The Social Media Manager

Forget the buzz and the confusion that arose with it. Social Media is finally getting the attention of marketers in India and slowly brands are beginning to experiment with this medium. Don’t believe it? Read this:  how campanies are jumping on to the social media bandwagon (source: livemint.com) and an interesting case of how restaurants in Chennai are using social media to its advantage (source: economictimes.indiatimes.com). Still not convinced? According to a latest Nielsen report, the overall buzz about IPL in social media is almost twice as high in 2010 compared to last year and Twitter is the third most popular platform where IPL is discussed (source: http://in.nielsen.com).

It’s just a beginning and if you are a marketer in India, you very well know that there are only two types of marketers that exist today when it comes to decisions with regard to social media : (1) Those who are willing to take risks and has already decided to be a part of the conversation and (2) Those who would like to wait and watch. Mostly watch. The first ones are the savvy types and if industry sources are to be believed, they will be soon hunting for social media managers. Or maybe they have already begun the hunt. The second category of marketers prefer to call various agencies to “pitch” for them and thus manages to comfortably wait and watch. Most of these “pitches” doesn’t result in any concrete action. No one is surprised.

So if you fall into the first category of savvy marketers who are on the hunt for social media managers, the question is – who would you hire? Who would fit the bill. While I am no social media guru and possess no certificate of expertise, with my little experience in this medium I think I can contribute (a little) towards this concern.

A quick googling on the subject gives me this:

Inference: (a) This profile is searched for globally and (b) This position will play a critical role in your marketing team in the near future

According to me, the following aspects should be the benchmarks for hiring a social media manager:

Expertise:

The are various kinds of social media experts in the market. From a trainee (who would have got an assignment to make a Facebook brand page) to a content writer (who develops/writes content), everybody seems to be a social media expert. The only way to seperate the wheat from the chaff is to ask tough questions. These questions should cover the brand, the activity, the impact, the result and so on. After all, your social media manager should be able to ask these tough questions before you begin any activity for your brand. Most importantly an understanding of how social media can contribute to the business is critical.

Experience:

What is the kind of experience you are looking at? Social media (especially in India) is a new medium (not more than 2 yrs old) and experience of the individual will play a crucial role here. Needless to say, an early adopter would be advisable.

Knowledge:

Whatever background this person might have, knowledge ‘of the medium’ and ‘everything about the medium’ is very critical. Is this person tech savvy? How often does he/she consume the medium? According to them where is the industry heading? What are the issues associated with the medium? And so on. Information and Knowledge are the two key pillars required for this position.

The mind of a brand planner

We all know about the slide 29 syndrome. Read it here (source:http://adage.com). And you certainly do not want the slide 29 syndrome to happen with your brand! To avoid this, your social media manager should have the mind of a brand planner. Basic communication principles and systems should be understood by him/her. After all your social media campaign is just a part of the whole marketing campaign. I have been interviewing a few people with regard to a position in this medium and it is sad to see that most of them lack this perspective. If you find one, grab him/her with both hands!

Etc..Etc..

An honest mind, hardworking, etiquettes and other qualities are always appreciated for any job.

Go ahead. Let the hunt begin.

Have an opinion? Do comment.

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~ by rb on April 4, 2010.

3 Responses to “The Social Media Manager”

  1. Good post. Retweeted 🙂

    Yup, I agree with everybody claiming to be a social media expert these days. Damn irritating, if you ask me. I like your method of filtering such people.

  2. thanks for that, excellent post and I got to learn about Slide 29….did not realise that there was a name for it!

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