Whether you’re 9 or 90, it seems that just about everyone is on social media these days, posting and sharing and weighing in on all manner of conversations. While the most prolific social media connoisseurs among us probably think of themselves as quite savvy and skilled in the art of social media, doing social media for a living actually requires an entirely different and highly specialized skill set.

A truly proficient social media manager and specialist must not only be technically proficient on social media platforms, but also fully proficient at using social media to advance strategic business goals. Consequently, your business wouldn’t want to hire social media specialists just because they are immersed in social media and know about it more than you do. Here are the five essential things to look for when hiring social media specialists:

  1. Are they skilled at using social media to gauge how a business is perceived? Anyone can follow the people and things that interest them on social media, but a social media specialist knows how to follow conversations and content on social media that matter to your business. They can cut through all of the cacophony on social media, efficiently and effectively seize upon what is being said about your business and your industry, and report it all back to you in a meaningful, useful way.
  2. Can they foster and build upon relationships with your audience? A specialist’s most important job is to strategically build a loyal audience and then tap into that audience to advance company goals. The loyal audience they build isn’t simply any audience, either; it’s a specific demographic your company is most interested in reaching on social media. Talented specialists should be able to discuss specific examples of how they would build a campaign to attract your business’s target demographic. Ideal candidates also should be able to explain how they would interact with your audience to build lasting, meaningful relationships.
  3. Are they effective storytellers? Just as an advertising executive tells enticing stories about a business to “sell” customers on its products and services, a skilled specialist knows how to take advantage of the incredibly vast array of social media platforms at their disposal to tell these same great stories. After all, every social media platform calls for a different form of storytelling – on Twitter, the story must be told in 140 characters or less; on Facebook, the story must be told with an enticing headline that convinces the user to comment on and “share” the post. Just as important, specialists must have an eye for compelling visual content that will attract eyeballs.
  4. Are they savvy with crisis management? Like their traditional public-relations counterparts, social media managers must be skilled at crisis PR. A single Tweet that is deemed insensitive or inappropriate has the ability to ruin a company’s reputation, and one sloppy Facebook post can quickly go viral and embarrass an entire organization. Consequently, specialists must be skilled at not only managing PR crises when they occur, but also maintaining vigilance over corporate social media content to ensure such mistakes never slip through. This is where EveryoneSocial’s social media sharing platform comes in hand. It gives specialists more control when it comes to company-wide social media employee advocacy efforts. It enables them to align any advocacy efforts with company social media goals.
  5. Can they adapt a social media strategy to align with shifting company goals and priorities? Even if social media specialists know how to design a social media strategy, it’s also important they understand their strategy does not exist in a vacuum, but rather is tied to a much bigger picture and exists for the sole purpose of serving the higher goal. You want to find someone who can quickly adapt social media strategy as corporate goals and priorities shift over time. The ideal candidate should be able to sit in on corporate strategic planning sessions and make specific recommendations on social media strategy.

Don’t allow your company to be sold short by candidates who wow you with their social media technical skills but have little to offer on the strategic side. Truly skilled specialists are in high demand because they know how to align the power of social media with corporate goals and objectives. They also know how to build desired relationships with a loyal audience, tell stories effectively, prevent and manage PR crises, and adapt strategy as the company’s focus shifts.