Should Small Businesses Hire a Chief Social Media Officer?

Today, it's not enough to hire your tech-savvy nephew (which you shouldn't, by the way) to update your Twitter.

Typically a young employee is hired to handle a company's social media presence. But with several disasters, its obvious that you need more than an intern or entry level millennial. Here are the important skills that you should seek:

Your social media officer must have knowledge about the fundamentals in marketing and communications, as well as the creativity to adopt it in a social media platform.

Social media marketing entails more than just updating the company's Facebook page about the latest events or promotions. Nobody wants to hear this in a social media platform. Your social media officer must be able to engage potential, new, and existing customers without hard selling. At the same time, they still have to preserve the voice of your business and convey your message.  This is a delicate dance between delivering customer expectations and meeting business outcomes. 

Your social media officer must have good interpersonal skills.

The internet is a free-for-all marketplace. It's bound to attract a diverse set of personalities, many of which delight in hiding behind anonymity. You have online trolls and social justice warriors at opposing ends of the spectrum. Your social media officer must know how to handle negative feedback, navigate sensitive issues, negotiate with customers, and maintain an online community. Social media can help keep your online media presence fresh, but you must listen to your costumers.

You social media officer must have technical skills coupled with analytical thinking.

Marketers have this saying, “You can't manage what you can't measure”.  Social media is great for engagement, but translating that into a sale is the most challenging part. Your social media officer must be familiar with SEO (search engine optimisation), analytics, and platform application programming interfaces (APIs). At the same time, he/she should be able to collect and analyse data to make and improve campaigns. He/She should also be able to consider the whole picture and integrate efforts with your marketing initiatives.

Social media marketing can be a waste of time if you don't do it properly. So make sure you have the right talent who can leverage it for your business.

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