Hiring the Best Social Media Manager for Writers
The best place to look for a social media manager starts close to home. No, not your fifteen-year-old—we mean asking colleagues and niche peers for recommendations.
If you are an online entrepreneur, your peers will also be online entrepreneurs. As such, they understand how outsourcing works, and that contractors regularly maintain more than one client. As such, many will actually recommend the best of the best to you, knowing you will return the favor in some way when the time comes.
So just ask!
You can also put the word out—and specifically ask for recommendations:
- At local business organization meetings
- Within niche-specific forums or membership sites you belong to
- Within closed Facebook business groups you belong to
- From your coach or mentor
Failing this, spend some time researching possible candidates on Google. (Hint: Look for websites rather than people).
A social media management website can allow you to check out criteria without the need for initial contact first. You can check out rates commonly charged, look at portfolios to see if that person or company is a good fit, and read—and check out—testimonials.
When you are finally ready to contact that person or company, you will have a clear picture of what to expect and how much to budget.
Social media management companies abound online—and fit almost every budget and company size. If you are going to go with a company that specializes strictly in social media, you will want to match the size of your budget, company and goals to the scope offered by the social media management company. (For example, if you’ve only just been in business a couple of years and you typically make about four thousand dollars a month, you can pretty much bet that a company who charges a flat fee of three thousand a month is too much fire-power for the way you operate: They are looking for larger celebrity marketers or bigger corporations.)
Two simple rules:
- Don’t hire someone whose prices and organizational set up feels out of your league. Even if they are the best of the best, this is like asking an Olympic rugby player to show you how to hold the ball. I.E. You’re most likely to get a slightly-astonished: “Uh… no.” (And even if that candidate said “yes”, it would be paying three thousand dollars for something your local beginner league could teach you for free.)
In other words, you’d be wasting their time and talents—not to mention your money.
- Don’t hire someone who knows less than you do. If your candidate is stumped when you ask her how she plans to measure your ROI, she is not the one for you!
If all else fails, you can always search job boards such as Elance.com and Guru.com.
Another great place to look is in the Virtual Assistant forums. Many Virtual Assistants are very adept at managing social media, and may charge considerably less than a social media management company.
How to Interview your Social Media Manager
Once you’ve lined up your potential candidates, how will you be able to tell they are right for you?
The clearer you are about what you need your social media manager to do, the more chance you’ll hire exactly the right person. But first, prequalify your candidates by asking them to supply verifiable experience and by asking the right questions. If you are not clear, you are not likely to attract specialists in social media management.
Check out your candidates’ social profiles. Look for articles and guest posts they have written.
Satisfy yourself as to the following:
- Which organizations or companies have they guest posted or written for?
- Are they recognized in the industry as social media experts?
- Do they understand your particular niche and its habits?
- Have they ever helped a writer or author market themselves and their books?
Find out as much as you can about them before any interviews you give, and shortlist your top candidates.
In your job posting criteria, specify that your candidates possess a thorough knowledge of:
- Business strategy
- Content marketing
- Leadership and team management skills
- Each social media platform—and what each is best used to achieve
- Technology platforms (Autoresponders, shopping carts, social management suites)
- Social media advertising experience (if you want your SMM to plan and manage your social ad campaigns)
- Experience in leading a team (if you have other personnel you need your candidate to manage)
- The ability to be both detail-oriented and maintain an overview
- Familiarity and ease with WordPress content management
- Proven customer service skills
When you interview your social media management candidate, ask questions or pose challenges such as the following:
- “What metrics would you track on [pick your top three social media platforms] and why?”
- “How would you define what you can do for my company/brand?”
- “Tell me about a social media problem that came up for yourself or a client, and how you handled it.”
- “Tell me about your marketing background.”
- “Tell me how you would handle a negative tweet about me or my company.”
- “How would you use social media content to drive leads to my company and increase engagement?”
Look for specific examples and confidence and ease in answering, along with proven experience online or in your candidate’s résumé.
Ask for, and look for solid answers about:
- Content creation
- The ability to analyze data, draw conclusions from it and apply tweaks resulting in increased results
- Creating sales funnels
- Customer service philosophy and practices
- Facilitation and community-building
Also look for a goal-oriented approach. If your candidate talks about nothing but traffic, traffic, traffic (or engagement, engagement, engagement), then keep looking: Traffic is just one part of what a social media manager.
If she talks about goals, sit up and pay attention. You may have a winner!
Remember, this person is going to be your voice on social media—so make sure she understands what you are all about to your followers and subscribers.