Content CreationMarketing Strategy

How to Hire a Great Social Media Manager

By April 10, 2012 6 Comments

"Spread the Word" wooden block letterpress for The Content MarketeerIf you’ve already developed a social media plan, or have hired a social media strategist to do it for you, it’s time to execute.

Which means it’s time to hire a social media manager.

What they do

A social media manager is responsible for overseeing your day-to-day social media efforts. This often includes posting content (according to the guidelines you and/or your strategist have laid out), monitoring what others are saying to you or about you online, and responding or creating conversations around your brand.

What to look for

Depending on your social media strategy, your social media manager needs will vary. But great social media managers do have a few things in common, whatever their experience or expertise:

  • Strong writing and editing skills. This person’s words will become a key part of your company’s client-facing communications. You’ll want someone with strong communication skills.
  • A customer-service, sales, or marketing background. Social media is a conversation with your customers. The person handling these conversations should have a strong understanding of customer service, sales, and marketing. And if that’s their education and background, all the better.
  • Sharp problem-solving skills. Social media is fast-paced. You’ll need someone who can think on his or her feet—handling sticky customer service issues quickly, efficiently, and with compassion and understanding.
  • Above-average listening skills. Part of any good social media plan is listening. Listening to what’s tweeted, written, posted, or re-posted about your company. Plus, you’ll need someone who is easy to train and can hit the ground running. Good listeners will make this process easier.

Where to look

Where can you find these savvy social media mavens? Here are a few ideas:

  • LinkedIn and Twitter: What better place to look for a social media manager than on social networking sites? LinkedIn is the site devoted to business, so I’d start there. In the same vein, most social media managers should already be on Twitter. Post your job with hashtags like #socialmedia and #jobs.
  • Mashable: Thousands of job listings in social media alone, with postings from major brands to agencies and small businesses.
  • Mediabistro: Here you’ll find media experts of all shapes and sizes.

What to ask

Once you’ve located a few good candidates, it’s time for interviews. Here are a couple questions that can tell you a lot about your candidates:

  • What’s your philosophy on solving client or prospect problems? How would you go about making something right?
  • What kind of strategies have you worked with in the past? What channels? What messaging requirements?

And don’t forget to apprise your interviewees’ listening skills and ask questions that are specific to your industry or project needs.

Have a great social media manager on your team? What hiring tips can you share with others looking for one of their own? Leave a comment below!

Gigi Griffis

About Gigi Griffis

Gigi Griffis is a world-traveling entrepreneur and writer with a special love for inspiring stories, new places, and living in the moment. A former content strategist, she now spends her time writing books, blog posts, and articles about adventure, travel, and entrepreneurship. You can follow her at


  • Excellent description of what it takes. Kudos!

    Will refer potential employers to this post as it fits very nicely with the real world requirements of this role. Thanks much.

  • Great post, one issue though: I have some strong reservations regarding the “This person’s words will become a key part of your company’s client-facing communications. ” Whereas the communication skills definitely must be there, I’d say the role of the social media manager would be rather to teach and train company’s stuff how to participate in the social effort, rather than doing that him/herself. Social media involves so many aspects, from listening to answering support questions, “seeding” or engaging users with one or the other “message”. And depending on the size and structure of the company, letting one new person handle support, branding & marketing issued together could turn into a very dangerous act.

  • Agree with Richard Pachter, excellent description/article. I would also add that it’s important to have your potential SM prove to you that they clearly understand the difference between social media for PERSONAL use versus social media for BUSINESS use. They must be able to communicate and demonstrate that they understand and/or have used social media to help build a brand(s) through networking, online community development, marketing, promoting, customer service, reputation management, and problem-solving/crisis management. EVERYTHING they do for you online will directly affect your brand, so it’s important that they realize this. One wrong “tweet” and it could mean disaster for your brand.

  • Andrew Rudin says:

    One attribute of any successful social media, sales, or marketing strategist is empathy. So many people provide outreach through social media because they can, and not because they have an appreciation for what their readers and communities value. So asking “Consider a person you sold something to in your last job. How does the world look through his or her eyes?” will help to uncover empathetic behaviors.

  • Thanks for linking me in on this one @Andy_Rudin.
    I would add that you want someone who understands your business and keywords, and compliance, and is “empathic” enough to write with translation in mind…
    For where to look I would add @MaritaR at in Palo Alto CA (and virtually everywhere) for referrals to graduates.
    PS I love the blocks @gigigriffis

  • I think a social media manager also has to have a firm understanding of SM metrics and analytics — and how it ties into ROI. I have also found that as a social media manager myself, I need to be both patient and assertive because not everyone “gets” social media and its value to the organization. My role is thus also to educate. It also goes without saying that a SM Manager has to be on his/her game – it is a fast paced, ever changing environment so it is imperative to constantly keep up with the technology via tech blogs, books, etc etc. All the above is also why I love what I do – challenging, ever changing and analytical.