If you've ever played any in the series of Sim games, then you know just how addictive these games can be. They are a life simulation series of video games that offer the ability to do anything from help a simulated person do daily tasks to building a complete city.
According to CNN, More than 175 millions copies of “The Sims” games were sold as of 2013. Sim City was first released in February of 1989. That original game is now called SimCity Classic. It is a simulation game that allows you to build a city. Although the initial game was fairly simple, it has morphed into many different features that are quite similar to running a real city.
SimCity Management Features vs. Social Media
Managing a city takes a lot of work and so does managing social media. Many of the skills it takes to keep a virtual city running can be translated into social media management skills.
|Sim City||Social Media Management|
|Zones||Sim City is made up of zones, both residential and commercial. The player must develop within the correct zones.|| Social Media management is similar. Your website needs a business presence (commercial) which is separate from your personal social media accounts (residential).|
|Power Supply|| To keep the city running efficiently, you must have enough power to keep things going or a supply of power.|| To keep social media running smoothly, you need the time and effort to create posts. This is your power supply. You can utilize scheduling features through various plugins (more on this later), or via sites like HootSuite and IFTTT.|
|Transportation|| In the Sim City game, you are in charge of creating a transportation system. This might include roads, rail systems and even how many city buses to put on the streets.||In social media management, you must create a way for your posts to reach readers. This can include inviting people to like and share your posts as well as placing social media share buttons on your website.|
|Emergency Preparedness||In Sim City, the growth of your city gets impacted by all types of disasters, from fires to earthquakes to tornadoes.||In business, your social media and your website can be impacted by various emergencies, including website down time and bad business decisions. Plan ahead for these emergencies and how you'll use social media to overcome them.|
|Crime Rate||The game gives you statistics to manage. For example, if crime levels are high, you may need to build another police station and put some other measures in place to make your city safer.||Security of your intellectual property is important. However, at the same time, you want people to share social media posts and help you get the word out. A social media manager who has been a Sim City player may have unique perspective on this.|
Even though it might seem like a person is wasting time building a fake city and playing video games, as you can see from the chart above there are many important skills that can be learned from Sim games.
What to Look for in a Social Media Manager
If you're considering hiring a social media manager, it is likely because your business has grown to the point that you need to delegate some of the daily tasks to someone else. However, how active and beneficial your social media posts are can directly impact your bottom line, especially if you gain many of your leads from social media.
Search Engine Watch released 12 questions to ask social media managers before hiring them.
One of the top questions was related to college major and writing experience. There is an important reason for this question. Your social media manager is going to write copy for you. Admittedly, it is short copy, but someone experienced with the written word will be able to get the most impact from the fewest words. While I don't agree that the person has to have a college degree, I do think they need a good selection of types of business writing to be truly effective at this type of work.
Does the person have experience writing ad copy?
One of the things I do for my clients is give them a team. Not only is the copy written by experienced writers, but it is also checked by someone with a commercial advertising background or PR experience. The reason has to do with the psychology of why people click on the things they do, call to action commands and many other elements that make up a clickable and shareable post. Writing experience isn't enough. You also have to look at what kind of writing experience and promotional experience the person has.
When you're interviewing social media managers, you should definitely ask what their philosophy is for customer service. You want to find a social media manager with the same values you have for your company. The last thing you want is someone who will engage in a negative way with people who comment on your social media pages. It might sound self-explanatory that a social medial manager would know to treat all people with respect and not engage in negative debates, but you'd be surprised. It's better to get this hashed out early on, make it clear how you expect him/her to handle such situations and save your company the negative backlash of an embarrassing situation.
Design matters. What experience does the person have with it? Did you know that social media posts with images do much better, especially on sites like Google+? Jerry Low wrote a case study titled How to Improve Your Google Plus Post Interactions by 8,400%? that explains exactly the reasoning behind why this works.
With this in mind, do you really want someone managing your social media who doesn't have a graphic design background or a designer on the team?
Social media management can costs as little as a few hundred a month up to thousands of dollars a month.
Keep in mind that to be effective, social media campaigns must be ongoing, regular, varied and can take time to build. A social media manager will not only create posts but help you gain new followers, interaction from those followers and will work to engage on multiple platforms. That is time consuming and you will pay for the time involved. Get quotes from several on the top of your list as to what they'll charge, but don't just automatically go with the lowest quote.
A quote that is much lower than other social media manager candidates may be an indication that the person doesn't understand the time involved in effectively promoting your site.
Ask for references. Someone with happy clients should be able to provide at least a couple of references.
While some freelancing work requires non-disclosure agreements, which means the manager won't be able to share who he does the work for, others do not. Some questions to ask the references would include how pleased they are with the social media manager's work and if he or she is reliable and knowledgeable about current trends.
Trust Your Gut
Depending on your budget and who is currently available, the pool of candidates could be limited.
In the end, after all the questions are asked and you have gathered a few people who match your needs for social media promotion, you will have to make a final decision. Trust your gut instincts and hire the person you think is the best match for your company's values and image.