In little over a decade, social media has emerged as an essential string to the bow of business marketing. In fact, corporate leaders now view social media as the best way to connect with consumers, according to recent research from analytics firm Sprout Social.
While the business world agrees that social media marketing is important, few companies can honestly say they do it well. In most cases, that’s because they’re missing a skilled social media manager to oversee the research, planning, delivery, and analysis of their social media strategy.
Given the relative novelty of this role, hiring managers may be unsure what to look for in a social media manager. That’s why we’ve put together 30 interview questions for you to use in your selection process. Each question comes with guidance on how to evaluate candidate answers.
Adding just a few of the questions below to your list of interview questions will significantly improve your quality of hire. Remember to select questions that reflect your business needs so that you can find the perfect fit for your organization.
30 social media management interview questions to make the right hire
Select a handful of social media management interview questions from our list of 30 below to use in your recruitment process.
1. What social media platforms would you recommend for our business?
This question poses two challenges to candidates. Firstly, they must have a solid understanding of the different social media marketing platforms available. Secondly, they need to have done their homework on your company’s strategy prior to stepping into the interview room.
The well-prepared candidate will know about your audience and how best to reach them. For example, if your customers are primarily Gen Z, TikTok would be a viable option. If they are tied together by a specific interest, a niche platform could be a good solution.
Listen out for discussion of demographics, psychographics, communication style, and anything else related to the overarching marketing strategy.
2. How does social media marketing fit in within the wider marketing strategy?
In most companies, social media falls under a wider marketing strategy. In this setup, the social media manager will work closely with strategists, analysts, writers, and various other marketing staff to share insights and push towards a common goal: to enhance the company’s profile.
Strong candidates will be aware of this, recognizing the role of social media as part of an omnichannel strategy that also integrates other areas like email, video, print, and website content.
3. What social media tools are you familiar with?
Social media managers depend on software tools for many different aspects of the job. The specific applications they use aren’t particularly important (though it’s nice if they have experience with the same systems used by your organization), but they should be aware of their purpose.
Here are some areas that candidates are likely to mention, as well as specific examples of popular social media tools:
- Analytics tools: Google Analytics, Snaplytics, HubSpot
- Listening tools: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Keyhole
- Scheduling tools: Sendible, Buffer, TweetDeck
Many of the social media tools on the market today provide all of these capabilities within a single product.
4. Which metrics do you consider the most important when analyzing the performance of social media marketing content?
Data and analytics are at the core of social media management. Even the most gifted social media copywriter will be held back without an understanding of these areas.
Nowadays, there’s no shortage of data available for social media marketers to analyze the performance of their content. If anything, there’s probably too much; candidates need to know which metrics are worth their time and which ones can be discarded.
Conversions (i.e. purchases, downloads, or sign-ups) are the golden ticket here, as these metrics show that consumers are taking action on your posts.
Engagement alone (likes and comments) is rarely enough, and suggests there’s room to improve your strategy.
5. How do you stay up to date with the latest social media developments?
New social media trends emerge every week. Even the most experienced social media managers need to hone their skills and continually adapt their strategies to fit the current social media landscape.
The most common way to do this is to use social media as a consumer. Candidates are likely to have personal accounts that they use to stay in the loop with digital culture. Take note of candidates who also use other resources, such as technology publications, podcasts, or even conferences.
6. What interests you about social media management?
In any role, it’s advantageous for employees to enjoy the work they do—motivation is usually a strong indicator of performance, and this is no different in social media management.
Whether it’s the thrill of connecting with influencers, the excitement of working in a fast-growing field, or simply the joy of creating engaging content, candidates should be able to explain what brings them to the role, and, by inference, why they’re suited to it.
7. Why is SEO important and how can it be implemented in our social media strategy?
SEO (search engine optimization) is an essential concept in digital marketing. It refers to how well a website ranks in search engines. Often, the role of social media in SEO is overlooked—but strong candidates won’t make that mistake.
