With the discovery that — yes, social media isn’t a fad — more and more businesses have decided to hire a full-time social media manager.

Businesses who have never had a social media manager before are often stuck on how to properly evaluate the chops of the “gurus” and “trailblazers” who end up in their hiring inbox.

If you indeed are shaky on how to judge the skills of your future social media manager, here are some good guidelines for you to follow.

Community Management

All applicants will tell you that they have experience sending out posts and tweets on behalf of a brand. But here’s how you can separate the “social media enthusiasts” from the employable “social media managers.”

First, did an applicant create posts according to a strategic social media calendar? Did the posts relate to a brand’s marketing goals? A real social media manager can certainly have fun, but should focus squarely on meeting tangible business objectives of the person who hired her.

Second, how did this applicant build a community? In what ways did she build it with content? In what ways did she do it by interacting with followers (and potential followers)?

Third, while we’d like to think that social media community management is all this …

… it can sometimes turn to this …

… even for brands smaller than say, United Airlines or Pepsi.

Find out how your applicant has handled social media crises in the past. Consider giving the applicant a brand-specific crisis scenario and ask how she would respond.

Related Post: Social Media Management

With organic reach on Facebook and other channels quickly on the decline, it’s imperative that you learn how a social media manager applicant can handle paid social — fancyspeak for ads on Facebook and other social media channels. If you’re going to spend money on ads AND a social media manager, you have to make sure that both give you the ROI you’re looking for!

Find out what experience an applicant has in managing social ad budgets and what she has done to lower ad costs and improve results for a brand.

Don’t get hung up just on Facebook — that’s a rookie interview mistake that will get you a rookie social media manager. Be sure to ask how they’ve handled ads on Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social channels on which your brand is active.

instagram advertising

In your social media manager interview questions, be sure to include something about Instagram advertising.

Social Media Analytics

Social media managers can’t just be “good with people.” They also have to be good with numbers — at least when it comes to measuring social media results.

Ask your candidate how he measures the success of particular campaigns (brand awareness, influencer outreach, etc.).

Get a sense of what social media analytics tools the candidate has used to grab such metrics. Ask him how he takes data from those tools and explains what those numbers mean to his teammates or clients.

If you want more details on how analytical a candidate is, ask him to present you with a sample analysis he’s provided for a former client or employee. (If the candidate asks, it’s fine for them to blur out information about that company.)

In this sample, look for how well he explains the numbers he pulled. Be sure he comes up with ideas for improvement or modification based on the results he presents.

Related Post: 6 Things PR Agencies Need to Do With Social Media

Want more social media manager interview questions?

We’ve put together this handy guide of 20 questions you should ask each social media manager candidate you take the time to interview.

Hiring a social media manger

With this download, you’ll get 20 BONUS questions to ask a social media strategist — a position that requires a slightly different skill set.

What’s your “MUST ASK” question of a potential social media manager? Let us know in the comments!