Hiring a skilled social media manager can be challenging, as most businesses today need a social media expert to help them grow their online presence and relationships with customers. A company’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn account may be the first interaction that potential customers have with a brand.

Social media managers need to have a varied blend of skills, including content and design-savvy, strategic and analytical thinking skills, and marketing expertise. These professionals form the core of any social media team, which is why solid management skills are also often a requirement for this role.

Read on for helpful tips and advice for hiring a social media manager.

Clearly define the social media manager role

First, you need to outline the job description associated with this position. To help you get started, here is an overview of what social media managers typically do.

A social media manager implements an organization’s social media strategy to develop brand awareness, generate inbound traffic and encourage product adoption. As noted earlier, this professional will likely be expected to lead teams that create and publish content and maintain relationships with user communities on multiple platforms.

Duties for the social media manager job may include:

  • Reporting on the progress of various social media tactics using digital analytics and media tracking tools
  • Coordinating activities with internal marketing and public relations teams to support their respective missions
  • Ensuring consistency in the voice of the brand and/or the company and cultivating an engaged social media community

Also, when hiring a social media manager, you will want to consider whether you need this person to assist the company with launching a new product, building audiences, recruiting talent, or all of the above.

Amy Mangan, a vice president and branch director for the marketing and creative solutions group at Robert Half, emphasizes that it is important to determine how much of the role will be writing, community management, or planning and strategy. “Understanding what you need this person to do on a day-to-day basis will help ensure you find a social media manager candidate who will meet all your business needs,” she says.

Look for these skills when hiring a social media manager

While there are certain skills to look for on paper, the relevant, hands-on experience a candidate brings to the table should weigh heavily in your final evaluation. Generally speaking, a contender for the social media manager position should have at least three years of experience in social media marketing and management, coupled with a degree in marketing, communications, business or a related field.

Experience with leading social media networks is a must, of course, but also look for candidates who have worked with popular tools like Buffer, Falcon, Google Analytics, Iconosquare, Klear, Loomly, Sendible, TweetDeck, Hootsuite and others. Search engine optimization (SEO) skills and familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite can also be big pluses.

Dig deeper than technical proficiencies, though, when hiring a social media manager. You will need someone in this role who can interact with different teams across the organization, including marketers and executives. So, stellar communication skills are an absolute must. Also, social media managers interact with the public in a forum that is visible to virtually anyone. So, it is vital that they have patience, tact, understanding of your brand voice, and a sincere interest in (and enthusiasm for) supporting customers.

Need to hire a social media manager to work on-site or remotely? See this page to learn how Robert Half can help you with your search.

Ask the right interview questions

Once you have your shortlist of candidates set, the next step toward hiring a social media manager is to start the interview process.

Be sure to ask candidates about their past social media experience, and how they tend to structure and implement a strategy and then measure the results. Request that they share specific examples of past campaigns that were successful — and unsuccessful. Ask them what they learned throughout the process.

When hiring a social media manager, you will also want to use various interview question types to draw out more information about the skill set and personality of a candidate, and how that person might react in different work situations. Consider asking questions such as:

  • What strategies have you used in the past to generate leads?
  • Tell me about your knowledge of SEO and its relationship with social media.
  • Which social media tools do you use or have you used in the past? And what types of tools would you like to learn, and why?
  • What do you believe are relevant metrics for tracking the return on investment of a company’s social media efforts?
  • How do you deal with negative comments during a brand reputation crisis?
  • What are some of your go-to strategies for handling unhappy customers?

You may also want to ask candidates which brands they believe do a standout job of managing their social media channels — and why. Their answers can provide insight into what they think is important in social media marketing, and how they might approach the social media manager role at your firm, if hired.

Also, ask candidates about their preferred work environment and arrangements, including whether they prefer to work remotely all or part of the time — if either is an option. This can help you determine how well they will fit in with your current staff and mesh with your company’s culture. These types of questions can be invaluable in avoiding bad hires.

Building out a remote team? Get tips in this post for onboarding remote hires successfully.

Do some extra digging

Here is another top tip for hiring a social media manager: Prior to interviewing candidates, take a look at their personal social media profiles. After all, if they’re going to be in charge of your company’s accounts, they should be engaging on their own in the social sphere. Look for candidates who are active in a range of leading networks and whose profiles are impressive.

Offer a compelling package

You will want to move fast to make a competitive offer to a candidate you would like to hire as a social media manager. “If you don’t move fast enough in this competitive market, you risk losing the candidate and wasting precious time and resources in a lengthy interview process, or worse, a failed search,” says Mangan.

What type of compensation should offer for this role? The latest Salary Guide from Robert Half can provide insight on average starting salaries. Keep in mind that if you are hoping to hire a social media manager with extensive skills and experience, you will need to be prepared to offer a very compelling compensation package.

If you don’t have the budget to be flexible on salary, consider offering more nonmonetary benefits to attract top candidates. Sometimes, in-demand perks and benefits can make up for a slightly lower salary. Many professionals today look beyond salary when making career decisions, especially if they are entertaining multiple offers. The type of organizational culture your business offers can be a critical factor in a potential hire’s decision making, too.