How to Hire a Social Media Manager: A Recruiter’s Guide
Is it time for you to hire a social media manager?
Because the role is arguably more important than ever for modern marketing teams.
From lead generation and community-building to ads and PR, the duties of a social media marketer can’t be treated as an afterthought.
That’s exactly why so many businesses are bringing SMMs on board and looking more closely at the importance of the role.
This means you can’t hire just anyone. You need someone with specialized knowledge and the right skill set.
In this guide, we’ll highlight how to hire a social media manager and tips for finding top-tier talent.
What is a social media manager, anyway?
First let’s break down what a social media manager actually does.
A social media marketer is responsible for posting as a brand account for any given network. They serve as the voice of the brand with duties including:
- Day-to-day posts, replies and general content strategy
- Maintaining their brand’s tone and values while interacting with customers
- Aligning their content strategy with big-picture and specific marketing goals, collaborating with marketing team members on goals and KPIs
The role is the linchpin of any social media team, but may also serve as a sort of jack-of-all-trades for companies with small or solo marketing departments.
Why hire a social media manager to level up your team
Now that we know what SMMs do, let’s talk about why you’d want to actually hire one.
Your business needs specialized social media knowledge
Companies that do social well don’t happen by accident.
After all, the ability to drive engagement and ad clicks required a specialized skill set.
Although the skills of email or content marketers might overlap with social media, they aren’t the same. Not by a long shot.
Looking to increase your Facebook ad conversion rate? Build a following on TikTok? Work with influencers? An SMM can do the heavy lifting ASAP without the guesswork.
When you hire a social media manager with knowledge of digital marketing tools and every social platforms’ best practices, you immediately level up your business’ ability to see returns from social.
Your current social presence is underwhelming
If your current social presence isn’t producing much in terms of engagement or revenue, you have a problem.
A skilled social media marketer can move the needle regardless of your goals. This includes:
- Raising brand awareness in your target market
- Increasing sales and customers directly from social
- Boosting interactions from prospects and customers
Doing all of the above can be daunting, especially for inexperienced or busy marketers trying to juggle social alongside their other responsibilities. On the flip side, a skilled social media manager can handle these tasks and tie them to metrics you can measure.
You’re eager to scale your business’ marketing campaigns
The bigger your company gets, the more of a direct business impact social media can have.
Consider how hiring a social media manager can support your marketing pushes and initiatives such as:
- Product launches
- Lead generation
- Customer support and service
- Recruiting new talent
Especially in competitive industries such as e-commerce, retail or SaaS, hiring a social media marketer is crucial for the sake of long-term growth.
How to hire a social media manager step-by-step
Okay, so you know you need to bring in an SMM. Now what?
Let’s look at the necessary steps and questions to ask to find the right fit for your business.
1. Figure out the channels your social media manager needs to oversee
In short, which channels do you need your SMM to, well, manage.
Most social media managers are going to know the ropes of any given social network.
That said, some might specialize in Facebook monetization, working with influencers on Instagram or tackling Twitter customer service. The need for this specialized knowledge depends on your business’ goals.
Also, consider that social media managers can help you build a presence on totally new platforms. Perhaps your company has slept on Pinterest or has no idea how to approach TikTok or Clubhouse.
This is where hiring a social media manager can be a game-changer. For example, check out this SMM job description from Buzzfeed that emphasizes the need for mastery of video content on TikTok:
Understanding what channels your SMM is working with is the first step toward hiring them.
2. Prioritize responsibilities and duties for your SMM
As noted earlier, not all social media managers take on the same responsibilities.
The role can be a sort of catch-all, making it tricky for companies looking at potential hires.
Below we’ve highlighted some key tasks and duties to expect of your SMM: the ones you prioritize are up to your team’s needs.
Curate, schedule and manage your content calendar
This is the big one. From scheduling promotions to uncovering click-worthy posts for your followers, managing a content calendar is one of the most important and time-intensive task for any given SMM.
