(Dramatic? Possibly, but true nonetheless.) Ask yourself, who exactly does my client want to correspond with when they have a query or a complaint? The answer in the vast majority of cases is simple - they want to talk to an informed and helpful version of themselves.
A relevant qualification and experience in analytics are all well and good, but a great social media marketer never forgets to put themselves in the shoes of the consumer first, and in the pocket of the client second. Here are our top 3 reasons that ordinary folks, with a little attention to detail, creativity and flair, make the best social media marketers.
1.Because they ARE your target market.
When you've spent a few months or years using social media channels to advertise for others, a disturbing tendency develops amongst marketers and community managers - they forget to be consumers. In most cases, considerably more time per day is spent scrutinising Facebook insights, monitoring Twitter streams, and preparing reports. When social media is your job, it almost seems like a sin to use these channels for their intended purpose: information and personal entertainment!
A good social media marketer approaches a newsfeed first as a consumer, and second as a professional. Spending time actually exploring what's out there on a given day will provide you with more insights into the average user's social media behaviour than any method of reporting ever could. Your fans will notice, too. When your client's perceived interests begin to align and overlap with those of your fans, the battle is half won already. As Tim McDonald (Director of Community at Huffington Post) put it, "When you speak the language of those you are delivering the message to, you have gained the opportunity to be heard."
2.Quality comes first, results come second.
Social media's burgeoning success since the '90s didn't happen by accident - it is the direct result of "giving the people what they want" - a streamlined and user friendly way to explore the internet that appeals to us on an individual level. My interests, hobbies and concerns are mine, and mine alone, and it's an addictive feeling knowing how easy it is to curate my own social media experience to the point where I hardly ever see anything that doesn't appeal to me.
A good marketer knows that month-end numbers and graphs are of secondary importance, and that the correct question to ask when creating and distributing content is not "What will get me the most likes and comments today?", but rather, "How well does this post fit into the curated stream that my fans have created for themselves?"
A piece of disingenuous "click bait" content may get you results today, but will certainly lose you fans tomorrow. Do your endeavours come off as cheap advertising - unoriginal, pushy and deceptive - or are you giving the people what they want?
3.They embrace improvisation, diversity, and adaptability.
Social media marketers, particularly community managers, must wear a lot of different hats in their daily work. They are administrators and cheerleaders, zealous brand followers, strategists and copywriters all rolled into one. Far from being stuck in their ways, as so many marketers tend to become, they are not shy of innovating and steering away from the plan if needs be. Remember, award winning campaigns are almost always the result of breaking the rules, not adhering to them.
So, the next time you're on the prowl for your next social media community manager, don't be too tempted to go with the longest CV. The nuts and bolts of the industry can always be learned on the fly - but an empathetic listener with a natural brand voice and a killer sense of humour can do wonders.
Firewater Interactive is a full service digital agency offering a vast range of ORM services, including social media strategy, planning, implementation, and monitoring. Contact us on +27 11 262 6056 to find out how we can make social media work for you!