As the social media industry grows and brands spend more time and money investing in campaigns and technologies, the need to upskill internally is also increasing. To an extent however, this is developing exponentially as companies who are just getting to grips with the role that social media plays in their organisation, find themselves with a gaps in their staff that force them to lose out on opportunities and stay ahead of the curve.
Where once it was enough to just hire a social media manager or community manager, the level of work that one person is now expected to carry out has grown significantly. The demands made on social media staff expect them to be skilled in technology, mobile, copywriting, customer service, market research, product development and community management to name a few.
The situation has even veered into the comical with companies coming up with increasingly elaborate job titles to ensure that the position they're hiring for is a cover-all, and the person at hand could be expected to perform any number of duties. For a humorous take on this, you should check out the social media job title generator, which takes you through some of the more inane social media job titles.
But hiring within social media is a serious business, where companies are making real investment. Research compiled has shown that the average salary for a director level job in social media is around $114,000 per year, compared to the average marketing salary being $105,000.
Instead of expecting one person to carry out an increasingly varied range of tasks, there are a few key roles that you should be hiring to ensure you have the best skill in-house and are keeping up with an evolving market.
With a large amount of data being collected by brands across social profiles as well as more traditional data-gathering channels such as email marketing or phone lists, there is a pressing need for smart analysis of this data to ensure you reach your customers in the best way. It is a bit of a no-brainer that if you're collecting demographic and interest-based data on your customers that you actually use this information to affect how you reach them. And with Facebook introducing the option to target ad campaigns by email address for example, it's important that you have someone in charge of data that can manage how this is used cross-platform.
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It's tempting to just task someone with analysing your data on an ad-hoc basis, but unless this is a dedicated, full-time role for someone particularly skilled in data collection and analysis, you will miss out on significant opportunities for targeted marketing.
This is a slightly more adventurous hire and likely only really feasible for those companies with larger staffing budgets, but it's an important one. With communications technology developing at the rate it is, there is a demand on companies to stay relevant and also impress their customers with the future-thinking stuff that gets talked about and shared.
Whether it's on a consultancy basis or a full-time in-house role, a futurologist will be able to contribute invaluable information to your communications strategy, product development or business plans that will see you exceed your competitors and help you make sense of the sprawling expanse of communication methods and technologies we're faced with today.
Most brands will have a designer or graphic design team already, but it is an important hire even for smaller businesses to bring an element of this in-house. The need for beautiful design for your website or product to live online is more important than ever. Where once it might have been enough to just have a website, then a mobile site, then a Facebook Page and then an app, now there is a need for these to be beautiful and responsive. What lives on a desktop doesn't necessarily live on a mobile or tablet and designers are becoming more and more respected in the industry, often forming part of a founding team for a new business.
So not exactly a descriptive job title here, but that's sort of the point. While we get bogged down with the technological aspect of social media, it's tempting to subject the creative process to the same process as you would approach a technological solution. Instead of it just being a case of 'we need a tablet app, now think of something', you should instead have a key creative thinker who is at a high level in the business.
It's crucial that they understand the need for creativity to flow freely and can stand up to defend an idea or concept in the endless bureaucracy and feedback it will be subjected to. This is an important role if you want to develop the kind of content that you see dream brands such as Innocent, Nike or Red Bull executing. Creativity should be as high on the agenda as marketing or sales, with proper investment made to get the best ideas you can.
While there are many agencies skilled in developing mobile apps, it's crucial that you are also bringing this thinking in-house. While you don't necessarily need a full team of developers skilled in mobile under your roof, bringing one mobile expert in who ideally has a background in programming is important.
They need to be able to spot the opportunities that you should be expanding into, which they can do effectively if they are brought into the business infrastructure. Allowing them to spot trends in customer service, sales, etc. will mean they can develop smart solutions via mobile and tablet which are key to the customer process today. Mobile is at an exciting point where we are willing to what brands or companies might suggest to us we need. We are impressionable when it comes to mobile as it is still so new and brands should be taking advantage of this by upskilling in mobile thinking and development.
As well as bringing in a mobile developer or mobile lead, you should of course be bringing in developers from a number of cross-sections, for the very same reasons as above. There may be an ideal Facebook app solution, microsite or any number of technical solutions that will allow you to develop new and exciting campaigns or products, but unless you bring these people under one roof, opportunities will be lost. And this may often be at the detriment of other hires. If your budget is stretched, why not look outside and instead of making the hire in the sales team like you planned to, invest in a different type of role that could ultimately give you higher return on investment in the long run.
A Good Copywriter
One of the highest demands on a social media manager is the expectation that they will suddenly be an able copywriter, able to write just as effectively for email marketing, Twitter updates, Facebook Page copy, websites, online ads, etc. And while many social media managers will of course be more than adequate at this, given the amount of time they will spend across these different formats anyway, there is a huge difference between copy that just does what's required of it, and copy that makes people stop in their tracks and think. Unless you're making this a key role in itself, you will always get sub-standard copy that just does the former.
Again, depending on the size of your business this may be a stretch of your staffing budget, but it's crucial that you get this right. With laws surrounding data sharing online, image copyright, online competitions, etc. changing rapidly, it's important that you know exactly where you stand as a company. If you have a legal team, make sure you have someone skilled in this area, or consider investing in training for existing team members. If this is too much of a stretch, you may need to look at sourcing a solicitor that is skilled in this area specifically, instead of expecting your existing solicitors to be able to handle it. Get this wrong, and the damage done could be embarrassing, and costly.