Why would a company need to hire someone whose job it is to manage social media? To me, the answer to that question is obvious. And if you know anything about the social web, you probably agree. The problem is that the majority of companies out there don’t know as much as we do, because they are either out of touch or just don’t care.
The emerging world of social media offers networks like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. It offers an endless array of blogs and other sources for news and opinions. It offers the sharing of information, videos, pictures, thoughts, and ideas. This is where people are talking. This is where people are learning about new things. And this is where you need to be.
But you can’t do it by yourself. There are too many areas that you need to be aware of and on top of at all times. And there are too many resources out there to help you to ignore.
Step 1: Evaluate the Social Media landscape and find out where you fit in. As Marc Meyer (twitter.com/Marc_Meyer) says, not every company or customer may be a fit. In addition, not every company needs to be involved in every aspect of social media. But there are areas you can capitalize on, whether you use it for customer service, contests and promotions, ideas, or brand building. The key is to understand it.
Step 2: Define your customer from a social media perspective. Are your existing customers using social media, and in what way? Are there potential customers on the social web that present an opportunity? The better you understand your customers’ habits on the web, the more you will understand how to reach them.
Step 3: Spend the money. The reason I say to hire someone whose primary job it is to manage your social media efforts is twofold. One, you want to give them control to communicate, interact, and adapt on their own. Two, for brand building, one clear message across social media channels is important. As “SMcuter” (twitter.com/SMcuter) would say, too many cooks in the kitchen leads to inconsistency and poorly laid out plans.
Seth Godin reminds us that if no one is talking about you, you’re boring. But the truth is, you can start the conversation. And you can take part in the conversation. This is as true for large corporations like Microsoft and IBM as it is for local businesses like clothing stores and restaurants.
Hire someone who understands the web, someone with vision and creativity. It takes a combination of different backgrounds, such as technology and marketing. It’s a new job role, and one that many people will be looking to fill. Give them freedom, give them a voice, and put them to work. In the end, this will be an inexpensive way to create a buzz, to build your brand, and to seek out new customers.
Do you agree?