There has been a lot of chatter recently about the age of the person running social media for your company.
Cathryn Sloane says they must be under 25.
Hollis Thomases says they should be over 23.
So the answer is: 24!
Well, not quite.
There are pieces of both arguments that ring true.
You need someone who understands the platforms, but also has a firm grasp on the brand.
Here is where they are both categorically wrong:
Age is not necessarily a factor in this.
(As an important aside – you don’t need to have the same people doing your content and your community management.)
Here are four key traits and characteristics of the ideal Social Media Manager:
1. Understands the Platforms…For Marketing Purposes. Sorry, Cathryn, but “growing up” on social media does not make you automatically more qualified to use them for marketing. The platforms function much differently for marketing than they do for personal communication. You could even make a convincing case that growing up with it makes you a less effective mass marketer on it.
2. Firm, Holistic Grasp of the Brand. Sorry, Hollis, but being older doesn’t mean you understand a brand more. Now, true, experience definitely helps. But I’ve seen interns perfectly understand a brand more than 60-year olds. Knowing the past, present and future of the brand is critical to successfully representing it online.
3. Respect for the Medium. While an ad campaign can take weeks or months to put together, a social media program can run instantly. You need to make sure that the person pressing the buttons gets that and even fears it a little bit. There’s a good chance a Tweet could get more eyeballs than a major magazine ad. This is important stuff.
4. Psychology of Motivation. Marketing is about motivation. You want someone to do (or not do) something based on the strong suggestion you are making. Social media provides unprecedented opportunities to motivate people to take an action. Knowing how to convince people to do something is the crux of marketing communications. If you can do that, you can Tweet for my company.
Age is not included here, since it’s more or less irrelevant. If you understand the brand, can convince people to do things, respect the medium and understand the platforms, I’d hire you.