Small businesses can benefit immensely from hiring someone to help with their social media. It doesn’t even have to be a full-time staff member, which is good since few small businesses can afford a designated position. There are many freelancers who enjoy this kind of work and it’s easily done remotely. But before you make the hire, here are some things you should look for in the candidates who’ve applied:
1) Writing ability
When you’re developing content, writing ability is essential. Not only that, but you want someone whose style is consistent with your business brand. Formal, journalistic writing for a children’s store isn’t going to go over well. On the other hand, cheerful, slang-ridden banter isn’t going to work in a professional services firm. You can ask for writing samples, but don’t forget to check out candidates’ public social media accounts. This will provide a good idea of how they interact on social channels. Don’t forget to ask what other accounts they’re managing - especially if it’s related businesses.
2) Content curation
Content marketing isn’t about sharing 100% of your own content. If it was, no one would follow businesses because they’d be too boring with all their sales content. The candidate you hire should have creative ideas of how to curate content that is appropriate for your brand and audience. Whether it’s curated news pieces, photos, cartoons or blog posts, they need to have a talent for finding relevant, interesting information that fits your brand.
3) Understanding of the tools
Your social media manager should be able to use the tools (obviously), but they need to have an interest in them, too. I know one SM manager who doesn’t want to have a Facebook account for personal reasons that are totally understandable. However, they have a profile and know how it works and are interested in the capabilities that Facebook has as a tool. If your SM manager isn’t interested in the tools they’re using, they may not be able to effectively represent you. That leads me to my next crucial ability:
4) Stays current with changes
We all know continuing education is important. Social media managers’ CE comes from staying up-to-date on the major changes that happen so frequently with the social networks in their portfolio. Whether it’s changes to the terms of service, functionality or features, it’s essential to know what’s happening. This keeps your business protected from inadvertently going against terms of service that can endanger your account status.
5) Respect for intellectual property
Intellectual Property (IP) rights are abused on the Internet on a regular basis. A basic understanding of ownership, right to use/copy/distribute, and how to give proper attribution is important to keep your business safe from gaining a bad reputation or worse, getting sued. It’s also good for them to know steps to take to prevent your content from being stolen.
One last important thing: Community builder
The whole point of using social media is to build a community in support of your business. If the person you hire to help you doesn’t know how to build community or doesn’t have a friendly, sociable personality, it could completely undermine your efforts in social media - even if every other box is checked. Those other boxes are primarily technical. However, not everyone has the personality or desire to build community, so finding someone who already has an active community around them is a big clue that they are capable.
While it’s often a good idea (and quite affordable) for some business owners to get some help with social media channels, be sure you’re aware of what’s happening and chime in with your own voice from time to time. Ultimately, it’s you - the business owner - that your community wants to hear from. No one can deliver the message about the business you’ve built quite the same way!
What other tips would you add for someone looking to hire a social media manager?