Hiring a Social Media Manager: Questions you must ask

There are many people out there who call themselves “Social Media Experts” and the names you come across for this relatively new job title can vary. You might come across names such as: Digital Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager, Content Producer, Digital Content Manager, Social Media Strategist, Content Marketer, Online Marketing Manager, Digital Marketing Executive, Online Community Manager, Social Media Coordinator, SEO Manager etc. The increasing demand for this particular career cannot be overlooked. According to the New York Times careers in the social media industry will add $1.3 trillion to the economy in the near future.

What does a Social Media Manager actually do? The person has the challenging task to drive visibility and engagement of a corporate brand by using different social media channels. The ideal candidate should first of all be knowledgeable about various Social Media platforms, but also have a deep understanding of the company’s goals and strategy. Furthermore, he needs to be passionate about the company’s brand, be an excellent communicator/listener/writer, be naturally curious, highly motivated, able to act quickly, proactive, analytical, customer-focused, respect confidentiality, able to deal with negativity and keep up to date with daily events and industry news. It is important to be aware that this profession is not a “Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 job” only.

Now imagine that you need to hire a Social Media Manager, either in-house or for another client. Do you know what the most effective questions are in order to find the most suitable talent for your needs? These are some of my suggestions:

# 1 - What’s the most important thing a Social Media manager should be doing? Apart from creating interesting, high quality content in various forms, the answer should possibly mention “monitoring and listening on various Social Media Channels what the audience has to say”.

# 2 - How accomplished are you on various social media websites? Do you have a proven track record of continuous professional presence in the Social Media world?What were your personal experiences so far?

# 3 - What are the most suitable Social Media platforms for this business? Ask why he has chosen the ones he mentioned. Ask if he can describe the personality of the company’s brand. This will give you an understanding of how thoroughly the candidate did his research.

# 4 - What would be your first goals? If the candidate tries to impress you by telling you how many more Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers he will be able to get, ask them straight away what his strategy would be to engage with the audience. (Having a smaller number of loyal fans who are highly engaged might be more valuable to the company than thousands of fans where there is no interaction at all.)

# 5 - What are the most important things that you need to remember with regard to content creation? You can ask further questions such as: “Are you blogging?”, “On what platforms can I find your content?” Have a look at the blog and pay attention to what extent it has been updated on a regular basis.

# 6 - Can you tell me a compelling story? A candidate who is able to provide great episodes can be very beneficial on all levels of Social Media activities later on.

# 7 - What marketing strategies would you use in order to generate leads? Bear in mind that Social Media should give you something quantifiable for your investment. Ask the question “How do you measure your social ROI?”

# 8 - What are the most important Social marketing metrics you need to monitor on a regular basis? The candidate should hopefully talk about “engagement” and “leads”.

# 9 - How would you allocate the budget for Social Media advertising? Ask the person what plan he would implement, how he would spend the money and how he can make sure that it is done successfully.

# 10 - In what ways did you use Social Media in your career so far? For marketing, customer service, recruitment purposes or something else?

# 11 - Tell me about the different social media campaigns that you started and managed. What went well, what didn’t go well?

# 12 - What is your knowledge and experience with SEO?

# 13 - Did you ever have to solve a Social Media disaster? You can ask them further questions, such as “What steps did you take to solve the problem?, “What was the outcome of it?” “Did you ever have to approach an Online Reputation Manager or were you able to sort out the issue by yourself?”

# 14 - What are your favourite online blogs and why? This can really be a very revealing question.

# 15 - What do you think of Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan, Ann Handley, Mari Smith, Sean Gardner? This will tell you to what extent the candidate is familiar with various insiders from the social media world.

Every company is unique and the requirements for a Social Media Manager will be different from company to company. Bear in mind that it makes a difference whether you are a big multinational company or whether you start your business from scratch, whether you focus on lead generation and fan acquisition or on client development and client retention. Whatever your case is, remember that the position of a Social Media Manager should not be considered as an entry-level job. The person has the responsibility to maintain a company’s image in a genuine, knowledgeable and responsible way. The person will act like an ambassador whose audience will consist of old, current and new customers. Let’s not forget that reputation - now also online! - matters more than ever before.

Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.