The days of running to your local newspaper or advertising news source and placing an ad are over. Yellow Pages are a waste of money. Radio advertising is iffy at best. Even if you have developed a great website, you need someone well versed in social media to ensure you don’t get lost in the noise of the internet. You need help! To stay relevant in today’s market, it is vital to have a knowledgeable person or team to help you. But how do you hire a social media expert?
For a small or medium-sized business, this can be a daunting task. You probably do not even know where to start. Your best friend might be pushing you to hire her son who “is on Facebook all the time and knows how those things work.” You might be tempted to hire an intern who may or may not know how to get you the best exposure. You might even think about just handling it yourself. Or, you can outsource your social media marketing to a knowledgeable, experienced, well-trained expert!
Why do you need a social media expert?
Before we dig into the steps you should take to hire a social media expert, it is important to understand why you need one. There are quite a few reasons to hire a social media expert for your business. If you are a small business owner hiring outside help for the first time, however, it is probably for the following reasons.
- You struggle to post consistently enough to maintain a solid presence.
- The ins and outs of social media don’t interest you, but you know you need to be using it.
- You don’t know what to post or how to engage your audience.
- Your business page has no audience.
- The audience on your page is so big and so active that you can’t manage it alone anymore.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons to hire a social media expert. Your reasoning behind hiring an expert is also going to influence the type of expert you are looking for. That’s why it is important to really think about why you need to hire before you start looking.
A small business owner with a modest budget who doesn’t know what to post may need a small package from a marketing agency with some coaching included. If you have an audience that is too big for you to handle on your own, you are going to need a more hands-on approach. It may even make more sense for you to hire someone full-time.
Additionally, you want to consider what you need help with. You will need a different type of expert if you are looking to utilize one specific platform versus taking a multi-platform approach.
What should I ask a social media expert?
Once you understand why you need to hire a social media expert, you need to know what to ask. If you aren’t an expert yourself, or even if you are, how do you know if the person you’re hiring is one? How do you know if they will be able to meet your needs?
There are so many social media marketing specialists and agencies and freelancers to choose from. Some have years of experience, where others entered the field more recently. You may be quick to dismiss a newbie with limited experience. But there are pros and cons to both and ultimately, your goals have to play a part here as well.
“The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time.” – Kami Huyse
Social media constantly changes. What works for one brand or one company at one point in time is not going to work for a different company at a different time. This is why sometimes years of experience doesn’t always equal the best hire. Newer experts may not have the breadth of experience, but they will look at things with fresh eyes. Sometimes, especially with social media, fresh eyes are better.
This doesn’t mean someone who has been around since the MySpace days won’t get you the results you want either. It’s just why you have to ensure the expert you hire is knowledgeable and on top of the trends.
Here are some questions you can ask to ensure the person you are hiring really knows their stuff.
What makes you different from other social media experts or agencies?
Asking this question will allow you to understand why the expert you are talking to is different. It also allows you to guage how familiar they are with their competition. If the person you are talking to has trouble answering this, it may be a sign that they don’t really know much about the field.
How do you determine what to post for your clients?
The answer you are looking for here is research and analysis. The expert doesn’t need to use those exact words, of course. But you want to be assured that content is not created randomly, or worse, copied from other clients. There are some marketers who reuse content over and over again and this isn’t something you want for your brand.
Do you create a strategy for your clients? How do you do that?
“Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan.” – Unknown
As with the previous section, it is important to ensure that the expert you are hiring isn’t randomly creating content. Your company goals must play a part in the strategy. If you are looking for brand awareness, the content and work the expert takes on differs from work driving people to your website.
Have you ever handled a social media crisis before? What did you do?
Social media crises happen. And they happen fast. If you are hiring someone to manage your social media for you, it is imperative that you know they can handle a crisis effectively. If the expert you are interviewing has not handled a crisis before, ask them to answer hypothetically. This will allow you to know your social media pages are in good hands.
What would your initial goals be for this particular campaign?
If the expert you are interviewing doesn’t have at least a preliminary idea or two about how to handle your social media accounts, be cautious. An expert who knows their stuff will spend some time looking at your profiles before the first meeting.
What metrics do you track for your clients and why?
The main answer you want here is engagement. If the expert focuses on follower count more than engagement, they may not be the best person to hire. Follower count is a vanity metric. Yes, it’s great to say you have 10,000 followers. But it means nothing if your followers aren’t commenting on and sharing your content.
How long does it typically take to see results?
Be wary of anyone who promises instant results. Social media is about building relationships and solid relationships take time to build. If you want to create success with social media, you want slow and steady growth. Overnight successes can and do happen, but usually, the true winners invest consistent time and energy to get there.
What sort of community management do you offer?
Again, social media is very relationship-based. If the expert you are hiring does not include some sort of community management in the strategy they provide for you, then it isn’t social media management. It is content creation. Content creation is also a really great service to offer. If that is what you really need, then great. But if you want a more comprehensive approach, you need to ensure you are getting more than just that.
These are just a few examples of good questions to ask. The goal is to ensure the expert you are hiring knows their stuff. You also want to confirm that they have experience growing an audience on social media.
How do I find a social media expert?
Once you know what your needs are and you have an idea of what to ask, you have to find your expert. Luckily, finding someone to run your social media marketing for you isn’t hard. The hard part is sorting through all the options to find the best person or agency for the job.
To find a social media expert, you could post a job description on a freelancing site such as UpWork or Fiverr. You could also search for social media help on Google.
Another great source to find a social media expert is (drumroll, please…) social media. In many ways, this is the best place to go.
If you find your expert on Google or a freelancing site, you should also search for them on the major social media platforms. Check and see how many followers they have, as well as how many comments and likes their content receives. Remember this: lots of followers does not equal social media success. The quality and quantity of engagement matter far more.
A strong, well-trained, and knowledgeable social media expert is worth their weight in gold. They can help define your business and brand ensuring that your online presence is favorable, accessible, and professional. In today’s world, no one trusts a company without a stellar social media presence. And nothing can hurt a business like a bad social media presence. A professional social media expert will make sure your brand is perceived as trustworthy and credible.
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