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The Better Social Business Blog

Social media & marketing technology storytelling by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson
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Social Media Strategy and the Fat Smoker

Author: Terry Ebaugh

On 29, Sep 2010

Guest post by @terryeva, a solutions architect and a social media enthusiast

Recently a large media company posted a job opening for a Social Media Manager position. I read the listed duties and responsibilities, the skills and qualifications, and how success would be determined. Most of the duties revolved around building a content distribution network, interacting with consumers, SWOT analysis, tagging content, and other Social Media 101 tasks. The skills section listed attributes such as 4-6 years experience, expert in the social media universe including the use of a long list of social media tools, and “demonstrated ability to map out a marketing strategy and then drive that strategy proven by testing metrics.” Most of skills and duties sounded reasonable but they lost me with the listing of measurements. The measurements included unmeasurable metrics such as “The number of and quality of links from other sites to our blogs and media,” “responsiveness to communications,” “number of meaningful comments,” and “engagement of our blog/community/network.” I am not sure how these measurements are measurable or reasonable.

The main problem I have with the job posting is it appears to dictate how the Social Media Manager will do the job rather than letting a Social Media Strategy drive measurable results. Rather than dictate how the Social Media Manager will perform the positions duties, why not make measurable goals part of the duties and responsibilities. I can think of a number of measurable goals that would apply to just about all media organizations. For example:

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The essential duties and responsibilities almost scream out the type of skills needed.

Obviously, a Social Media Manager would need to be able to create a Social Media Strategy. The strategy would include an Executive Summary, Purpose, SWOT analysis, Market Segmentation, Marketing Mix, and the Strategy for each Social Network.  Before writing the Social Media Strategy, one must establish listening posts.  The listening posts will help identify influencers, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, consumer sentiment, etc.

Some example skills I would look for are:


  • Passion for helping people
  • Passion for sharing information
  • Passion for connecting people
  • Demonstrated ability to create a Social Media Strategy
  • Excels at research, possesses excellent writing skills
  • Possesses excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work in a team environment

HR recruiters could ask for sample blog posts or social media activity examples to determine an applicant’s communication skills. This will help filter out applicants who do not meet obvious criteria. During the interview process, I would ask the applicant to explain how they would devise a Social Media Strategy.  I would ask about how they would establish their listening posts, what kind of measurable metrics one would be able to find through the act of listening.  The interview process would also help me gauge ones passion.

David Maister authored the book, Strategy and the Fat Smoker; Doing What’s Obvious But Not Easy. In the book, David asserts that most people understand strategy and goals but fail at executing the strategy because execution is hard.  I assert the job posting I referenced sets the Social Media Manager up for failure by dictating the strategy and unreasonable measurements.  The job posting does not give the Social Media Manager an opportunity to “lose weight and stop smoking” by executing a properly formed strategy.

How would you write a job posting for a Social Media Manager?

Photo Credit: Smithsonian

SIDE NOTE: Our team has, for some time now (arguably most of 2010), been working on a book about this *very* subject: social media jobs. There are sooooo many new positions now for “social media” and we find it intriguing that this “new role” is and has rapidly become such a high-demand role in the past year. Interestingly, despite the high demand, and as Terry points out in this fabulous post, the job descriptions for such roles are all over the map and often set quite unrealistic expectations. We are aiming to complete the writing of the book by end of year; be on the lookout for it hopefully just after the New Year! :)

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  1. Angie,

    Thanks for the response. I replied on your blog ;)


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