Many companies find that growing and managing social media outlets is a continuous challenge. Luckily, one of the fastest growing careers today is that of a social media manager. These experts are hired to take charge of a company’s social media platforms and manage them; making sure that each post is shareable and intriguing enough to capture readers’ interests.
However, many can find themselves confused about what to look for when hiring a social media manager. Jenn Herman of Jenn’s Trends  spoke with Small Business Trends for an exclusive interview and shared insider tips about what you need to look for in a social media manager.
Hiring a Social Media Rockstar
Look for Appropriate Experience
Look for someone with experience that aligns with the size of your business. Because this career path is so new, you aren’t going to find someone with decades of experience. In fact, the people with the most social media experience are usually younger, and may be recent grads. If your company is smaller, look for someone with 1 to 3 years of experience in social media management. For larger companies, 3 to 5 years of experience is a good range to aim for.
Again, younger generations tend to have stronger knowledge of social media, as they grew up with the platforms. They won’t need to learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, and the like, because they have been using them personally for years.
Search Online Profiles
Search for a candidate’s online profiles. Those seeking a career in social media management should be easily searchable and should have a strong online presence. It is not unheard of to ask for social media URLs in the job application.
There is actually a reliable way to measure a candidate’s online presence. Use Klout  to gauge a person’s online influence and activity. It will rate them on a scale from 1 to 100. On average, a person who uses more than one platform will have a score around 40. Once that score reaches higher than 50, you can bet that the person has extensive experience with social media.
Look for Business Experience
While social media experience is vital for a social media manager, it is also important the person has business experience. Whether it is customer service, sales or marketing experience, these added skills will help the social media manager do his or her job.
Focus on Writing Skills
Pay attention to a candidate’s college major. Social media management is first and foremost a writing job, so it is important that the applicant studied something related to writing.
View Unedited Writing Samples
Look at unedited writing samples, where possible. While most social media managers have a portfolio, few have included unedited pieces.
Gauge Client Service Experience
Gauge how well the candidate understands the client service experience. Having a past career as an account executive or manager may help this person succeed in the social media manager role.
Find Out If They Can “Sell It”
Have the candidate come up with examples of times he or she worked to sell ideas in collaborative environments.
Ask About Public Relations Experience
See how much experience the candidate has with public relations. If your applicant has written press releases, ask to see the unedited examples.
Ask About Graphic Design Experience
Ask about experience with graphic design. Then ask for an opinion about the best way to post graphics onto Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
Test a Candidates Understanding of Industry Terms?
Ask these very important questions:
- “What is CPM?
- What is CPC?
- What is excess inventory?
- How do you manage content?
- Can you show me an example of a marketing calendar you have done?
- What is a social ecosystem?
- What is a flight?
- How many social networks are there?”
Present Scenarios and Ask for Solutions
Provide the candidate with multiple social media scenarios and ask how the person would deal with each.
Ask for Feedback on Your Current Plan
Tell the candidate about your current social media plan and ask what he or she thinks about it.
Ask for Advertising Experience
Ask if the candidate has ever worked in advertising before. It is a bonus if your new social media manager also has online advertising experience.
Focus on Social Media When Checking References
It should go without saying, but be sure to speak with a candidate’s references, and focus particularly on those knowledgeable about the person’s social media background.
Determine the amount of hours the candidate would need per week to manage your social media accounts. Often, small businesses hire social media managers on a part-time basis or as needed. So focus on the ones who have the availability to fill your needs.
Look for Someone Who Sees Big Picture
Look for a candidate that understands the bigger picture in your business. This person will be growing a community through your social media networks, so it’s important to look for someone who sees beyond the basics of crafting effective tweets and Facebook updates.
Seek Someone Who Wears Many Hats
On a related note, make sure the person you hire is versatile. Your social media manager will be handling PR, marketing, customer service, and essentially serving as brand ambassador. So it’s important that he or she brings a wide variety of talents to the table.
Look for Organizational Skills
Find someone who has strong organizational skills. Those that are organized will keep track of community growth and engagement metrics.
Look at Personal Social Networking Activity
Finally, look for someone who maintains his or her own personal networks effectively. Those who value social media will constantly engage with it in their free-time, too.
Use this social media calendar template  once they’ve started!
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