Choosing the Nonprofit Social Media Maven


Having a social media maven is now a prerequisite for the successful nonprofit.

But how does someone not an expert in social media, choose an expert who will successfully plan and execute a social media campaign on behalf of an organization?

The trick is in spotting the character traits that come with the territory. Even a social media dummy can hire a true expert with this foreknowledge.

Here’s what to look for:

Displays genuine interest. The social media maven wants to know about every facet of the nonprofit’s workings. He wants to know what the individuals in the organizations are doing and how the organizations work is affecting its natural community and donors. You want your social media maven to be able to identify and highlight activities and events that will interest and engage the public.

The gift of gab in text form. There’s a knack to having a conversational thread by text in social media. Ask to see a sample of a successful social media network thread, such as on Facebook or on Twitter. The way your maven taps out words makes a difference in how well he can court and engage an audience. You want your guy to have sparkling dialogue happening. It’s an art.

An understanding of the immediacy of the medium. Social media is all getting stuff out while it’s fresh and answering questions and comments right away. Engagement has to be continual and speak to the moment. For example, the minute news of the tornado devastation in Moore, Oklahoma became apparent, the car donation charity Kars For Kids came out with a meme expressing its heartfelt caring for the victims, “Stay Safe, Oklahoma.” People respond to such expressions of caring.

Groks the goal. You want your social media person to understand the aims of your organization so that the content posted will reflect your true goals. Every effort on behalf of your organization on social media should somehow connect to the nonprofit’s ultimate aims.

Humble enough to seek advice. New employees often tough it out, trying to guess what is needed instead of humbly seeking advice from more veteran people in the organization. The new guy on the block wants to appear knowledgeable. But knowing when to seek opinions and advice is not a sign of ignorance but of wisdom. Does your potential employee ask good, pointed questions about your operation and about the position for which he is applying?

Can be trusted. A true social media maven has a good understanding of what can and must never be shared with the public. He respects the confidentiality of the organization as well as that of those he engages online. During the interview you should get a sense of how much care your potential hire takes in choosing his words, and this can be quite instructive. Immediacy is good, but that doesn’t mean that an approach to the public should be hasty, haphazard, or tell-all. Social media engagement is all about word and subject choices made in real time, with care and grace.

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