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What makes a person good at social media – Passion or Practice?

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Here we are presenting a guest post by Nallini Mistry on Social Media job profiles. She discusses various attributes which the hiring managers need to look at in the potential candidates.

Emerging Job Area

Recently Gagandeep Gill (delhi based social media consultant), starting a very interesting discussion on Digital Vidya´s LinkedIn Group. Major questions which have been addressed are: What does one look for when hiring for a predominantly youth oriented activity such as social media which has only just entered the mainstream business sphere? Does years of experience matter in this new domain? Or is passion and online influence the more important factor?

His question became one of the most popular discussions ever on Digital Vidya´s LinkedIn Group, and prompted an interesting and lively discussion on hiring for these very recently created positions.

# Diverse POVs
So what should one look for when hiring for social media? Achievements, asks a member of Mumbai’s Twitterati (Twitter Community). But then, it is a bit difficult to get many candidates with relevant experience in such nascent, just evolved job profiles. Passion and analytical ability, along with exceptional communication skills, says Pradeep Chopra of Digital Vidya. Entrenched HR practices however, keep most hiring managers on the tried and tested routes of relevant training plus experience; not too many are willing to take this approach, and this was commented upon by more than a couple members.

An understanding of the platforms, channels and tools demonstrated by successfully creating one’s own online presence is deemed necessary by some other participants. According to them Analytical skills add the ability to go beyond the routine execution and delivery, to help identify areas of optimization.

What about value additions asks one participant, referring to meta-skills or macro-abilities. Business sector specific knowledge for strategic positions, replies another participant; efficiency and dedication, with a record of achievements, comments Gagandeep Gill; and presentation skills too, adds another participant. Highly desirable is creativity, adds another. It would be a definite advantage to have at least one team member capable of exploiting the insane amount of freedom to innovate offered by this medium.

Hiring from amongst the very young is also advocated by a few, even as the downside of a lack of seasoning and general business knowledge in such hires is acknowledged by one participant. One unique perspective by another participant holds that the speed with which one failed was directly related to one’s suitability to social media positions! While there were no takers for this POV, it probably bears further examination in a discussion of its own!!

# Passion Wins!
In conclusion, the primary attribute in a good social media unanimously hire is, Passion for the social web. Passion, in the context of this discussion, is defined as an enthusiastic interest that promotes consistent performance and continued learning. That a love for the online social medium is essential to a successful social media hire is accepted by all participants. However, the difficulty in properly quantifying “passion” remains unaddressed.

A tie between communication and analytical skills follows at a close second, while effective use of the tools and platforms and the ability to creatively deploy them wins third place. Perhaps social media agencies and early adopters of social media will naturally favor experience over passion. But HR departments seeking to hire for this newly established sub-department of marketing, it is imperative to find alternate criteria in the face of an under supply of experienced candidates.

Have you found another attribute to be essential? Do you have a POV that’s different from the ones already mentioned? Join the discussion by clicking here.

About Author:
Nallini Mistry,
Social Web Strategist,
Personal Blog

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