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Interviewing for Social Media Positions

I stumbled across this comic while reading a by Phil Bauman, a blogger who writes about social media and healthcare. It made me think about my experiences and many of my friends that are interviewing for the many social media positions that are spurring.

I cannot stress how important it is to address simple five questions upfront in the interview, in order to fully understand the scope of your position and the challenges you may face.

Naysayers think using social media for business is easy. Who gives a Tweet anyway? Trust me, social media is not easy. Have you ever tried to get your mom on Facebook? Imagine what it would be like trying to get a Board of Directors to approve a Twitter account or a CEO Tweet as himself, and in most cases it takes more than then shouting at a board meeting “c’mon, everybody’s doing it!”

Social media is not a science nor is it a cookie-cutter PR program, It’s a relatively new media engine that should only be fueled by a team with a solid background in execution. Whether you are an expert or a novice, social media as a new space that we’re all relatively new in learning.

Below I give some insight on critical questions to ask when interviewing for a social media position-

1.       What clients would I be doing social media for and what’s the client/ c-suite buy in? 

If the agency is conducting a “listening phase” then you may want to hold the pen before signing. Why? This means your agency/company is in the initial stages and has not yet executed on a program. In many cases, if a company is just getting on board it could take weeks or even months until the c-suite executives are sold on executing a program. Make sure you gain a clear understanding of the phase that the company is in.

2.     Who are the other social media experts involved and what’s their background like?

Businesses that excel at social media understand that it’s primarily driven by strategy into robust campaigns, not a college grad that can work within a 140 character limit and hit Post. And, since none of us majored in social media at college, you may have wonder how in the past five – seven years, all these “experts” have emerged. Understanding who your team is and where they have learned their experience is important, if not crucial to your success down the line.

3.     What’s the budget?

Discussing money is always uncomfortable, but in your case it’s necessary to have a clear sense of what your future holds. Do your research on the client ahead of time. You may want to view their annual report and the competition. If your client is unstable, then so can be your livelihood when working for most agencies. You may ask “is the client on a retainer?,” “have you found the agencies social media jobs to be profitable?” or “how much budget do they have left for the year?” Social media is appealing to many businesses on the outset because of the free tools and features, but again – it’s success lies within the strategy, which translates to billable hours and is therefore costly to execute with a team. Most clients don’t realize this until they are hit with a quote after the listening exercise. I’ve seen the newness of the space generating hiring sprees that lead to layoffs shortly after, mostly due to clients becoming flighty about costs and hesitant to execute on programs.

4.     What’s the agency’s relationship with the client?

In most cases when working at an agency, your success relies heavily upon your client’s trust with senior management and therefore it becomes crucial for you to have an understanding of what the relationship is like before you join. Look for clues that the relationship may not be as “sunny” as they state it is and always trust your gut feeling.

 Or, if interested in doing social media for a corporation, ask to meet with a few of the c-suite executives before accepting the offer and ask questions pertaining to their acceptance of social media. Many times you will find if the company is new to the space, those at the top don’t have facebook pages or LinkedIn for that matter. Although those at the top are realizing social communications are a core function of marketing/PR that can’t be avoided, there are still many that view social media as something their kids play with. If in the case you are interviewing to become the sole social media extraordinary of a company, then patience is one of your best qualities. If the thought of dissecting every Yelp review with senior management makes you cringe, then you may find you are better off with an internet company or agency.

5.     Will I have a prize budget? What are some ways that the agency/company can integrate social media into existing marketing materials?

You may be wondering why these two unrelated questions are both stated here. Well, both questions are tied to the big question that companies all  demand, “what will our ROI be?” You will also hear a lot of “I want a more followers on Twitter and Facebook – I want more people to LIKE us!”If you are interviewing for this type of a position then you probably know that simply throwing up a Twitter or Facebook page isn’t going to cut it. Consumers and other business don’t necessarily search every company/product and hit “like.” The followers come in masses usually through the company paying an agency a lot of money to come up with a brilliant campaign, or the company is giving away stuff that is free, listening to complaints and responding; and finally because the marketing department is adds the company’s Twitter and Facebook buttons to collateral.

Ultimately, I say hirings during listening phases are a red flag, you are safe with a cool team of experts that already have the experience you want; and no money and/or buy in = keep searching.

I hope these questions set you up for success in your next interview. Remember in this new media age your job is to get heard – so ask questions and be LOUD!

Until next time…

The Louder Professional

How to Use This Blog

I’m sure many of you are coming across my blog for the first time via a link on my Facebook page, Twitter feed or from an email I sent out to my Network.

First off, thank you for stopping by!

Straight from the tech hub of San Francisco/Bay Area, this blog  is your new resource to find:

  • Learn Ways to Become Your OWN Best PR Person Online
  • Hear the Latest in Social Media
  • Find Where to Network in San Francisco
  • Discover Your Voice Online

I hope that you get as much from my blog as can I get from you, so I’d like to start a conversation about  the digital Revolution and explore the latest in social media. My goal is to create a community with that provides an exchange of ideas, resources and information.

I’m looking forward to OUR conversation(s)!

– Danielle

The Louder Professional

Hello “New-Age” PR World!

Hello World!

My career in PR has since lead to an exciting new take on the industry and lead me on a digital journey. I’ve seen and experienced a major paradigm shift in the way agencies handle communications for corporations big and small since social media started to bubble, growing beyond just the teenager demographic. Today, professionals are start seek out newer integrated PR/marketing strategies for their organization and themselves – now do you understand why I’m here?

The Louder Professional is a place where you can understand the direction the industry is heading. Here you can learn tips on how to take your everyday use of social media to maximize your business and professional presence online.

Let’s also discover what the “New Agency” will look like and the digital forces behind it. Also, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay area, stay in “the know” and view the calendar on this blog for upcoming events and opportunities to expand your network and meet professionals offline.  If you are interested in placing an event on the calendar, please send your submission to LouderPR(at)Gmail.com.

My overall goal is to keep you interested, entertained and informed. If you want me to discuss a topic – just ask.

I’ll share my experiences and knowledge with you, but also welcome your feedback, criticism, and ideas.

“I truly want this to be a place for people to learn how to increase their visibility, create a voice online, use social media, and get LOUD!” (-ME!)

About me:

After studying Organizational Communications at SFSU, I went on to working at an award-winning international agency serving top clients in healthcare, non-profit and technology sectors.  My areas of expertise include Executive visibility, public speaking, event marketing and promotion, and not to mention – social media.

Use your voice, share your ideas with me and everyone in this community.

 

Until next time…

The Louder Professional