Seeking a Social Media Manager
On or about October 8, the NAR posted a position on Monster.com. It appears they are looking for a Social Media Manager. Here’s part of the job description:
MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (NOT ALL-INCLUSIVE):
The Manager of Social Media will ensure that NAR has the knowledge and skills to guide NAR staff and members in creating, facilitating, and participating effectively in key conversations about our organization, our issues, and our members that are conducted on blogs and other online social media channels.?
This position requires a high-energy, self-directed, deadline-oriented individual who has exceptional communication skills and is able to:
* Monitor real estate industry and related social media
* Facilitate NAR’s participation in external blogs and social media
* Maintain, evolve, and enforce NAR’s social media policies and guidelines
* Train NAR staff and elected leaders about how to write for blogs and other forms of social media
* Monitor existing NAR blogs and create new ones as needed to foster conversations about relevant topics or issues.
* Measure the effectiveness of NAR’s social media efforts.
Hire the right person
I’m surprised there hasn’t been more “buzz” across the real estate social mediaverse about this. Perhaps people don’t believe it matters, perhaps they don’t care, perhaps they aren’t aware. I say kudos to the leadership team at NAR for at least recognizing the importance of establishing a social media position.
Now they need to go out and execute.
Does the person that takes this position need to be a practicing real estate professional? I don’t think it’s a requirement, but it would certainly help establish credibility in the minds of a lot of the NAR membership. When it comes to understanding the impact of social media in real estate, if you are reading Agent Genius you are miles ahead of the bulk of the NAR membership. We all like to think blogging, forums, wikis and whatnot are the cat’s meow, but let’s be realistic. Despite “blogging” being the buzzword of the new millennium, the simple fact is the bulk of the real estate profession is generally clueless about social media. Placing a person with some actual real estate experience into this position will provide (right or wrong) instant credibility in the eyes of many. Curiously, there is no mention of real estate experience in the job posting qualifications.
Does this person need to be known within the current real estate social media space? I believe the answer to that is yes. Granted, the actual “membership” levels in this space are small when compared to the NAR membership at large, but those engaged in social media are a plugged-in and vocal minority. Their support of this new Social Media Manager from Day 1 is important. Selecting a candidate that already has a presence and who is known and respected will allow them to gain an immediate foothold and hit the ground running. Yes, a complete unknown could certainly do the job, but they would be starting out three years behind the curve. Being able to leverage the knowledge and skills of practicing agents and opinionated real estate bloggers from the onset will allow whoever takes this position to begin the journey down this long and winding road on the right foot.
Reconsider the location
I’ve already had conversations with a few people who could do very well in this position. Without fail, one of the first things that comes up in these conversations is the fact the position appears to be based in Chicago.
I’ve got nothing against Chicago. It’s a lovely town despite the presence of the Cubs. However, to ask someone to pick up and relocate their family and their life, particularly in today’s economic environment, for a brand-new and as yet not well defined job is asking a great deal.
A position like Social Media Manager lends itself very well to being virtually based. There are two arguments that can be made against a virtually based assignment: 1) the job requires training of NAR staff; and 2) the candidate needs to understand “NAR Culture” hence they need a physical presence in the hallowed halls.
Training can be easily accomplished via telephone and the Internet. It’s done every day in organizations large and small across the planet. So what about “cultural assimilation”? Well, first, I would argue that one of the things a person in this position needs to do is buck the trend. I’m not saying the NAR needs a maverick that’s going to flit across the Internet marching to their own beat. But having someone in that position that isn’t completely indoctrinated into the bureaucracy isn’t such a bad idea. Through the judicious use of travel, meeting attendance via teleconference, and an “open line” to the right people, a person sitting in say Phoenix (for example only) can certainly interact, get to know, and understand operations in NAR’s Chicago and Washington D.C. offices. After all, look how well some of us know each other and we’ve never met face-to-face.
Send the guy or gal to Chicago and DC for a week or three at a time. That’s much easier for many to deal with than packing up the spouse, kids and memories and moving to Chicago. Expensive? Not really when you consider (I assume) that this person would be traveling periodically between NAR offices in Chicago and DC anyway (and one would also assume to NAR events across the country). Relocating a professional is very expensive — I know, I used to do it for a living. Rerouting those dollars to periodic travel — even short term temporary living for a few weeks — in order to be able to hire the right person would be a good trade-off in my opinion.
Force this person to be based in Chicago and you are going to severely restrict who you can hire. And who you hire may be the single most critical factor in the success of this project.
What say you?
The NAR seems to be trying to “get it”. That alone is a significant step forward. I suspect many at NAR read this blog (and if they don’t, they really need someone in this position) so give them your thoughts. I’ve had several off-line conversations about this position, let’s bring the conversation on-line. What do you think of this development? What would you like to see included in the job description? Is this a good or bad move? Do the folks at NAR get it, or is this simply playing lip service? What kind of person should they consider? Here’s your chance, lets talk it up!