July 30, 2012; Source: Washington Post

Nonprofits are increasingly hiring part-time or full-time social media employees to build up their online presence. In doing so, organizations need to assess what they want to get out of social networking. On Small Business, a Washington Post blog, recently reached out to the nonprofit organization Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) and asked select members what specific skills are most desirable when looking for someone to manage one’s social media presence. The result offers some noteworthy tips on qualities your nonprofit may want to keep an eye out for when looking for a social media guru:

  • Pick a voice that will embody your nonprofit. Heidi Allstop, CEO of Spill, recommends: “Since this person is going to be the digital voice of your company, their ‘voice’ needs to match your product’s culture. With Spill, we are primarily dealing with young adults, so we want to mirror the online voice of a young adult.”
  • Pick someone who will stay abreast of your sector. Allie Siarto of Loudpixel says: “[W]hat does he or she read on a regular basis to stay up on the industry? The world of social media is changing every single day, so it’s just as important to know that a new hire is enthusiastic about keeping up with changes in the industry as it is that they know how to use today’s hottest tools.”
  • Find someone knowledgeable of key differences between social media platforms. Saul Garlick, the CEO of ThinkImpact, suggests: “[Y]ou really want this person to have a deep understanding of how different social media platforms speak to each other—how they integrate and also how they differ.”

Given the rapid-fire nature of social media, we’d add to this list the importance of finding someone who can handle being engaged, daily, on multiple platforms in the least time-consuming manner. Specializing in social media is easier said than done. Just because someone knows how to create a Facebook page doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to effectively engage and utilize its tools to benefit your organization. This is why it is vital for nonprofits to do their due diligence in evaluating whether someone’s skills will align with their needs in this arena. –Aine Creedon