entries in Radian6 to generate charts and reports.

    You’ve summed everything up very nicely! One thing that I would add to your list is an understanding of how social media fits into an integrated marketing strategy. So many people try to jump into social media blindly, and it’s no wonder that they fail. An understanding of the basic principles of marketing, PR, and in some cases customer service is important to the overall success of a social media manager.

    • Kaitlin Maud

      TOTALLY AGREE. It’s a great point for hiring, but moreover, THE most overlooked and important point about SoMe in general: Social Media is nothing without a cohesive marketing & PR strategy. Social Media is a tool, not a plan.

  2. Jeff

    Great post Kaitlin! We actually just found someone who is amazing and that has all of those qualifications. Oh yes – that would be you. :-) We’re excited to have you on board at Small Army.


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