Everything You Need to Know About Hiring A Social Media Manager

Everything You Need to Know About Hiring A Social Media Manager

Social media marketing has gone from a niche tactic to a mainstream marketing channel in less than a decade. Social giants like Facebook and Twitter have made their users available to marketers through business pages and native ads.

social media manager

And we have been making full use of it – Just look at some of these stats from eMarketer:

  • 93% of marketers that say their business is actively using Facebook for strategic purposes.
  • 89% of marketers polled that say their business is currently using Twitter in their digital marketing strategy.
  • 42% of digital marketers said that their spend on social media increased in 2017.
  • 72% of surveyed marketers that say the use of social media in their digital marketing strategy has remained the same or increased over the past year.
  • 58% of marketers that say using social media to drive traffic to their websites is the most important use of the technique.

social media manager

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir?

You might already know that a social media strategy is the perfect way to get your business in front of a target audience – You’re just looking for info that will help you to hire the right person for the job.

Good, because that’s exactly what this guide is for.

Hiring a social media manager isn’t as simple as roping in the first millennial who walks past your office.

A social media manager must be trusted with your reputation.

*Warning: Negative opinions travel fast online, especially when a company has given cause for complaint. Justified fury will hurt your business far into the distant future. The masses love outrage.

S/he must also be trusted with your money.

A few wayward clicks during setup can make a Facebook ad campaign a lot more expensive than it needs to be.

So, what should you look for in a social media manager?

First, What Are Your Social Media Goals?

Goal setting always feels too obvious to mention in how-to guides, but we’ve asked enough business owners to know that goals are rarely defined in enough detail, if at all.

You need to think about what you want your social media manager to achieve.

  • Increase number of leads
  • Attract more followers/increase brand awareness
  • Improve customer retention
  • All the above?

Your objectives determine the type of social media manager you need.

The 3 goals above require vastly different skill-sets. A person who has experience in customer service, community management and paid advertising will be worth their weight in gold.

Do you have your goals in mind?

Now get specific with them.

  • How many new leads do you need/can your systems handle?
  • How much do you want to grow your audience by? And with what purpose (Content marketing)?
  • What response time to customer care requests will increase customer satisfaction?
  • And in what time-frame would you like to achieve your goals?

As the business owner or line manager, you need to set goals that best represent the direction you believe is best for your business. Don’t leave it up to your social media manager to decide on which social media objectives to pursue.

They won’t have the same understanding of your business and usually aren’t qualified to make strategic business decisions.

*Side note: If you aren’t sure what digital marketing can do for your business, consult with a marketing strategist. They will explain what is possible and blend it with what you know about your business and industry to form a winning strategy.

Real-life Example

Here’s an example of good goal setting from one of our recent campaigns.

Product: Mobile security application linked to private emergency services.


  • 1 000 paid memberships in 6 months
  • 10 000 Android downloads
  • Cost of acquisition under £30/subscriber
  • Geo-targeting – subscribers all come from the selected launch area

*Pro Tip: When a business owner knows exactly what they want to achieve, they drive away inexperienced social media managers. Clearly defined outcomes are intimidating to people who don’t have the experience to know whether your goals are possible or not. Professional social media managers will tell you if your goals are unrealistic and give you historical stats to show you what can safely be expected.

What Will You Need Your Social Media Manager to Do?

Now that you have your goals clearly defined you can start discovering what is needed to achieve them.

Again, don’t just trust that all social media managers can achieve your goals. When meeting with prospects it’s best to know which skills are needed so that you can assess how competent the candidates are in these areas.

Back to our real-life example

In the example of the mobile security app project, we needed to be comfortable with:

  • Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ads
  • Facebook’s Software Development Kit (for analytics data)
  • Video production of interviews
  • Customer service
  • Online sales
  • Community growth & management

Our client actually had no idea what we would need to know to achieve their goals and just trusted that we were capable enough based on our interactions.

While it’s nice to be trusted like that (makes onboarding a breeze), we don’t recommend that you do the same. It might not always work out for you.

Take the time to learn, at a high-level, what will be needed from your social media manager. At the end of the day, they will be accountable to you, so if you aren’t getting the results you had hoped for you need have ideas as to what the reasons could be.

How Many Platforms?

Referring back to your strategy, how many social media sites will you be using?

Facebook’s platform is vastly different from LinkedIn’s so make sure your candidates are familiar enough with the interfaces you’ve selected in your strategy to avoid steep learning curves and reduce implementation time.

The number of platforms you will be using will also determine how many hours will be needed from your social media manager.

To give you a rough idea on time-demand have a look at this schedule, for an SME:

social media manager

This schedule is focussed around the community management and customer service roles within the social media manager’s scope of responsibility but excludes time needed for campaign set up and management for paid advertising.

