A Rubric for Determining a Social Media Ninja: An Update on a Class Experience

It’s the end of the semester and it is now time to determine who in the Marketing Management has achieved true Social Media Ninja Status. It’s been 14 weeks since the students began their journey by reading CrushIt! by Gary Vaynerchuk and then making their own personal branding plans.  What have they learned along the way?

  1. Building a personal brand is hard work. It takes time and dedication.  This is not unlike working with a brand that is for a product or service. Social media may not cost the same amount of money that an advertising campaign does, but there is an investment.
  2. Keeping it relevant takes intentionality. How do you stay relevant and add value? Every day. Day after day. Week after week. If you have an idea of what you want to blog about, how do you know who to link to, what words do you select and how do you leverage your keywords to help grow the visibility of that brand (namely you!)?

  3. Keeping the passion going isn’t that easy. Like a marriage, it takes work. Every day. Several of my students realized that what they initially thought they could be passionate about didn’t sustain them, so they had to switch it up.
  4. The tools, they keep a’changin! In social media and the digital world, there is one constant and that is change.  Just this semester alone we have seen Facebook institute “communities” and “like” vs. “fan”, the release of the iPad and an upcoming new OS for Apple, the growth of FourSquare and Twitter changes. Ning is now charging. Widgets abound. There are new options every day.  How do you keep up and keep your presence fresh and engaging?

The question for this professor, is how do I judge which of the students have been most successful?  Who, in this class of 20+ deserves true “Social Media Ninja Status” and more importantly, how do I arrive at that determination?  With a rubric of course!

So without further ado, here is Dr. Young’s Social Media Ninja Rubric. Perhaps this will be helpful to businesses and others who are hiring content and community managers!

The five areas to be evaluated:
  1. URL/Username
  2. Bio
  3. Connections
  4. Content
  5. Personality

Social Media Ninja Rubric







There is very little user name consistency
between all social sites.
There is some url/user name consistency between all social sites. User names are consistent between all sites. Personal domain name, all user names are consistent between all social sites.


Bio(s) are not well developed, few keywords and no picture Bio(s) provide basic information. Few keywords, may or may not have a picture. Bio(s) have strong keywords but are not consistent throughout all sites. Picture may or may not be relevant. Well written, keyword rich bio that is consistent throughout all sites. Picture is relevant to personal brand.

Social Media Connections

Social media sites are not clearly linked or visible.

Social media sites are linked, but not clearly visible. No use of widgets or visuals.

Social media sites are linked and clearly visible. Widgets may or may not be used.

All social media sites are clearly linked, widgets or images are used to visualize links.


Content is sparse, very little original work, posts are few and far between. Some relevant content, few external links, little focus on keyword intentionality.
Posts are more consistent.
Relevant content, with external links. Good use of keywords. Posts are moderately consistent. Content is relevant to the brand, engaging and recent. Keywords and external linking are strong.


Sites and posts lack personality. Lackluster overall. Sites and posts show sparks of personality but are not consistent. Sites are branded and posts show consistent personality. Sites are well branded and connected. Personality shines through — the readers “get” what you are about.


Key:20 = A (Social Media Ninja Status),
15 = B (Specialist),
10 = C (Apprentice)
5 = D/F (Grasshopper)

Tomorrow I announce in class who the TRUE SOCIAL MEDIA NINJAs for the class of 2010 are based on the rubric above.  What do you think? Is this helpful?  Have I captured the main points?

Posted via email from Elaine’s Posterous

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