Should you hire a social media person?

February 24, 2012

On Small Business has a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young entrepreneurs.

Do you have a dedicated social media person on staff, or do you consider it all part of a single “communications” role?

Paul Gollash, founder and CEO of New York-based Voxy:

“We originally tried to manage our social media presence part-time, but we learned quickly that in order to go from just having a presence to actually building and maintain high-value relationships on several different platforms, we needed a full-time social media manager. So yes, we do have a full-time person on social media.

“Our social media channels allow us to communicate in real-time with a much broader audience than we would otherwise have access to. We reach several very distinct groups — language teachers, language learners, education policy aficionados, education bloggers and more. Managing, leading and participating in all these distinct conversations on a wide variety of platforms require a full-time manager.”

Erin Blaskie, CEO of BSETC in Ontario, Can.:

“Within our team of 20 subcontractors, we have two that focus entirely on social media activities for our company and for our clients’ companies. One reason is because we also incorporate specific tracking techniques to help us measure effectiveness and reach. While tracking techniques are used in traditional marketing also, it is helpful to have someone already well-versed in this specific area.

“The other reason is because we want the tone across these platforms to be less marketing speak and more conversational. The messages shared on social media outlets should be equally matched by outreach and ongoing conversation to allow relationships to be built and cultivated. While using social media is different than traditional marketing, we do consider it all part of our communications and marketing activities because it still requires sharing a message across a form of media.”

Emerson Spartz, CEO of Chicago-based Spartz Media:

“We do have dedicated social media people — it’s far too important to our business to lump under a macro category like ‘communications.’ However, an integrated team approach to social media is critical.

“Social media is about the give-and-take between your company and your users. The authenticity and personality of those interactions are critical to increasing customer loyalty. Therefore, we have a dedicated community team who continually experiments with various social media strategies and explores ways of tapping into the potential of new social media platforms like Pinterest.

“When platforms like Facebook make changes to their sharing functionality or to their user interface, it can have a significant effect on our users’ sharing habits. By having a team dedicated to improving our social media influence, we’ve been able to dramatically ratchet up the number of conversations about our content.”

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