A social media manager isn’t just “something nice to have.” Social media manager is now a critical role that impacts your marketing ROI. And not just your marketing ROI, but the entire ecosystem of brand awareness, customer support, sales and business KPIs. Let’s run through your wishlist, what skills to look for and what interview questions to ask. Here’s how to hire a social media manager that best fits your company.

Should I Hire a Social Media Manager?

Yes.

Next question.

OK, here are the reasons why you likely do need a social media manager:

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Generating leads via socia generation
  • Engage with customers
  • Provide fast customer service and support
  • Share company news, announcements, and product info

Social media managers have a whole slew of responsibilities.

And you’ll definitely want the right person in that position during a social media crisis.

There are, however, a few exceptions.

Your company hasn’t launched yet

A social media manager can prove to be a very valuable hire pre-launch. They will assist you with strategy, planning, content and setup. But, you need to have a launch on the horizon. If your company is still in its infancy of fundraising, trying to get licenses and buying business domains, it’s better to wait.

Your business is you

Small businesses certainly need a social media presence. But if you plan to run a small business yourself, you can also manage the social media yourself. You will need to learn the basics of a platform, create content your audience loves, and post regularly. But if you keep it manageable, it’s possible.

Example: Jessie Whittington, TikTok @countrylather2020, began posting videos for the #SoapTok community, a collective of soap enthusiasts. Her profile once read: “Just a housewife/school bus driver trying to build a soap business 🙏🏻❤️.”  Then Jessica turned her attention to TikTok and made an absolute success of it!

Jessie joined TikTok in March 2020. “We were in the thick of the pandemic and we couldn’t go nowhere. We were all stuck at home, and everybody was talking about TikTok,” she recalled. Fast forward to 2023, Jessica has 74.5K followers and a thriving online shop and business community. Jessica is proof that solo businesses can and do manage their own social media accounts successfully.

As you can see, the one-person businesses tend to do all the things themselves (unsurprisingly).

This chart from Zippia shows the average size of companies that typically hire social media managers.

How to Hire a Social Media Manager

You can’t afford one

We often hear of companies recruiting their social media team only to realise they cannot afford to pay them after a few months. Your first hires can either be pivotal social media roles or grow to be senior and manage other team members. Or you might choose to wait and activate your social media team a few months down the line when you are showing profits. According to 2023 data from Payscale.com, a social media manager working in the United States makes $54,368 per year. The lowest salary starts at $36,000 per year, and the highest salary is $83,000 per year. The salary of a social media manager is dependent on experience, location, and employer.

If you can’t afford the going rate for a full-time social media manager, you could consider hiring part time. That way, you get a great person without compromising on the salary they deserve. Or you could hire a freelancer and pay per project.

According to freelancer platform Upwork, launching a social media campaign costs between $4,000 and $7,000 and can reach $20,000 per project.

How to Define a “Good Fit” 

You’ve probably heard companies describe a new hire as a good (or bad) company fit. But what does that mean and how can you hire a social media manager who is a good fit?

A good fit goes beyond a resume. Brands need a social media manager who will fit in well with their corporate culture on a personal and professional level. And this is a two-way street by the way. Candidates should feel that they are aligned with a brand’s culture, too.

What Happens If Your New Hire Is a Bad Fit for Your Business

You’ll definitely want to take time i making sure that your new hire is the right person to work at your company. Choosing incorrectly can be costly.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), hiring an employee that doesn’t fit the company’s culture can cost the company 50-60% of that individual’s annual salary.

How do you determine a bad fit?

  • Your marketing team encounters productivity declines.
  • Your products or services are not being championed the way you wanted.
  • The social media manager doesn’t fit in or feels isolated and unhappy.
  • Your employee turnover rate increases.

Example: Jocelyn Greenky really hates fluorescent lights, so when she started a new job years ago, she showed up with a floor lamp a few weeks in and dragged it over to her desk. “It did not go over well,” she says in a Fast Company article. That’s how Greenky discovered that every office has its own culture. So, sometimes even the smallest acts can look like a rebellion. “As the new employee, you have to adapt to the culture rather than the culture adapting to you.

Fortunately, you can dig in with questions to see whether a person is the right fit.

Questions regarding company culture

Consider these company culture questions when hiring your social media manager.

