Earlier today, Jay Baer published a post about the “overlooked success quotient” in building a social media community:
[T]he way to win the game for business isn’t through apps and case studies and metaphor and magic. It’s with social media staffing, populating your online community with a cadre of truly outstanding employees who can inform, entertain, and assist your customers. That means you don’t base your social media staffing plan on who is the least expensive resource (interns) or who “grew up with this stuff” (interns).
It’s not unusual for me to agree with Jay’s thinking, but I believe that putting together a team is one of the most important, most neglected elements of a successful social media strategy. In fact, businesses often look for exactly the wrong skill sets, positions and talents when choosing someone to lead their social media teams. For most companies, the most likely prospects to lead the effort are:
- Interns, because they–as Jay suggests–they’re cheap, they “grew up with the stuff,” and they have time to do the work.
- Other young staff members, because they too ”grew up with the stuff”
- The person with the latest gadgets and tech tools, because technology adopting is often equated with a special understanding of social media
- IT, because “they get this stuff”
- The person with 1,000 Facebook friends of his or her own, because is they made it work for themselves, they can do the same for a business…right?
- One of the most critical skills a social media team member can have is good judgement–and good judgment often comes with experience. How many interns and other of your youngest team members would you trust to make judgment calls on behalf of your brand?
- If you remember a time when IT was the primary entity designing websites, you know why the tech geek or the IT staff may not be the best choice to lead your social media efforts. They may be vital to the back-end work needed to get your social media presence up and running, of course, but technology skill is tertiary to the skills that are most important to customer engagement and brand building.
- Getting 1,000 friends on a personal Facebook page no more qualifies you to lead a businesses social media effort than running five miles qualifies you to be the CEO of Nike. The two require different skills and a willingness to put the brand first, which may not be the first priority of your most popular employee.