Hiring a Community Manager is Not a Strategy
I often get calls from companies looking for advice in hiring a Community Manager to help coordinate their social media.
“Do you have any social media channels set up yet?” I’ll ask.
“No. Not yet,” they’ll explain.
“For what are you intending to use social media?” I’ll ask.
“We don’t know that yet,” they’ll say.
“Well, to whom will your Community Manager report?” I’ll ask.
“Um…we’re not sure yet. Maybe IT? they’ll reply.
Then they start to get annoyed because I’m not asking the questions they want me to ask like, “How many years of experience do you want the candidate to have working with social media?”
I start to get annoyed because it’s clear they want to hire someone to do a job they have not even defined yet — one they haven’t even determined if they really need — so how am I supposed to know who is a good fit for it?
And the whole conversations ends up being terribly frustrating.
Houston, we have a problem.
No matter what the latest guru will tell you, getting a return from social media takes real effort, thought and planning on your part before any channel is set up, any tweet is posted or any leads are collected.
In other words, you need to do the homework and come up with a strategy first, and do the “being social” part, second, (using the homework to inform those tactics.)
Hiring someone to coordinate your social media before you have this social media strategy in place makes about as much sense as hiring a nanny before you and your spouse have even decided if you’re ready to have kids.
Bringing a Community Manager on board before you are ready isn’t fair to you; who will still have to face the same administrative hurdles as before, but now with the added pressure of an annual salary to pay and person to keep busy each day.
And it’s certainly isn’t fair to your new Community Manager; who will quickly be caught in the political crossfires of being tasked with unleashing a disruptive force in a company that is not yet ready to be disrupted.
Understandably, the act of hiring a Community Manager feels good.
Now you got all your ducks in a row. Now you’ve officially started something.
But if you have skipped all of the prep work, that feeling will be short lived.
- If you don’t have buy-in from the C-suite…
- If you don’t have a sense of how this will integrate into your communication infrastructure….
- If you do not have policies and procedures in place to guide that employee’s activities…
- If you do not have a clear, measurable goal for using social media…
…you are not ready to start your social media adventure. (And if you start it anyway, you’ll soon find yourself swimming in circles.)
Hiring 100 community managers still wouldn’t change that.
Agreed. But… reality is they a strategy. Something for which most businesses are ill-equipped. They are looking for a community manager because they can’t sell the idea of a “consultant” to management. Or more likely, they are afraid management will assume that strategy is unnesecary and just decide to do it themselves… usually the office admin. I’d advise hiring a strategic community manager for a 60 day trial, to establish the needs and act an educator. Essentially, filling that consulting role but also proudly declaring: “Yes. We’re on Facebook.”.
That sounds like a good idea. It can take time to work out the kinks in getting social media up and running. The more flexibility, the better, in my opinion.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.