With the help of tools like Sprout Social, social media marketers are empowered to schedule their posts across multiple networks and publish when each audience is most engaged.
Establish your brand identity
For up-and-coming brands, building an identity should be a top priority.
Personable or professional? Straight-and-narrow or sassy? Skilled managers can help cement your voice and values to your customer base.
Monitor social media trends
The role of social media marketer is a dynamic one. Every business is totally different and SMMs must adapt to not only social-specific trends but industry-wide ones as well.
Shoutouts. Complaints. Questions and concerns.
Swift, thoughtful replies are a must-do for companies looking to nurture customers and keep their followers satisfied. Having a dedicated social media manager means that those ever-so-important mentions never go unanswered.
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Support promotional efforts and campaigns
Perhaps most importantly, social media managers are instrumental in finding ways to support your existing marketing efforts. This includes collaborating with SEO, email marketing and lead generation roles on campaigns and messaging.
3. Define the must-have skills for your social media manager
As a recap (and for the sake of writing a job description), consider the following social media skills to assess for potential candidates:
- Writing skills, for communicating internally, interacting with customers and writing marketing copy (think: captions and calls-to-action)
- Social media experience such as working with multiple platforms and understanding their best practices
- Customer service skills, including customer success and escalation management
- Understanding of analytics, as well as other tools that make up a marketing tech stack
- Organizational skills to handle wrangling their duties while also sticking to a schedule and deadlines
No matter what your SMM is going to be doing day-to-day, these skills above are going to be key to their success.
4. Determine if you need to hire a social media manager full-time or on a freelance basis
Some businesses outsource their social media while others do everything in-house.
With a full-time hire, there’s obviously a bigger onboarding and financial commitment. That said, in-house social media marketers are naturally more tight-knit with your marketing team and business at large. This not only helps with sticking to goals and hitting milestones but also increases their understanding of your company and its culture.
Outsourcing social media management gives you more flexibility but it also means sacrificing control. Smaller companies might consider hiring a freelancer and then transitioning to a full-time position over time as their social strategy becomes more sophisticated and there’s a case to expand the social team.
And given the rise of remote work and tools such as team chat, you can find a social manager for hire just about anywhere.
Where to find the best talent when hiring a social media manager
No surprises here: LinkedIn is the go-to platform for finding top-tier talent.
Because LinkedIn is a social network itself, it’s a prime place to assess whether or not a potential hire knows how to market themselves and speak to an audience.
Not only that, but the ability to hire directly through the platform is a major plus.
In addition to LinkedIn, industry groups like The Social Marketer’s Exchange are a great place to find individualized recommendations and share job postings.
How to pick the best social media manager for your business
With a sea of talent to choose from, honing in on the right hire can be tough.
Here are some ideas to help you get through the interview process and likewise figure out who’d be the best fit for your company based on your goals.
Ask to see their portfolio or past accounts
Request details on the results of past campaigns they have run. You can see their track record and what they’ve actually done.
Get details on how they measure performance
For example, which tools do they use? What KPIs do they track and consider to be the most valuable? Even if you’re not hiring a social media analyst, these questions are totally fair game.
Provide a difficult scenario and ask how they would handle it
Whether it’s a fictional crisis or a spin on something that happened in the past, role-playing scenarios are helpful to gauge your candidates’ critical thinking skills and marketing chops alike.
Ask to describe how they understand your brand’s voice
This not only gauges if your candidate has done their homework but also confirms that they truly understand your company’s values and tone.
Are you ready to hire a social media manager?
Bringing on a social media manager can be transformative for your company.
This is especially true as more and more customers turn to social media for the sake of customer service and doing business.
Although there are plenty of moving pieces of hiring a social media manager on board, doing so doesn’t have to be a headache.
If you haven’t already, check out our social media hiring toolkit that can help streamline the process of onboarding new talent.
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