Surely it can’t be so difficult. With nearly a 140 000 followers on Twitter and over 110 000 on Linkedin, they have a pretty solid foundation to work with when it comes to social.
So what gives?
I’m not sure, but I do have a suspicion and that suspicion is that they are not sure of what exactly it is they want.
They have doubts with the candidate profile and they have doubts in the execution of their social media strategy. In other words they have no idea what type of person they want to do something they are not sure if they want doing in the first place.
If you want to see how a brand protects itself on social without any real intention of marketing or creating sales, then look at Goldman Sachs, they do a brilliant job: Jam every possible social channel with stuff on a consistent basis and if anyone does attack your brand (and with Goldman they do, consistently) it’ll be a difficult task to break through Goldman’s barricade of social filler. Job done.
But methinks that BlackRock wants to do something a bit more than just defend its brand. Take their Twitter account for example, if you look at the feed it does appear that they want to do something. They’ve got a quote of the day thing going which is always a driver for retweets and favourites, they try with catchy titles to get your attention and then click to their articles, but when you have nearly 138 000 followers and you’re averaging just a dozen retweets per tweet you have to ask yourself is your message getting out? The answer is that it isn’t and that’s why they know they need someone to do it properly.
That brings us nicely to finding the proper person for the job. Their number one problem in finding the right individual culminates in this:
“Minimum 10 years of experience in marketing / communications / content development roles with some experience in financial services industry”
Here’s a bit of free advice to BlackRock, that’s your mistake right there. You are looking for someone with a background and foundation in traditional marketing and there are two problems a firm will face when they employ a person from a traditional marketing background to run a pure social media role:
Firstly that person will have the wrong mindset and working routines.
Traditional marketing is about conjuring up a message, spreading it and hoping that the message will be well received by the recipients. Recipients meaning you, the people. Social doesn’t work that way. For anything to be successful on social it requires a dialogue, which is something that traditional marketing absolutely positively does not cater to and has no skills or interest in managing.
Secondly they are looking for a person who lacks relevant experience.
The problem with anyone with a long track record in traditional marketing is that they’ll have been employed by a corporation and as a result the individual (unless they’ve gone rogue like your humble narrator here) will have no experience with the inner workings of social media. The only way you can be successful on social is by actively testing what works and what doesn’t and then quantifying it, something that in a corporate setting simply can’t be done due to issues of governance, compliance and brand risks. (With the terms testing and quantifying I am referring to metrics regarding web, blog and social traffic plus overall engagement data analysis).
Social media is constantly changing and to be successful you have to constantly be learning and testing.
So as we can see, the human resources department in BlackRock is in a Catch-22 hiring nightmare.
On the done hand a corporation doesn’t want a maverick (neither should they employ one, mavericks like to blow things up and then see what happens). On the other hand if they really want to be successful on social media they’ll need someone who has pushed the envelope and quantified their experiences with the use of data in a non-corporate setting. Basically they need a… what’s the word I’m looking for? Ah yes, they need a maverick.
To put it in terms that a management consultant or HR person might find more palatable, what BlackRock needs is someone with a social media R&D background because that will add up to ROI.
As things stand now, the way BlackRock is going about it, I’ll be on my fourth wife, a second hip replacement and first hair transplant by the time they find a half way decent global director of social media.