The Anatomy of a Social Media Professional – and Why You Need One

I recently spoke at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce breakfast where I discussed the need for a dedicated social media manager to help strategize, launch and manage a social media program.

Since many of the attendees were from smaller companies, I stressed that any business – big or small – could benefit from implementing some form of social media strategy into their organization. An example I used to help make my point was to compare Starbucks with the Crème Brulee cart in San Francisco. Both businesses are using Twitter and seeing great results to drive business to their location, but one is a multi-national chain and the other is a small food cart roaming around San Francisco. They couldn’t be more different, yet they are using the same tools to connect and engage with their loyal fans.

If you don’t think you need help managing your social media efforts, you might want to take a closer look at the time investment required to ensure it’s done well. Sure, some of you may be able to manage it all while also running your business, but to do it right, it needs to be more than an afterthought – and most executives just don’t have the bandwidth to focus on doing both jobs effectively at the same time.

You also aren’t likely to have the time to “be everywhere” – listening, engaging, responding – but a dedicated social media professional can do this for you. Consistency is crucial to ensure results. A dedicated focus on social media efforts = a quicker time to value.

You also don’t want to have a “Nelson” moment by not paying attention to your brand online. Some examples I used during the Chamber Breakfast included Domino’s Pizza and United Airlines to show the difference between a brand listening and responding immediately (Domino’s) and another that chose to ignore for more than a year (United).

So, what should you look for in a social media professional? We asked David Meerman Scott this question while attending SXSW Interactive earlier this year. You can check out the video here, but I summed it up with this intricate graphic I call “The Anatomy of a Social Media Professional.”

As David also pointed out in his interview with us, when you are seeking help with your social media efforts, it’s important that you do your homework and make sure whoever you hire has the qualifications needed to get the job done. If they aren’t out there practicing what they preach, or if they can’t point to any ROI as a result of their efforts, than you might want to keep searching.

What do you think? Do you think a dedicated social media professional is necessary in business? What qualities do you think a social media professional should have – did we miss anything in our anatomy slide? We would love to get your thoughts in the comment section below.

From Battledecks to measuring ROI – PodCamp Boston (#PCB4) was a huge success!

Podcamp Boston 4Recently I attended my first Podcamp in Boston, the birthplace of the original Podcamp, founded by Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan, back in 2006. From the show of hands to find out who else was new to the “UnConference,” I realized that I wasn’t the only newbie – there were actually too many of us to count. If you are unaware of what Podcamp is all about, according to the official Podcamp site, “A PodCamp is a BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media.”

I was amazed at the size of the crowd, especially during a weekend conference on one of the nicest days of the summer. It was a wonderfully diverse audience but despite this diversity, the common theme joining us together was our passion to learn – from the sessions and, of course, from one another.

If you weren’t able to attend, don’t fret. CC_Chapman put together this awesome slideshow that includes some great shots from the entire weekend. See anyone you know?

Aside from the hilarious Battledecks and Pecha Kucha session led by Gradon Tripp – where he shares with us the 24 reasons why Twitter sucks – I wanted to highlight the “False Metrics and ROI” session led by Leslie Poston.

During one part of her session, Leslie stressed the importance of first listening to your customers because they are talking about you. If you don’t currently have a social media strategy in place to listen to what your customers and the industry are saying about your business, then you could potentially be dealing with a big PR nightmare like the one that happened with Domino’s Pizza, where a few employees decided it would be fun to post a video on YouTube as they “tampered” with the food. After only two days, that little video was viewed more than 550,000 times, potentially damaging the 50-year-old brand that Domino’s has worked so hard to build. Luckily, Domino’s was watching and listening, and they were able to take action immediately.

But not all companies are as social media savvy….at least not yet.

For example, we can’t discuss listening and not bring up the United Airlines situation where they mistreated musician David Carroll’s equipment while he watched helplessly from his seat on the plane. After trying to resolve the issue privately, which proved ineffective, David decided to create his own music video about what happened and posted it to YouTube. That video went on to receive almost five million views and tons of online buzz. Finally, after more than a year of disputes, United finally admitted they were in the wrong and decided to compensate David for his damaged equipment – A little too late in my opinion.

Listening to online conversations doesn’t have to be difficult. As Leslie pointed out, there are several online tools (both paid and free) available to help any organization do a better job of listening to online chatter. These tools are designed to make social media participation easier and more streamlined, as well as help companies do a better job in monitoring and managing their online presence. Some of the tools she highlighted include:

  • Radian6 (paid)
  • BlvdStatus.com (free, offers campaigns)
  • Google Alerts (free, keyword based, boolean search terms to help you narrow)
  • Google Analytics (free, fully customizable)
  • DNA13 (Paid, encompasses print and web)
  • HaveAMint (free, fully programmable in php)

If you aren’t currently using some of these tools above, you may be doing more work than you should. Don’t miss out on valuable discussions – both positive, which you’ll want to elevate – and, as in the cases outlined above – some negative, which you’ll want to address as soon as possible

If you are interested in seeing Leslie’s Podcamp session for yourself, you can view it in two parts below:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Overall, PodCamp Boston was an amazing experience and it will definitely not be my last. In fact, there are plans in the works to bring the first PodCamp to New Hampshire and I am proud and very excited to be on the planning committee for that event. If you haven’t been, be sure to find one in your area and go. I guarantee a quick ROI on your very small investment!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Thomsen