Wednesday, April 15, 2009

8 Requirements for Your Social Media Hire or Personality Traits That All Stellar Social Marketers Share

This fabulous photo is by Combined Media.

I spend a LOT of time thinking about social media. It's a passion of mine. (Can you tell?)

I love learning about these tools, connecting with people across space and time and sharing my thoughts and ideas. I also enjoy helping others to follow suit. And while I'm usually a glass is half full person, it's becoming clearer to me every day that not all social marketers are created equal. In fact, there are specific qualities that the best social media marketers all share (and others don't).

Looking for a job in social media or looking to hire an online community manager? Here are 8 key characteristics that are required. Missing some attributes from the list? Do not apply.

Stellar Social Marketers:

1) Have a point of view. Let's face it lots of people are nice but most are not memorable. Why? Because they have nothing to say. They won't rock the boat or be controversial. They are milk toast. This is death for a social marketer because no one talks about nothing. If you want to succeed as a social marketer you've got to have an interesting angle, a soap box, a hook - a point!

2) Really like other people. Social media exist to enhance relationships. If you don't like people (you know who you are) with all of their foibles, quirks and comments, you're going to hate it out here.

3) Are curious. The best social marketers are learners. They fly from one idea, case study, research report and tool to the next because they're so damn eager to learn. They want to absorb as many lessons as possible so that they can apply them to their practice.

4) Listen well. If there is one thing that will kill your ability to connect with other folks it's the inability or unwillingness to listen. If you want to be good at social media, take a deep breath, close your mouth and be quiet.

4) Aren't into spin. This is a tactful way of saying that the best social marketers don't lie. This is a corollary to point 1 because having a point of view requires being authentic and true. At a minimum, good social marketers aspire to tell the truth. Because of their candor, they don't crumble in the face of criticism and they don't confuse the community.

5) Are generous. The best social marketers live by this value - "give it away." They believe, rightly so, that what is given will be returned. Generosity is their currency. Social media are all about sharing and sharing requires a generous spirit. That's why it's called the Web.

7) Lead. Social marketers are changing the landscape of marketing, communications, fundraising, advocacy and public relations! They are testing new tools and strategies. Most important they are transforming their organizational cultures. This takes great courage and a willingness to inspire, change and be out front.

8) Are fun. The best social marketers are likable, interesting and fun. They are the life of the party! Again, stellar social marketers really like people. They're good listeners. They're interesting and they know how to make us feel good. In short, if we knew them in person we'd want them as friends.



Danielle Brigida said...

Great post! I think if you had to add one trait, it would be they have to be patient. Sometimes it takes a long time to earn the respect of the community-- and that's OK. As long as the person loves social media and is committed to serving as a useful member of the community time will work for them. :)

John Haydon said...

Can think strategically - with a vision for the future in mind. Big picture.

Amy Sample Ward said...

Great list! I think one of the most important traits is flexibility. As a community builder and leader you need to be able to roll with the punches, motivate the community, and support its growth - whether it is the original vision YOU had or not. A community isn't about the organizer; a community is about the members.

It's definitely hard to balance your goals and ideas with what is actually most interesting and motivating to the community. It may be a great idea but if the community doesn't want to change that way, use that tool, or whatever else, then the community will leave you and you'll be a lonely organizer.

Flexibility is always good in my book - for organizers or anyone else!

Amy Sample Ward said...

I've got one more to add!

Ask questions all the time. This feeds into the Listen item. If you are going to ask questions, you better listen to the answers, even if they aren't what you wanted or expected to hear. But, asking those questions will allow you to continue supporting your community and helping it thrive in the ways/directions that are really most wanted.

Think of Community Builders as 2 year olds: all you hear is, "how?" and "why?" but in the best way :)

John Haydon said...

To add to what Amy mentioned, folks who have had some life experiences (fallen down and have gotten up) are great listeners. They tend to be very empathetic, which can be a rare find in social media.

Jocelyn - great post!

Alex, aka SocialButterfly said...

Ooo, I really like all the additions everyone else already wrote. I guess, (with fun in mind here), see if they pass Mashable's Social Media Recruitment Test:

Did anyone else see this? I thought is was more of a background check than a recruitment test, but it's fun intended. =)

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