How to Win the Internet: 4 Tips on Hiring a Social Media Manager
Do you know that despite being recognized as the universal language that English is only the third most spoken language in the world? Yes, Chinese or more specifically Mandarin Chinese comes in second by virtue of China’s population even though English has way more non-native speakers than Mandarin Chinese. That isn’t at all surprising but I guarantee you that the answer for number 1 is going to blow your mind. The most spoken language in the world is the language of social media.
It’s easy to dismiss that as a joke but I was really only half-kidding when I say that because social media can sometimes feel like a world of its own, a world that even after the fallout from Facebook’s privacy scandal and the ensuing discussion on data privacy is still continually growing bigger. Being good in social media requires a unique set of skills and finding someone that meets those requirements can be hard if you don’t particularly know what you have to look out for.
The weird and wonderful world of social media
Social media challenges can be incredibly dumb, like the ‘bird box challenge’ from the Netflix film of the same name where intellectually challenged people tried to do common everyday things such as driving an actual car while blindfolded. I couldn’t care less about the more dimwitted members of the public endangering themselves for social media but if what you’re trying to do puts other people in danger, that is so not okay.
On the other hand, some social media challenges can be fun, relatively harmless and somewhat endearing. The ’10-year challenge’ that’s been going around for example, where users put pictures of them from 2009 side-by-side with pictures from 2019, is kinda cute. The thing is, if you really want to make your mark on social media, sometimes you have to both acknowledge and buck the trend a little bit, which musician Mariah Carey just did with her ’10-year challenge’ entry. Words can’t do justice to the sheer brilliance of what she did, so I urge you to take a look for yourself.
I mean, you have to admit that was pretty brilliant, no? Social media can be really crowded and the originality and subversive thinking required to stand out among all of that crowd is just one of several things a social media manager need to have. Someone can be charmingly outgoing and skilled at traditional marketing but those skills might not always translate to social media and to help you with this issue, here are 4 tips you could use when looking for a social media manager.
Dig through their social media history
Obviously, digging through a candidate’s resume is elementary in any kind of hiring process but putting up your social media account as a resume isn’t something I’ve seen people normally do. Part of the reason is privacy, which is completely understandable, but if it’s possible, try to ask for permission to see your candidate’s social media account. Or if they have past experiences as a social media manager, take a look at what they’ve done in the past.
While there are indeed additional professional standards to consider when managing a social media for business purposes, the casual and relaxed nature of social media means that lines between companies and individuals are somewhat blurry. If their private social media account looks great, it’s probable that their skill could translate well into the professional realm. As an additional note, make sure you involve someone that is at least familiar with social media to perform this review because like I said before, social media can feel like a world unto itself.
Are they good writers?
The prevalence of memes and gifs means that social media can feel very much like a visual medium but words and captions are actually integral to the whole process and you need someone whose writing actually fit for quick consumption. Remember, you’re not trying to create a follow-up to Atlas Shrugged so verbosity isn’t actually a virtue. One-liners, zingers and witty remarks are the commodity in social media so you want to keep an eye out for those qualities.
How competent are they with design and editing?
Last Christmas, I hung out with a couple of my nieces and I found out that they’re much better than me at two things; yoga and image editing. I don’t use Instagram much and whenever I’m about to post something, I usually spent an inordinate amount of time tinkering with filters and stuff to see what looks right. It’s even worse when it’s an Instagram story as the amount of options available can be so overwhelming.
Not my niece though, after she took a photo of us goofing around at Christmas, she seems to already have an idea on what it would look like and add the necessary elements into the photo in under 15 minutes. I knew she was much better at this than I ever would but I still found that to be impressive. Now that is the kind of quality you want to keep an eye out when it comes to a social media manager.
How good are they when dealing with irate customers and trolls?
This is especially important if you’re going to use your social media account as a customer service hotline in addition to your marketing efforts. Being snarky might get a lot of attention on social media but that’s a big no-no when it comes to dealing with disgruntled customers so you’re going to want someone who can switch between these two personalities as necessary. When the swear words and trolls come flying at you, you’re going to want someone who can keep their cool.