You’re typing in 140 character messages, clicking a button marked “like”, and seemingly coasting through the work day on a YouTube-fueled cloud while the rest of the office works their fingers to the brittle, clocked-in bone. On the surface, social media still looks extraneous to some businesses, but that is a surface that is quickly turning the tide in favor of hiring more and more social media team members to create, establish, and maintain a strong and engaging online presence. But Network Solutions and the University of Maryland’s School of Business recently conducted a survey that showed only one in three small businesses are active on their social networks.

Why such a small number? Social media efforts, according to companies surveyed, were either ineffective or fell short of demands. While it’s impossible to know exactly what the demands for each business are, I have a fairly good idea that if these companies had a solid manager in place this wouldn’t be the case. Any company that wants to get anywhere today needs an online presence and hiring a social media manager to hold down the fort for you is imperative.

Kick the stereotypes that all online managers do is watch cat videos on YouTube and goof off on Facebook to the curb- here’s what you and your business should look for when searching for a superstar social media pro.

“Life of the Business”

Social media does more than spread the word about your company around online in an affordable and fast way. It gives your company a face to its name and the free will to be creative in constructing a personality and voice to go along with it. As the life of your business, you’ll want to look to hire someone who understands social media better than just having a Facebook account. Any professional worth their salt is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, possibly Pinterest, Tumblr, and have established a blog of some kind. They subscribe to newsletters from Mashable and Inc. Magazine and at the drop of a hat know the deetz on some of the biggest news stories surrounding the social media community. Look for someone who has racked up written experience, whether great or small, and has a distinctive voice of their own to contribute to your company.

Emphasis on the Manager- Not an Intern

A lot of companies think that hiring an intern (an unpaid one at that) to create a social media presence can get them instant kudos online. Do you remember what an internship is like? You work for about three or four months and then move on to try your hand at another position. Internships are a constant revolving door and when you’re trying to establish a voice for your company, having it change every three to four months each year can confuse both customers and anyone who can’t quite adapt to that voice on their own. Hire a manager to be the backbone for your social media team and then focus on the interns to bring in and train. Also, having a manager is extremely helpful when you need someone to be accountable for major responsibilities and overseeing daily up-to-date content.

It’s Time Consuming

Prior to hiring a social media manager and creating a social media department within my company, I used to handle all of the online responsibilities on my own. As the CEO, tackling on even more work proved to be difficult to manage alone, especially since every social network refreshes itself with more news stories on a constant basis (think every few minutes/seconds). You can’t assign social media duties to people that already have full plates of work as it is either because they won’t be able to keep up. This is where a social media manager, ready to tackle any written project, send a tweet at any hour on the hour, and always rooting around for more ways to get your business exposure, is your company’s superhero to the rescue!


 

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation, an online filing services company that specializes in incorporations and LLCs. Find her online at mycorporation.com and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.