After reading the recent article “Is Social Media Worth It For Small Businesses?” on Forbes.com, I realized that one of the reasons small businesses are disappointed with their social media hires is because they don’t know the roles and skills required to set themselves up for success on social media.
In the 15 years I have been dedicating my practice to helping businesses expand their online presence and (in the last 6 years) growth utilizing social media, I have heard business owners and top-level executives say “I need a social media person”. To me, this affirmation equates to saying “I need doctor” and once you’ve said it, chances are you will need a specialist. It’s the same with social media.
Social Media as a tool for growth
Unlike large organizations who typically have a social media (senior) manager and 1) with multiple direct reports or 2) agencies who manage specific areas of social media, small and medium organization are left to hire a jack-of-all trades who scramble to do EVERYTHING on social media.
Let me back up a little… Although a lot of young people hold Social Media positions, the top level positions are usually given to more seasoned marketing or digital professionals because although social media is about Facebook and Twitter, and blogs and Instagram, it’s also and primarily about business and strategic thinking. Now that the wonders of social media have spread to the world of business, engaging on social media has become a necessity for survival. And your business needs to jump on that bandwagon before your competitors overtake you!
Social media allows you to respond to your customers’ wants and needs immediately. You can boost sales, and people will be more receptive to your message. And let’s not leave out the most important fact of all: your competition is already there.
So, how do you build a solid team while maintaining cost-effectiveness?
You must have a business-focused social media professional come and do a diagnostic of your needs. Whether your company is just launching or is already in business, our program is designed to support you and help grow your online presence.
Identify and define roles
By identifying the roles and skills it takes to make your business successful, you will better reach out to the right people and organize their time based on needs and objectives. Below are some of the primary social media roles and skills that will get you going fast.
- Strategist: A strategist, pretty much like all strategists in every industry, researches, benchmarks, and creates a plan and tactics. The strategy, when done well, identifies opportunities for growth and for It also determines how and where to invest to meet business objectives. A social media strategist is no different.
- Project coordinator/manager: A project coordinator is someone who will keep you on budget, on time, and within scope. A fabulous project manager will also identify opportunities along the way and allow you to expand your reach and objectives. Hiring a part-time social media project manager is the key to your success.
- Content producer: Online content can be blogs, videos, Facebook updates, Tweets, Instagram and Pinterest pictures or even YouTube videos. There is a plethora of types of content and platforms ranging from real-time to scheduled, from on the go to scripted, and from organic to paid. The importance of content is to identify your objectives and build a strategy around them.
- Community manager: A true community manager builds and grows online An online community is a virtual community whose members interact with each other primarily via the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums, etc.). Those who wish to be a part of an online community usually have to become a member via a specific site and necessarily need an internet connection.
I will explore other roles and skills in an upcoming blog post.
Why are online communities important for businesses?
Being a member of online communities for businesses and continually establishing and maintaining online relationships is critical to the success of your business. With the extreme popularity of social media, many people are excited about interacting and developing relationships with others whom they feel they can trust and who they consider experts in their industry.
At the heart of your success is the human element. Once people get to know you, and you get to know them, they will want what you are offering and will gladly tell others about what you are offering too.
Karima-Catherine is the co-founder of Red Dot Digital, a digital agency that strives to deliver top-notch solutions to various clients. Red Dot Digital drives real, meaningful, quantifiable business outcomes for companies. Karima-Catherine is also the co-moderator of #MMchat, a Twitter weekly forum which focuses on business, marketing and social media.
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