Can you handle social media in-house?

I’m always concerned when I see job ads running for social media managers of companies. I can’t help but wonder if it’s something of a knee-jerk reaction along the lines of ‘this social media thing isn’t going away, throw resources at it, and hopefully that sorts it out,’ by a management team.

While social media has been around a while now, when it comes to recruitment, in my mind it’s a wild frontier with plenty of candidates to choose from, all purporting to know what they are doing because they’ve had a Facebook profile for more than two years and post status updates fairly regularly.

In actual fact, I’d dare say there are more than a few cowboys and cowgirls in the mix, spurred on by a motivation for a job playing on social networks eight hours a day and hopefully having a hell of a lot of fun in the process. Sure they might bamboozle you with talk of ‘engagement’, ‘Hootsuite’ and ‘daily insights’ in the hope of convincing you that they know what they are doing, but I’d say your chances of finding someone who can really do it justice are about as hopeful of finding a gold nugget at the end of the gold rush.

All the good ones are taken

You see chances are, all the good ones are probably not looking for a J.O.B (Just Over Broke). They’re much more likely to be riding their own crazy horse in the massive stampede that is social media by running their own business, or as a highly paid consultant or professional speaker. The other tell-tale sign is that they will have a significant social media imprint of their own. After all, if they are talking the talk, are they walking the walk? The social media specialist for The Creative Collective for instance has 60,000 Twitter followers and 100,000 video views on her YouTube account. The Creative Collective as a company has combined social networks in excess of 100,000. And we didn’t buy one of them.

Collaboration is key

I reckon you’d be hard pressed to find someone who actually knows not only what they are doing across networks, but who has the marketing and business acumen to execute and effective strategy and keep up with all the trends, tools and emerging networks.

Instead of hiring and hoping, I’d therefore encourage a collaborative approach, with a significant training budget to still work closely with an agency to ensure you are keeping at the cutting edge of what is a very fast and vast marketplace.

In 2012 alone we had Facebook introduce promoted posts and sponsored stories, effectively ambushing Facebook posts as we knew it, Pinterest launch a business version, Facebook buy Instagram and Google buy Wildfire. Have you got an internal social media person already? Try them out now by asking them if they’ve heard of any of these major developments and watch them sweat.

What I predict will happen

I predict that this year, many companies will wake up to the fact that they can’t do social media justice without a strong commitment to training and will look to rightfully outsource, or certainly call in for some assistance. The sooner they do the better.

By working with professionals, they’ll discover that there is a lot more to social media than what meets the eye and will start to dabble with it for more elaborate HR purposes then checking up on what a prospective staff member did on the weekend, and straight-forward marketing and promotion.

 

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Yvette Adams
BY Yvette Adams ON 26 March 2013
Yvette Adams is a serial entrepreneur and multi-award winning businesswoman based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. She is the founder and owner of The Creative Collective, a creative agency offering a range of creative services and training, and awardshub.com, an online portal helping connect business owners to business awards they could enter.