If you've been reading my column or keeping up with business trends, you know by now that social media is an effective tool to market a business, especially a smaller one on a tight budget. So how do operators hire a good social media manager for their limousine business? Here are some characteristics to look for:
Good listener. Effective social media operates on a personal, conversational level. Artful conversationalists have great listening skills to identify when and what to say. The old days of brands bludgeoning consumers with interruptive messages are over. Hire someone who is eager for feedback, can digitally "eavesdrop" to see what's being said about your industry or business, and identify how to positively inject the brand into the conversation. In this new consumer-controlled marketing age, customers have the agency to avoid messages they don't like. It's important to understand that the consumer's needs and wants matter more than the company's. A successful business can empathize with consumers and provide solutions to their problems.
People person. Your social media manager should be, well, social. The ability to handle customer questions and complaints in a calm, composed manner is very important. Social media is another channel to communicate with customers, so a person who is shy or uncomfortable in conversation should not be running your Facebook page.
Open-minded. As the social Web continues to grow and change at a rapid pace, your social media manager needs to be comfortable in experimenting with new social networks and giving up old ones. Facebook may one day lose its popularity to Google+, or a whole new social network might pop up that puts all the current ones in the grave.
Knowledgeable about company. Your social media manager will be the company's voice on the Web, so they should feel comfortable matching their social media actions to the company's personality. They should understand how to be business casual -- fun with a sense of humor but always professional. Knowing the company also means knowing the company's target audience, and engaging in a tone acceptable to them.
Industry expertise. There are many qualified social media managers available to hire for your business, but not all of them will understand the dynamics of your industry. While outsiders can certainly learn the business, it may be better to train someone in-house or work with an agency that has industry expertise
Creative AND logical. What's the main goal for social media? At the core, it's to gain more business. And there is no secret recipe for success when it comes to this. Because people are different, good social media managers will be creative in how they engage with and attract customers. At the same time, they must be able to use analytics (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights) to identify what is working and what isn't. The beauty of digital marketing is the ability to analyze and adjust strategies in real time due to instant analytical feedback.