Social MediaYou have hired or are thinking of hiring a social media person or a online marketing person or even a publicist, well here are eight items you should look for in their skill set. All of them so important. There are many people out there claiming to be experts, but with a little research and the right questions you might find they actually aren’t quite the expert.

Stephanie Winans wrote the original article 8 Skills Your Social Media Manager Must Have for Radio Ink, the article below originally targeted radio stations.

I have added my comments in BOLD after each item.

A smart social media strategy starts with the person you hire to run it. Your plan could be flawless, but it’s the execution that counts.  To get off on the right foot, choose someone who

1.    Is An Online Social Butterfly – Check out his Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube accounts. If your prospect is already active online, it will be more natural to extend that knowledge of social media to your station accounts.  Remember that someone may be an introvert in real life but an extrovert online. For this job, it’s what’s behind the scene that counts.

This is definitely the number one item you should research. Is the person who is going to help you walking the walk and talking the talk? Do they live what they preach? If they are going to help you with Twitter see how they use Twitter. How many followers do they have? How well do they engage with their followers? How well do they use all of the various sites out there that they are claiming to help you with? Here is what it comes down to… do you want someone who has only 35 followers to advise you on what to do?

2.    Has An Understanding of Your Target – Demo Can this person speak in the voice of your brand in a way your demo can relate?  The prospect doesn’t have to be in your demo; he just needs to understand how to market to your listeners.  If you’re a Top 40 station with an 18-34 demo and your Social Media Manager (SMM) still calls a new song a “good tune”, you might want to reconsider.

Are they a customer, are they a fan? You want someone who goes to shows, buys music, buys a concert t-shirt. You want to work with someone who is fan of music. Find someone who is not afraid to get their hands dirty and work a merchandise table.

3.    Gets Customer Service – You have a loyal listener who has listened to your station for twenty years, but the first personal contact he has had with your brand is through Facebook.  Your SMM should get that he is the face of the brand in the eyes of the public.  Every status, tweet or comment must represent the station in a positive light.  Dealing with listener complaints is an important part of the job, and is not to be taken lightly.

So many people never think of customer service. Neglecting customer service can kill you. Poor service is a sure fire way to drive your fans to complain about you online. You want someone who is always thinking of customer service. Someone who is always looking for what is being said about your band. Someone who knows how to deal with fans.

4.    Knows What’s Going On – Your SMM should stay abreast of what’s going on at the station, within the market, and in the world.  It’s difficult to curate content without knowing what’s going on, and impossible to answer questions or promote station events if you aren’t in the loop.

They need to be on top of what is happening on the social media landscape. New sites, changes to existing sites. They should always be beta testing something new. You don’t want to work with someone who just follows where everyone else is going, find someone who is discovering the new destinations.

5.    Can Spell – There is nothing worse than a business whose comments are not well written or spelled correctly.  Enuff said.

I would also add someone who can show restraint and control. Comments and posts should not be filled with personal anger.

6.    Knows The Devil is in the Details – If you post that Kylie Jenner is Kim Kardashian’s stepsister instead of her half-sister, expect your listeners to crucify you for the mistake.  They expect you to get the facts straight.  Get it wrong and you’ll lose their interest… and their trust.

This goes back to being a fan… a fan knows. Someone pretending to be a fan doesn’t know.

7.    Is At Least A Little Techie – While your SMM doesn’t need to be a web developer, he or she should be tech savvy.  If your prospect needs to ask for help to change a profile pic or Twitter background, you should probably pass and look for someone else.  In fact, the more “nerd” knowledge, the better.

So true and so helpful! They don’t have to know how to write PHP code, but some basic html, some basic graphic design/Photoshop and some basic server admin will go a long way.

8.    Is Okay With Being “Plugged In” – Social Media is not an 8-5 gig.  Your listeners expect a quick response, regardless of the hour.  If your prospect has a problem with tweeting during Modern Family commercial breaks, he’s probably not a winner.

I have told so many clients that the internet does not have hours, it is open 24/7/365. The person you hire should be available, should want to be available, when needed. That next big opportunity is not going to wait for the next business day.