So you’re ready to bring on a new social media manager to help your brand or agency’s marketing efforts.

It’s exciting to grow your team, and you want to help your hire succeed in their new position as much as you can. This is why it’s so important to know how to train social media managers and properly onboard a new social media team member.

We’ll run through essential qualities to look for in a new social media manager and our recommended best practices for giving them the best shot in their new job.

What to look for when hiring a social media manager

Social media management isn’t for everyone – it can be a fast-paced, high-creative, research-heavy, data-driven position, and can come with unique work-life balance stresses that both team members and managers must navigate.

While you might not always get all of these qualities in one really awesome social media team member, here are a few great skills and qualities to keep an eye out for in your hiring process. Many people are creatives while others are more analytical, and social media positions often require a bit of both.

Creative copywriting

Writing social media captions is an art form in itself, and finding a new team member who can find the best words to perfectly capture your brand voice and your post’s objective is essential. A highly creative team of social media experts who can regularly bring new ideas to the table will make your brand’s content unique and stand out from the rest.

Social media expertise

This one is a given, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t still mention it. You of course don’t want to have to train your new social media manager on basic practices of all the social platforms you market on. Depending on the specifics of the role, knowledge ranging from how to post successful content to familiarity with analytics are a must.

Customer service

As we found in the Sprout Social Index™ Edition XVII: Accelerate, 47% of consumers believe strong customer service makes a brand best-in-class on social. That means much of social media management is responding to opinionated followers, whether they’re happy or not. Finding a new team member who is well-versed in handling any customer service situation will be a huge asset to your team.

2020 Sprout Social Index highlights reasons why consumers engage and message a brand on social media

Design sensibility

Many social media teams and agencies have designers on staff, but many others don’t, and the responsibility falls on the social media manager creating content. Plus, it’s always a perk if your social team has an eye for design and can help direct the design team or request necessary changes to ensure the final result is perfect.


Social media platforms and marketing tactics are ever-changing, so finding a team member who is flexible and can easily adapt to new strategies is important so your content is always top-notch.


Social media managers have many job duties on their plate, especially when managing multiple clients at an agency, and it’s important to find someone who is extremely organized and can ensure that everything gets done–from planning, to content creation, to analyzing posts and more.

How to train a new social media manager

Now that you’re sure you’ve hired the best person for the job, it’s time to start training them and setting them up for success. Ensuring that this process goes smoothly for everyone often means creating documents and guidelines that your brand or agency will want to have on hand in an onboarding folder.

Let’s dive into a few essential guidelines to help your new hire learn how to be a social media manager for your specific brand or client.

Introduce brand voice guidelines

Your new social media manager needs to know how exactly to speak for your brand, from the type of personality you show off in captions to how to speak to customers and audience members online.

Having a full brand style guide documented helps every member of your team, not just new hires. For onboarding, you may want to put together introductory brand voice guidelines to give team members something to follow along with as they grow more accustomed to your brand and the way it presents itself.

Creating and approving content in Sprout Social

Sprout Social can help make approving content, responding to customers on social media and communicating with your team easier.

In Sprout, you can set up workflows in your content creation process so that more junior team members can create the content, then immediately notify other team members to approve or modify the content before publishing.

how to train social media managers - content approval workflow in sprout social

Senior team members can easily add comments providing feedback, reject content that simply isn’t relevant or on par with your brand standards or approve for posting.

Practice messaging scenarios

Conversations and engagement are constantly happening on social media, and you want your new team member to feel prepared. While any major red flags should be sent up the chain of command to a more senior social media manager (and your onboarding document should help delineate what these red flag situations are), basic conversations and messaging scenarios a new social team member should familiarize themselves with handling include:

  • Common support questions
  • Unhappy customers
  • Compliments, thanks and praise
  • Obvious spam messages
  • Vulgar language (including when to disengage with trolls)

Create a document filled with potential issues, whether positive or negative, that could pop up while someone is managing your brand’s online presence, and showcase the proper ways to respond so your new hire can easily follow along.

Saved replies in Sprout’s Asset Library

Want to make it as easy as possible for social media managers of all levels to respond to comments and messages? While you always want to add a personal touch to each message you send, you can still use Sprout Social’s Asset Library to save replies for various scenarios.

This could include drafting support message templates to ensure they always use the right product terminology, customer support messages that link to the best resources on your site, or responses about current promotions with the right campaign hashtags already included. Your team can use these as a starting point to ensure consistency while adding their own voice and content relevant to the specific situation.

Sprout’s asset library can be used for even more than just customer service replies, from saved directions to special menus and more. It can also be used to store pre-approved images and video, including those you’ve already perfectly sized for social platforms through a tool like Sprout’s free resource, Landscape.

Use onboarding templates and worksheets

Give your social media manager a chance to try things out before they’re actually sharing content and conversations with the public.

By providing practice worksheets for various conversations, you can test and train on customer service skill, content creation, brand voice practice and more. This sets new hires up for success and gives them the best shot at wowing you and your audience.

Try creating a template with actual messages your account has previously received. Set up columns for your new hire’s drafted response, notes about any additional next steps they might take such as tagging the message or marking it complete in Sprout, and a column for your own feedback on their proposed response. This will let them practice realistic response scenarios and build their confidence to actually publish to your brand account.

Internal messaging and notes in Sprout

In Sprout, team members can collaborate with notes on profiles and tasks, which makes it easy for new hires to get feedback on complex situations. These features are especially useful for remote teams as well as to streamline communication about social media content and management. Summarize past conversation history so new team members can get up to speed, note past customer care resolutions, or discuss ongoing tasks to finalize post ideas and responses, all through your team’s Sprout dashboard.

Onboarding checklists

It’s a great idea to generate some kind of checklist as well to make sure you’ve covered all your bases and trained new social media team members on all the essentials they need to know to succeed in their jobs.

Social media is a complex practice that balances customer interaction, creativity, and marketing insight, so even your most senior team members know there’s always room to learn and improve. Set reasonable expectations for your new team members through a checklist that indicates when training is done, but be ready to continually support their efforts to refine and grow their experience.

Start onboarding new social media managers successfully

Give new team members the best possible training you can so they’re ready to take on anything when it comes to representing your brand or your clients online. Schedule a demo to learn more about how Sprout Social can help make this process even smoother.