A Checklist For Hiring the Best Social Media Manager

By: Lori Gama Sunday October 26, 2014 0 comments

Two young women entrepreneurs, sitting on a park bench, looking at a laptop and appearing confused and overwhelmed about social media marketing.

CEOs, CMOs, Entrepreneurs, Authors, Speakers, Coaches and other Solopreneurs: you might enjoy doing your own social media in-house but now you've come to the conclusion that you need an experienced expert to manage your social media for you or to train someone in your company.

You know you need to utilize the talents of an effective Social Media Manager to help you grow trust by sparking conversations with your fans. Trust is the currency that grows business in the 21st century. How do you find the right person to do this important job for you?

Begin by reading the rest of this article and ask yourself:

What IS an effective Social Media Manager like?

After all: "You don't know, what you don't know." If YOU are struggling to do your own social media marketing effectively, then how can you know how to properly hire the right person to do it for you? If this is your current situation, I've got a solution for you: my checklist below will help you hire the best social media manager to be the voice, heart and soul of your brand.

Hiring the right person to manage your social media makes YOU succeed.

Consumers are more careful with how they spend their money in this post-recession era. We're all from the SHOW ME state. We do lots of research before deciding to spend money with a company. The bigger the purchase, the more time we spend doing our homework - 45 days out for large purchases. That's why it's imperative that you show you're trustworthy and that you know what you're doing. Then your revenue begins to get impacted in a positive way and usually increases. Though that may sound simple, it's actually complex to pull off well. Though there are many touch points, other than social media, that consumers come across during their research, you can achieve so much more with the right person managing your social media and nurturing your tribe of fans, friends, followers and brand evangelists.

An outstanding social media manager possesses a unique set of skills:

  • Able to use digital media to tell stories that leave a desired emotion impressed upon your fans.
  • Able to convey these stories via photos, short videos, testimonials, blog posts and other content, such as infographics.
  • Able to recognize when the fans are sharing your brand's story and step out of the way or subtly nurture that sharing.
  • Has excellent customer service skills.
  • Knows when to apply appropriate social media etiquette.
  • Makes your brand nurture its fans, rather than stalk them or broadcast "buy my stuff" types of content.
  • Knows how to handle complaints and move them off the public forum and into email and phone calls.
  • Has deep knowledge of how to analyze data that measures her/his efforts and be able to report it to you in an understandable manner (and show you the metrics).
  • Is very organized.
  • Uses tools and systems to save time; be consistent and be efficient. (This saves time, money and increases your business growth).
  • Thinks of innovative ideas and successfully implements them to achieve goals.
  • Keeps current with the latest news and updates in the ever-growing world of digital media.
  • Has an innate talent for capturing moments that add up to a story.
  • College degree in journalism or mass communications is good but if your candidate possesses all the other traits listed here AND has achieved outstanding results for many people, why let that be a deal-breaker if s/he didn't get a degree?
  • Is in love with your brand already and a huge fan.

Attract Your Tribe With Your Vibe

Your branding, content, social media and other forms of marketing vibrate your essence and attract your tribe with your vibe.

After your tribe has found you, your goal is to nurture your tribe so they can unconditionally love you.

For them to love you, you have to love your tribe first. If you pick the wrong person to manage your social media (I like to call this "nurturing the tribe"), you could end up doing harm to your brand.

Your ultimate goal is to make it easy for people to fall in love with your brand. This ultimately builds revenue.

Your Social Media Manager really must possess a unique set of skills to achieve the business-growth goal.

Use my checklist to help you hire the right person for your company.

Ask the following questions during the interview:

  1. What experience do you have in actually being the VOICE of a brand through its social media? Candidate should have experience with a minimum of three clients. This shows versatility and creativeness.

  2. What results have you achieved for your clients? Candidate should inform you of a Facebook client's ENGAGEMENT; REACH; and number of fans (LIKES); POST FREQUENCY; TIME OF POSTS.

    For Twitter: number of daily, weekly or monthly IMPRESSIONS, ReTWEETS, FAVORITES, HASHTAG MENTIONS and CONVERSATIONS. Should be able to share somewhat similar metrics for other social networks that point to: a large number of fans, friends and followers sharing and/or mentioning the brand's name in a positive and/or neutral way. It's very helpful to your decision-making process if the candidate has screenshots to document the record-breaking results they're telling you about.

  3. How did you achieve these results? What's your process for actually doing the work of Social Media Management? Listen for how the candidate acquired CONTENT for posts and Tweets. Listen for if the candidate increased sales by having helpful conversations with fans and followers. If your candidate has documentation of her/his conversations, such as screenshot images - that's fabulous proof.

  4. How do you know if your efforts have been successful or not? Listen for if the candidate mentions METRICS and/or some method of accessing DATA to MEASURE performance. In Facebook, the Insights section gives valuable data. If your candidate does not mention Facebook Insights, ask her/him to explain what that is. Answer: Insights has demographics of your fans; it displays engagement; the reach of posts; number of check-ins; popular posts; number of Likes, gender and location; and so much more. You can use Insights to measure, adjust, measure, adjust..

