Any B2B enterprise hoping for growth and prominence needs a well-coordinated, strong showing on social media. In 2013, 78% of companies reported having a social media team, but having that coordinated approach requires a genuine team effort—one that is best led by a talented and capable B2B social media manager.
Hiring a B2B social media manager, especially a well-qualified one, will do several things for your company. The manager will bring precision to your brand’s message throughout all of your social communications, encourage and build conversations in the market about your brand, and make sure that your social media marketing efforts yield an ever-increasing ROI.
Such a person might have an educational background in marketing or in a peripheral field—but what matters is the unique set of skills he or she possesses. Here are seven such skills to look for in a great candidate for social media manager:
1. A Strong Personal Social Presence
A great candidate for social media manager should have fairly in-depth knowledge of and familiarity with one thing—social media. That will be apparent by looking at a candidate’s presence on social platforms.
Social media profiles of candidates are a great pre-screening tool—39% of all employers use social media for recruiting and hiring new employees. The first place to look would be LinkedIn, followed in no particular order by Facebook, Twitter and Google+, given the prominence of these networks in B2B social media marketing. If a candidate has public profiles on other platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram—networks that are more traditionally utilized by B2C companies—you might unearth additional insights on the candidate’s social savvy.
[Tweet “39% of all employers use social media for recruiting and hiring new employees”]
A candidate’s social presence can indicate two things. For one, it can demonstrate a candidate’s level of familiarity with particular social channels. If a potential social media manager has a professional profile and makes full use of what the channel offers—be it image posts, engaging text, or interesting links—it suggests he or she knows how to use the platform in question to its fullest potential.
In addition, the level of engagement the person has with his or her followers will give you insight on his or her adeptness at creating an engaged fan base—an important indicator of how well he or she might nurture leads and maintain relationships with your customers.
2. Leadership Qualities
Just as in any management position, a B2B social media manager should be an excellent leader. It takes talent to lead a team on building a consistent, thriving marketing campaign—talent that makes the search for the right person all the more worthwhile.
A social media manager’s role grows as the firm grows, and that means greater responsibility in guiding other staff towards corporate goals. It might become necessary over time to hire content creators, graphic designers or web developers, or to work with a marketing agency to meet the needs of an expanding enterprise.
In that case, the right social manager will be able to delegate tasks and work with all parties involved to drive consistent brand visibility and lead generation via social media outreach. Images and logos from a graphic designer might become a part of all company social profiles. Content creators will write blog posts, articles and case studies to be featured on Facebook or LinkedIn, or to be accessed through outbound links in social posts. A good manager will know when and where to feature content, integrating the parts into a coherent whole that speaks volumes about your brand.
3. Ability to Create and Edit Social Media Content
While B2B social media managers often have to delegate content creation to a staff of writers, it’s a skill they need to possess as well. At smaller B2B firms, the social marketing manager might be alone in writing social posts. Within larger companies or B2B enterprises, there are many points at which content should be edited and evaluated to make sure it’s supporting your overall brand message.
In either case, a social media manager should have a solid understanding of how to write B2B content that yields the best results. He or she should also know how to extend that content’s lifecycle by scheduling social posts to repeat, expanding on insights gained from customer relationships at the right times.
4. A Proven Track Record of B2B Social Success
While B2B social media marketing is still relatively new, it’s possible to find great candidates for a social management position who’ve led their previous employers to marketing success.
If a potential candidate can demonstrate that he or she has executed one or more successful social campaigns in the past—particularly in the B2B arena, where data-driven content rules—it’s possible for that candidate to do the same for your firm. You might give preference to experienced candidates with more than one revenue-boosting campaign under their belts, as that would demonstrate the ability to change tone and tactics as the situation demands.
5. Familiarity with Metrics and Tracking ROI of Social Campaigns
To truly measure the success of a B2B social media marketing campaign, you can’t go by feelings. You must go by facts.
The facts, in this case, are the metrics surrounding your social presence. Within each social network, there are ways to track the performance of your efforts, and a savvy social marketing candidate will know the importance of using them. He or she will incorporate the use of a social media marketing tool to track ROI and make any changes needed to improve conversions.
[Tweet “To truly measure the success of a #B2B #social #media campaign, you can’t go by feelings. You must go by facts.”]
Whether your Facebook Insights shows that posts featuring graphs garner more engagement than all other content, or your LinkedIn Company Page Analytics reveals that your webinar links are shared 50% more often than your case studies, a good social media manager will know how to capitalize on the data and tweak the campaign for success.
6. An Understanding of “Social Selling”
People buy based on the relationships they have with a brand. As obvious as that might seem for B2C marketing, it is no less true in the B2B arena. Steve Olenski, in a piece for Forbes.com, reminds us that “there’s still a live, breathing person on the other end,” and we should take the lead’s thought process, buying motives and sentiment about industry brands into account in marketing efforts. The right social media manager understands this and uses this knowledge.
Through CRM platforms and a good ear for social listening, a great B2B social media manager will know when to create touchpoints with engaged leads throughout your sales cycle. By assessing where a prospect is in the buying process—whether she’s in the consideration stage, or the customer is already a loyal buyer—the social media manager can identify how to answer questions and execute helpful promotional offers.
7. Ability to Drive Innovation—Both in Marketing and in Brand Definition
“Marketing” as a force within your organization has the job of saying everything that needs to be said about your brand to potential customers. It’s a message that often changes as you grow in prominence and market share, and an excellent social media manager knows how to innovate in a way that supports your brand’s growth.
Social media marketing is a dynamic creature, constantly bringing new offerings to the table. New, niche B2B social platforms—such as HR.com for human resources professionals or IT Central Station for people in the information technology field—can, under the right circumstances, be goldmines for leads. Social technology is constantly in flux, with tools needing to adapt to offer marketers the greatest possible flexibility in managing campaigns. And increasing numbers of B2B marketing competition sometimes require brand reinvention through new content streams and unique messages.
The right social media manager is unafraid of the ever-shifting B2B marketing landscape. He or she needs to be a fast learner, able to recognize which new technologies and networks might have staying power and are worth pursuing. He or she also needs to be able to integrate new technologies with older tried-and-true marketing tactics in order to keep the company competitive.
Hiring a B2B Social Media Manager—No Easy Task
Some job positions simply take more time and effort to fill than others. Such is the case with the B2B social media manager. But the rewards—a creative, technology-savvy leader who will drive the growth of your brand and will ultimately multiply revenues—are well worth it.