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December 16, 2015

9 Questions you need to ask when hiring a social media manager

By Kate Ellis
(This is a follow up to our weekly #MagnetMarketers session with Jessika Phillips and guest co-host Dr. John Bennet)

If you’re thinking about hiring a social media manager or agency congratulations! It’s a big step! You’re choosing somebody to really represent your company. We’re here today to give you some must ask questions to help you choose the perfect agency or manager.

Let’s be honest, it can be a tough decision to choose a marketing agency. You have to find somebody who understands your core values and ideals, and they have to be someone who you trust. All of this is compounded because of how important marketing and social media management is now. Everyone expects now that if they look up a company online there will be a real presence online.

You essentially have three options when it comes to social media management: hire a full-time in-house manager, add another duty to a current employee’s job, or to look outside of your business and hiring an agency.

Once you’re ready to take the jump and hire a social media manager, you’ll want to find several agencies or people to interview. Narrow it down from a list; it’s a great idea to pick up on the agencies who are active on social media, who know what they are doing. It may sound silly, but it’s often not something that people don’t think of when looking for an agency! But, they need to be able to first and foremost represent themselves.

Without further ado, the 10 questions you need to ask:

  1. Why do they think they’re the expert?

How do they separate themselves from everyone else? A lot of companies may bring up a specific reason, for example, customer service. But if they are truly an expert than they can give you a real example of how they have succeeded in customer service. What have they done for others? The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

  1. What does starting process look like?

It’s important to find an agency who can truly tell your story. Because of this, you’ll want to learn about how their starting process goes. How do they learn about you? If it doesn't start with some sort of interview process, or they want to start with a boots on the ground method, they may not truly excel at telling the story of your business. A big warning is one size fits all plans.

  1. What is required of you and what will the agency provide?

This means figuring out what kind of partnership you will have with your agency. This is all about who is responsible for what. Make sure there is a clear explanation of what services are included by your agency and what you will be responsible for. Let’s be clear, it’s going to take work on your end to get that story out there. You have to be available to give them the nuggets of information about your business to create great content. They should be managing the day to day and talk to you to take create strategies to keep moving forward. Because of this, you’ll want an agency that is available for ongoing communication.

  1. Is there a contract and what does it include?

Find that out right away. This includes who will be writing content. Will it be on your end or theirs, or maybe a combination of both with an approval process?

  1. How often do you get to talk with your social media manager?

Your agency partnership can be compared to a dating relationship. In the beginning, you have to get to know one another. Nobody talks like you automatically! It takes awhile to develop. Once they begin to learn more about you, see the things you share and the verbiage you use to speak, they can create content and strategies that are unique to you. It takes communication to begin to learn about each other.

Essentially it’s a skill set that the social media account manager should have. You have to be able to trust them to write creative content for you, and they have to be able to engage with leads. Lastly, they need to be strategic and recognize when things need tweaking.

  1. Do they work in your industry?

They should know and understand what is buzzing in your industry. Whether that is sourced from the internet and blogs, magazines, or from you, it’s critical that they know all about what you do. Have they worked with your industry before or can they speak in your specific language?

  1. What are their other clients saying?

We mentioned earlier to check out what the agency is putting out for themselves. You’re also going to want to look at what they are posting for their other clients. Ask for reference sites, sites that they have managed so you can see the quality of their work. You can even ask to speak to clients. Word of mouth is everything.

  1. What is included in your package?

They may offer something, but it could be a la carte. If you were pitched something, will you get told it’s actually not included in your package? Make sure you have a clear, outlined explanation of what your partnership looks like and what is included, what contract terms are, who will be working on your account, etc. Get everything written up. Look at the approval process. Do you have transparent access to reports, and are able to look through and approve content? How often are you able to see that or talk to someone about them? Don’t turn the keys over if you not going to be involved!

  1. How do you measure success?

Success may be two different things to you and your agency. Be clear about how you measure your success and how they measure success. What are your goals as a customer? Make sure the plan lets you achieve those goals.

Want to watch the whole conversation and learn even more about what how to generate great lead capture? Check it out by replaying this session here. Join us next Tuesday at 4 p.m. on #MagnetMarketers.

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Tags: Social Media Marketing, inbound marketing, Social Media Account Manager


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