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Do You Know Your Social Media Person? You Really Should
By: Christine Geraci
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There's a group of people (that I'm proud to say I belong to) who go by a variety of different names: "social media manager"..."online community manager"..."social media specialist"..."social media strategist"..."Facebook Lady." These are the people whom you've hired to manage the social media presences of your businesses, either exclusively or in addition to other duties. 
But do you know who they are, really? And do they know YOU?
The person who "does your social media" is a spokesperson, a public voice of your company. She is the one who responds (hopefully, within minutes) when someone asks a question or posts a complaint. She is the one who facilitates conversations about topics that affect your business. She is the one who develops the voice and image people think of in their heads when they read posts and comments under your company name. 
You darn well better know each other. 
If you don't, it's never too late. Things can only get better once you've gotten acquainted. But it's a two-way street. 

First off, ask this person if they are an intern. If this person says yes, politely excuse yourself and go read this, like right now. If this person says no, breathe a sigh of relief. 
Here's what your social media person can do to better acquaint herself with you and your company:
Ask who she needs to know. You likely have key people in each department you meet with or talk to regularly who have your ear and vice versa. She should make sure she has their ears as well. 
Introduce herself. She should be making an effort to reach out to people within the company regularly, so people know who she is, what she does, and how they can participate. 
Get on some email lists. Any email distribution list that will help her expand her knowledge of the company and what it's up to is important for her to be on. If you're not providing her this information, she should be asking about it. 
Get invited to key meetings. She should be finding out about key meetings where information that could be of good use to her will be shared. She doesn't have to have a dog in the fight, but what's the harm in letting her be a fly on the wall? If she's any good, she'll have the common sense to know what should be kept confidential and what she should be running by someone first before she shares on the company Twitter account. 
Ask for feedback. She should be regularly sharing what she's up to and inviting people to comment on the types of information she's sharing via social media on your company's behalf. 
Here's what YOU should do:
Begin shifting the culture. If you have a social media person, you've at the very least started on your way toward making social a higher priority for your company. Encourage your colleagues to start thinking with social media in mind. Help them remember to share any information they think the social media person should know about what they do and how it helps customers. Encourage them to report upcoming events, take pictures, experiment with video, and attempt to play a small part in the content creation process for your brand. 
Walk the talk. Ask your social media person what she needs from you. Be in regular contact with her. If you're too busy, make sure there is someone you ARE in regular contact with who can be trusted to effectively communicate her needs and questions. 
Have coffee with her, for heaven's sake! Take a half hour, pour the both of you a legal consumable liquid of some sort from the break room, and just ask her what's on her mind when it comes to her work. Hopefully, you'll both learn a lot in a very short period of time. 

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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