Last week, we asked this question: If hiring a Social Media Manager serves the purpose of driving a Social Media strategy, then the purpose of the Social Media strategy is to drive… what? A Social Media Strategy?
No. Strategies are driven by objectives and objectives are driven by purpose. The purpose of a Social Media program is to serve the company’s business objectives, not itself. What objectives might these be? You tell me: Increase sales, improve the brand’s image, increase loyalty, accelerate buy rate, gain market share, double your reach, gain better insight into your markets, protect yourself better against PR catastrophes?
In light of whatever your objectives may be, consider the type of individual(s) who might help you leverage Social Media to accomplish these very specific objectives. Can this truly be the type of role that only one person can do? Will you need a team? If so, who does what? What should their backgrounds be? What skills should they bring to the table? Once you get past the “Social Media” experience discussion and get down to business – that is to say, using Social Media channels to actually do something other than accumulate friends/followers, produce content, and measure popularity metrics – it becomes clear that Social Media management is much more involved than blogging and tweeting. Much less Social-centric, in fact, than you might think.
I have already written about certain attributes to look for in a Social Media management role, but as the Social Media spaces continues to evolve and businesses learn to integrate the Social Web into their activities, the time has come to clarify things a bit.
Not all Social Media management roles have the same requirements.
1. On the one hand, you will four cardinal categories of roles in the world of the Social Business. They are: Strategic, Operational, Managerial, and Analytical.
Strategic roles are typically the realm of visionaries. These are the folks in upper corporate echelons who first figure out that Social Media must become a part of their organization’s business. They see the opportunities. They visualize the potential. They drive the adoption of new tools and practices, as well as the development of new programs across their organization. They know the end result they are after, and get the ball rolling.
Operational roles are responsible for the implementation of the Strategists’ vision. In the corporate world, these are the “ops” guys. The ones who actually make things happen. These are practical individuals who may not have come up with the original idea, but will run with it. If someone in your organization is good at creating flow charts and process maps, they are your operational folks. Every new Social Media program needs one of these folks. Why? Because processes matter. Employees need to be trained. Human Resources needs to understand how to deal with incidents involving Social Media, and process mapping helps with this. The IT department needs to be brought in to help manage tools, licenses, bandwidth, usage, etc. Legal Counsel needs to also play its part in establishing guidelines, drafting internal and external policies, and understanding how to protect the organization. Public Relations, Marketing, Customer Service and other key departments must be synched. In the enterprise world, Social Media integration isn’t as simple as hiring a “Social Media Director,” and going about your business. Without a strong upper level operational component, a Social Media program/practice simply won’t work.
Social Media “management” roles, we are about to get into a little more, so hang tight. (See Part 2.)
Analytical roles are ideally handled by the cadre of analysts and measurement folks that feels more at home with spreadsheets and numbers than conversations. They tend to be the complete opposite of their management counterparts, who typically are more comfortable “being social” than calculating R.O.I. and sentiment deltas.
I challenge you to find a single “Social Media Director” who can manage all four roles by himself/herself. Even if they had the time (which no single person would), chances are that they cannot simultaneously be the ideal strategist, implementor, multi-manager, and measurement & analysis person. Most of us who work in the space can do one or two of these things well. While some of us can manage each category fairly well when we have to, none of us can be an expert at all four, especially when you mix in the management part, which we will dive into in Part 2.
Already, you should begin to sense that a single “Social Media manager” role to “manage” a Social Media program becomes a bit of a problem. You have to think it through: If this person cannot do everything, then what type of structure does my organization need to have in order to make my Social Media program/practice actually work? We will answer that question in Part 2 of this post, coming next.