If you’ve ever tried to hire a social media manager for your business, you might have experienced the challenge of trying to separate the applicants interested in playing on Facebook and Twitter all day without any battle-tested experience building a brand and encouraging engagement.
If you want to hire a social media manager but want some guidance on vetting candidates, you’ve come to the right place. This article will guide you through our criteria and interview questions you need to ask (skip straight to the Social Media Manager Interview Questions).
Social Media Manager Job Description
As the name suggests, a social media manager is social. This person will naturally be excited to tell brand stories and interact with people. This person should also demonstrate an excellent understanding of your business’s total marketing mix and use social media to facilitate the overall marketing goals. The ideal social media manager is highly creative with the ability to think outside box, coupled with communication and interpersonal skills.
He or she should also be able to wield analytics to determine the ROI of social media efforts, paired with strong analytical skills and data-driven thinking. These skills are what power a social media manager to devise campaigns that engage, inform and motivate. They should also have a strong understanding of who makes up a target audience and be able to conduct persona research.
A Note on Paid Social Media
In some companies, paid social media falls under the jurisdiction of a PPC team. In others, it’s part of the social media manager’s job description or it’s a joint effort between PPC and the social team. If the latter is true for your company, the ideal candidate should have experience managing or monitoring social advertising.
Social Media Manager Interview Questions
1. What social media platforms do you have experience with?
Interviewer tip: Do these match the platforms on which your business is active?
2. What are the first 3 things you do to start your morning as a social media manager?
Interviewer tip: You’re looking to see if they have habits in place for checking notifications of brand mentions, content shares, comments and other engagements, across the business’s active social platforms.
3. What tools do you use for posting, tracking and measuring social media?
Interviewer tip: You’re trying to learn what their process is for publishing and what tools they are familiar. You’ll want them to mention how they tie social media activity to business KPIs.
4. What do you see as the point of social media for businesses today?
Interviewer tip: The ideal candidate will recognize that a business can have multiple objectives for their social media efforts, and hopefully name one or two that happen to be your business’s goals.
5. Let’s say you notice a spike — or drop — in social activity on network. What are your next steps?
Interviewer tip: You want to see how they would apply critical thinking to discover what led to the traffic anomaly. Data without wisdom, after all, is useless.
6. How does social media marketing fit into the overall digital marketing mix?
Interviewer tip: Their answer, hopefully, will demonstrate an understanding of the synergy between organic search marketing, paid search marketing, content marketing and social media marketing. Listen to find out if they have knowledge of other pillars of digital marketing.
7. Share an example of a time that you had to mediate a crisis for your business.
Interviewer tip: You’ll find a real-world example to be extremely telling of their social media management experience to this point. Remember, an ideal candidate is a fantastic story teller, so you may be assigning bonus points for a candidate who presents an exciting story.
8. How often and how quickly do you respond to comments? How do you deal with negative comments?
Interviewer tip: Does the candidate’s philosophy align with your company’s when it comes to these interactions? Do they inquire about whether there is a process in place for addressing negative feedback?
9. How do you decide which social platforms to invest the most time in?
Interviewer tip: Not all social platforms are created equally. A social media manager needs to figure out where their brand’s audience actually is and invest there. The ideal candidate’s answer should reflect that.
10. What criteria do you use to decide if a new social media platform (i.e. a new Yik Yak or Blab) is worth trying out?
Interviewer tip: Not all social platforms are created equally. Companies shouldn’t necessarily jump on every new social platform that rolls into town. The ideal candidate will present questions they use to determine what’s relevant and useful to an individual business.
11. What companies do you see that are doing social media right?
Interviewer tip: This gives you insight into their overall knowledge and social style, as well as who they’re paying attention to.
12. How do you stay up-to-date with latest trends and social media marketing best practices?
Interviewer tip: Listen for mentions of key blogs, books, conferences, experts and courses!
13. Share an example of a memorable exchange you had as a business representative on social media.
Interviewer tip: Whatever they share will illumine the kinds of interactions that matter most to them. If they don’t have an example that should be a huge red flag.
14. Do you prefer to keep your personal and professional social media presence separate from the business you work for?
Interviewer tip: To quote Bruce Clay, Inc.’s Content and Media Manager Virginia Nussey: “I have yet to see a champion brand advocate who doesn’t have a unified personal and professional online presence.”
15. What are some ideas you have for getting people excited about our business on social media?
Interviewer tip: It’s one thing for a candidate to say they’re highly creative. Get some actual examples of how they would wield that creativity!
In writing this article, I started a discussion on Inbound.org asking other social media manager what interview questions they’d like to ask (and some of those questions made it into the above list!). If you’d like to hear more thoughts on what to ask a social media manager in an interview — or to add your own — head over to the Inbound discussion!