How to Hire a Social Media Manager in 6 Steps
This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
Serving as your company’s online voice, your social media manager is expected to handle your day-to-day social media posts, replies, and overall content strategy. This means they will have to be intimately familiar with your brand to ensure consistent messaging and communication. Our article guides you through the process of hiring a social media manager—from deciding what type of worker to hire to making an offer—so your company can fill this key role in no time.
Unsure of where to find candidates? ZipRecruiter offers a free trial and allows you to post your job ad on multiple job sites at once. It is popular and has a large reach, and you’ll start getting applications almost immediately.
Step 1: Determine the Type of Social Media Manager You Need & Salary
Every social media manager should have at least some marketing experience. To determine the type you should hire, consider what you’ll need your social media manager to focus on. Some of the most common specialty areas include:
- Customer service and support
- Content marketing
- Data analysis
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
If your small business is just starting out, then you may need a more generalized social media manager who can support all areas of your online presence. When your business has been around for a while, you may need to expand and hire more specialized social media managers in each of the above areas. The average salary of a social media manager in the US is just over $50,000 per year.
Compliance Tip: If your business is hiring a social media manager in certain states, you may need to put your target salary range in your public job posting. Check your state laws to see if you need to comply. You should also verify whether asking about a candidate’s past salary is allowed in your state.
Employee vs Independent Contractor
When making a hire, consider the type of employee you need. You can hire full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary workers. With a full-time employee, you’ll need to provide benefits, training, performance management, and payroll and tax remittance, plus additional overhead. The benefit is that you can direct the employee on their daily duties, tell them when to work, and precisely what to do.
Partnering with an independent contractor is another option. You cannot direct their daily work, but you don’t have to shoulder the financial burden of the additional overhead and benefits costs. Because you simply pay an independent contractor an agreed-upon rate, it has the potential to save your company money.
Small businesses may consider enlisting the services of an independent contractor, especially if they don’t need a full-time worker, because they can get access to social media experts without the hassle and overhead of hiring an employee. Additionally, the option may give you access to individuals with broader skills.
If you’re considering an independent contractor for your social media manager needs, check out Upwork, a platform that grants you access to thousands of workers.
Step 2: Write the Job Description
Whether you’re searching for an employee or independent contractor, you must write a clear job description. Make sure it answers these questions:
- How much experience do you need your social media manager to have?
- Do you need someone who can be a jack of all trades?
- Do you instead need someone who’s specialized in just one or a few areas?
- What social media channels do you have and expect them to use?
When writing your social media manager job description, you’ll need to include keywords that will help applicants find your job. Consider the following:
- Social media expert
- Social media manager
- Social media marketing
- Customer service
- Customer support
- Public relations
Tweak your keywords to include only the social media channels you currently use or intend to use. You want to make sure your new hire has experience using the platforms where you need them to excel.
You should also list any social media tools your company uses or plans to use and specifics about the daily tasks; not all social media managers will have the same skills and background. Consider adding these requirements and tasks to the job description:
- Excellent writing skills
- Organization and time management skills
- Curates, schedules, and manages social media content calendar
- Establishes and maintains company’s brand identity
- Monitors social media trends and uses those trends to keep the business in the conversation
- Engages with followers and has an ability to talk with not at followers
- Has an ability to answer questions and resolve customer support issues quickly
- Supports promotional efforts and sales campaigns for your small business
Step 3: Post Job Ad & Review Applicants
Your job ad shouldn’t just be the job description you’ve created. It should also sell your company. Why would someone want to work for you?
Give potential employees a sense of your culture, any benefits you offer, and why employees like working at your company. This helps candidates determine if they’re a good fit for your organization. It may reduce the number of applicants—but that’s a good thing because it means you won’t spend time sorting through unqualified job seekers.
After your job ad is live, you can expect to receive applicants on the same day. Creating a checklist of must-haves for your social media manager position will help you scan resumes quickly and determine whether they match your needs, moving them either to your interview or decline pile. When you decide not to move forward with an applicant, it’s a good practice to let them know so they aren’t left in limbo.
Step 4: Conduct Interviews
One of the most important steps in your hiring process is the job interview. Getting here requires diligence, eliminating the unqualified applicants and only speaking with the most qualified.
I recommend calling each person you want to interview instead of emailing them to schedule. While it can be more efficient to email, speaking with them for a few minutes can give you a good sense of their interest in the job and how they communicate—a crucial component of this job. Try to keep your interviewees to fewer than a dozen, but don’t be afraid to have more if you’re seeing really strong candidates.
It’s important to ask each candidate the same interview questions as it will allow you to evaluate them evenly. Consider some of the following questions:
- Which social media platforms do you have experience using and which do you prefer?
- How do you plan and schedule social media posts and campaigns?
- What metrics do you use to monitor performance?
- How do you decide when to post on each platform?
- What has been your most effective social media strategy?
- How would you respond to a user harassing company accounts or to a negative comment?
- How do you make a company’s brand stand out?
- How do you identify your target audience?
- What do you do if a campaign doesn’t perform well or as intended?
Consider asking real-life questions too. Think of a situation you’ve recently encountered and pose it to each applicant to see how they would have handled that situation. You can also ask them to pitch you a product on the spot. This lets you see if the candidate has done their homework and tried to catch your brand’s voice.
Step 5: Call References & Run a Background Check
After the interviews, you’ll naturally narrow your choices down and may even have one standout candidate. Ask them for at least three supervisory references and speak with at least two. This will give you more insight into the candidate’s work ethic and skills, and it lets you better understand what it’s like to work with the person.
Reference calls are brief. Make the most of your time by asking targeted questions:
- How long did this person work directly for you?
- What was the biggest challenge working with them?
- Would you work with them again?
It’s also a good idea to ask a reference if there’s anyone else you could speak with about the candidate. Getting additional references can help solidify your decision or raise potential red flags.
Running a background check isn’t necessary for every position, but doing that for a social media manager could be important. This person is customer-facing, so you want to make sure they treat your customers with respect and grace. Depending on your industry, you may deal with confidential information as well, making it even more important to run a background check.
If you decide to run a background check on your social media manager, make sure you get their written permission first. The best background check companies can provide you with a form for the applicant to sign.
Compliance Tip: Some states require that companies run background checks after a job offer has been accepted, so check your state’s laws.
Step 6: Make an Offer
It’s time to decide who to hire and make an official job offer. No applicant will check every box on your wish list, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get everything you want. The best approach is to choose the candidate who best matches the core duties.
Ultimately, trust your gut. While you won’t have spent a ton of time with each candidate, you’ve had at least an hour with each one. That’s enough time to spot serious red flags or develop rapport with a great candidate. Choosing one who will fit well in your company may be the best choice since skills can be taught—but culture can’t.
When you’ve decided, I recommend calling the candidate to give them the good news. Besides gauging their level of excitement, you can discuss any final details, such as salary and start date. Once you’ve agreed to all terms, write the formal offer letter, and include the following:
- Job title
- Start date
- Bonus or commission structure, if applicable
You should also include the full job description in the offer letter. When the candidate signs off on their ability to perform the job duties, you can hold them accountable if they don’t meet your expectations.
When your offer letter is ready, send it to the candidate and give them at least a few days to review and send it back. You can speed the process up by sending the offer letter via an electronic signature platform. Once the candidate has returned the offer letter to you, begin the onboarding process.
For more general tips on hiring, check out our guide to hiring employees.
It’s no secret that today’s job market is tough. Hiring a social media manager presents challenges, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find the right match. By keeping your job ad focused on what you need for the role and what you offer, you can attract high-quality social media manager candidates.