ask the expert | How to Hire the Best Social Media Manager for Your Brand

today's guest post is from our resident expert in using social media for your biz: Prerna Malik from

social media direct

So, you’ve decided to hire someone to help you with managing the online presence for your business and brand. Congratulations!

Are you sure you’ve hired the right person?

Are you certain that this person will have the same passion for your brand as you do?

Is there no doubt in your mind that handing over the reins of your brand’s online avatars will be a decision you’ll never regret?

If you’ve answered yes, you can stop reading right here. Because you truly have found someone right for your business.

If not, read on.

The Decision to Outsource

The decision to outsource social media or business blogging activities is for many entrepreneurs, especially small business owners, a tough one. Not only does it mean, factoring the cost into your budget, but it also means giving some degree of control over to someone else. Yeah, never easy.

However, the decision to outsource can also be the best thing for your business.

Why?

  • You reclaim time lost in struggling over composing blog posts or replying to tweets and FB posts. 
  • You invest your time in other business building activities that need YOU or your presence. Think, client meetings or product presentations. 
  • You don’t feel guilty looking at a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in ages or a blog that has died a natural death. 
  • You enjoy seeing the benefits of social media and rich content for your business. 

Yes, the decision to outsource can be a very good one for an entrepreneur.

But you must take that decision after careful thought.

Identifying Potential Candidates

Finding the right candidates for the job can be a toughie.

How do you know who would understand your brand the way you do? How do you find someone who will be as passionate about helping your customers as you are?

While you can start by hunting through Google, I’d recommend taking a shorter and simpler route by asking those in your niche or industry for references and recommendations. Most of the work I get as a social media manager or business blogger is through word-of-mouth referrals. Clients I’ve worked with or coaches I interact with know my style and expertise and are happy to send on more relevant work my way.  So, if you’re a business, asking those in your ‘circle’ will ensure that you get directed to someone who understands the unique challenges of a little biz owner along with your industry demands.

If you don’t know of anyone who can recommend someone, then it will be a good idea to head to Google and type in “social media manager+ {industry}“ to get some targeted results.

Narrowing Down the Selection

Once you’ve identified a few prospective candidates, ask them to send you a proposal outlining their strategy as well as the costs involved. Next, spend some time chatting with them to know them better. You don’t have to meet in person, a Skype meeting works really well for you to know whether you’ll understand each other, have the same commitment and basically work well together.

Ask questions, probe but don’t badger or bully. The person on the other end, is an entrepreneur just like you and chances are if you aren’t going to be a good fit, they will most likely let you know that as well.

Red Flags to Watch For

While most social media managers take their jobs very seriously, you should be on the lookout for some red flags during your conversations with prospective candidates:

  • Dependence on automated tools and bots for social media – Social networking for a biz is all about engagement and interaction. Using a bot to throw out automated messages may be cost-effective in the short run but can lose you customers and reputation in the long run. 
  • Unwillingness to share strategy details with you – you deserve to know what strategy will be behind the social media plan for your business. It is your business after all. Any social media manager who says, “Leave the strategy to me” will probably leave you in the lurch later on. 
  • Promising big numbers quickly – If you hear, “I can get you 10k fans in 10 days”, run as fast as you can and don’t look back. You don’t want to buy your fans and get your page banned, do you? Building a community takes effort and engagement. Let those be the building blocks of your social media strategy and not mere numbers. The numbers will follow.

Have you considered hiring a social media manager to help you leverage your online presence? Have you already? Still not convinced? Post in the comments below!

a note from karen: i know how hard it is to do EVERYTHING and do it well - we don't have enough tme and enough skill to do it all on our own. so please do consider outsourcing. you can support another little biz builder even as you build your own. and i know a few ladies that have hired prerna already and RAVE about her, so send her an email. if you are the right fit for each other, she is offering build a little biz readers 20% off which makes her affordable web content and social media solutions, even more affordable. i have already hired her to help me with a few of the jobs i really don't want to do, i bet she can help you to!

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Prerna Malik works with ‘little’ businesses on their web content and social media strategy. Co-owner of

Social Media Direct

, she offers quality, customized support to entrepreneurs and business owners helping them to build better brands online. Be sure to sign up for a FREE one-on-one strategy session and move towards focused, productive social networking.