Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder of SEOmoz.org, hit the nail on the head for me when he said: 'Find a social champion!'
Speaking on Social Media Best Practices for Marketers Inside the Brand at Search Engines Strategies London marketing day on Monday, he said, 'You need someone in the weeds, someone who gets it in the same way as the kids do who spend 5% of their lives on Facebook.'
This was is his favourite stat by the way: If you're under 25 and live in US, 5% of all the time you spend alive is spent on Facebook.
Rand admitted it was illegal to hire by age, but also shrugged – by implication those deep in the weeds of internet culture will be recruited. [UPDATE: see comments for his further take on this.]
Which slightly annoys me, being deeper in the weeds than all my teen nieces put together and not half as deep in as many friends in their 30s and 40s.
Yet it is also true that it can be totally time-sucking for commercial digital or social media hirers to feedback to those who 'don't get it'. This goes back to an earlier post on my sub-editors' blog called Journalist, train thyself! Online needs you… desperately! [Out of interest, training budget seemed to be on the up at the Search Engine Strategies conference, for some anyway.]
And when looking to hire or commission someone as an SEO writer, a breadth of online presence is definitely desirable (as well as on-the-job experience and SEO training).
Having a blog or a Twitter account or a Tumblr or a Posterous (ie not just a Facebook profile) is not just an indicator of ability and engagement, but shows a basic understanding of internet culture and who they will be writing for. After all, you can't kid the kids.
The next question of course is how do you hunt out these social champions within your organisation?
It's something I'm processing in my freelance blogging work right now.