January 29, 2013

According to recent statistics, only 12% of businesses feel that they are using Social Media effectively. And yet approximately 60% of businesses are using Social Media. There are a number of reasons that contribute to the low numbers of efficient use, including understanding how and which platforms to use, understanding the value, and poor analysis of ROI. Here's another stat though: only 12% percent of companies are using a dedicated Social Media Manager. Do you think it's a coincidence that 12% use a SM Manager, and 12% feel they are using Social Media successfully?

Here are 5 reasons why companies need to hire a dedicated Social Media Manager:

1. Successful use of the different platforms

Social Media is a broad and overwhelming arena. There are literally hundreds of platforms to choose from. Companies need to hire someone who understands what the different platforms are and which ones are of best benefit to the company. Each platform also offers a different audience and different styles of communication. Some are primarily text-based, some are for images, some are for videos. It is impossible to be on all of the platforms so companies need their SM Manager to determine which ones will best support the overall marketing strategy for the company.

2. Understanding what it means to be "social"

Social Media is not a traditional marketing tool and companies need to hire someone who understands this unique tool. I describe it as more of let's-talk-about-it-over-a-cup-of-coffee style marketing. Social Media is about engaging with the audience and creating long-term, loyal relationships. Most SM Managers use an 80/20 rule where approximately 80% of the content shared is conversational and for the benefit of the community. That means less than 20% is direct sales and marketing for the company.

3. The need for valuable content

In order to be successful, Social Media content needs to be valuable to the audience. Companies need someone who can take the time to find, generate, and create this valuable content. Simply stating a fact or occasionally sharing an article does not qualify as successful interaction. The most shared content across Social Media platforms is usually of visual content. Companies need someone who can create or direct the creation of infographics, memes, videos, and enhanced photos (and if you need someone to explain these terms to you - you need a SM Manager).

4. Social Media is time consuming

While Social Media is, in general, a low-cost (or even free) marketing source, it takes time to create a solid presence. This means posting throughout the day, scheduling posts for out-of-office hours, designing valuable content, responding to audience interactions, developing a larger following, and being consistent in the postings (365 days a year). If you don't have the time to commit to this, you need to hire someone who can.

5. Understanding the analytics and what they mean for ROI

Social Media analytics don't look like all the other department analyses. There isn't a direct link between number of "likes" to dollars through the door. But that doesn't mean that Social Media doesn't produce valuable ROI. Companies need to hire someone who understands the relationship between engagement and sales, expenditures on ads to click-through rates, and click-through rates to purchases.

I'm not going to beat around the bush, Social Media is simple to use but it is not easy to be successful. Social Media is a part of the overall marketing strategy, and done properly, should be cohesive with the other aspects of the marketing strategy. But it is NOT a traditional marketing tool and if you want to be successful, you need to hire someone qualified to do the job.

For a list of things to consider when hiring a Social Media Manager, read this blog posting.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Great article, Jenn! I would add a sixth point: Getting the company to engage!
    The efforts on the social web might be planned and executed most by a social media manager, but in the long run, the entire organization has to become “social”. For instance people of customer service, product management and even the c-levels would get in touch with the online community i.e. customer base. The impact for the company and the community would be much higher then.

    1. You are definitely right Roger. Finding ways to involve multiple team members brings a personalized touch to the platforms and allows the community to better understand not only the company, but the people that make up that company. This increases engagement, loyalty, and essentially sales. But it is important to ensure that anyone posting on behalf of the company is aware of the proper ettiquette and overall message/goal of the company.

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