At the University where I studied Economics and Sociology, we were taught that social intelligence is the ability of an individual to relate to social situations of daily life. Further, we were taught that social intelligence comprises the ability to understand other people and to react in such a way toward them that the desired end should be attained. The ability to handle people well or ease of adjustment to new social situations denotes possession of high social intelligence. I have also come across this comprehensive definition of social intelligence that is worth reading.
I also remember reading this book while at the University: Knowledge Economies: clusters, learning and cooperative advantage by Philip Cooke. In it he writes: “Social Capital is the extra value gained from interactions with familiar, trusted network of acquaintances.” The latter part of this definition might as well be a definition of social networks and social capital being the gains garnered from interactions in these social networks.
As a social media strategist, I love the fact that many Kenyan businesses are showing interest in social media by setting up social media accounts all over the place. But I take this enthusiasm with a pinch of salt because of the uninformed nature of their presence. I wrote about Kenya Tourism Board and the deplorable way they were using social media as they have assumed that presence means participation. The same goes for many more companies in Kenya that have jumped onto social media on a whim. In the social media world, the right tools in the wrong hands get you nowhere. It has been said that Social Media is 80% strategy and 20% technology. Your strategy defines which technology is appropriate for your business.
One of the most critical aspects of strategy development and implementation is finding the right people to run your social media initiatives. Whether you identify them in-house or are forced to hire someone new, you must ensure that you get the right person for the job. But who is the right person? Well, the first paragraph defines the right person for you social media job. You do not just want someone who understands technology; you need someone who possesses social intelligence.
Jumping into social media without a plan is always the wrong the thing to do. That is the reason you end up with many social media profiles that are rarely updated of updated with random content or spammed by online hawkers. When you plan for social media, you assign this work to people, you plan for the content that will go up in these networks, you set engagement policies or guidelines, and treat it with the same deference as any other business decision that affects your bottom-line.
In the hiring process of your social media strategist, do not for a second assume that social media is a teen sensation and assign the work to an intern. You need someone higher up in the organization who understands where social media can take them. Therefore, hire someone with high social intelligence. Hire someone with an analytical mind who from a quick analysis of the industry can spot opportunities from a mile away and act on them. You need someone who can think at a strategic level, someone who understands the various social media channels and who can craft strategies based on the strengths of the respective channels. You need who understands that social media communities and not technology because technology is always changing. Lastly,
I will repeat that you need someone with a high social intelligence because that is the person who will extract social capital from your social media interactions.
That is the reason I participate in the hiring process for the clients I consult for. Your thoughts…
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