The Social Media Manager develops and implements a company's social media strategy through relevant social media channels and platforms to promote brand awareness, generate inbound traffic and encourage product adoption. They are the "voice" of the company's social communications: Part brand ambassador, content manager and part digital marketing evangelist. They manage social media campaigns and the company's presence on social networking sites. They analyze, review and report on the effectiveness of those campaigns to maximize results. They also need to stay on top of the latest trends in social media tools and applications. This role coordinates closely with Marketing, Customer Service and Public Relations (or Public Affairs) to ensure consistency in the company's overal communications strategy.
Ask the candidate for examples of published writing such as blogs, e-books, or website content. The first rule of social media is that content drives social media success. The ability to write with clarity, creatively and professionally, while adhering to the rules of grammar and spelling, cannot be overstated. If you're filling a position that has customer service interaction, look for writing samples that convey empathy with words. Editorial experience including first drafts, re-writes and final edits is a nice-to-have.
Hungry to Learn
Ask the candidate what they know about current platforms and exactly how they stay up to date on emerging trends and the latest technology. Any indication that they feel "comfortable" with what they know is a red flag.
Social media is an exercise in ongoing learning.
An Analytical Mind
Whatever the platform may be, there needs to be measurable conversation around the brand. The two most important metrics in social media are engagement and leads. Probe for at least a basic understanding of traditional business analytics as well as web analytics. Ask for examples of projects where they weeded out data that didn't align with the business goals of the company, along with examples of "data interpretation" which helped optimize marketing efforts.
A candidate's ability to communicate their thoughts concisely and with confidence will show through during face-to-face interviews, but you also need to know how effective they are at delivering presentations to those at higher levels, particularly senior executives who aren't experienced in social media. Ask references to rank the level of their ability in this area on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 low and 5 high.
Managers and Directors of Social Media must be able to demonstrate that they can think beyond tactical execution. Essentially, you are looking for things they brought to the business that the business didn't even know they needed. THAT is true thought leadership. Of course, you want to know how those strategies helped achieve business goals. Also, ask about any experience they've had in handling a social media crisis.
Ask for examples of how they implemented tactics to support social media strategies, i.e., producing and distributing content in multiple formats across various social media networks and optimizing it for SEO. Managers need to manage, but they also must be hands on.
You're not looking for an award winning creative designer, but the social media manager is part of the branding experience. You want to know that they have an eye for excellent creative media such as photos and videos, and even be called on to shape and/or edit them. Ask to see some samples of social media campaigns that they developed and the role they played in the creative process. They should be well-versed in writing relevant content for the audience they want to engage.
"Must Have" Tactical Skills. Make sure the candidate has strong familiarity with all of the following:
Looking for sample social media job descriptions? Send us an email and we'll send you some examples, courtesy of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC. We also provide experienced digital marketers, in all categories, on a freelance basis.