Hiring a Social Media Manager: 21 Questions to Ask

The Social Media Manager is becoming the go-to person for businesses who require assistance with their online marketing efforts. It’s no secret the impact social marketing can have on a business and the advantages its brings. And it’s also no secret that most business owners cannot handle their social marketing all on their own.

A Social Media Manager does a whole lot more than just posting status updates on profiles. Social media management encompasses figuring out the who, the what, the when and why. Who does your business want to reach? What is needed to reach them? Where are they most active? Why should we use social media as part of our marketing efforts? Many businesses are finding that outsourcing or hiring someone to manage their campaigns is becoming an important part of using social media for marketing. An outside individual can usually see the bigger picture more clearly.

Social media management is a position that has attracted a huge amount of attention and membership in recent years. I see the main reasons for its popularity as:

- Low entry barriers

- A high demand for the services

- Big rewards

But is it really for everyone? Honestly, there are now a lot of social media managers. Some very, very good. Some really, really bad. So how do you filter out the bad ones and find the good ones? Well, the good social media managers will know their stuff and they understand what it takes to be successful.

Here are 21 questions you can ask your potential social media manager and what the better answers should look like…

1. How do you define success?

The amount of followers isn’t the only sign of success in social marketing. A social media manager should be able to help you define success on a strategic and tactical level, in order to support your larger marketing goals. If a social media manager has a limited view of success, or is unable to explain performance measurement beyond the volume of audiences, they won’t be able to provide you with higher level strategic solutions.

2. What sort of results can we expect?

A good social media manager will manage your expectations and let you know what results you could achieve. Remember that social media managers are not psychics. They should act on your behalf using the best practices of the industry, but there is a lot that is out of their control. They should be able to give you a rough idea of what they bring to the table based on their previous results and experiences. If a social media manager cannot communicate this effectively to you, then they probably don’t have the level of experience you need.

3. How is ROI defined in social marketing?

Contrary to popular thinking, ROI can always be measured in social marketing. But it can be perceptual. What are your goals? Were they achieved? If so, then you had a positive ROI. Did your campaigns help your business in any way or have any positive effects? If they did, then you were successful. Social marketing ROI is not always tied to tangible business benefits. Ask the social media manager which factors can be measured and how they will be reported to demonstrate the value they bring to your business.

4. What social platforms do you specialise in? Why would these particular platforms be right for our business?

Different social networks have different audiences and practices. Not every network is right for every business or industry. For example, how could a pharmaceutical company possibly engage in drug marketing on Twitter? The reality is that most businesses can take advantage of the networks out there in some way, but if there are limitations, you want your social media manager to be aware of them.

5. Should we be on every social platform?

A social media manager who has done their research on your business should know your target audience. How this is answered is the key because it provides you with an instant understanding of their perceptions of your business. If a social media manager extends your business visibility to many networks, then your marketing efforts may spread too thin and mean some of the campaigns might suffer. They should pick where your target audience is already situated and focus on maximising performance on those platforms.

6. Would Google+ be worth using for our business?

This should highlight the extent of your potential social media managers Google+ knowledge. Google indexes Google+ content faster than content posted anywhere else. It’s a platform that has grown rapidly since its launch in 2011 and is now one of the main social platforms. A social media manager should know this and should understand whether your target audience is present there, thus viable for your business, and how Google+ can be leveraged to fulfill your wider marketing objectives.

7. Could you give us an example of a limitation on a social platform that you have experienced? How did you overcome this?

A social media manager should know that social networks come with limitations; API calls, bandwidth limitations, character limits etc… If a social manager has never run into limitations and hasn’t experienced how to overcome them, then this likely means that they are not very experienced. In fact, they will probably be completely new to the social landscape. Asking how they overcome any hurdles with their past or current clients will give you a good indication of how they respond to adversity.

8. Can we run a “Like and Share to Win” style contest on our Facebook page?

If a social media manager does not know the answer to this, then move on. Its imperative you find someone who knows the rules and guidelines of each and every social platform and who will not have your business in violation of any Terms of Service. As a heads up, on Facebook you have to use a third-party app to host the contest and cannot use the ‘Share’ button, ‘Like’ button or require a comment in order to be entered to win.

9. Have you ever had to handle a social marketing crisis? If so, could you provide an example?

Asking a social media manager to define what that ‘crisis’ means to them can highlight their level of experience. If their biggest crisis consists of miss-typing a URL on a Pinterest pin and not noticing until their client asks why there’s so many messages about broken links, then chances are they are vastly inexperienced. It’s also insightful to ask what steps they took to resolve the crisis and how the situation was handled.

10. Could you show us some of the clients or projects you are currently working with?

Any reputable social media manager will show you their client accounts. And be proud to do so. Some profiles will probably be doing better than others depending on each campaigns goals and strategies. If they dodge the question or cannot show you anything, then it should rightfully lead you to think they are hiding something. Social media managers who take pride in doing quality work should want to show you their portfolio. Imagine turning up to a sales pitch without a product sample. Clients would never even think about placing an order unless they can see what they are buying.

11. How would you allocate our social marketing advertising budget?

A social media manager should be able to describe a plan for how best to allocate your advertising budget and how they would know if it’s successful. Specific metrics and KPIs should be given, analysed and reported. The choice of advertising platform will also allow you to gauge their perception of where they think your business should be promoted, in what format and to what audiences.

12. What will our responsibilities be as a client?

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