What to look for in a social media manager

What to look for in a social media manager

Our blog What to look for in a social media manager

Social media is a powerful tool in connecting with your customers and clients directly. It’s a marketing tactic that needs the most professional, polished, and skilled people running the show.  Social media management is not something to be taken lightly, and when it is, it can be detrimental for a brand.

On the other hand, organizations that invest in social media and the staff to run it often have a large return on their investment. Social media managers do a lot more than send tweets. They’re responsible for the public perception of your company, your brand positioning, and they handle a lot of direct customer feedback. 

With all the new social networks out there, how can you tell who is right for the role of social media manager?  There is a certain skill set that draws the line between a good social media manager and an excellent one. Here's what to look for!

They have knowledge of the best sites to use, and which ones to avoid

If you’re only on Facebook, you’ll definitely want to hire someone who knows how to work the platform in its entirety. That goes without saying. But what about the untapped potential of other social media sites? Do you have a younger audience you’d like to reach? Are there other networks that will connect you to a different target audience? 

When recruiting a social media manager, make sure you ask them questions about their knowledge of different platforms, or give them a skills test. Ask how comfortable they are with certain features. If you’re not a marketing or social media expert, do a bit of research yourself so you can ask specific questions. This will let you know if your candidate really is a social media expert or not. 

Here are some popular social media networks and questions you could ask pertaining to each: 

Facebook

  • Are you comfortable with Facebook Business Manager? 
  • How would you put together a dashboard for ad campaign performance? 
  • What sort of content would you suggest we post on Facebook? 

Instagram

  • What’s your experience with influencer marketing strategies? 
  • How would you best leverage Instagram to connect with customers? 
  • How do you feel about Instagram sponsored posts vs. organic posts? 

LinkedIn

  • What are some sales strategies you’ve used for LinkedIn?
  • How would you leverage the company’s LinkedIn following? 
  • How would you position the company on LinkedIn vs. other social network sites? 

TikTok 

  • What’s your experience using TikTok as a marketing tool? 
  • How can you leverage (or build) a following in TikTok? 

Each social media site takes a different level of knowledge. No two are exactly alike, and even though they’re often lumped in together, they each call for expertise and experience in different ways. Asking specific questions when hiring a social media manager will give you better insight into the candidate’s experience with all of the necessary platforms. 

Social media managers need strong copywriting skills

Social media is filled with a lot of witty, brand-centered copy. It takes someone with real skills to know what will resonate with people and what won’t. Hiring someone who has great copywriting skills, or someone who can identify a great copywriter, are important qualities to consider when hiring a social media manager. 

Sometimes, someone can seem like a perfect fit for the job, but their copywriting talent isn’t very strong. This can make or break your social media presence and shouldn’t be overlooked. Creative copywriters help people become lasting customers. They build up your brand with words. They help build trust in your products and services. Having a social media manager who understands the power of great copy will set you apart from others. 

A social media manager with design skills can bring more to the table

Like copywriting, having a social media manager who has strong design skills can be a life-saver. A great way to tell if someone has the necessary skills for design is for them to take TestGorilla’s Adobe Photoshop for designers test. In this test, you’ll understand a candidates knowledge of Photoshop, specifically: 

  • Navigating the software, understanding key concepts, & exporting artwork
  • Working with selections, masks, & channels
  • Editing & manipulating photos
  • Using type & vector graphics

Photoshop isn’t the only tool designers can use, but it is one of the most powerful. It’s accepted industry-wide and if someone has the skills and expertise in Photoshop, it’s likely they can use other cloud-based tools to design graphics and social media assets as well. 

Exceptional customer service skills are crucial

Depending on the size of your company, social media can be a huge resource for your customers to leave direct feedback. While we all would love our feedback to be 100% positive, it doesn’t always work out that way. Social media managers help deescalate problems, respond to crisis communication, and connect directly with your customers. 

Asking the right questions during the interview process can help you better understand a candidate’s customer service experience when it comes to social media marketing. 

Here are some questions you can ask a potential social media manager: 

  • How would you respond to someone who tags the company in an angry tweet? 
  • How would you respond to positive comments and feedback on Instagram? 
  • How would you deescalate a problem if you see things were getting heated in a comments section? 
  • What are some ways you can include your customers directly in the brand? 

However, customer service isn’t just dealing with angry customers. Sometimes customers who comment and interact with your brand are rewarding brand ambassadors who care about you and keep coming back to your products and company. These folks should be celebrated! An expert social media manager will have customer service techniques to keep them engaged and feeling as special as they are to your company. 

Great social media managers need excellent project management skills

Another important skill of a social media manager is project management. Social media managers are often a part of larger marketing departments, and marketing activities can span a whole lot of stuff. From traditional advertising to digital ads, public relations to website design, marketing departments handle a lot on any given day. 

That’s why having a social media manager who is organized and has great project management skills can help the department in the long run. Someone who is organized and manages projects well will work more efficiently across departments to ensure that certain campaigns are also being executed through the social strategy. 

Try asking the candidate questions about their experience with project management, such as:

  • How would you start a project?
  • What types of project management tools do you use? 
  • What would you do if something was stalled during a project?

Adaptability is key

Social media managers have to be adaptable. They have to have a level of flexibility that allows them to respond to certain situations. While they don’t always have to be tethered to their computer or phone, they should know what’s happening whether they’re on the clock or not. 

Many people who don’t have social media in their job title aren’t on the platforms all day. So, when they tap into their phones and social networks, it’s often after hours, meaning that a bulk of social media activity happens outside of work hours. This can be challenging, but having someone who is flexible and understands this as a part of the job is important. 

If interviewing for the job of social media manager, ask them about their availability and how they manage social strategy outside of work hours. It’s important to find someone who understands the delicate balance and needs to work outside of the 9-5, but also someone who can create clear boundaries for themselves and their team. 

These skills are essential for great social media managers

Social media management isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s part customer service, part creative, and part project manager that sometimes requires off-hours to manage. If you need to hire a social media manager, make sure they have the skills needed to get the job done. It’s not a job for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work, perseverance, and expertise to excel as a social media manager. 

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