Should you hire a 23-year-old to run your social media strategy?

Much has been made over the past few weeks about who within your organization is the right person to manage social media strategy. This debate has focused on age, sparked in part by “Every Social Media Manager Should be Under 25” which argued that digital natives are better suited for social media because they’ve grown up with it and have an inherent understanding of how this technology works.

Of course, gross generalizations lead to heated debate. And what debate is be complete without an equally ridiculous rebuttal? Enter “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media” With all due respect to 23-year-olds, the author lists concerns about putting such an important part of your marketing strategy in the hands of recent college grads just because “they look really good on Facebook.”

Age is a red herring in this debate. Why? Because age has nothing to do with it. Sure, there are tons of examples of young employees making public mistakes on social platforms. But you’ll also find marketing professionals with decades of experience inserting the proverbial foot in mouth on Twitter and Facebook too.

Age shouldn’t be at the heart of this discussion. It should be about discipline and maturity. When you’re assessing who should handle your social media, ask yourself these questions:

Do they understand your mission? Social media are powerful because they amplify who we are. If you’re hiring a social media manager, make sure they are passionate about your organization’s goals. They will be the frontline voice for your brand, so they should believe in what you are trying to accomplish every day.

Are they truly passionate about emerging technology? Notice this question doesn’t ask “Are they truly passionate about Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest?” A good social media strategy isn’t built around one or two platforms—it has to evolve as new technologies are introduced. You want to find a manager who is always looking on the horizon and understands how to adjust to a changing landscape.

Do they have demonstrated discipline? Using social media for marketing requires strategic thinking. It must take into account larger organizational and communication goals. It has to be executed with care and precision. If someone doesn’t know how to do this, they can’t help you leverage these technologies—regardless of if they are 25 or 52.

This might be a taller order than you think, but resist all urge to fob social media strategy off on the wrong person simply because of their age or position. And if you can’t find the right person for the job internally, you can always give Tidal a call. We’re here to help.

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4 thoughts on “Should you hire a 23-year-old to run your social media strategy?

  1. Does a person have marketing skills, practical wisdom and understanding of the business/customer needs? I agree with you, making business decisions like this based on age is dumb.

    • Absolutely. Social media strategy is about a mindset. Making any business decisions on demographics is wildly short-sighted. (Not to mention illegal, but that’s another blog entirely.) Thanks for commenting!

  2. I believe this is a moment where physical age is not needed to be discussed verses the maturity and business ideology of the individual in question. I mean of course this is coming from the fingers of a 25 year old business owner who built our starting platform from social media.

    • You nailed it– it is about maturity. I’ve meet people who were running an office at 21. I’ve also met people who have years of experience but display a remarkable lack of professionalism. Thanks for the comment– good luck with your business!

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