Social media marketing is a serious business and "social media marketing manager" is a role that's starting to appear in quite a few organisations in the public sector and in the private sector.

If a social media marketing manager started work in your organisation next Monday, and showed an immediate interest in employer engagement, how might you handle the briefing meeting in which your new manager asked the following questions?

How do you use the different social media platforms?

It's a fair question and a good starting point for your discussions with your new staff member.

Are you building a vibrant and responsive employer community on Twitter? Can you explain your policy about who your social media manager should follow and who to connect with? Will you be able to explain your objectives for your Twitter accounts and contrast them with your goals for your Facebook Fan Pages?

If you replied to the question in terms of a commitment to gain more followers and fans, you could expect to be pushed to supply additional detail about the online persona you're trying to create. Would you be ready with your explanation?

What are you trying to achieve using social media?

Providers who are on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and have taken up blogging because every one says you need to be doing these things, will start to feel the embarrassment as soon as they are asked the above question.

Yet, this is the most fundamental social media marketing question of all.

Your new social media manager will be right to ask this question and to keep on asking it.

Are you using social media to build awareness of your organisation's approach to working with employers? Are you using social media applications in conjunction with your sales activities? If you're using the social web to build your reputation with employers, what exactly do you want employers to remember about you?

If you found you weren't in a position to brief your social media manager about these issues, then he or she would struggle to do a good job. Therefore, don't ignore the question, even if no one is waiting for your answer at the moment. You need to know what you're trying to do on the social web as soon as possible.

What's the contribution of social networking to employer engagement?

There's another way of asking this question.

How are you using social networking to engage in dialogue and discussions with employers?

How many LinkedIn groups have you created to support different groups of employers, for example? What actions have you taken to ensure that those groups remain active and interesting to employers, and as a result continue to grow?

How often do you use the Follow Friday convention (#FF) on Twitter to thank your employers for their support or to put an employer's business into the spotlight? How often do you share content that you find on employers' Facebook pages on your own fan page or pages?

If you want your new social media manager to engage with employers via these platforms, what guidance will you offer? What sort of references to employers and their activities do you want on your "walls" or in your Twitterstream?

Difficult Questions?

Perhaps you're breathing a sigh of relief that you don't have a social media manager starting work next week.

If you don't know the answers to the above questions, try pretending you need to brief a new staff member with responsibility for social media very soon. That will help to focus your attention on an important aspect of your business development strategy. It will also help you to use the social web more effectively.

Margaret Adams helps provider organisations to do more business with more employers more often. She writes on employer engagement at: Attract More Business and on strategies to help businesses to build their fame in their marketplace at

Read other FE News articles by Margaret Adams:

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