You can put it off for as long as you want to, but if you hope to run a successful business you can’t escape the gravity of social media. It’s like a black hole—no modern business escapes from its pull. Startups, small businesses and established mid-sized businesses often struggle with social media because they don’t know who to put in the pilot’s seat.
Business owners are generally too busy to do it themselves and they can’t trust just anyone to fill that role—social media is essentially a business voice, so if those accounts are entrusted to the wrong hands then the fallout can be devastating to a company’s reputation.
What Do You Do?
The first thing to consider in all of this is a pretty simple question—what do you do? Do you provide software, sell windscreens to auto manufacturers or handle security systems? If you sell engraved pens, a strategy that works for a web design firm might not be the best strategy for you—and by the same token, the person that handles your social media accounts will need to be carefully selected to fill that unique role. The person who handles your social media needs to be perfectly aligned with what your business does. A happy marriage between the two is essential.
Which Resources Do You Have Available?
The next things you need to consider are your available resources. How big is your team? What’s your budget? How much downtime do your employees have? If you’re working on a shoestring budget and only employee two or three people, then selecting your social media strategist isn’t going to be easy. Not that the big guys have it much easier—how do you choose between ten qualified people? Focusing on your budget, downtime and employee resources should at least provide you with a good starting point.
Who Is Your Audience?
Once you have a few candidates in mind (or just one) to handle your social media accounts, you’ll need to reevaluate one more time. Can the person you ultimately choose for this position relate to your audience? If you’re a B2B business, can this person speak to both large and small companies on a level they’ll respond to? Basically, you’ll need to figure out which kind of person your customers/clientele wants to talk to engage with. If your social media person can’t catch your audience’s attention, then they’re basically just typing into a void. That doesn’t help anyone.
Making the Choice
Keeping all of these qualifications and factors in mind, you’ll need to make a final selection. Let’s take a look at one more criteria—values. Your social media strategist’s values need to match up perfectly with the company’s code of ethics and mission statement. That means that the quiet guy who does your data entry might be just as good (or better) at handling your social media accounts than a senior analyst that you’ve employed for years.
You have to consider all of these things—can you afford to pay someone for a full time social media position? If not, do you have an employee that can devote a few hours a day? Can that employee relate to your audience? If you’ve successfully answered all of these questions, and that employee’s values also line up with yours, then you’ve found the perfect person. Even if it’s a mad scramble to keep up with social media, at least you know that person will be representing your company in a positive light.
In 2013, no good marketing strategy will exist that doesn’t include social media. Your campaigns and customer engagement level will live or die by the person you choose to take on the role of social media strategist. Every company is different, but these humble guidelines should help any business owner select the right social media strategist, no matter what their business niche may be.