How to hire a social media manager

“Social media’s a fad!” said Average Business Marketer Joe, circa 2009. “What place would a respectable brand like ours have on a social network filled with teenagers?”

Now it’s 2014. After six or seven seminars, Average Business Marketer Joe has come around to the idea of social media being used as a powerful marketing tool.  

Glad to hear it, Joe. Time to hire a social media manager! Let’s take a look at five qualifications often overlooked when it comes to hiring the best candidate.

1. Creative vision – A great deal of social media success depends on creativity. Strong social copy requires the ability to create conversation through tone and length (particularly short form). Solid contest ideas come from an understanding of your target audience’s motivation. An effective social media strategy should include more than posting “Happy Friday” comics and low-res Santa images on Christmas.

2. Digital interface skills – A master of social media must be a master of computers and mobile devices. How swiftly can she maneuver through Mac and Windows operating systems? Does he understand the different uses and properties of GIF, JPG and PNG files? What about the recommended upload size and format for YouTube and Facebook videos? How about optimizing for mobile?

3. Crisis control – A social media manager is also a customer care agent. Whether or not brands want to hear it, not everyone loves them. Problems will arise and unhappy users will complain – loudly and publicly. A good social media manager knows how to listen to complaints and constructively work toward a solution.

4. Basic coding – I’m not saying managers should be masters of HTML5 (though that would be impressive), but a solid understanding of web code goes a long way. It allows a manager to communicate on a basic level with the web developers when it comes to social integration on websites.

5. Social ad platforms – If you forget everything and only remember this, you will make a better hire. Unless you are already a beloved brand like Coke or Starbucks, get ready to spend money to grow and engage your audience – especially on Facebook. Organic growth is still possible, but without a manager who is a master of strategic targeting and media placements, your brand’s messaging will fall upon blind eyes.

Andrew Pauly is a social media professional with more than five years of experience in the greater Milwaukee area.

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