Theres been 2 articles that caught my eye, both firing seemingly at each other over the right age to hire a social media consultant to represent your company. One article talks about “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25″ and the other “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media” (See links below).
Honestly both articles have some good points but when it comes down to hiring anyone for your business, regardless of age it should be based on maturity, professionalism, experience and knowledge. Being a lifelong employer I’ve found “stupid” and lack of maturity comes in all ages. “You cant fix stupid.” -Ron White. I dont think you can pin an exact age on who should run your social media marketing. We all go through different experiences in life that shape us individually and while maturity is a factor, its hard to put an number on it. We all “grow up” differently.
Social Media concepts are still new and growing but what companies DO need to do is start taking it seriously and investing well in it. I still see too much of the “hire someone on the cheap” mentality that most business’ wouldnt dare do with other positions in their company. That needs to stop. You are hiring someone to be the “face” of your company in representing you. Unless your business is a Clown Company, your companies reputation shouldn’t be taken lightly or cheaply.
Companies should heavily interview and check the maturity level of the person they hire like any other job. They should inspect thoroughly how the prospective hire handles their personal communications and behavior on social media. Social Media is a great background checker on how someone might represent your company. You can look at their accounts and see how and what they do. For myself I dont publish a list of our clients or make it known who I represent. It works in two ways where the information is proprietary and also that what I publish personally doesn’t reflect off my clients. Even then I’m still wary of what I publish online as clients and prospective clients are watching.
Marketing and PR are important in experience. Hiring someone who only knows how to setup profiles and use Social Media will likely be a mistake. They’ve got to understand marketing and know how to apply it professionally. They need to know how to sell and handle PR issues. I would only hire someone who has marketing experience. Social media falls under the Marketing Department. There should also be experienced oversight and monitoring of people using the accounts.
A company should also look at how their accounts are handled and what the “exit” procedure is in a quit/fire situation. They should control passwords and they should inspect how the person has professionally responded as employers have sent them packing. I’ve seen many a nasty exits where unprofessional social media marketers get ugly on their Facebook and Twitter and its sad. Some people think social media is a place to air dirty laundry but in certain contexts its unprofessional. I’ve see a few people that consistently get ugly when an employer sends them packing and wonder why no one wants to work with them anymore. With my firm we’ve found clients that leave come back 90% of the time after trying the competition and exits have to be handled professionally if you expect to get them to come back. You hopefully aren’t sloppy about your business, so don’t be about your social media reputation either. Hire well.
In the end, interview and background check thoroughly. Look for the same general qualities you’d look for in any other job in your business. I dont think age can measure what you need to hire for a business. Like any other position it comes down to maturity, professionalism, experience, knowledge and who is a good fit for your company. Putting extra work into vetting and hiring well goes a very long way.