If you've been in business long enough, you are likely looking at social media to increase your brand awareness. Maybe you're a little unsure of where to start. There are a number of platforms out there. Which one is the best? Which one will convert to sales the most? Who has time to learn it all? I mean, you have a business to run and a busy lifestyle. It doesn't always allow for the extras of social media advertising and posting. The funny captions, the attention-grabbing headlines, the graphic design, it all has your head swimming.
You want to focus on your business and let someone else handle the extra work involved with social media. But how do you find a reputable social media manager? It's anybody's guess. You start by asking around in your networking circles. Maybe you are lucky enough to find a social media manager that's working great for an acquaintance. How is a big decision that's biting into your business budget so difficult to decide on?
That's what this article is about, breaking down the six things to look for or ask for in your potential social media manager. It's not about finding the cheapest, although finding lower cost-effective social media management would be a bonus, I am sure. No, rather it's about finding the right fit for your business niche. Because that social media manager who was recommended to you by your friend the baker isn't necessarily going to be a great fit for your car dealership.
So let's get to it. The six ways you can judge a social media's managers effectiveness before signing.
#1 The first thing you need to request to see is their portfolio. Any social media manager worth their weight is going to have worked on their portfolio and attempted to keep it updated. So what are you looking for? Do they appear to have the skills needed to create eye-catching graphics? It's not so much catalog shopping for your style as it is the spacing, wording, and attractiveness overall. Social media managers who do graphics are well aware that not all companies seek the same style, which is why if you have a higher budget, you will be willing to pay extra for a top-notch social media manager with high-end graphics. If your budget isn't as big, finding someone who can make acceptable graphics is OK too. But avoid those whose graphics look off.
Have they included any metrics reports in their portfolio? It's a fact that statistics are important. You want to see click through. You want to know how much of that traffic converted. The thing to keep in mind is that not all social media managers are privy to the conversion, so they may only be able to provide you with click through from their work.
How did they help an account grow? How long did that take? Suffice it to say, if they don't have a portfolio, then perhaps they don't have the experience needed.
#2 Past experience Although this will be evident in their portfolio, there may be more that wasn't included, so it's always good to ask. How long have they been doing the job? How many clients have they handled? Have they had failures? (No one is putting a failure into a portfolio.) If they had a failure, it's bound to happen. Did they learn anything from that experience? How did they use it to change their future work?
Social Media Managers all start out at zero clients, so don't hold it against them. Just ask yourself if you are willing to be their first client. I can tell you I have learned so much since my first Pinterest client, and I thank them by continuing to offer them the service they need at my original rate, which is significantly lower than what it currently is. There are other people starting in the industry who would be willing to do the same just to get their foot in the door.
#3 Testimonials. We are assuming now that they've had other clients. Do they have testimonials or referrals? Can you see them easily as part of the portfolio or on their website if they have one.
#4 A fair bit of a social media manager's business relies on having a solid contract in place. That means that when you are considering hiring someone, you should be able to request to see their contract. What does it look like? What does it read like? I myself use a basic Honeybook contract. It's not pretty, but it is a simple way to adjust the services offered. Some managers have used contract writing services and prettied them up quite a bit. Remember, it's not the prettiness of the contract, it's the fine print.
#5 Communication: This one can't be overstated. If you can't get your needs communicated effectively and they can't ask in return what is needed, then the working relationship is going to fail just like any other relationship. Furthermore, some SMMs work best independently, while others are frequent communicators. Ask yourself what you would prefer. You're a busy business owner. The last thing you need is a needy manager popping up seven times a day. So be clear from the get go about what your expectations are for communication.
#6 The last point is to ask them what their process is. You would like to know if they are scheduling your social posts a month in advance or week to week. How would they like to be made aware of upcoming changes? For example, an e-comm sale is coming up. How far in advance will they need that to make the creatives for posting? After all, you can assume you aren't their only client, so they need notice of big changes.
So there you have six great ways to feel out your potential social media manager. One can also add that if you are chatting over Zoom, you will also get to know them a bit more as a person. Do they sound confident? If they sound confident, then you are likely in good hands.
Remember, it's a big investment and both you and the social media manager want it to pay your business back. They want you to be a success story for themselves, and you want that too!