  • Is your candidate interested in your product or service? At the least, they should like the product and have creative ideas on how to leverage it. This isn’t about converting your social media manager to being a customer. Just an advocate.
  • Do they have a background in your sector? Some sectors have a steeper learning curve than others. Contentworks Agency works largely with the finance space where social media managers must be aware of compliance and regulations in addition to the sometimes technical elements of trading, investing and managing money.
  • Do you have the same work/life balance? Are you all about the grind and the hustle and the working 12 hour days and staying late in the office? If you are then you’re unlikely to gel with a candidate who wants a good work / life balance and prioritises quality over quantity. (maybe, hire that candidate and learn from them!) Other points to consider are whether you will allow working from home or hybrid working, flextime, wellness days and other employee options.
  • Do your visions match? Of course, you don’t have to have the exact same vision as your social media manager. But if you’re really focused on lead acquisition and ROI campaigns and your social media manager wants to make funny prank TikToks, it might be a mismatch. TikTok can and does generate business but it’s not for everyone. It might also be that you’re looking for a more data driven candidate as opposed to a wildly creative one.

Remember: There is a thin line between “a good company fit” and “discrimination.” A good company fit shouldn’t be based on age, race, gender, religion or any other discriminatory bias. Diversity in people and opinions are so beneficial for marketing departments.

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What to Ask When Interviewing Social Media Manager Candidates

Forget those boring interview questions about fictional dinner parties and worst characteristics. Not only are they old and expected, but they also won’t help you decide on your next social media manager. Here are the most important questions to include in an interview.

Ask these questions instead:

Will you show me your social media pages?

Great social media managers usually manage their own active pages or profiles. I’m not talking about a Facebook profile where they post selfies. But a business, charity, hobby page, blog or profile they manage.

I ask this question in interviews and love seeing their creative campaigns, analytics, engagement, and ideas. If their face lights up when they show you their social media pages, you found someone who loves what they do and knows how to actually manage business profiles. And loving what you do is so important in this space.

If they don’t have pages, ask them to show you pages they love. Which brands do they follow on social media and why? What do they love about the social media style? This is a great conversation starter, too, and will allow you to really get to know your candidate.

Can you create content?

It’s a lot easier to manage your social media strategy and posts if your social media manager is also creating the post content. For larger organizations these roles are sometimes separate, but for most companies, this is the same person. This means that your social media manager is in control of the content, social media direction, planning and posting. They can therefore manage their Agorapulse schedule in the most efficient way possible.


As a bonus exercise, you might ask them to create a caption for each of your channels to promote a product or event. This will test their knowledge on caption writing as well as their understanding of your company and its products. (Social media managers – always check out a company’s products and services before your interview!)

Which social media management tools can you use?

Knowing how to use expert social media management tools like Agorapulse is an important part of being a social media manager. Not only are they huge time savers, but they also ensure that planning, reporting, monitoring and publishing content is executed like a pro.

Take a look at:

You might also consider tools to enhance your social media publication efforts, such as:

  • Canva – For creating great social media images and stickers on the fly. Especially great for making quick images for trending topics when your designer is too busy.

  • Powtoon – A quick and easy video creation tool. It has plenty of templates and allows brand customization
  • Visme – Creates lovely charts and infographics for illustrating more complex topics, stats or reports

Tip: Ask your social media management candidate if they would like free training on the social media tools your company uses. Everything can be learned when you actually want to learn it.

How much do you understand social media ROI?

The importance of driving ROI from social media has been in the spotlight lately. This is especially true with layoffs and budget cuts. You need a social media manager who understands the metrics that matter to shareholders like leads, conversions, signups and revenue. This is still important if you have a huge department with analysts to crunch the numbers. That’s because you want a social media manager who can craft content with intent. You will also want to see that they are able to track and monitor social media impact.

This is something you can monitor within your Agorapulse panel.

For example: Why did this Facebook campaign get 266 unique visitors and yet generated 0% revenue? ROI isn’t a witch hunt. It’s about the ability to track and process data and make adjustments in the future.

How to Hire a Social Media Manager

 

A Revealing Question for Social Media Managers

And lastly, I would ask a social media candidate what they would do with a budget of 100k for a social media campaign. At this point I would expect a ton of questions: Which channels? What campaign? Which demographics? What outcome do you want and how long is the campaign going to run?

This question is a great conversation question that showcases creativity, platform knowledge, planning, questioning and ROI awareness. All great characteristics for a social media manager.

In Conclusion

Have you hired a social media manager and want them to get started right away? Sign up for a free trial of Agorapulse and get them running right away!

How to Hire a Social Media Manager That Suits Your Business