Sooner or later, your business is going to reach a critical mass where you can’t do everything yourself. When that happens, you hire an employee. This cycle continues, splitting duties over and over, until you find yourself spending more time managing than you are working.
This leads to managing social media. Some CEOs think of it as a menial task to assign to an intern, while others recognize the importance of social management and outsource to an expensive third party.
When it’s time for you to set the social media management task to someone else, how will you know who to hire? You have four options.
- Hire no one and cram it all in yourself. This is viable if and only if you’re passionate about social media marketing. Otherwise, you’re going to falter and put social media in the back seat, and that hurts your business.
- Hire an intern and set them the task of managing social media. Interns are young, and they know social media, right? Well, yes and no. Interns will know how to use social media casually, but they probably have a lot to learn about effective marketing, analytics, ad campaigns and business representation.
- Hire a dedicated social media professional. This is the option we’ll be looking at in more detail throughout the rest of this article.
- Outsource your social management to a third party. This might be a low-quality agency based in the third world, or it might be a high-class local business specializing in this one aspect of online commerce. Many of the pros and cons of option 3 also apply to this option, but it will typically give you less control and cost more.
So, if you’re going to hire an in-house Facebook page manager, or some more broad social expert, you’re going to need to keep a lot in mind.
Don’t Judge Based on Age
Age is not a good variable to use to judge the quality of a social manager. Neither is appearance, language or location, but those all may be more reliable. I say this as someone who has seen 20-year-olds who don’t know how to spell, let alone operate a Facebook page. I say this also as someone who has seen people in their 60s run rings around me in Insights.
This is another reason not to shove the task off to an intern, just under the assumption that they know what they’re doing. They’ll probably be able to fake it for a while, but unless you have someone who really knows the ins and outs of Facebook, you’re wasting time and money.
Consider All Social Channels
A social media manager should be able to analyze your brand and determine which social networks are best for you. Believe it or not, Facebook isn’t ideal for every business. While you might struggle on Facebook, you might find incredible success on Pinterest.
Make Sure They Know Analytics
On Facebook, this specifically means Facebook Insights. Your prospective manager should be able to dig into your Insights – under your supervision, of course – and identify what you’re doing right and wrong rather quickly. Try to present them with a minor test to determine their skills.
One thing any good social manager should be able to tell you is that engagement rates are very important, regardless of platform. The pure number of followers you have isn’t, nor are the number of likes on your posts.
A good social manager should also be able to draw out information about your audience from Insights. This will allow them to know better how to target your posts and advertisements, both of which are possibilities on Facebook. Audience targeting is the single most important factor in the success or failure of paid ads on the platform, and it can be very influential for post targeting as well.
Draw the Customer Service Lines
One of the most potent aspects of social media is the idea of social customer service. A good social media manager will be knowledgeable enough in your business – and empowered enough within your business – to offer customers recourse when something goes wrong. Time is of the essence here; social media users, when approaching a brand for service, expect responses within a half hour.
Make sure your social media manager knows whether or not they’re the customer service hub. If they are, make sure they know what they can and cannot do to help customers. If they are not, make sure they know who to refer customers to in the event of an issue. This is more relevant to Twitter than to Facebook, but Facebook receives plenty of customer service queries as well.
Are They Remote?
When you’re hiring a Facebook page manager, communication is very important. They need to be able to talk to you at the drop of a hat, if necessary. They also need to be given enough autonomy to make decisions and do their job without you looking over their shoulder all the time.
If you have appropriately open lines of communication, like an always-available Google Hangouts or another form of instant messaging, hiring a remote worker can be perfectly viable. On the other hand, if you’re often away from your desk and computer, an in-house solution may be more beneficial.
Test Their Fit
Before you hire a Facebook page manager on full time, give them a trial run. Sometimes, the manager you hire will be perfectly well-versed in Facebook, and they will have plenty of valuable knowledge about the platform and how it works, so it seems like they’ll be a perfect fit. Once you’ve been at it for a few days or a few weeks, however, you start to notice incompatibilities. Maybe they chafe at your instructions. Maybe they disagree with your company policies or your mission. Maybe they’re agreeable but they’re less than motivated.
The point is, there are plenty of times when a perfectly viable manager will be fundamentally incompatible with your business. It’s okay to make the decision that they aren’t a good fit and find someone else, just make sure they know their initial trial run is just that; a trial run.