After 8 years of active engagement on the corporate side of the social media field I feel it is ok to make the following list of required skills for a social media strategist.
Before you look into the list it is important to understand your own objectives. If you want just some tactical programs, a fancy campaign or a get the “social media thing” into your marketing plan because somebody said so, don’t look for a strategist. Just look for any of the thousands of social media marketing people who do that.
But if your thinking is more along the lines of preparing your business to get aligned with the shift in our society where consumers and corporate buyers make their educated purchase decisions based on recommendations of their respective networks, where ‘customer experience’ means anything to you and global competition is more than a buzzword, you may consider a social media strategist for your engagement. Here is what that kind of team or person need to be able to deliver:
- Ability to create a thorough assessment of an organization and their ecosystem including the organization’s team, partners, customers, prospects and competitors.
- Having clearly defined methods to do such an assessment completely and most efficiently. Meaning that the result need to provide a complete and holistic view of the respective ecosystem and can be done within a reasonable amount of time given the size of the ecosystem.
- Skills to develop a social media strategy for a department or the whole organization. Strategy including goals and objectives, resources, activities and programs, strategic benefits for the involved ecosystem such as customers or partners and a clear understanding about measuring and monitoring progress and success as well as a financial ROI.
- Having a strategy framework that is applicable to social media. Making the strategy framework transparent and being able to share it with the client.
- Knowledge and understanding to bring the social media strategy in alignment with the corporate strategy and at the same time make the needs and wants from the market an integral part of that strategy.
- Create well articulated plans how to involve the key constituencies, such as customers, partners, vendors or other relevant player of the market in the strategy development.
- Ability to create engagement plans for a cross functional initiative that may span all market facing departments including sales, support, product management, marketing, HR and other areas.
- Full comprehension of the impact of social media not only for marketing but equally important for sales, support, product management and all other market facing units of an organization.
- Understanding the organizational implication of a social initiative and concepts to gradually engage all teams within an organization
- Ability to explore, select and implement the various technologies that are best suited for the company and its social media objectives.
- Skills to develop social media programs and plans using planning models and being able to share the process and development with the organization.
- Skills to plan resources and budgets as well as calculating a financial ROI of the social media engagement
- Knowing the functionality and importance as well as limitations of social media monitoring, it’s tools and its best way to apply them in the various situations.
- Ability to create a social media guideline and motivational measures to engage the team
- Having a crystal clear understanding of social media time management relative the companies business needs and objectives
- Skills to organize and manage a social media initiative throughout a medium to large organization
- Having proven methods, models and frameworks for all strategic and tactical activities
Obviously a savvy social media practitioner or consultant is using social media for their own business and has their own presence. While the presence may not be an indicator for the skills and capabilities there are some interesting observations one can make:
1) If a consultant is focusing on tools versus purpose of an initiative – that would be one of the first red flags.
2) If a consultant is trying to become a media celebrity and is following thousands of people on Twitter – knowing that that person will not be able to have actual conversations but just collecting names is another red flag.
3) The huge networker are more likely to have fun with building huge networks than building high impact initiatives.
4) People who continuously promote their 5 or 10 best tips to do something in social media are certainly helpful but probably not the kind of strategist a larger organization is really looking for.
5) Consultant who have never worked in a larger organization have most likely a difficult time to think in organization alignment and corporate strategies – and a social media strategy with a business impact is no different.
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