A few years ago, social media was mostly an annoyance to most businesses IT directors who tried to keep employees from accessing social networks during working hours. Well, that still goes on today. However, most organizations have began tapping into the power of online communities. Dell has made millions from its Twitter account over the years and that number continues to grow. It's hard to find any organization without a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page. But as social media has grown and developed has your online strategy grown as well?
Fast Company's latest issue features an article on CSOs (Chief Social Officers). These are not interns who "play around" the internet for companies such as Ford and Virgin Atlantic. These are highly skilled, highly compensated professionals who are setting strategies and directing teams to harness the power of online networks.Â So if you haven't taking this thing seriously yet, you'd better wake up. And Soon.
If you're thinking about taking your social media strategy to the next level, and perhaps hiring or creating a position, even a CSO, here are a few things to consider:
Find someone who likes people. Social Media is a conversation, not a monologue. Success here means more than just messaging. It's the most important customer initiative you will probably ever undertake.
Find someone who's already doing it well. You can empower, train and grow talented people much easier than you can train someone who might never perform to the level you need. I'm not convinced you can even train people to do social media well. Do yourself a favor and recruit someone who's doing it already.
Find someone you trust. Social media is messy. Even the best of conversations can go awry and your CSO and her team will be your voice at the front lines. If you don't trust them to speak for you,Â then don't hire them.
Find someone who cares. Conversations begin at all times including night and weekends. This is not a 9-5 job. If you're not part of an important discussion about your organization when it happens, then you miss the opportunity to make an impact. In my experience, you cannot teach people to care beyond the work-day clock. They either do or don't.
What's the next step for your organization's social media strategy?