Social Media Marketing · Hiring

Who’s the best social media hire?

Joey Nima Investment Banker at Wells Fargo

July 30th, 2015

My first instinct is to hire someone who’s younger and savvy, already has a decent personal following on Twitter, Instagram, etc. But what other benchmarks should a social media marketer have that I’m not considering? I don’t want to limit myself in the potential hires I could find but also don’t want to waste my time with the people that just say they know how to use social media, not that they’re actually good at analyzing and optimizing our social media content and building our brand.

Jonathan Brown Product Manager at Neustar, Inc.

July 30th, 2015

Just putting in my 2 cents - Young person does not = social media talent nor does the number of followers they have in personal accounts. Although I do agree with Jean above, some one with PR or solid communications background is important.

First consider what your goals are for social within your over all communication strategy. This can help with finding someone who will fit your needs. As an example if your product or services are fairly complex and requires a deep understanding of the market , segments, and competition, that will give you some idea of what skills may be needed.

There is a big range of skills needed within social media, Strategy, analytics, research, communication, creative, media, and technology.

If you need some to do "Community management and reporting" you would look at one set of skills, if you want someone who is more creatively driven than you would look at another set of skills.

Basically find the right tool for the job

Jean Scheidnes Principal at Fabula Projects

July 30th, 2015

Hi Joey, I beg to differ. In my experience the best social media practitioners are those with a journalism skill set, plus subject-matter expertise in an industry, because that is much harder to learn than the latest digital tool. By all means check out their personal profile, because it can reflect their judgment and taste. But don’t put too much stock in the size of their following. A large following may indicate the person cares more about their personal brand than about their employer/client’s brand. That’s not where you want them putting their energy. Best, Jean

Sunoh Choe Interaction Designer II at Honeywell

July 31st, 2015

Though I wouldn't say you need to be "young" to be good at social media (marketing), I would argue that you do need to understand the "ins and outs" of social media from using it yourself effectively. By definition, this would mean you'd have to have either a decent following/presence yourself or high engagement from your followers on your own social media accounts.

I joke about this concept amongst my peers: "Instagram-politics" or "Facebook-politics" or "Snapchat-politics".

There are certain nuances to using these social media platforms that many people who don't use it, wont really understand. It comes from experience as a user...

For example, there is a time of the day that's best to post a photo (which you can Google online to easily find out) but what about things like, don't post more than two or three photos in a row? Tag your friends? Use only good photos? Be original with captions? Don't use too many hashtags?

Some of these nuances are things that you pick up when you start to use it yourself and try to get people to "engage" in posts.

People say I have a strong social media presence and it's not because I simply post a lot... There are those who simply post a lot and those get lots of comments/likes/discussion.

I am able to be an attention-whore in social media because I know what people like to comment on, what they "like to like", what the like to follow.

I've seen too many startups where their social media person is a "marketing" expert who understands their business and great analytical thinker... And tries to gather up a following on the company account when they themselves can barely get five likes on their own account, for that blurry, grainy photo on their Instagram. Spoiler alert: they don't do too well...

Take a look at the top Instagram accounts, take a look at the bloggers who have the biggest followings, take a look at that Frenchie puppy that you follow on Instagram who has 200k followers: those people know how to generate a loyal following on social media because they are sensitive to the nuances and politics of it (not necessarily because they are analytical marketing experts who understand the goals of the business)

As a few have already mentioned on here, I also think that checking the person's own personal social media presence is the biggest indicator that they know how to use social media (not necessarily marketing), because they actually use it themselves.

Social media isn't a textbook thing that "old people" can crack without actively using it themselves.

Amy Vernon Audience Development. Community, content & product. Prize-winning journalist & writer. Connector of people & ideas.

July 30th, 2015

Age has nothing to do with it. Being younger doesn't automatically mean someone is better at using social media. Some might say that younger people are less likely to understand overall business goals and how to reflect a specific brand voice.

That would also be wrong - you need someone who's an excellent writer and understands the power of words. You need someone who's savvy and understands that each platform is a different audience and has its own ecosystem. It's super-easy to teach someone how to post on any platform. It's much harder to train them on the skills needed to excel.

You also need someone who's not afraid of numbers and can look at the numbers and see the patterns they form, so they can figure out what's working, why, and when.

Roger Koplenig Head of Marketing & Human Resources, Prokurist

July 31st, 2015

I would say, hire someone who has already

- built an entire social web presence for a brand
- built and orchestrated a web community
- proven to be customer orientated
- ran successful buzz campaigns
- shown that he/she is more talkactive than spreading advertising & pr
- is social :-)

And, you find such a person on the social web - it's all there what you need to know. 

Victoria Gutierrez

July 30th, 2015

Personal following is a great indicator of whether or not a person understands social media and how to engage with people. 

A good social hire will also be:
  • An excellent writer
  • Very creative - can think of viral campaigns/contests for social media
  • Organized and execution oriented - creates plans, executes them, follows up
  • A passionate advocate for your brand - they will be the face of your brand in a lot of ways, so make sure they are "on brand"
I usually like to look for someone who is also analytically skilled, so that this job can grow into a broader digital marketing role.

allison simpson non-for-profit, administration, leadership

July 30th, 2015

someone gregarious. who is unafraid to reach out to people. I mean someone who likes to sit behind computer long hours, computer wiz, young or not young it depends what your goal is. Someone already using the technology, has a web presence and analytics. If they arent social dont waste your time, pr background or similar is probably good. If they dont have a blog, website, use the lastest updating software (hootsuite or newer version) they are an average joe. 

Julien Fruchier Founder at Republic of Change

July 30th, 2015

It completely depends on your goals. 

If your goal is engagement (most people want followers), I would look for the following: 
  • As Jean said above, subject-matter expertise
  • Their personal accounts: Do they engage others and, more importantly, do others engage them? Size of following is very secondary.
  • Their personal accounts: Do they speak with a voice that will represent your brand well?
  • Chutzpah - This is an extension of the bullet above: if you're seeking engagement, you need a good conversationalist. This is the hardest thing to find.
Anyone can say they can "do social media."


July 30th, 2015

Be sure to find someone with some SEO experience as well as someone who understands your business. The reason I say this is because their are some tricky legalities with what can and can't be done on social media with certain businesses (i.e. beverage alcohol). It's good to have someone who knows how to run a social media contest as well. This can be tricky legally too!

Dick Reed CEO - Just Media Inc

July 30th, 2015

There are some great views expressed here. I'd comment only as far as thinking about organic social skills verses those that might be best for using social in a paid manner. 

For organic social management the focus is on writing ability, passion for the brand and industry segment knowledge since many times you will want someone who can comment on things outside the brand per se but that are of interest to your community. You need someone who's passion for this will last over the long term too, so you establish credibility and engagement within your social community over time.   

For paid social programs, understanding business impact, ROI and data analysis skills becomes far more important because the ability to build different audiences, run paid programs and find sweet spots of performance is a very data driven process and tends to be less creative. 

Our experience is its a very tough job to get creative thinkers who write who also have a passion for data, statistics and business performance (good luck!)