I hope I’ve sold you on the merits of the social media certification process. But now, who are you going to certify? Gone are the days when you could entrust your organization’s social media program to a computer-savvy intern (if those days ever really existed). “I spend a ton of time on Facebook and Twitter!” is not a qualification. Today you need motivated professionals who view social media management as a career.
Titles and job descriptions? They are changing like a kaleidoscope. Here are a few possibilities:
- Social media director
- Social media manager
- Community manager
- Blogger in chief
- Brand evangelist
- Social media strategist
- Social media specialist
- Online community specialist
- Social media coordinator
- Social media campaign manager
- Social media representative
- Social media admin
In addition to hiring core staff, you may find that social media demands extra bodies from time to time to support seasonal campaign events. A lot of exciting promotions are being done by different brands employing college campus reps, “street teams,” guerrilla marketers, brand ambassadors, blogger networks, and more—online and offline.
Choosing a Social Media Agency
If your business is new to the social space or constrained by personnel resources, a specialty agency can be a great support to add bandwidth, get you started, enhance your strategy, and help you avoid common mistakes. Just be sure you trust the people you’re working with. Request references as well as case studies of brands like yours. Check out agencies’ work online—the campaigns of their clients, social ads (these will usually emerge after you “like” a brand on Facebook), daily postings, and community management interactions. Interview the firm’s references; in addition, dig a bit into current and past clients who may not be provided to you as references. Reach out to these folks on LinkedIn to ask if they’ll share their experiences with you.
Cost can be a big consideration. You can engage freelancers and consultants for a few hundred dollars a month. Specialty social media firms capable of managing your daily postings and helping drive overall strategy start at a few thousand dollars a month, and—in the case of big-name social media agencies or the digital arms of top ad agencies—they can run into tens of thousands a month. To some degree, you get what you pay for, but I’d caution you that there’s something of a gold-rush mentality among digital firms staking out social media “practices.”
Most important, when you hear an agency pitch and interview its team, you should feel confident the agency is a good cultural fit. The ideal agency knows the social space inside and out. Its team “gets” your brand, can connect personally with your consumers, and can speak in your brand voice, with authenticity, authority, and passion. The agency wants a long-term relationship with your company, its brands, and its fans. It is humble enough to know that your brand—not the agency—is what makes the community