There’s an old episode of the hit television show The Office where the now infamous boss, Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell), hires his nephew to work for Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Rather than providing any sort of value to the company and the employees therein, Scott’s nephew becomes a burden, creating more problems than he solves. Between his lack of experience and lack of competency, he’s simply not qualified for the position.
When I hear that a business owner has hired a nephew, or a cousin, or a family friend to run social media for the company, I think of this episode. Sure, it seems like a good idea — where else are you going to find such cheap labor? And, if people as young as 10 are on social media, how hard can it be? Well, that’s a lot like saying that anyone who owns a television set should write for TV. The reality is that knowing social media and understanding how it can impact your marketing efforts takes passion, commitment, and most importantly, an educated strategy.
First, assessing a candidate to implement your social media program starts with the knowledge that even people who use these platforms on a daily basis may not posses a complete understanding. For instance, people who have been on social media since 2005 are likely to have never used a Facebook brand page, purchased an ad on LinkedIn or built-up a 10,000 person following on Twitter.
In many cases, and much like that fateful episode of The Office, hiring an inexperienced person to do your social media management may cause more harm than good.
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Also, when it comes to social media, there’s the lingering question of legal issues. For instance, many people don’t know that according to rules defined by many social networking sites, brands running contests are obligated to use specific language and provide contest rules to ensure they’re not misleading the public (that’s the “no purchase necessary” language you hear in most sweepstakes offers). Companies that skimp on engaging a professional to do this type of work for them on social media put themselves at risk of lawsuits when they hire people who aren’t trained in these matters.
Even those users who have large followings and a strong understanding of social media don’t necessarily know about tracking metrics. And, likely can’t tell you how to use social media listening tools like Engagor, SocialMention and FollowerWonk to increase engagement. As you can see, there’s a lot more to running successful social media than just posting a photo to Facebook or writing a funny caption that your two best friends “like.”
Across the board, most businesses will benefit from working with seasoned professionals who know and fully understand audience engagement. If you are considering hiring a family member or friend to run social media for your business, our Orlando advertising agency wants you to be sure you ask them the right questions to ensure they’re qualified. Remember that social media is, at its core, a strategy for developing trusted relationships with your audience. Leaving this in the hands of your nephew is, put quite simply, a “Michael Scott mistake.”Back to Thinking