Also, bear in mind that the time spent is directly related to your social media ambitions and community size. ( So can easily become a X10 or x100 multiple)

How Much Creative Control?

Ideally, you want a social media manager that doesn’t need to be micro-managed.

Once you’ve defined the mission and you know what skills are required to ensure success, you should be able to sit back and let your social manager do their thing.

This is where they need to shine by injecting personality and creativity into ads and posts to attract engagement.

*Pro Tip: Ask your candidates to show you some examples of actual posts that they’ve come up with in the past. This will show you what they’re capable of creating.

Customer Service Function?

Most of your customers prefer to use social media for customer care.

social media manager

With this statistic in mind, your social media manager will have to possess some customer service chops.

Being able to respond to queries and complaints in real-time will be hugely advantageous to your business. Your customers will love you for it!

To do this, your candidate needs basic people skills. They can’t rely on the techie skills that help them to set up killer ads.

Some Good Examples of Customer Service Via Social Media

Whole Foods

No feedback is too silly. Every interaction is an opportunity to impress and surprise.

social media manager


This is what an average day on their Twitter account looks like:

social media manager

Jet Blue Airlines

Night-owl social media manager:

social media manager

It’s Not All Good Though – Have a Look at These Shockers

British Airways

The UK airliner lost some baggage and frustrated this user so much that he paid to promote this tweet:

social media manager

8 hours and 76 000 views later…

social media manager

American Airlines (Starting to see a trend here)

Auto-responder fail:

social media manager

Pigalle Restaurant in Boston

There are always some outrageous examples from small business owners:

social media manager

And a follow-up rant…

social media manager


What Other Skills Should You Ask About?

Ok, enough Schadenfreude, back to the serious businesses of hiring a social media manager.

These not-so-obvious skills are good signs of quality:

Team Player

Collaboration amongst the digital marketing community is generally quite good.

We’re all used to using project management tools like Trello or Slack and regularly work in project teams.

It’s important for the candidate to integrate well and adopt the company culture so that it comes through naturally when they engage with your customers on social media.

Think of this person as your digital spokesperson. They need to echo your brand voice not think of themselves as the “face” of your company.

Avoid candidates that come across as alpha dogs or princesses.

These attitudes might fit in with what you’ve seen from young people on social media but you aren’t looking to hire somebody that is interested in creating a following for themselves (aka being an influencer), you want a social media manager that is going to create a following for your business.

It’s an important difference.

Analytics Fundi

3rd party analytics tools are essential if you want to optimise your social media strategies.

Relying on the native analytics provided by the social media channels themselves can be misleading, especially when conversion events happen elsewhere.

In our example of the mobile security application, subscriptions happened in-app and we needed to make use of AppsFlyer to post the conversion back to Facebook via their API.

Without doing this, Facebook would have led us to believe that all the conversions should be attributed to their app installs ads even though we were using multiple channels to drive installs.

We would’ve seen the same on the other platform’s native analytics. Everybody claiming the same conversions.

AppsFlyer gave us unbiased insight into how each touchpoint contributed to a conversion.

Ask your candidates how well they know:

  • Google Analytics
  • Buzzsumo
  • Sproutsocial
  • The native analytics tools
  • Firebase (for apps)
  • AppsFlyer (also for apps)
  • And ask them to list any other relevant 3rd party apps that they have used in the past

Do You Need A Full-Time Social Media Manager?

Every business is different.

If your business is big enough to bring in a permanent staffer to handle your social accounts, then you definitely should.

How do you know if it’s big enough?

  1. You can afford the £41 000 salary + benefits of a full-time social media manager that meets the standards described in this guide.
  2. Your social accounts are already attracting leads that you can’t respond to quickly enough.
  3. You rarely get to all the customer service requests left on your social profiles.

What if you’re not a large company but you still want to leverage social marketing to grow your business?

There’s a way to get the best of both.

Outsourcing this function to an agency with social media specialists will get you the professional expertise without the big salary.

Enter VISUAL Agency – Professional Social Media Manager

VISUAL has a team of specialists in every area of online promotion, including social media marketing. We will work with you to design a strategy based on your business goals and implement it using our years of experience in social marketing.

Social media marketing isn’t only for the mega-brands. Small to medium-sized businesses can also make use of this amazing medium for business growth.

The best part?

We will work to your budget so that you can see results before going “all-in” on a social media manager.

We’ll take care of telling your audience about the value that you offer so that you can focus on delivering it to them.

If this appeals to you, click here to get in touch with us and change your social media problems into the type of problems that you want:

  • Too many leads
  • Not enough staff
  • Can’t keep up with demand

Nice problems!



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