social media news

5 things to look for in a social media manager

Small businesses can benefit immensely from hiring someone to help with their social media. It doesn’t even have to be a full-time staff member, which is good since few small businesses can afford a designated position. There are many freelancers who enjoy this kind of work and it’s easily done remotely. But before you make the hire, here are some things you should look for in the candidates who’ve applied:

1) Writing ability

When you’re developing content, writing ability is essential. Not only that, but you want someone whose style is consistent with your business brand. Formal, journalistic writing for a children’s store isn’t going to go over well. On the other hand, cheerful, slang-ridden banter isn’t going to work in a professional services firm. You can ask for writing samples, but don’t forget to check out candidates’ public social media accounts. This will provide a good idea of how they interact on social channels. Don’t forget to ask what other accounts they’re managing - especially if it’s related businesses.

2) Content curation

Content marketing isn’t about sharing 100% of your own content. If it was, no one would follow businesses because they’d be too boring with all their sales content. The candidate you hire should have creative ideas of how to curate content that is appropriate for your brand and audience. Whether it’s curated news pieces, photos, cartoons or blog posts, they need to have a talent for finding relevant, interesting information that fits your brand.

3) Understanding of the tools

Your social media manager should be able to use the tools (obviously), but they need to have an interest in them, too. I know one SM manager who doesn’t want to have a Facebook account for personal reasons that are totally understandable. However, they have a profile and know how it works and are interested in the capabilities that Facebook has as a tool. If your SM manager isn’t interested in the tools they’re using, they may not be able to effectively represent you. That leads me to my next crucial ability:

4) Stays current with changes

We all know continuing education is important. Social media managers’ CE comes from staying up-to-date on the major changes that happen so frequently with the social networks in their portfolio. Whether it’s changes to the terms of service, functionality or features, it’s essential to know what’s happening. This keeps your business protected from inadvertently going against terms of service that can endanger your account status.

5) Respect for intellectual property

Intellectual Property (IP) rights are abused on the Internet on a regular basis. A basic understanding of ownership, right to use/copy/distribute, and how to give proper attribution is important to keep your business safe from gaining a bad reputation or worse, getting sued. It’s also good for them to know steps to take to prevent your content from being stolen.

One last important thing: Community builder

The whole point of using social media is to build a community in support of your business. If the person you hire to help you doesn’t know how to build community or doesn’t have a friendly, sociable personality, it could completely undermine your efforts in social media - even if every other box is checked. Those other boxes are primarily technical. However, not everyone has the personality or desire to build community, so finding someone who already has an active community around them is a big clue that they are capable.

While it’s often a good idea (and quite affordable) for some business owners to get some help with social media channels, be sure you’re aware of what’s happening and chime in with your own voice from time to time. Ultimately, it’s you - the business owner - that your community wants to hear from. No one can deliver the message about the business you’ve built quite the same way!

What other tips would you add for someone looking to hire a social media manager?

Buzz and Brilliance - Week of September 12

A lot of the content of The Media Mesh is going to be thoughts (mostly mine) on any topic related to social media. But there's a lot going on out there and I want to take the opportunity about once a week to highlight some of the news that comes out of the week, with a side of brilliant thoughts/strategy that I find in my daily reading. And occasionally, I'm sure I'll run across some fun tidbits to share too.


This week has been all about Facebook. Subscriptions, Pages,, Smart Lists (coming to most accounts in the next couple of weeks), Privacy. Okay, privacy was actually pretty old news, but have you gone through the new settings yet? If not, try to schedule it in. I try to go through their settings thoroughly every time Facebook makes a change since they have this pesky little habit of opting me into things - whether I want them or not. This week's most confusing news related to Facebook was the new subscription settings. If you're curious about how this new feature might benefit you, check out this Mashable post.

Facebook brilliance: A bit of page strategy can be found in this post about using tools other than Facebook to post to pages. This wasn't the only post I read this week about the affect that third-party posting options have on your Edge Rank. While I think it's really valuable to know this and keep it in your mind, don't throw out all your automated RSS feeds just yet. If it's

Not one to let Facebook get all the attention, Twitter had some exciting news this week, too: Web analytics (for the 3,000,000 Web sites using the tweet button). Okay, so that may not sound all that exciting, but for anyone who likes mining data this will be a veritable goldmine - for advertisers. For twitter, it's one step closer to the holy grail of monetizing their service. For the rest of us? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I want twitter to make money so I can keep merrily tweeting about my life, but I don't want them to ruin the experience. Since the announcement was made at TechCrunch's their story too.

Twitter brilliance: I always find it interesting to read about the thought process that goes into someone's tweeting behaviors - even if I don't agree with their tactics, there were a few here I don't agree with, but this post is still full of insights.

I logged into Klout yesterday to check out a perk and got a notification that I was selected to preview the new topics pages. So, after I previewed them (which was an underwhelming experience) I jumped over to Google Reader to find out what was going on. These topic pages, as noted in this post, are the first use we're seeing of the +K feature that was introduced back in June. So far, I'm dubious about the usefulness of these pages. It seems like it might be just another thing that the truly ambitious types can game to get attention and I'm not going to be interested if it turns into a popularity contest. But, as you'll see from the Klout brilliance below, even this dubious Klout user is trying to maintain some optimism about the tool's usefulness.

Klout brilliance: I have a Klout post brewing of my own and these guys are helping spur it on. I happen to be a sometime critic of Klout, even knowing that there is great potential for Klout to matter - for some, it already does.

Social Media Brilliance

I read a lot of blogs and I see great advice on strategy and social media management in the hundreds of posts that I download to my reader daily. There's no doubt that social media is a time suck - particularly if it's your job, and most especially if it's a hobby. The important thing to remember if you're overwhelmed is that you can control it.

Do you think you'd like to work in social media? Are you looking to hire one? This list of qualities of an effective social media manager would be a good place to start to figure out if it's the right fit for you. And don't let the "nonprofit" in the banner fool you - this list applies to any industry.

Just for Fun

Blast from the Past - Twitter, Facebook and Google

Tip of the Week (NSFW) - This one's all about search on Google via Images. I didn't try to replicate it because I don't care, but it would be easy to accidentally do this at work...and, uh, oops.