Marshaling the Resources for a Social Media Engagement Program

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Then you’ll also need to hire people to run the sites on a day-to-day basis. Their activities fall largely into these buckets:

  • Technical: setting up the channels and the feeds correctly, tagging content for location or topic, etc.
  • Visual: providing the visual design of the sites and layouts.
  • Writing: blogging, tweeting, writing status updates and creating social ad copy.
  • Listening: obtaining feedback about the brand, service or product.
  • Responding: replying to and stimulating conversations, solving problems, and knowing how to handle a crisis.

In social media hiring, there tends to be two typical mistakes made: one, hiring a person who does not have online community management skills; and two, hiring a junior person or, worse, intern to be a main brand touchpoint.

To elaborate the above points in order, it’s still common to hire a technology person with little to no social skills or marketing prowess to set up and run social media channels. While the channels do require a small amount of technical skill, knowledge of marketing, brand communications, customer service and marketing research are the critical requisites for successful social media marketing. More organizations are also hiring copywriters, who can be good online community managers, but many are not. Be sure to hire the ones who are equipped with the “digital schmooze” gene and know the social media space you’re working in.

The next mistake, and perhaps the bigger one, is hiring a junior intern to run social media channels. It’s time consuming to have daily conversations with fans of a brand, but as a test, ask whether you would put your social media point-of-contact on the front lines of any crisis. If not, you have not hired a person with the right level and type of experience.

This person will likely also need to be savvy enough to reach within your organization and obtain information from various departments. She/he will be answering customer service-style questions frequently, obtaining invaluable information directly from prospects and users about products and services that needs to be reported back to research and product development departments, speaking to potential job recruits, pushing out on-brand marketing messages and more.

Monique Elwell and Steven Jackson are partners at Conversify, an international social media marketing services agency that develops and executes strategic social media marketing programs. They can be reached at and

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