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June 5, 2014
5 Tips for Hiring a Social Media Manager

A position of rising prominence in the world of business, the social media manager is the modern bridge between an organization's public relations and marketing initiatives and the online social community. While many progressive companies are on the hunt for a candidate capable of successfully developing, executing, and measuring social media marketing strategies, finding the right individual can often be challenging. Not only are you looking for a polished practitioner with a state-of-the-art skill set who can decipher your mission and disseminate your message across social channels, but you're also seeking someone with the experience and professionalism to effectively coordinate with critical collaborators throughout your organization.

If you are looking for a social media professional fit to keep pace with emerging trends and keep your organization on the cutting edge, consider these five tips for hiring the right social media manager:

1. Shoot for the Total Package
It takes more to run a social media program than simply having a firm grip on navigating the most prominent channels and possessing an intangible knack for effective networking. Not only do you need a first-class communicator with solid journalistic chops and impressive editing skills, but also someone savvy in modern methods of sales, marketing, and customer service. Search for a well-rounded candidate that has the thorough knowledge of the social media landscape, the poise to interact and interpret diverse departmental needs, and an understanding of how things work in unison to unlock the dynamic potential of a multi-channel campaign.


2. Send Out the Search Party
Leave no stone unturned in the search for an individual with the talent and expertise to take your organization to the next level. In addition to posting your open position on a website such as Talentzoo.com, which specializes as a comprehensive career resource for professionals working in advertising, marketing, digital, and creative, put the word out to staff, associates, and industry circles that you are actively seeking a social media wiz.


Be creative in your process by trying various tactics, such as connecting with thought leaders and online influencers that frequent your favorite blogs, or identifying who is responsible for a successful social campaign that caught your attention. Most of all, reach out over social channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter to let the people in your extended networks know you have an exciting opportunity for the right candidate. Just putting the scent of opportunity in the air can whet the appetite of a qualified individual who, while not actively seeking a job change, may potentially be enticed to come in for a meeting.

3. Ask the Right Questions
When sitting down to talk with candidates, it's a matter of course to hit on fundamental topics such as relevant experiences and notable accomplishments. However, the interview process is also a golden opportunity to get down to the nuts and bolts of what this person is all about and how he or she plans to help your business meet its objectives.


Consider your motivations for hiring a social media manager in order to form questions that directly address your top concerns, whether that means asking which tools and techniques he or she would use to maximize efficiency, or finding out how he or she would respond in the case of a PR disaster. The social media manager you are looking for will not only rattle off the channels, software platforms, and strategies he or she feels are right for your brand, but will also present fresh concepts relating to calculating ROI and using advanced metrics for optimizing the performance of campaigns.

4. Put a Filter on Experience
In the lightning-fast age of the Internet, where industry-altering events can (and often do) happen in a flash, it's important to put a filter on experience to ensure you don't overpay for someone who has spent most of his or her career performing tasks and working with systems that have long been obsolete. Focus on the aspect of discovering a practitioner accomplished in the art and science of managing a business's social media initiatives and who can demonstrate a history of delivering tangible results. While your mental image of the likely best candidate may be a young upstart born and raised in the rise of the digital age, don't discount the seasoned professional who has seen the world of business change before his or her eyes and possesses a wealth of resources, connections, and old-world tenets in sales, marketing, and communications that never go out of style.


5. Validate His or Her Online Profile
An awful lot can be learned through one-on-one and group interviews, applicable skill tests, and performance in hypothetical situations; however, a productive way to validate the abilities of social media manager candidates is to take a critical look at their personal and professional digital footprint. Research and review what top candidates have done on past and current campaigns to see how the philosophies they represent manifest themselves in a practical environment.


Are they capable of telling stories that define a brand, are they successful in starting conversations that support engagement and loyalty, and have they hatched strategies that generate results? Perhaps the most telling place to look of all is at a personal online profile, where you can get a sense of how the candidate has cultivated their personal brand, marketed their talents, and built a supportive social network.

Concluding Thoughts
An effective social media manager has the power to revolutionize an online marketing campaign by increasing brand exposure, building productive consumer relationships, and enhancing both earned and paid media strategies. By setting lofty yet realistic expectations, performing an exhaustive search, and making an accurate assessment of a candidates past experience and potential to grow, you can be sure to hire a social media manager who will flourish in his or her role.


In your opinion, which characteristics are most important in a social media manager?

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Brian Spero writes about business and marketing topics – including tips for outsourcing and hiring, increasing web traffic, and reaching more customers online.
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