In response to my blog post “OMG! Can only young people do social media? The Levi's Guy thinks so”, I got a lot of feedback from people in the field who are (gasp) over 30.
While a few thought that a brand’s social media team should include people of all ages, some thought age should not be a factor at all.
“Digital native is a lazy term. Handling issues in the real world is actually quite an edge when things heat up online. At my agency, we advise clients that the right Community Manager is one that naturally exhibits the same personality and values of the brand itself."
"I want people with experience, who can work outside of the box, and who love the digital space...Age has no effect on experience.”
The dangers of inexperience
"Too often we have placed in the hands of the relatively inexperienced too much responsibility and the end product suffers for our clients," reported Global Marketing Executive Barbara Kittridge (@kittrdg)
"We see staff struggle with strategy or with just plain old selling ideas into clients. When met with resistance guys like [The Levi's Guy] say 'Well, they just don't get it.' I say that's B.S. - it means that you didn't do a good enough job explaining and selling in your ideas."
My guess is if you asked him how to monetize and determine the ROI of social media to rationalize any budget investment his jaw would probably drop and he would start to mumble."
Indeed at the Social Media Week panel, when asked about ROI, The Levi's Guy said he thought it was too early to measure the ROI of social media. The other panel members didn't agree.
"My message to companies is to forget the medium - anyone can be taught how to use it - and focus on the marketing.
If you want to market to twenty somethings, then maybe the person doing your social media marketing needs to be a twenty something. But if you want to market to me, you'll stand a much greater chance of success if the person doing so is a peer.
It goes much further though - in order to even begin to market via social media, you need to strike up a real one-on-one relationship first, unlike using conventional advertising. That becomes much harder if there is a huge disparity in age and outlook between the two parties."
Brands should hire based on expertise, not age
"Chronological proximity to the start of a phenomenon doesn't mean expertise. Expertise means expertise," argued Jay Ferrari, Vice President of Content Marketing & Creative Services for PeakTwo.
So if you're looking for someone to manage your social media, ask them what they've done for other brands. Ask them how they think social media should fit into the big picture for the brand. Ask them how they would go about measuring ROI. But don't ask them their age. It shouldn't be relevant. Besides, as any lady over 30 will tell you, it's impolite.