24 June 2010 ~ 2 Comments

How to recruit a Community Manager via social media

hire recruit community social media managerWith everyone talking about Community Managers and Social Media Managers, you’re seeing your competitors hiring them, and you’ve started thinking you could do with one to manage your brand’s community on your site or social networks.

You’ve read and compiled a job description, figured out whether you need a Community Manager or Social Media Manager, are sure you don’t believe in any of the common misconceptions about Community Management and are ready to go hunting for the right person to represent your company. But where to look, and how to go about it?

Ensure the circumstances are right

Your very first step is to make sure that a Social Media or Community Manager will be able to fit into your current structure. As someone who has been dropped into unsuspecting and unprepared teams before, you risk resentment and confusion from all sides. So speak to your existing team, understand how they see themselves working with your new hire, and lay the tracks for easy integration as this person will be liaising with virtually everyone at one stage or another.

Once you are absolutely clear about what you and your team expect from the Community or Social Media Manager, think about how much time you will dedicate on finding the right person. If you are going for quality, you will be spending time searching as the pool of experienced practitioners isn’t very large. Given that this new employee will be your brand’s ambassador, I don’t need to stress how important it is to not fudge this appointment.

Whatever you do, don’t rush into the easy option of getting an intern in to test the waters, or palming off the responsibility on an existing employee until later, whenever that is; it can be done, but needs careful consideration.

Shun common recruitment routes

You might have some joy on the big job boards, but you’re better off working in the smaller specialised ones such as Totaljobs. Some industry trade websites provide job boards; for example, in the UK we have Revolution and Mad. Candidates will be more targeted and you are likely to find the future employee you are looking for. There are Community Management professionals providing job board for others, advertising roles they find or are asked to promote. You can find a few on my article about how to find a Social Media Community Manager job.

The easiest way to promote your new role is to turn to your own broadcasting tools. Post a tweet using your corporate Twitter account announcing the vacancy, and ask your staff members to retweet it. Post it daily until you are satisfied with the response. Make sure to link back to a job description and information about your company (make it sound sexy!). You could do this on your blog and include sharing buttons for others to promote your role on other social networks.

Finally, as more people start using LinkedIn for professional networking, make sure you post the job to a few relevant groups; if you can afford it, post a job through the official job posting tool, as this will show up to all those who have set up specific keyword searches on their LinkedIn homepage. In addition to this, use LinkedIn to search for people with the words Social Media or Community in their job title or summary, either segmenting by industry or not.

Dig around for gems

Twitter is awash with Social Media and Community Managers. You can find them by searching Twitter for relevant keywords; if you are looking for an Online Community Manager you could follow my curated list of Community Managers on Twitter to quickly dip in and start finding and talking with potential candidates.

Finally, do you already have a community space on your website? Make sure to advertise the vacancy there. You never know – one of your userbase may have the skills required to be successful. If they are already taking the time to participate in your online community, they most likely are passionate about your brand. Just be careful they understand the difference between being a customer and an employed advocate and the very fine line between the two.

Some general tips

  • Educate yourself as much as you can about Social Media and Community Management. You can find lots of resources on my Resources page, and of course you can read this blog and the weekly list of curated links I post every Friday.
  • Trial different services, and if you don’t receive good quality applications, find new avenues to post your vacancies on. If your brand is in a niche industry, find websites and blogs covering this topic and ask to have your role advertised there.
  • If you receive a lot of speculative applications, connect with these people on LinkedIn or build a Twitter list for future reference.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn company page summary is filled in, and upload a logo. Do the same with your Twitter account. To get better candidates you need to look professional and attractive to them.
  • Talk with people. Go to networking events. It’s a small industry, and many jobs are shared word-of-mouth.
  • Consider employing a community management agency in the short to medium term; this will allow you to have professionals in charge of your community and will give you time to define the role and find a permanent employee if you decide to go down that path later.
  • Treat your applicants with respect. Respond to their emails, and don’t mess them around. A bad reputation will stick to you like glue.

I hope these tips will be helpful in finding your dream Social Media or Community Manager. If you have a job you want to promote, give me a shout and I might be able to help you. Have you successfully recruited anyone or been recruited via social media? Care to share your story?

[photo by Nevada Tumbleweed!]

| More
  • Pingback: Professional Forum Moderators — Word Grrls

  • http://lucaslu.tumbr.com Lucas

    Great post Blaise! This is a very insightful article and I exceptionally agree with you on two points:

    1. Consult the existing employees about the idea of hiring a social media expert. For the most part, a social media manager do, in fact, touch all aspects of a business operation and thus will have the opportunity to work with all departments across the enterprise. Soliciting comments and opinions about the new hire will only help to build stronger team cohesion and spirit and make sure that the new manager will be a good fit.

    2. Don’t rush into the easy option of getting an intern in to test the waters, or palming off the responsibility on an existing employee until later. This is very important because the incoming social media manager could be potentially handling many sensitive content or issues that are crucial to the brand identity of a firm, which usually takes years to build and mature. It is unwise to allow inexperienced interns or current employees who do not possess enough knowledge to handle the online presence of the firm, since everything they say or write that do not convey, agree or resonate the core value and image of the company, the brand will be tarnished.

    Thank you Blaise for the post! Look forward to your next one!