Eve Mayer | @LinkedInQueen | Article originally published on Forbes You are a CEO (or if not, let’s pretend for a moment that you are) in charge of improving the customer service and sales of your company, which are currently both done by phone. You need better customer service and you need more sales by phone. At just this moment, a telephone repairman arrives at your door to fix one of the company phones. This repairman has been repairing phones for a very long time. He is very enthusiastic about phone technology, understands the inner workings of them, and can fix just about phone better than anyone else around. Now imagine, as the CEO of this company, you run up to the telephone repairman and say, “You understand phones! You are exactly who we need to be in charge of telephone customer service and sales. Now, get on the phone and start making sales and customer service calls to turn this company around!”
I’m hoping the ridiculousness of this situation is evident. But companies are basically doing this every day.
Too often, Executives — still baffled by who should handle their social media — think interns are the solution. They say, “Wait a minute! Interns are young and have been using social media their entire lives. They really get it. Interns should handle our social media!”
They are right in that most young people are very savvy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest. But just like the phone repairman, understanding the technology does not mean that this is the best person to use that technology to represent your company. A young intern may be the perfect choice to handle your company’s social media. Or it may be a middle aged person or a mature person who is the right fit. It is not their age that matters. Nor is a high degree of experience or skill at using social media for personal networking a reason to put that person at the helm of your company’s social media.
Let’s face it. Any idiot can do social media. This is why so much of the world regularly uses Facebook. For mass adoption, it is absolutely necessary that social media platforms be easy to use. If not, few of us would have developed the habit of turning to them in our daily lives. So then, how logical is it to engage someone to represent the voice of your organization just because she or he is at ease using tools that just about anyone can use?
The people who should be leading your organization’s social media are the ones who know how to communicate in the voice of your organization and know how to use this communication to achieve your organization’s goals. (Oh and by the way, Execs, you need to tell these people what the heck the organization’s goals are in the first place, but that is a another story.)
To make sure you have the right people leading your social media team, ask yourself one or more of the following questions:
- Do I trust them to represent the company?
- Do I trust them to meet in person and have a discussion with a high profile prospect?
- Do I trust them speaking one-on-one with our biggest client to resolve a customer service issue?
- Do I trust them to handle an email interview when the best trade publication in the industry asks to interview someone at the company?
- Do I trust them to create a white paper to explain the benefits of our product or service?
- Do I trust them to handle the threat of a lawsuit via the telephone?
If the answers are yes, then you have the right people. If they already have experience using social media platforms, even better! If they don’t, you can easily get them the training they need. On the other hand, training people on the ability to earn your trust to represent your company is a much more difficult challenge.