As Social Media Marketing goes mainstream, companies finally understand the value of a Social Media presence to their bottom line. Chief Marketing Officers, steeped in traditional marketing philosophies, have been forced to reckon with this new type of marketing. Many are now on the hunt for Social Media Marketing professionals.

The problem is that many are still mired in the old marketing paradigm. They want to hire an employee to sit in a cubicle from 9-5 and “do” Social Media marketing. They are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

Social Media Marketing is not a 9-5 job – and is not strictly “marketing.” It involves monitoring social sites – sometimes at odd hours. It means being ready to find answers to questions when people are asking them. It means being on the sites when the audience is there. (90% of our clients’ Facebook pages are most active at 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.)

While large corporations may have the luxury of staffing their Social Media Marketing departments 24/7, smaller companies do not. Having a dedicated professional available outside normal business hours – one that may not sit in the local office during the day – may be the answer.

Today’s dedicated Social Media Marketing professional is tuned into international, national, business and industry news. Her day often starts well before 9:00 a.m. She has the alerts set on her mobile phone to let her know when something important is happening – and can tweet or update the timeline quickly. A Social Media professional may be at the supermarket or the gym when notifications, questions or complaints come in. Her value is in monitoring the social sites through the day and responding quickly – not sitting in an office – and the value of an employee like this should not be underestimated.

Today, more than ever, customers are not purchasing products during regular business hours. They are shopping online while they watch Netflix in the evening. They may have a question or a comment. If they can’t get an answer from one company, the chances they will continue their search at another company. And when they are unhappy, they do not want to wait until 9:00 the next day for someone to at least acknowledge their pain.

Consider a recent British Airways exchange, a large company with no Social staff around the clock – #fail. (Read about it here Angry Customer Used Promoted Tweets to Chastise British Airways )

Hiring Managers need to figure out that a Social Media Marketer should be working hours that fit the needs of the Social Accounts, not the traditional business hours. Understanding this and accepting it will benefit the business’ Social reputation – and their bottom line.

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