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Help Wanted Maybe: SM Pros Expected to Show Strong Personal Followings?

It’s no revelation that after being on social media for an 8+-hour-day for business, some involved in the social media industry don’t log on in their off-hours.

In fact, Reuters Deputy Social Media Editor Matthew Keys announced in July that he was making the decision to quit Twitter until September after citing the need to “unplug.”

Keys told Adweek, “You start using the platform to have meaningful interactions with people, and you substitute it for the meaningful interactions you could have in person. You put a lot of things on hold or on a delay or skip out on them altogether, and sometimes you have to in order to get the job done.

“But if you're constantly doing it—and I was constantly doing it—that's not healthy. Pixels and screen names became people to me.”

In a digital world where a need to unplug is becoming essential, is there an expectation for the social media managers and directors to have not only a successful strategy for the business, but in their personal social media as well?

Social media being the public space that it is, can be a catch-22 for the handlers of social strategy for corporate, agency and businesses when it comes to their own personal social media.

Seeing that somebody who is in charge of accounts and campaigns for brands only has 13 followers on their personal Twitter or doesn’t regularly update their Facebook can hold some irony, but should that factor into whether or not they are qualified to handle social media for anybody else? Blogger Julie Wax doesn’t think so. 

“As cliche as it sounds, it's more about how you connect with others than in how many places you appear,” Wax says.

Engagement has often been touted as what it takes to push brand content to the next level. Agencies like Digitas and tech websites like Mashable talk how to make your brand more engaging across the social sphere, but many of the industry insiders suggest different paths on how to get that engagement.

Ask questions; speak directly to your influencers; be authentic.

Several reach the same conclusion – it’s not the amount of content you are putting out there, it’s how you are interacting. And Wax agrees.

“In social media, to me, it's not as much about quantity as it is quality. It's not how many networks you are involved with, but about how you engage.”

Wax, who has a strong following on her own shoe blog, I Heart Heels, is also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Klout, Tumblr and YouTube. Of any of those accounts, she believes a social media practitioner must be on at least Twitter and Facebook, with awareness of the others.

“As [with] the beauty products I test, someone who is going to advise on social media must have tested it all, to some extent, before they can provide direction,” Wax says.

Similarly, Flywrite Communications president KD Reep says it doesn’t matter to her which platforms a professional has accounts on, as long as they have knowledge of what’s out there. She adds, “For me, the only way to become fluent in social media is to use it.”

I don’t know YouTube at all. So if I found someone who knew all of the ins and outs of that platform, could communicate them to the client and me effectively and demonstrate results, I wouldn’t care if he or she were ever on any other platform.  However, if someone purports himself to be an ‘expert,’ he better be able to answer any question I have about anything available.”

The “quality over quantity” maxim that applies to businesses and brands, may also apply to the professionals themselves.

Reep says social media is still so new, and it is morphing so rapidly, anybody could be an expert.  “I find anyone who proclaims to be an expert as suspect,” she says candidly.

If you were hiring a social media manager, would it make a difference if they had little or no presence in personal social media? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.







Join The Conversation

  • Amanda Terrebonne's picture
    Sep 25 Posted 4 years ago Amanda Terrebonne

    Yes, I have read some of Seth's stuff (of course, who in the SM world hasn't) and unfortunately, especially with FB taking a public turn and basically requiring payment for engagement for the fans you already have, I think certain companies and their push for a hard bottom-line ROI is only going to make engagement less authentic. 

    This observation obviously only skims the surface of what Seth hits on as far as old mindset and new technology, but I agree with you. I think though, that this 'genuine relationship'  that SM has helped spawn is a big part of the shift from interruption marketing to attraction marketing so somebody somewhere is getting the memo!

  • Amanda Terrebonne's picture
    Sep 25 Posted 4 years ago Amanda Terrebonne

    Thank you for the update, Matthew. I will edit it into the article. 

  • Sep 24 Posted 4 years ago ProducerMatthew

    I wound up coming back to Twitter before September -- the Aurora, Colorado shootings happened two weeks after I took my sabbatical from social media, which wound up calling me back.

  • John Aymes's picture
    Sep 24 Posted 4 years ago John Aymes

    Your personal brand shouldn't matter unless your job requires that you personally be an influencer. What should be of importance in most other cases is that you have demonstrated the ability to reap results through social media.

  • Kent Ong's picture
    Sep 24 Posted 4 years ago Kent Ong

    Social media is meant for building genuine relationship but a lot of companies and individuals become self publishing, mass publishing, mass communication (should be targeted and personalized communication).

    Seth Godin has a great book called Meatball Sundae. Some companies use old mindset to force new technology (social media) to suit their companies' policy. He think companies should change to suit new technology.

  • Tamilore's picture
    Sep 23 Posted 4 years ago Tamilore

    This is a really good one Amanda. 

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