Questions to Ask When Hiring a Social Media Manager
Recognizing the value of social media doesn’t mean you have to make time in your busy schedule to manage it yourself. It doesn’t even mean you have to allocate the resources for a new employee. This is a skill that is easily outsourced, but you want to be careful about who you hire, as they will be representing you with every post and tweet.
When considering who to hire to manage your social media presence, here are a few key questions to ask:
How can I contact you?
Your social media manager should be very easily reachable. Sure they may have a contact form on their website, but they should also be easy to contact via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, text, and even (gasp) phone. If their Twitter profile is locked, or their Facebook page closed off, be cautious. Good social media gurus are open books. They live their lives online because it is their best tool for self-promotion.
How will you monitor my organization online?
In addition to creating posts about your organization to send out to the world, a highly skilled social media manager will listen to what other people are saying. They will set up Google alerts for your brand name and any related topics. They will monitor hashtags on Twitter that relate to your industry. This is one reason it is helpful to hire someone who works specifically in your industry. For instance, someone who manages social media for local governments (like Tripepi Smith), will be highly engaged in current online industry trends and know precisely how your unique posts/tweets fit into the conversation.
How will I know if it’s working?
This is kind of a trick question. If they give you a definitive answer along the lines of “you will have 300 new followers a month,” go ahead and end the interview. The correct answer is much more nuanced. In the world of social media, the goal is to build community around your brand. Whether you’re a company or a municipality, the goal should be a group of people who are legitimately engaged. One sign that a campaign is working is that you see a gradual increase in traffic to your website. Another could be increased sales. One thing that can be said across the board is that it takes time. Six months is a good window of time to get started, but it could take as long as one year to start to see real results.
How much will this cost?
This depends, of course, on who you contract with and how much they will be doing. Rockstars and celebrities have been known to hire dedicated ghost writers to travel around with them tweeting every five minutes, and they pay up to six figures for the service. For most of us however, this would be excessive. A basic campaign should include (as an example) daily posts to Twitter, a few posts a week to Facebook, and a weekly update on LinkedIn. Your social media manager should work with you to plan posts for the week (this is usually accomplished with a quick , weekly phone call), and also be available to make “real time” posts. This should cost under a thousand dollars a month.
Lastly, one word of advice about handing over control of your social media to anyone: always maintain access to your accounts. Make sure you have the passwords to anything with your name on it. Should you decide to end your relationship with your social media manager (even if you see it as an amicable parting), change your passwords before you break the news. This may seem underhanded, but it literally takes only seconds for a disgruntled ex-employee to tweet in your name, ruining hard-earned relationships and ending brand loyalty.
Social media is a powerful tool, and hiring someone to manage it allows you to reap the benefits without adding to your busy schedule.