Social media can (indirectly) improve search engine rankings. Look out for answers that touch on any of the following:
- Linking to website content in social media posts
- Having posts shared by other users
- Building an active social media following that buys into your web content
- Optimizing social media profiles
- Optimizing images in social media posts
8. What social media communities have you managed in the past?
This question gives you a flavor of the candidate’s previous social media management experience. By assessing the sector and scale that they’ve worked with, you can make a better judgment about whether they would be a fit for the current vacancy.
Whatever the candidate answers—whether they’ve worked with millennials on Twitter or Boomers on LinkedIn—they should be able to explain not only how they engaged individual users, but how they built a community of like-minded people over time.
Getting good traction on a post is one thing; getting users to return and engage time and time again is another. This is the acid test for social media management.
9. How would you deal with a brand reputation crisis on social media?
Brand reputation crises are among the most challenging tasks a social media manager can face in the job. While candidates may not have direct experience dealing with this, they should still be able to offer a thoughtful response.
A strong answer will recognize the need to address the reputation crisis quickly and consistently across all communication channels. Other scheduled social media posts should be also postponed while the crisis unfolds.
The organization’s statement should acknowledge the public criticism directly and clearly outline the steps being taken to make amends, whether that’s pulling a marketing campaign with immediate effect or launching an internal investigation.
10. What is your view on influencers? Do they serve a role in social media management?
Influencer marketing is now a big part of social media, and candidates should certainly be open to the idea as a business proposition. Whether it’s something worth pursuing for a company, however, is very context-specific.
Will influencer marketing resonate with the audience? Are there influencers who could act as strong ambassadors for the brand? These are the key considerations that candidates should be making.
Research suggests that Gen Z is most likely to subscribe to influencers, so if your audience consists of teens and young adults then a well-planned influencer partnership could prove fruitful.
11. In your opinion, what constitutes a poor social media presence?
Social media is a powerful marketing tool. However, if companies get it wrong, it will do more harm than good to the brand image.
Candidates should be able to identify some of the most common tropes of poor social media management. These might include:
- Lack of a clear strategy
- Lack of engagement with the target audience
- Infrequent posts
- Low-quality content
- Poorly timed posts
12. When is the best time to post on social media?
Posting at the right time is key to maximizing reach. Even the most compelling special offers or insightful posts will struggle if they’re published at a bad time.
Choosing when to schedule a new post is a careful calculation that’s often planned days or even weeks in advance. These decisions are based on a variety of factors including the user base’s timezone and the style of content.
Experienced social media managers will use data analytics to find out when their users are most active on social media and post accordingly. For example, this could be during the morning commute, or in the evening after work.
13. How would you allocate our social media budget?
Senior social media managers should be well-versed in the art of budget allocation, knowing where to spend money to maximize the return on investment. These decisions ultimately rest on the needs and goals of the business.
Besides labor costs, a large chunk of the budget will likely go to paid advertisements on specific platforms with high traffic from the target audience. Subscription fees to third-party social media tools are necessary, while training may be required to upskill the team in certain areas.
14. How would you communicate our brand identity on our social media channels?
Brand identity should be embedded succinctly within every social media post, across all social media channels. This encompasses things like tone of voice, branding, and message. Over time, a consistent brand image allows companies to distinguish themselves from competitors.
Before candidates can effectively communicate brand identity, they first need to learn about it in detail, familiarizing themselves with the company’s audience, core values, and mission statement.
Armed with this knowledge, they will then be able to craft posts that convey all of these brand elements.
15. How would you go about improving conversion?
Conversion is the ultimate goal for most businesses, so it’s imperative that candidates are capable of creating posts that drive meaningful action from users.
Conversion goals and the methods for achieving them may vary between companies, but there are a few fool-proof techniques that are proven to work across all fields. Listen out for any of these suggestions from candidates:
- Incorporate video content into posts
- Provide easily accessible links to landing pages
- Write persuasive calls to action
- Be consistent across all platforms
- Act on insights from analytics
16. How would you go about learning more about our target audience?
The answer to look out for here is data. Social media managers now have such a vast range of analytics tools at their disposal that track everything from demographics to purchasing habits.
