Why personality is equal to experience when recruiting to your digital team

Today consumers are increasingly becoming more privacy conscious about the data they share online. Alongside this more and more content is being produced online by brands. These two trends in the digital space are separate from each other in their own right. However, taken together they have profound implications and pose a new challenge for brands in terms of digital strategy.

Brands want customers to share data with them so they can better target their products and services to meet the customers need. On the opposite side of that coin customers and the public are becoming more privacy conscious about data they share with brands. So the challenge for brands today is how do they gain the trust of their target audience and customers through digital engagement, so that they are in turn willing to share their data with brands?

It is a question of competitive advantage. The more data customers share with your brand or business as opposed to a competitor brand the better placed you are to target and convert that customer. To date when recruiting staff for their social and digital media teams SME brands and business have largely focused on the Digital Marketing experience and knowledge of their staff. This is clearly an important factor. But I argue that an equally, if not more important factor, is the personal characteristics, style and personality of the staff who together make up your digital team.

You see the staff in the social media and digital teams of your competitors will increasingly now have the same level of experience and knowledge of Digital Marketing as your own social media staff. More and more people are trained in, working in and getting experience of Digital Marketing now. So the question for you then starts to become how can you differentiate your social media team from your competitors so that you get competitive advantage from that?

The answer or at least part of the answer to that question is I believe an increased focus on personality. If, for example, the personal characteristics and personality of your social media staff make them more effective at engaging with your target audience at a personal level than your competitors social team then arguably you can leverage that to your business advantage.

This is why I argue personality as well as experience and knowledge should be a key factor in your recruitment strategy for staff on your social and digital teams. But it is not the only reason. Consider the situation of a social media crisis or negative comments for your brand on Facebook (or indeed any social media channel). In this situation your social media staff need to remain calm. They need to respond professionally. The reputation of your brand is on the line. Choice of wording in their responses, and time taken to respond by them to negative comments can inflame or calm the crisis.

What does this tell us? It tells us that staff on your social team will need to be able to work under pressure. They will need to be resilient to online or hostile criticism, remain calm and not take it personally. It takes a certain type of personality to do that. Some people will get angry quicker than others. Different people have different patience thresholds. Equally some people will take criticism more personally than others and cannot help that. But in an online social media crisis situation these personality factors can all be risks for you in themselves. This is because they can risk “heat of the moment” responses from staff that may inflame a social media crisis situation. If you were looking at it from a social media crisis risk reduction perspective then again you come to the conclusion that the personality of your social media staff is a key factor here too in reducing and managing the risk. Today every brand will at some stage have a social media crisis or a barrage of negative comments. Personality and the personal characteristics of your staff play a role in how they will respond to that.