It’s whatever the birthdate of the person you hire to manage your social media accounts is.
The reality is this whole argument is a non-argument and shameless age baiting on both sides. There’s a reason a resume isn’t a photocopy of a birth certificate. What ultimately determines someone’s ability to manage your social media presence is their ability to manage your social media presence. If the hiring manager is making that decision based on age, your company has bigger problems. This is the specific reason that interviews and resumes exist, people.
Of course, the reality of this whole thing is it stems from two straw man arguments. The one is the ‘young social media person who recklessly endangers the brand’ and the other ‘the old geezer who barely understands email, much less twitter’. Do these people exist? Maybe. But the reality is that 99.9% of the people working in the field are competent and professional.
Beyond that, social media is not an island. It should be part of a larger integrated marketing campaign, and shouldn’t operate without oversight from a senior staff member. That means creating appropriate customer service workflows and crisis management situations, as well as creating employee guidelines regarding the use of both corporate and personal accounts.
If you research the social media disasters, you’ll find that accidents happen in all corners. Yes, the manager of the Red Cross twitter account was a young woman, but Paul Christofero of Ocean Marketing is not just fresh out of college for sure. The CelebBoutique account was probably managed by a young member of their social media agency, but Kenneth Cole wrote the disparaging tweet about the disaster in Cairo.
The best way to avoid this happening to your brand isn’t to check their birthdate, it’s to check their background.
Dan Wilkerson is a social media project manager at LunaMetrics, a Google Analytics certified partner that also specializes in social media, search engine optimization, and PPC. You can follow him on Twitter @notdanwilkerson or at @LunaMetrics.
Join Dan and the rest of LunaMetrics Sept 10th-14th for their Google Analytics and Adwords Seminars for Success, and introducing Social Media 201: Leveraging Social Media. For more information, click here.