6 Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Social Media Specialist

Social media can be your greatest marketing tool, or your biggest PR disaster. Sometimes it pays to bring in the experts. We take a look at when you should consider hiring a social media marketing planner.

Just because someone knows the difference between Facebook and Instagram, or happens to have several thousand followers on Twitter, doesn’t mean they are a social media expert. But what is a social media expert, exactly?  We’ve previously covered what you should expect your social media consultant to be capable of.  In this article we’re digging deeper by identifying the right questions to ask your potential social media specialist.

When it’s time to hire someone to do social media for your company, you need to know that they know what they’re doing, from strategy, to content, to analytics and crisis management. Knowing how to hire a social media specialist starts with knowing what questions to ask and what answers you should expect.

1. What is the full range of services you offer?

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s not enough to just know how to create good content, or have a knack for responding well to negative (and positive) comments from customers. You want to hire a social media specialist that takes control of the entire process, starting with well-designed strategy, going on to content, analytics and disaster control. Don’t be afraid to ask them to provide you with examples of any and all of these elements. 

2. What’s your social media specialization?

Some social media marketers are great for targeted campaigns, while others are better at long-term brand building. Yet another may be excellent at one or two platforms, but not familiar with others. It can take a bit of time to find the right match for your business – someone who can do the right type of ongoing social media for you and on the right platforms.

3. Do you understand my industry?

Every industry is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to social media. A fitness coach might do well with Facebook and Instagram, while a retailer may do better with Twitter and a blog. A competent social media person will either have experience with your industry, or will have done enough research to understand your industry’s social media strengths, and how to leverage those.

4. Do you have examples of work done, or of concepts?

The social media marketing industry is complex, and there are many young people and newcomers to it who don’t have an extensive portfolio of work. That does not mean they won’t be a good fit. The industry changes constantly and anyone offering social media management services needs to do continuous research to keep up with trends and changes. That means that even someone relatively inexperienced may still have the knowledge and capability to run your campaigns. 

If they don’t have a portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask them to compile a few samples or give you a basic outline of their strategy. That said, do not take this strategy and hand it to someone else to implement, especially if no money has changed hands. It’s not only unethical, but you might just have created a real social media PR disaster for yourself.

5. How would you avoid a crisis, or handle one that arises?

Here, again, the social media marketing consultant may have examples of actual crises they have dealt with, or have managed to avert before they happened. Otherwise, a good way to gauge their capabilities is to take a few examples of real social media disasters and ask them how they would have dealt with it. You want to know that they can think quickly and take the right steps to either stop the disaster before it happens, or fix things once they go wrong.

6. How will you track my results?

Social media engagement can change in an instant, so it’s really important to know just how well people are engaging with your content and what kind of feedback you’re getting. A creditable and competent social media consultant will have a fairly sophisticated analytics set-up to track not just how much, but what kind of feedback you are getting from your social media.

Navigating the social media minefield can be tricky. Have you had any incredible successes or spectacular fails? Let us know in the comments. 

Have more questions about where to find a social media manager? Enter your details below and we’ll be in touch.

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