SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Who should it be? What should they do?

In just a short period of time, at least in Spain, the Social Media Manager figure is being almost compulsively requested by many companies and brands.  This position, also known as Community Manager is, in my opinion, being treated with very little warmth, and, in some cases, as an inconvenient necessity.

On one hand, business managers do not have a good understanding of this ‘vacancy’, but feel that if they don’t have it, they can lose precious time against the competition, and on the other hand, people in these roles are being considered in the best of cases, as mileuristas (a person with a monthly salary of €1000), when not interns, that actually are there to learn and never to teach, although the issue of recent grads undoubtedly merits a separate chapter.

Leaving Anglicisms for another day, the Social Media Manager of the company is the one that has in its hands the power of the brand image, the performance, the products, the opinions, in short, the key to the closet from where we are going to dress up the presentation for the client in an increasingly bigger arena, the Internet, which, lest we forget, has surpassed the very television with respect to user’s consumption time.  The person that finally covers this strategic position-nowadays announced on Infojobs though personally I believe that because of its complexity and sensitivity it should be requested by a Headhunter- What should he do? Or better yet, who should it be?  We’ll try to answer these two questions:

Who should be the Social Media Manager in a company?  First, this person should be ‘popular’, yes this adjective so tacky and so American, ‘popular’, or at least come across that way.  There are numerous examples of network gurus that give off a certain aura of having been “ousted from the class”.  These may be scholars, writers, daring, or whatever you want but these people are not good enough to fill this position: “how are you going to be the social image of anything when you have fewer friends that Gargamel”?  Certainly, it’s hard to find this out in an interview, however you should know through intuition.  Secondly, the candidate, I understand, must have proven communication skills, which means, that in no case can it be that person inside the organization who cannot communicate with those around him, much less if those that surround him have a lower ‘ranking’ in the hierarchy.  If he were to come from the outside, once more, it’s hard to recognize this trait, hence the search should and must be professionally done.  Third, lastly, taking for granted, we should be in front of a profound connoisseur, or better yet, a lover of everything that has to do with the Internet, mobility and a long list of anything that you can think of, understanding, of course, that he speaks English, German or Chinese, depending on the needs that we are going to find in the next point.

Once the perfect candidate is ‘caught’, we would still have something equal to or more complicated left to address: what to do…

What should a Social Media Manager do?  Without getting into what tool should be used,  it is important to make certain that the brand new assignee with such a rare title, has an in-depth knowledge of the company, the brand, its history, its clients and its market, so, it is essential that he feels close to the CEO, CFO, and other acronyms. In addition he should be reading whatever directory falls in his hands, supporting sales people on their trips to meet customers and learn about product issues and finally, not becoming alienated when spending days with the mail clerk entrusted to deliver mail, newspapers or anything similar, because by doing this he will learn a lot about the people of the institution.  Once he knows how the company is run and what its objectives are, our person must, before starting a mad race to 2.0, design an Internet strategy and depending on the features go to one place or to another on the network, and in no case to all. He must select, especially, those that can be serviced, that is, acting bi-directionally on behalf of the company, something frequently overlooked.

We could continue this post by saying if you must “be” on Twitter, Facebook, Tuenti, Digg, Youtube, Xing or Linkedin, try to figure out what would be more convenient, whether to create a blog, a microsite or a survey, as well as identify forums, chats or discussion boards that we should ‘put our nose’ in.  But this is so unique and ‘personal’ for each one of the brands that it should be governed by the previously commented and vital viral and social strategy on the Internet that, in many cases goes through a needed and thorough image makeover.

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4 comentarios

  1. That’s the job description for a person who would actually have a chance of being useful instead of (as sadly usual) just being noisy on a corporate facebook page.

    On the other hand, the problem is not just on the demand side (low expectations and fear or interference), it’s also on de supply side (everyone and their dog are marketing themselves as «community managers» or «social media managers» these days).

    Bad coin drives out good coin. I know a few experts in these fields who have dropped out of that game and left it to communications agencies. Trying to explain to firms that you need a coherent internet presence and communication strategy, and ideally a knowledge management strategy as well, can be tiresome when the next pitcher is pushing gimmicks for a third of the price.

    In short, nice article… and let’s hope someone heeds it :-). Best regards,


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