    Next: Check to see if your candidate walks her talk (or walks his talk) by asking about their own followers, friends and fans of their own social media. Be sure to have checked this ahead of time.

  5. How extensive is your LinkedIn network? (Should be at least 500+ in 1st level).

  6. Is your LinkedIn Profile 100% complete and will I find at least three "Recommendations" regarding your social media management work?(Should have a minimum of 3 social media recommendations. Note: not endorsements but recommendations.)

  7. How many followers do you have in Twitter and when did you last Tweet? (Should be at least 1,000 followers and should Tweet at least once a day. Hint: someone who has actual conversations in Twitter is a good candidate. Also, someone who Tweets her own advice is a good candidate.

  8. How many fans do you have in your own Facebook Business page?(Should be at least 300). What is the engagement rate? (Should be 10% or more). Granted: it may be that your candidate is so busy taking care of clients that "The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes" but there should be some engagement (likes, comments, shares) and NO long gaps between days of posting.

  9. Do you participate in any other social networks or have fairly extensive experience managing them? (If not, move on to someone else.)

    Next: Content Strategy

    Content Strategy has to be part of your social media marketing plan. Launching your social media marketing without content would be like trying to start a car without oil, gas or tires. The vehicle might look pretty sitting there but no one will know about it because you're not driving it into the appropriate neighborhoods and highways. Content consists of blog posts/articles that inform readers about your products and services. It could also be video, photos, motivational quotes, tips, and anything that helps your fans feel good, solve a problem, become smarter, think and feel good about your brand. Customer service is also a skill you want your Social Media Manager to possess. Use the next few questions to find out more about your candidate's content strategy skills.

  10. How will you get people to come in and (do the action that adds to revenue, such as: eat a meal at our restaurant; buy our products; schedule an appointment; subscribe to my content/sales funnel; share my social media content with their friends)? Candidate should be able to describe her/his methods that have resulted in more sales, more subscribers or some other metric. The skill of being able to spark conversations in a sincere way is the most important skill. Consumers don't want to be told to buy from you.

    Next: Customer Service

  11. How would you handle it if someone posts a complaint on our Facebook page about receiving a poor experience on their last visit with us? Your Social Media Manager job candidate should describe how to properly handle complaints about service or products that are shared in social media. With 42% of consumers expecting their complaints they've shared on your Facebook page or other social media, to be handled within 60 minutes, you simply must have a process in place for this. Handling complaints in person is similar to handling complaints in a Facebook post or review. Bonus points for the job candidate who asks YOU what your company's process is for in-person or emailed or phoned in complaints.

    Social media is a magnifying glass on your company. You don't know how many people are observing you without ever engaging with you, so always do the right thing and do it quickly. A complaint is an opportunity. Satisfy that customer and everyone who sees that will remember how good your customer service is. You should have a social media policy for managing complaints; and protocol for questions about services and products. make sure your Social Media Manager is trained properly or can reach you for answers s/he doesn't know. If you're in "the public eye" a lot, you should also have a crisis plan. You don't want what happened to the CEO of Microsoft to happen to you.
    Bottomline: don't allow negativity to turn into a wildfire on your Facebook Timeline or elsewhere.

    Next: Tools and Systems

  12. What tools do you use? (Listen for: an editorial calendar to stay organized; my smartphone; my iPad; your company blog; a camera; access to the Internet via a mobile hotspot; scheduling tools such as Hootsuite (except don't us it in Facebook. Use Facebook's built-in scheduler so your posts are more likely to show in timelines) and a way (or numerous ways) to measure efforts. Always measure so you know how you're doing and what you should improve on.

    You should also ask the usual "scenario" job interview questions ("what would you do if...?" and "how often can I expect...?).

    As you can see, you need someone who has storytelling experience, listening skill, conversational skill and knows how to analyze data in order to make improvements. Someone who loves people and who has good customer service skills. This person should be able to easily and quickly adapt to new technology and be proactive (as opposed to finding out the hard way). Your candidate should have done some research on your current social media and been able to tell you how s/he would improve it to achieve the goal of engagement, which builds trust between you and your fans, which eventually leads to increased revenue.

    What are your thoughts about this checklist? In the comments below, feel free to add your own question that you'd be sure to ask.

    Lori Gama specializes in SEO; Social Media Marketing Campaigns, Online Marketing and Web Design for corporations, celebrities, authors, professional athletes, business owners and non-profit organizations. Follow Lori Gama inTwitter; ; Google+ and many other places around the Internet. Read her blog at LoriGama.com. Call Lori Gama to schedule a consultation: 970-378-7822.

Lori Gama

About the Author: Lori Gama

Lori Gama is The Online Visibility Expert and founder of DaGama Web Studio, a Digital Marketing firm she started in 1995. She works with B-2-B to create visibility, credibility and profitability by leveraging web design,content strategy, social media, SEO and other digital marketing. She is a Digital Marketing pioneer and once again is innovating by becoming one of the first in Colorado to use Drones to capture another dimension of the stories her clients are sharing. Contact Lori for your next project if you want outstanding results: 970-378-7822.

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