Seven questions you need to ask before hiring a Social Media Manager
You know that social media marketing is a priority for your business, and it stands to reason that the clearest way to see a return on your investment is to have the right person on board. Someone who will understand your strategy and have the expertise and experience to deliver tangible results by maximising the opportunity that a strong digital presence brings.
Before you hand over the passwords to your social media profiles, let’s take a step back and look at the seven crucial questions you need to ask before hiring a social media manager (SMM).
1) Ask yourself: where does social media marketing fit in your business?
It’s worth reiterating that social media marketing can do a lot of things, but it is not a silver bullet.
A strong social media presence will only help you achieve your marketing goals if it is 1) aligned with your overall strategy and 2) part of a holistic marketing plan. ‘Social’ is just one piece of the marketing jigsaw, playing a key part in:
- Building brand awareness
- Strengthening credibility & reputation
- Kickstarting authentic two-way conversation with clients and customers
- Building a loyal and engaged community around a brand
- Facilitating opportunities for collaborations with other brands and influencers
- Enabling prompt and transparent customer service support, as well as crisis and reputation management
- Supporting product and service launches, awareness and sales
- Nurturing leads and encouraging sales
This not-so-short-list amounts to one clear message: social media management is not a nice-to-have extra; it’s a crucial factor in your marketing and the professional that you hire will need a breadth of skills and experience.
2) Are they a strategic thinker
First and foremost, a SMM must be commercially minded. They’ll combine big picture thinking with superb organisational skills and an eye for detail. They’ll need laser-like attention to detail in order to plan, create and deliver strategic social media campaigns.
3) Are they an expert communicator?
First-rate communication skills are essential in this line of work. On any given day your SMM might swing between meetings to discuss an upcoming product launch, handling customer enquiries on Twitter before scheduling content and nurturing relationships with stakeholders.
A good SMM will have the personal communication skills to know when to pause and listen, how to lead an online conversation and how to de-escalate a crisis. All with empathy and, crucially, with humour.
4) Are they a good fit for your team?
A SMM needs to be able to quickly establish strong working relationships with colleagues and understand how they fit into the business. Delivering a successful social media marketing plan is a collaborative exercise, the SMM might lead and own the plan, but it’s just one part of the marketing jigsaw, and you need to know what all the pieces sit well alongside each other.
5) How strong is their marketing skillset? Have they successfully run an end-to-end marketing campaign?
On top of superb personal communication skills, your SMM will know how to run a marketing campaign end-to-end: from researching and planning to campaign delivery and measurement.
Your SMM will know their way around content planning and scheduling tools and use their copywriting skills and design know-how to create and share content that’s consistent with your branding, key messages and tone of voice and engages your target audience.
6) Are they data-driven?
Ultimately, you want results. Your social media manager is responsible for developing and owning the social media marketing plan. They will identify the measurable goals that reflect your current business priorities, put tracking and measurement in place, test new activity, spot and resolve issues, and they’ll work towards agreed Key Performance Indicators.
To achieve all this, they will have a deep understanding of each platform’s algorithm and best practice, along with the confidence to test and experiment with new trends. In short, the job is data-driven from end-to-end.
Social media and digital marketing platforms provide essential data that enable you to build an accurate picture of your clients, their behaviour, interests and preferences, and how they engage with your brand online. Insights that your social media manager will use to optimise your online activity and plan future campaigns that deliver the best ROI.
7) What does your Social Media Manager need from you?
You need to be clear about what social media marketing can and can’t do. The digital world has revolutionised our lives and how we do business, but it isn’t the answer to everything. Having realistic expectations of what social media marketing and your SMM can deliver (and what they can’t) will help avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings.
Think about putting some boundaries in place before you talk about plans, campaigns and channels. Social media management can easily turn into a 24/7 role. A quick Google search will turn up tens of thousands of articles and interviews discussing how high current burnout rates are among social media professionals. The pressure of being constantly ‘on call’ is taking its toll.
There’s no doubt that the right SMM will be an asset to your business, but it pays to do your homework first. Think about:
- Your objective – how does digital marketing fit into your business strategy and marketing plan?
- Looking for someone with business know-how, digital marketing experience, first-rate communication skills and an aptitude for data, insight, tracking and measurement.
- Setting clear boundaries and being realistic on expectations.
Get in touch to discuss your social media marketing needs and how our expert team can support you.
Some great articles here if you’re interested in reading more on this topic:
5 social media managers on internet fatigue from Vogue.com
25 questions to qualify your next social media manager, from Sendible.com