I often get asked how I broke into Social Media. While that’s a blog post for a different time, (probably multiple blog posts) I think it’s important to discuss some of the options for hiring a social media manager. Edward Boches began a conversation on his blog, Creativity Unbound, on Hiring a Social Media Strategist based on someone’s Klout score. My thoughts are below:
“Great article, Edward. One point that I struggle with is people judging the legitimacy of a candidate by their social media networks. If someone is already working as a Digital Strategist or Community Manager, it’s somewhat unfair to judge their abilities based on their personal accounts.
I spend most of my time online representing the clients and communities I work with. When it comes to my personal Twitter account I want to use it as just that- my personal account. I want to tweet about my breakfast and my life and occasionally I will create and share content, but I think the fact that I only have a few hundred followers shouldn’t overshadow the thousands I’ve gained for clients. It would be silly to judge the work of an architect based on their own home, when you need them to design your commercial space. You’d look at what they did for their past clients, not what they do with their personal time.”
The reply I received from Edward was supportive, but I also got this from @ariherzog:
Perhaps, but not necessarily. What if the architect designed her own home but makes a living on the speakers circuit and has no portfolio of external work?
What I am trying to say Ari, is that I see personal branding and professional branding as two different things. How I manage my personal network is not indicative of how I represent a BRAND on Twitter. My personal objectives in social media differ greatly from my professional objectives. My client’s goal is to increase followers and influence, whereas my goal is to engage with my friends and like-minded individuals in my field of work. If I wanted to change companies, why would a HR manager judge my legitimacy as a candidate based on my Klout score when my objectives on my personal accounts may be entirely different than the objective of the previous brands I’ve worked with and the HR manager I am interviewing with. To negate me as a candidate because I only have 300 followers completely discounts the hours I’ve spent everyday building my client’s brand through Twitter and not my own. It’s an inaccurate representation of my skill. Furthermore, no great candidate for any job or speaking opportunity- architect, social media “guru” or otherwise- should be without a portfolio (prior work representative of skill). Why would an architect OR social media “guru” be hired for speaking opportunities without the portfolio to back up their knowledge of the field? What could they possibly have to discuss without experience to prove their legitimacy in the area? An individual’s Klout score does not accurately represent the breadth of their work and the fact that HR managers would support that is only fueling the fire of ignorance in the social media realm and relegating the hiring process to the status of a popularity contest.
(Comments are always more interesting than my posts. Let me know your thoughts.)