LOS ANGELES (Aug. 10, 2009) – Public relations professionals are taking the lead in managing the organization’s use of social media communications channels, and social media skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills when searching for and hiring public relations professionals, according to a new study.
It’s encouraging to see more employers recognizing and appreciating social media role in their communication strategies and implementation, and starting to recruit those with social media skills. Another article also expressed similar management’s desire to see social media prowess in their workforce.
But HR people or recruiters should not be jumping with glee when they saw a job applicant’s Twitter’s handle and Facebook’s URL site on his/her resume. The fact that we have hundreds of friends on Facebook or check Twitter several times a day does not necessarily mean we are competent, “avid” social media users. (I unfollowed a self-proclaimed social media “expert” when he tweeted that he has to “pee.” Search the word on twitter, you would not believe how many people had to tweet about their body waste!). And it surely doesn’t mean we are “technologically savvy,” as implied by the recruiter interviewed.
Employers or recruiters should be clear what they are looking for in “avid” social media users. What do they mean by “social media competency”? I hate to sound so scholarly, but I’ve to say it: how do you measure social media competency? Number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends? Number of times they tweet a day? Number of Twitter RTs and replies? Number of updates or photos they posted on their Facebook? Number of comments they got from those? How many coins they collected on Farmville? What about good content? What about social capital? (although that warrants a separate article!)
So, employers, look beyond those numbers. Skills set is important, and so is critical and strategic thinking. There are numerous tips and how-to articles on the Web on how to use social media appropriately and effectively, especially in personal branding. For starters, check Mashable‘s Twitter guidebook, secrets to tweet your corporate culture, and Chris Brogan’s 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media. You can download Brogan’s e-book here on personal branding.