Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What to look for when hiring a social media manager

Starting a business is not the easiest thing in the world.  Neither is running one!  There are so many responsibilities for small business owners that we often wear many hats. From hiring to accounting, networking, marketing, payroll, and oh yeah....performing our actual service!  There is so much to do.  Then someone comes along and mentions social media...Another task to add to the to-do list.  Most small business owners that I run into already know the value and impact on social media, they just don't have the time to add it to their plate.  Well, let me rephrase that: They don't have the time to do it consistently to have it actually work for them.  Trusting an intern with our brand that can reach thousands of people is a scary thought, so more and more businesses are hiring social media managers or firms to handle their accounts. does an owner choose the right social media manager for their business? Here are a few things to look for:

1. How do their pages look?  I am a big fan of people that "eat their own cooking". Ex: A refrigerator repairman that has a perfectly running refrigerator.  When looking to outsource social media, an owner must look at pages the potential company manages.  Do they post often? Do people engage with their posts? Do YOU like their posts? Are they strong selling you?  One thing I wouldn't pay attention to is the number of "likes" and followers.  That can be misleading as that can be a lot of fluff and fake accounts.  Content is what's important.

2. How Often Will They Post To Your Accounts?  Believe it or not, I've heard of some social media firms only posting to their client's accounts a couple of times per week.  This will not get the traction needed to be successful online.  Daily posting (at least Monday through Friday) is necessary on all platforms to really get the exposure necessary to attract business.

3. Do they interact with other pages or just post?  This one is huge.  Brands that just grab a megaphone and only post will soon get tuned out.  It's social media so we need to be "social".  I always make sure to log into the accounts that I manage and like other comments, follow other brands, comment on other's posts and be active to make the brand come alive online.  Be sure that is part of their plan when hiring a social media manager.

4. What will they post? This is probably the scariest notion for a business owner.  Someone besides them will actually be posting to their accounts.  An in-person meeting is recommended so that the owner can share their vision, passion and voice with the social media manager.  The owner should provide some content and pictures to the manager, but the social media firm should be able to create content based on the business' website and researching what their customer's like (see my post on Graph Search).  I also will share a Google Doc with my client so we can share ideas and content quickly and easily without having to go back and forth through email.

5. What are the goals and expectations? This conversation is crucial.  If sales, leads and business is expected up front, social media is not right for that business.  Building relationships takes time.  Online relationships are no different.  When hiring a social media manager, be sure to discuss clear goals and expectations so everyone is on the same page.  To me, social media is all about building brand awareness and trust.  Once that relationship is built and cultivated, the sales and revenue will flow in. Not overnight, but if done correctly and consistently, social media can a very powerful tool for a small, local business.

As a social media manager myself, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my service so that my clients can benefit.  If I left anything off that you would like to add, please do not be shy.  Any questions are welcome as well as I can talk about social media for day!  Thanks for stopping by!

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