How to Hire a Social Media Manager

Social media as we know it today has been around for about two decades (or older if you count things like UseNet, which dates back to the 70s). And practically since social media was invented, using these channels for marketing has been an important part of any business strategy. And yet, hiring a social media manager has never been more challenging. The reasons for this vary, but mostly finding the right person is hard because:

  • Rapid changes in technology and platforms, particularly since the introduction of mobile platforms, make some skills irrelevant.
  • Hiring managers lack sophisticated knowledge about social media.
  • There’s a poor culture fit.

Social media has become an integral part of a firm’s marketing and communications strategy, so it’s important to hire the right person from the start. If you’re looking for a new social media manager, here are a few tips that will help you ensure your next hire is a good one.

Look for Hands-on Experience

Unfortunately, some businesses view social media management as being an “easy” job. After all, the manager is spending all their time on Twitter and Facebook, so how hard can it be? That assumption is not only wrong, it’s dangerous.

Companies that view the role like this often opt for someone who is less experienced. At the same time, they expect to see results. But how can someone with little to no business experience perform to such unrealistic standards?

The truth is that it’s worthwhile to hire someone who has real, hands-on experience running and managing social media accounts. They might sometimes cost a little more, but their experience will likely pay for itself in terms of the leadership that individual brings to the table.

Look for Strategic Thinkers

Social media is playing a growing role within the marketing function, and it’s therefore essential to find a social media manager who has a good understanding of how social media works in relation to a larger marketing strategy. In addition to experience with social media, it’s a good idea to get a sense of their experience in and/or knowledge of other marketing approaches. After all, social media isn’t just a button-pushing job; it needs to yield results and that’s often tied directly how integrated it is with other marketing initiatives.

Don’t Just Check References. Check Accounts.

It’s common to ask for and check references when hiring someone, but hiring a social media manager requires a little extra legwork. Luckily, thanks to the public nature of social media and digital archiving, it’s easy to see what kind of work they’ve done.

In addition to work references, ask candidates for the social media accounts they’ve managed and the dates they managed them. Then examine those accounts to see what the person’s work was like. Was the content interesting? Did it yield good engagement? Did their posts contain typos or other errors? While you might not be able to see everything they did, you can likely see enough to give you a good idea of whether or not they were effective in prior roles.

Ask about Reporting

It’s easy for someone to brag about their results in an interview. It’s another thing to be able to actually produce proof. Because social media is highly trackable, social media managers should be able to show results of their work. It’s common for manager to provide regular reports on their work, and it’s a good idea to ask for how they tackle this important part of their function.

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