Deborah Sweeney – Five tips for building a stronger social media strategy

If your business still doesn’t have a dedicated social media department, you are seriously behind the times. A solid social media department is as useful to your business as sales or IT, as long as you start it properly. When you go to hire your first social media employee, keep these five points in mind to ensure that the department gets off on the right foot.


1. Don’t rely on unpaid interns

Nothing will sink your burgeoning social department like relying on an unpaid intern to build it from the ground up. They could be the most talented social marketer of their generation, but if they don’t get a paycheck and you still expect them to pull in 40 hours a week, they aren’t going to put in the work needed to hit the ground running.

You need a manager — someone who comes with past internship experience and ideas already underneath their belt.


2. Look for marketing experience

The problem with social media is that it occupies a nebulous space in the marketing world. For a while, people weren’t really sure how to advertise using social networks, and it took a bit of time before all of cogs of social marketing were in place and whirring.

Despite the novelty of social media, you should still see this as a marketing position, and hire with that in mind. You also want somebody that knows how to leverage social to advertise, as traditional, outbound marketing doesn’t translate that well to social media.


3. Hire people who can write

Whoever you hire to set up your social media department must know how to write. HubSpot’s 2013 ‘State of Inbound Marketing’ Report found that 82 percent of marketers attracted new customers through daily blogging. Blogging and cross-blogging are two of the best, and cheapest ways to spread your brand and tap into new markets.

A major part of building a business is building customer trust, and if you’re consistently seen on noteworthy outlets providing informative articles and advice, people are going to seek you out.


4. New hires should come with ideas

Your first hire should be somebody that knows what social media has become, and who has ideas on how to market your business on social media. If a potential hire only talks about memes and tired Facebook tactics, you probably want to keep looking.

Any social media manager worth their salt would have already researched your company, looked into how your industry uses social media and come up with the start of a campaign.


5. Be involved, but don’t micromanage

Keep an eye on your social presence and know what your new department is doing, but give your new hire a bit of breathing room. Your followers aren’t going to shoot up into the millions overnight; social marketing takes a bit of time and loads of patience.

If you hire the right person to build your company’s social media department, the long-term ROI from that department will be well worth the wait.