I spend a lot of my free time goofing off on Twitter. It's probably my favorite hobby behind sleeping and hating myself. After a really cool group effort that caused Smash Mouth to eat the eggs, I was for some reason invited to be on a SXSW panel called Misuse the Internet and Make People Love You, organized by a good man named Nick Douglas. It was a good time, the other panelists were all fantastic, and we talked about, more or less, how the Internet gets played with and why. We only had an hour so we touched on as much as we could, from Oprah to @horse_ebooks to brands, though I feel like we could've done more than an hour on brands alone.
The entire concept of having your brand on Twitter-- out in the open and responding to people for everyone to see-- is almost universally done poorly. Not so much because it's a bad concept (it probably is) but it mainly has to do with the people behind the scenes. Not everyone, but the vast majority of people in these roles are very, very bad at it.
The root of the problem pretty obviously lies in the fact that these jokers in question were allowed to get through the door in the first place. Are you the hiring manager for your company looking to hire a social media professional but don't know where to begin? Do you just have a big, numbered list on your desk that says, "1) Get Followers, 2) Get Likes, 3) Money Shoots Out Of Computer Hole"? This article is meant for you! Are you currently involved in or becoming interested in a career in social media? You should read on, too!
Who should you hire? Pretty much anybody but those people. Seriously, go walk around the office and look for someone who is cool but bored with their current position and who can hold a decent human-style conversation, and see if they want to take a swing at it. Simply running a corporate Facebook and Twitter account is not a full time job and does not require a dedicated employee. All it really takes is someone with a little humility, some people skills, a sense of humor about their role, a decent enough grasp of the Internet, and and a couple hours each day to interact with the void, tops. Ideally-- and as long as your hiring practices hadn't allowed doofuses into your company-- this would mean most of your co-workers are able to do it.
With a few shining exceptions (which I won't mention so I don't sound like a shill), corporate social media efforts are not too special. Unless you have some genius pounding away in your company's basement on some clever bend that's actually funny or interesting, please do not help prolong this ridiculous phenomenon by paying a premium for a "Social Media Expert".
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