In 2009, more companies added “social media director” to the org chart. Check out Lisa Hoffmann’s post on how she got a job in social media.
Wanna compete for one of those jobs? You better have social media chops, for sure. That’s a given. But it’s the intangibles, not the social media stuff, that determines whether you’ll succeed.
Here are some traits you’ll need to run an effective social media program:
You’re gonna ask colleagues — many with years of experience on you — to buy into a new paradigm. These are people who’ve done their jobs one way for years. To make it worse, you’re the new kid on the block. Earning the trust of your co-workers is no easy feat.
A good leader must have compassion, vision, thick skin, patience, and a natural ability to command confidence. Check out what Amber said about growing into leadership.
Most social media efforts start piecemeal: Somebody starts a Facebook page. Somebody else starts another one. Somebody dabbles in blogging for a few months.
Your job is to provide strategic direction. You’ll need to think like a CEO. You’ll need to know where the company is headed and where social media fits in that picture. Think long-term and approach problem-solving from a corporate, rather than departmental, point-of-view.
Most of all, you’ll need to make choices. You’re gonna have to say no sometimes. You’ll disappoint people. Without a clear vision, making those tough decisions is even harder.
Marketing wants to push a campaign message…hard. Legal wants to box you in to minimize risk. IT thinks your plan is a security threat. HR is worried about employee productivity. And you’re in charge of navigating this minefield.
Your job as social media director isn’t just to update Facebook and Twitter. You also have to teach. A lot. You’ll need to know when to stand firm, and when to compromise. Managing competing directives and diverse personalities will be you’re biggest challenge by far.
Boss: “We’re getting crushed in the Hispanic market. Our market share is down 18% in three years. It’s costing us $3 million a year. Ideas?”
You: “We need to focus on engagement. Join the conversation. By being more authentic and participating in community, we can connect and share.”
Boss: “Who hired you? They’re fired. So are you.”
It will take longer to achieve goals than you anticipate, I guarantee it. Be patient. Celebrate mile-marker victories. Keep your vision always in sight, though.
Change takes time, team members come and go, and progress is never a straight line. If you don’t have a high tolerance for roadblocks, you may want to question whether you want a social media director gig.
If you wanna sit at a desk and Tweet all day, forget it. Get off your duff! You have internal stakeholders to win over, IT heroes to befriend, a finance director to woo, employees to (re)train, memos to respond to, long meetings to sit through (and shorten), presentations to prepare, vendors to screen, job candidates to interview, travel arrangements to make, and progress reports to complete.
Still wanna get that Facebook update out? Better hustle!