The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Social Media Manager

It's no secret that social media marketing can help your business build brand awareness, connect directly with your target audience, drive more traffic to your products and services and increase revenue.

The downside is that managing it all can be incredibly time-consuming.

If you want to be successful on social media, you'll have to show up consistently. That means dedicating time to researching and developing strategies, creating and publishing content, having meaningful conversations with potential customers and analyzing your efforts.

The social media landscape is constantly evolving in response to platform updates, new features and changes in user behaviors. Keeping up with it all can feel like a full-time job — and it is, for a social media manager.

A social media manager is responsible for ensuring your business stays top of mind with your target audience. They create and publish content, communicate with potential customers on your behalf and use their skills to help you reach your goals.

Outsourcing your social media workload to someone with knowledge and experience will allow you to spend your time on other things, like developing new products or services or and training team members.

But where do you find a qualified candidate? And what exactly should you be looking for?

Identify your business needs

There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to hiring a social media manager. Your business's specific needs will ultimately determine who you choose for the position and what tasks they'll be responsible for.

To get started, answer the following questions:

  • Do you need a full-time employee, part-time employee or a freelancer?
  • Do you want to work with an individual or an agency?
  • Should they be local, or can the position be handled remotely?

Then get specific about what you want your social media manager to do:

  • What are your objectives and goals for using social media?
  • Which platforms will they be responsible for?
  • Are you interested in organic strategies, paid advertising or both?
  • Will this role require knowledge of tasks that fall outside of general social media management (ex. email marketing, influencer marketing, SEO, etc.)?

Keep in mind, a jack of all trades is typically a master of none. Each social media platform requires a different set of skills. It's not easy to find someone who's an expert in them all.

In fact, it's not unusual to find social media managers who've decided to focus on specific platforms or services, like Facebook and Google ads, influencer marketing or Pinterest.

Social media managers typically have to wear multiple hats, but you shouldn't expect to hire a single individual who can achieve your desired results while simultaneously juggling your Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat accounts. That's a pretty tall order, even for the most experienced social media marketers.

If you need someone to manage multiple channels or handle tasks that fall outside of traditional social media management — like content marketing, email marketing or SEO — consider working with an agency instead. Boutique social media agencies can offer more support and a wider range of services than an individual can by delegating the heavier workload to their team of social media managers, content creators and platform specialists.

Of course, your budget will be a deciding factor in who you ultimately hire. When determining your budget for social media management, remember to plan not only for the cost of your social media manager's salary or retainer fee, but also for any additional costs related to your social media marketing efforts — like ad spend, influencer fees, contests and giveaways.

What to look for in a social media manager

Since the industry is always changing, many social media managers will make an effort to invest in ongoing education by completing courses and acquiring certifications. Ask your candidates what sort of training they've had that makes them qualified for the position and request to see real world examples of their experience in the form of portfolios and case studies.

Case studies are one of the best indicators of a social media service provider's strategic abilities because they showcase a specific, measured result that the service provider achieved over a period of time. This highlights their ability to plan and execute social media marketing objectives effectively. Of course, you can also request to see references, client testimonials and other types of social proof that illustrate the service provider's experience.

Additionally, consider the candidate's knowledge or interest in your business's industry. There are many social media managers who've chosen to work within specific niches in order to streamline their offers and support clients in a more impactful way, and this can help narrow your search.

For example, there are social media managers who only work with businesses in the wedding industry, pet industry or with beauty brands. Niching down to only support specific kinds of businesses gives these service providers an edge over more general social media managers. They come with a deeper knowledge and hands-on experience around what works within that particular industry.

How to find the right social media manager

Once you've determined what skills and experience level you're looking for in a social media manager, it's time to start your search. There are two ways to go about finding the right candidate.

The first option is to share the role directly and let interested candidates come to you. To do this, you'll first want to create a detailed job description which outlines all of the job's requirements and responsibilities. Post the job description directly on your company's website, as well as on its LinkedIn page and social media channels. Make sure to include clear instructions around how you want candidates to apply, which makes it simple for them to contact you.

You can also list your job description on third-party career websites where social media managers are frequently looking for new opportunities. These sites provide a convenient secondary option for finding a social media manager by providing you with a simple way to search through listings and contact social media managers.

You can actively search for social media managers and list your opening on sites like Upwork, Freelancer and The Social Media Manager Market. Instead of passively waiting for the right candidate to discover your opportunity, you can also reach out to the freelancers and business owners listed on these directories and career websites to get the ball rolling.

Going into your search with realistic expectations and a clear understanding of the skills and experience level you're looking for should make hiring a social media manager for your business a much more enjoyable task.

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