Your company likely already has a lot of information on file; a good place to start for candidates will be to look through the archives. Beyond that, they can use social listening tools, research competitors, and survey your customers to learn about them on a deeper level.
The aim is to create a detailed audience profile that covers everything from location and interests to stage of life and spending power. The more detail, the better you can target your posts on social media.
17. How would you adapt your communication style across different social media platforms?
While it’s important to keep the brand messaging consistent across all social media platforms, it’s sometimes necessary to switch things up, and it’s also important to adapt each post to the specific channel. A new post on LinkedIn, for example, isn’t going to be the same as an upload to Instagram.
Candidates should acknowledge that each social media platform will attract a different slice of the brand’s audience. There may also be formatting differences, such as character limits, that make adaptations to content necessary.
So while the message should always be consistent, social media content must be platform-specific. This might mean condensing your 200-word Facebook update into an ultra short-form post for Twitter, or using more emojis and hashtags in Instagram posts than on LinkedIn.
18. What is your process for dealing with troll accounts?
Trolls can damage a company’s reputation if left unchallenged. As such, companies must have a procedure in place for dealing with troll accounts in a professional manner.
There are a number of approaches to tackling trolls. Candidates may make some of the following suggestions:
- Invest in content moderation
- Block troll accounts
- Respond with facts
- Respond with humor
- Ignore the comments
The right approach will ultimately depend on context. For example, if a troll has mentioned a highly-sensitive topic, humor probably isn’t an advisable response.
19. What new developments do you predict in the future of social media marketing?
There aren’t necessarily right or wrong answers to this question, but it’s a great one to gauge just how immersed the candidate is in the current social media landscape. If they’re full of bright ideas, the chances are they know their stuff.
Some topics that could come up here include the rise of members-only virtual marketing events, the use of AI-powered customer service chatbots, the further integration of e-commerce on social media platforms, or the growth of live video content.
20. What brands or influencers have a good social media presence?
This question asks candidates to describe and explain what they value in a social media brand. The suggestions may vary widely, but they should all be connected by a common strength: the ability to connect with a specific audience.
Nike, for example, has a long list of viral video campaigns and does a great job sparking conversation around global sporting events. Wendy’s uses Twitter really well: its witty tweets resonate with a Gen Z and Millennial audience and help the brand stand out from competitors.
Ideally, candidates will give you industry-specific examples, too.
21. What are some cost-free ways to improve a social media strategy?
As marketing goes, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to boost a company’s presence. Candidates should have plenty of ideas on how to enhance a social media strategy without breaking the bank. Let’s consider some ideas.
For example, companies can refocus their social media marketing efforts towards the platforms where their audience is best represented. Carving out a clear strategy will help generate ideas for new content.
Posts can be improved immediately by adding visual content and hashtags where appropriate. They should also be uploaded at a time when users are most active.
22. What is your process for scheduling social media posts?
Virtually all brands on social media use a third-party publishing tool to schedule new posts. Candidates will be aware of this and should be able to explain the importance of posting at the right time.
Sendible, Hootsuite, and HubSpot are among the most popular tools used to schedule social media posts days or even weeks in advance. Strong candidates will also be able to discuss the process for creating a content calendar that details upcoming posts across different platforms.
23. How would you use paid social media advertisements for our brand?
Paid advertisements are fundamental to social media marketing. Candidates should have a clear process for creating paid social media ads that provide the best return on investment.
The first step should be to decide which section of the audience to target and, subsequently, which platform to advertise on. Based on this information, they’d be able to select the best format and create the ad content.
At this point, it’s also important to set up retargeting tools to keep track of users that visit the website off the back of the ad, and finally, bid for a competitive advertising position in line with the budget available.
24. What is the role of social media in lead generation?
Social media is now at the heart of many companies’ lead generation and sales strategies—after all, there are now about 4.5 billion social media users globally to target.
Candidates should understand the role of social media in amplifying the brand and promoting its products. Lead generation strategies likely to come up here include:
- Creating lead magnets
- Partnering with influencers
- Running paid ads
- Hosting social media events
- Launching referral campaigns
25. How would you communicate with other departments?
Your social media manager won’t just be working with the marketing team; they’re also likely to team up with other departments like sales, customer service, and HR. For this reason, candidates need to be effective communicators.
