Likes, tweets, and the bottom line—the importance of social media in business
When Ted Rubin touched down in Asheville, North Carolina, after a particularly unpleasant flight with a carrier he rarely uses, he immediately posted an update to his 54,000 Twitter followers: “Just landed…boy do I miss @JetBlue.”
A few minutes later, a representative from Jet Blue responded to thank him. While Rubin tagged the other airline in his original tweet, he never heard back from them. “Guess who I’ll be flying next?” he laughed.
Rubin, who serves as chief social marketing officer for the shopping website Collective Bias, says this type of personal engagement isn’t a novelty anymore—customers have come to expect it. And it’s about more than monitoring your online presence. Social media engagement touches customer service, vendor relations, recruiting, and more. Therefore, employers need to appreciate the importance of social media in business and integrate it into their ongoing business strategy.
Do you need a social media officer?
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. give everyone a platform to say what they think, so it’s important to realize that every company has a social media marketing presence even if they’re not actively involved in it. But in this day and age, you need to be actively engaged. As such, the tipping point of hiring a social media officer may be when:
- You’re building your company brand
- Maintaining your social media strategy becomes too much for your current staff to handle
- You don’t have enough in-house talent with a background in digital strategy
While the importance of social media in business increases, the landscape is constantly evolving. Platforms change their rules and algorithms, and users shift their focus. A social media officer can help your company stay on top of this crucial part of the business.
What does it take to manage a company’s social media?
Gone are the days when a randomly selected intern can handle your online presence. Just because someone is a digital native doesn’t make them uniquely qualified to manage your online branding. Rather, there are certain qualities you should look for when hiring a specialist to implement your social media strategy.
Avoid the mistake of allowing the person who knows the least about your organization to handle what’s potentially the most powerful communication tool you have. According to Peter Kim, chief strategy officer for social media advisory firm Dachis Group, anyone who takes the wheel of your company’s online presence is essentially speaking on behalf of your organization, so their technical knowledge has to be balanced with a mature leader’s perspective. “The right person to lead this initiative within a company must have a strong understanding of the business and its operations,” he says. “This includes the internal political landscape—as well as a finger on the pulse of the constantly evolving external market.”
How to evaluate a social media guru
Matt Charney, former social media engagement manager for Monster Worldwide cautions against so-called “experts.” “Anyone who claims to be a social media expert should be treated with at least a little skepticism,” he says. Ted Rubin agrees, pointing to the fact that social media is “simply evolving too quickly.” To evaluate a candidate, he suggests looking at their social media presence. For example:
- How many followers do they have?
- Are they engaged and involved?
- How do they respond to criticism?
These questions are especially important as businesses find that their company brand has a tendency to get folded into employees’ personal brands over time. So, your social media officer should understand the importance of social media in business while also knowing how to speak genuinely and appropriately in any online setting.
How do you measure success?
Social media strategies are as unique to businesses as their logos, and there are many ways to measure success. Two key areas to evaluate are basic engagement and actual business results.
Start with how many followers you are building. If you set a goal to increase Facebook likes or Twitter followers by 10% over a three-month period, did your team hit the mark? Beyond volume, it’s also important to measure the engagement of your followers. One way to monitor this is to count your retweets and your post comments (but don’t just count—respond!).
Another way to measure your social media team’s performance is by looking at its ability to drive business results. Is your social media campaign driving people to your website or to purchase your products? Is it increasing your brand’s share of the conversation around a product or industry? How do your numbers compare to competitors’? Set goals and monitor progress frequently.
Don’t gamble with your social media strategy—it’s too important. Take the time to carefully select a social media officer, and then regularly assess the fruits of their labor.
Start improving your social media outreach today
The importance of social media in business can’t be overstated. It can have wide-ranging effects on your brand, image, company culture, growth, recruitment, and overall bottom line. Don’t leave it to chance. Whether you hire from within, or recruit a brand-new social media officer, let Monster Hiring Solutions help. We’ll send you expert advice, the latest hiring trends, and even some great Monster deals.