8 questions to ask hiring a full time social media employee

The businesses that use social media successfully, understand that it requires full time commitment and resources to really get the most out of it.  Ad hoc attention and updates just don’t cut it in social media, and on a personal note, I believe a business has to be either all in, or all out. It is just too public, instant and personal to be able to dip in and out.

With so many people claiming to be social media experts, how do you measure up your candidates? The most important mistake to avoid is presuming it is a young person’s game. Whilst it is true young people are more active in social media, that does not guarantee success. Don’t forget, this person will become the voice of your company in a real time environment. Once a message is out there, it cannot be recalled. You need someone you can trust to be smart and operate in your best interests at all times.

So, if you are making the leap to hire you first full time employee to manage your social media, either as part of a larger marketing role or exclusively focusing on social media, here are the questions I would ask.

As a business, why should we be using social media in the first place?
You need someone who understands the why, as much as the how. Do they get why your business should be using social media? If they don’t know why, they can’t use it effectively to your benefit.

How will you track performance?
Special media is not a black hole. Whilst the overall positive branding effect can’t be easily measured by a small business, that can be said of any marketing medium. What you can measure are traffic metrics, sales metrics, sharing metrics and engagement metrics. That’s more than enough to track the effectiveness of any social media strategy.

Which brands do you think use social media well?
I would want someone who already shows an interest in social media as a marketing channel. Which brands do they think have nailed it and they would draw inspiration from? As well as naming the brands, probe deeper in to why they named them.

How will you use the various networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blog, Pinterest…) differently?
Each of the social networks has their own strengths and weaknesses, and people use them differently. That means as a business, you should too. Sharing the same link across all networks is not a cohesive social media strategy. It’s just sharing a link 3 or 4 times. Find out how they will approach each network differently.

Can you show me examples of content you have written?
Good social media connects all your networks and drives shares and links to your website. The best way to do that is share original content you have created. An interesting blog should be one of your new employee’s responsibilities, so make sure you know they have a history of writing compelling content.

Which tools do they use to manage social media?
If they have any history in this field, they will have used leading tools such as TweetDeck, HootSuite, SproutSocial etc.

Why should anyone follow and engage with our business via social media?
This is a question you should be asking yourself as well as them. Research has shown that people engage with a business when there is a good mix of competitions, links to useful content and exclusive deals.

A quick aside about question formats
I hope these questions help you to find a great social media marketing professional for your business. I just want to make a quick note about the types of questions to ask. As a general rule, I tend to avoid asking theoretical questions such as “What would you do if…” or “How would you…” because it is so easy to give a perfect answer. Real world questions are much better at identifying strong candidates e.g. “Give me an example of when you…”.

Do you have any questions you would add to the list? Leave a comment below.

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