Hiring for Social Media: Talkers and Listeners

I’m still trying to process my experiences from  BlogWorld…between it being a blast, a ton of awesome information and people…oh, and Vegas…I’m still reeling, even a week later. Part of why it was so overwhelming was because, as opposed to association conferences I’ve attended where there is usually a small circle of “social media people” amongst a much larger crowd of people for whom social media is either a tiny piece of their job or something  they’re doing their best to avoid, BlogWorld was ALL social media people. The sessions were all about some aspect of social media, the exhibit hall was filled with vendors who have some link to social media, and all the people I met were doing cool stuff either in their professional or personal lives.

I had a whole wish list of people I intended to meet or at least introduce myself to–people whose blogs or tweets I read who I knew would be there. I met a few, but most of them I managed to miss, sadly. Interestingly, one of the people I missed wrote a follow up post which both totally relates to associations and also explains why some people were harder than others to catch up with at BlogWorld.

In this post, Amy Phillips talks about there being two kinds of social media practitioners: talkers and listeners. She makes what I think is a really important point about hiring for social media: make sure to hire both listeners and talkers. Why? She says “A talker will engage your audience and spread new initiatives, and bring your brand your market…The listener will protect your leading edge and inform you of your opportunities because they see it before anyone else.” For the most part, associations aren’t hiring for social media at all, which makes this advice all the more relevant because they’re looking to allocate existing staff to social media. How do you know who to tap for social media initiatives–whether you’re talking about existing staff or potential new hires? Ideally, I think, people who are both talkers and listeners, but that can be a tough combination to find. So, short of that, I think Amy’s advice of combining a talker and a listener is really important.

What do you think? Have you seen organizations who have tasked just talkers or just listeners with social media stuff and seen it fall short? Or know of organizations that are already taking this advice and as a result are doing a bang-up job with their social media efforts? Do tell!

Arriving Home in Vegas

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