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I get asked all the time by clients and others what is a social media strategist? I tell most it’s a simple question with a complex answer.
As you think about hiring a social media strategist for your brand or using an an advertising agency to back-fill this critical position I’d recommend ensuring the individual or agency has these 16 critical skills.
1) The individual or agency must gasp the challenges of working with multiple departments and execs. In a corporate environment this individual needs to understand P&L responsibility and how cross functional teams work together.
2) Understands how to work with public corporate entity and can help client define when/where transparency begins and ends.
3) Comfortable working in corp environment that is budget and ROI driven. Meaning, must understand that ROI is measured differently from department to department and can structure back end reporting accordingly.
4) Strong grasp of baseline online marketing and can integrate social media marketing with all: SEO, Web Site Analytics (Google, Omniture, Compete), Web Site Design & UI, Landing Pages, ROI Analysis, PPC Campaigns, Content Development, Domain Research and Selection, Blog Platforms, Technologies and Processes.
5) Understands and can utilize emerging platforms and social media measurement tools including: Awareness, Radian6, Sprout Social, HootSuite, Seesmic, Tweetdeck, Klout, Peer Index, et al. I’ve intentionally mixed applications that measure social influence like Klout and Peer Index with more robust platforms like Awareness and Radian6 which offer much more robust functionality.
6) Can integrate PR initiatives with social media marketing - PR is rapidly being shaped by social media strategists who understand the value of real time marketing and it’s impact on public relations.
7) Good grasp of Platforms and Optimizing all for traffic: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (top tier) and second tier: Yelp, Groupon, Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr, etc. A good social media strategist has to be able to select the right messaging and content strategy that resonates with your target market with the appropriate platform.
As an example, a B2B company should have a strong presence on LinkedIn but in most cases will not need to be visible via Yelp, which is a consumer facing social platform.
8) Some feel for Customer Relationship Management issues and how to integrate and utilize social media marketing initiatives to drive CRM. A good social media strategist or agency can give you a sense of how to leverage social media marketing for listening and engaging, not just broadcasting, as many brands are prone to do.
9) Some knowledge and usage of SalesForce and/or BaseCamp integration with overall lead generation and tracking processes. There are many other similar tools but these two are the market leaders in terms of features, pricing and adoption.
10) Ability to help you shape core marketing focus: customer acquisition, leads, revenue generation, branding, engagement, CRM. You can’t server all at once in many cases, so your social media strategist has to articulate your messaging to achieve desired ROI.
11) Technical with good grasp of Web 2.0/3.0 - doesn’t need to be an engineer but should be comfortable with technology, tools and applications used via client side and server. I see so many marketers who don’t even have a basic understanding of technology - run for the exits if they show no technical knowledge. Your not hiring a programmer but they have to understand basic web site design, local apps vs. cloud usage, WordPress, content management solutions, mail server usage and set up and even server set up.
12) Mentor, train and provide leadership for individuals and departments - help them understand how to build “social voice” and authentically communicate with community and potential customers.
13) Help define social media policy and procedures.
14) Strong knowledge of content development, optimization (Blog, Articles, Tweets, Images, Video) and how to cross promote across social web - this is becoming more and more critical as the sheer volume of content increases ten fold.
15) Established credentials as Blogger, writer, content producer.
16) In-depth understanding of SEO best practices and how to utilize social web and marketing to drive SERPs and traffic.
That’s my short list for a social media strategist!