Certain personality traits—not age—are essential to running an effective social media campaign. If you want to hire someone with the skills you need to handle social media, hire an athlete.
The age of your social media manager doesn’t matter, despite what some posts argued about this summer. But work ethic and habits do matter. Dedicated, experienced athletes can bring incredible value to your social media efforts.
1. Athletes are adept at setting short- and long-term goals. From the time they start pre-season training, athletes are setting staged goals. Track athletes are accustomed to doing shorter intervals and aiming for a certain pace to achieve a long-term race goal at the end of the season. Multi-stage goals in social media are a perfect way to build expertise in each platform without being overwhelmed with all the tasks.
2. Athletes understand you need to show up daily and give it 100 percent for your efforts to pay off. They don’t skip batting practice or sessions in the weight room. And they won’t neglect the day to day listening and responding that is required to make your company’s social media profile effective.
3. Athletes know how to listen to feedback from coaches and their own bodies and to change course when needed. Your social media manager needs to know how to listen to customer complaints whether they are obvious or subtle, such as lack of engagement or mass unfollows.
4. Athletes are obsessed with measuring effort, results, and evaluating effectiveness. Sports are all about statistics and metrics. Athletes understand how this data can help them improve and succeed. They are perfectly positioned to apply this obsession to building your audience.
5. Athletes know some sacrifices now can lead to big payoffs later. Similarly, social media can require some big sacrifices in terms of time commitment and planning. But they will put in the work because they stay focused on the goal.
6. Athletes understand the value of working with and relying on teammates. Plus, many know how to step out of the spotlight. Some of the best social media content comes from the departments that don’t get a chance to blog, post, or tweet. Your athletic social media manager will recognize the value of working together to create and share content that will have customers chanting for more.
So when it’s time to identify the right person to lead your team on to the social media playing field, don’t worry about age. Look for the candidate who can be competitive and dedicated and loves the game.
Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan is a writer and social media coach from Pittsburgh, Penn. She runs Sweet Tooth Communications, LLC, and runs everything from the mile to the half-marathon and recently completed three triathlons and a major social media campaign for Pittsburgh 3 Rivers Marathon. Follow her on Twitter @OneSweetWriter.