Strong answers will express the need for collaboration and open lines of communication. For example, social media managers will likely liaise with customer service staff when handling customer complaints online. They will also trade data insights with the sales team.
26. When is it better not to engage on social media?
It can be tempting for brands to chime in on topical discussions and viral social media posts, but sometimes they are better left alone. Overstepping the line can have a damaging effect on their brand image.
Before deciding to engage, social media managers should always conduct extensive research to gauge whether the opportunity is worth pursuing. If there is any doubt, external opinions should be sought. Generally, sensitive topics are best avoided.
27. What is the role of customer service in social media marketing?
As more people move online, customer service functions are increasingly carried out via social media. Handling these queries swiftly can actually play into social media marketing efforts by improving the brand’s customer service reputation.
Experienced candidates will recognize that social media marketers and customer service representatives now need to work closely. In many cases, companies will run a separate social media account for customer service inquiries. Sometimes, access to the main account will be shared.
It’s the job of social media managers to work with the customer service team to align these two areas and ensure consistency across social media channels.
28. What are your views on competitions and product giveaways? Should they play a role in our social media marketing strategy?
Product giveaways can be a good way to amplify a brand’s profile and raise awareness for a particular product. However, they should be used strategically alongside other social media marketing strategies.
There are some circumstances where a giveaway could be beneficial, such as when a new product has just been released. Asking entrants to repost content or tag a friend can also help expand the brand’s online presence.
Ultimately, social media giveaways best suit B2C companies looking for aggressive growth in the short term.
29. What has been your biggest failure in social media management?
Failure is a part of the job; not all marketing campaigns are going to be a success. What you want to know here is how your candidate dealt with the situation and used it to develop professionally.
Whether the failure was a misallocation of the budget or a post in poor taste, candidates should be able to explain how they learned from the experience. Pay attention to what steps they’ve taken since to ensure that this situation doesn’t happen again.
30. What is the role of viral content in social media marketing?
Viral social media marketing is an approach favored by many companies—though it’s far easier said than done.
When pulled off successfully, viral content can significantly bolster brand awareness, creating a unique memory that consumers recall whenever they see your products. It also allows brands to spread globally into new markets.
There’s no guarantee of going viral, though viral posts in the past share some common traits. They usually tap into meme culture, offer great entertainment value, and are highly relatable. Sometimes, companies call on celebrities and influencers to push a message.
At which stage of the hiring process should you use these social media management interview questions?
The interview is your magic bullet for separating the good candidates from the great ones. However, several stages should come before if you want the best outcome for your company.
Here’s a seven-step sample structure for hiring a skilled social media manager:
- Job advert: Carefully craft a job advert that reflects your business requirements to improve the chances of finding the right fit
- Skills assessment: Invite applicants to complete a skills assessment which includes a Social Media Management test as part of the application—implementing this stage before resume screening saves hours of labor
- Resume screening: Review the applications of candidates with the best performance scores on the skills test, shortlisting the most promising candidates for the next stage
- Screening call: Arrange an informal phone call with shortlisted candidates to discuss the position further and see if goals and expectations align
- Interview: Conduct interviews with the remaining candidates, using a combination of the social media management interview questions above and character-based questions to find the best match for your company
- Reference check: Check the references of your best candidate and complete any other necessary background checks
- Job offer: Once you are completely satisfied, submit a job offer
A multi-stage selection process like the one above achieves proven results. Putting candidates through a range of assessments, including interview questions and online skills tests, is the best way to get a rounded view of their abilities and therefore make the most informed hiring decision.
Unlock your company’s potential with the right social media management hire
Marketing is critical to maximizing sales, and that’s ultimately what pays people’s wages. Social media is now a crucial part of the marketing process, which means that your company needs an expert social media manager if it wants to get the most out of its marketing strategy.
By implementing some of our interview questions above into your hiring process, you won’t just be improving the digital marketing team. Your efforts will help your company grow exponentially by harnessing the power of social media. Try TestGorilla for free.