7 Essential Questions to Ask an External Social Media Manager

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Outsourcing business development tasks is nerve-wracking to begin with – but when it comes to social media management there’s even more at stake. While web design can be tweaked after the fact and copywriting can be refined before it’s published, Twitter updates and Facebook posts are there for a lifetime.

The first step to outsourcing social media is defining your needs. Social media management can come in so many different varieties and combinations, so you really need to know what you’re looking for in order to find the best solution. The term “social media manager” can be used in so many different ways. Are you looking for an outsourced solution that will build a community for you on Facebook? Do you need someone to come in and train your in house staff on social media usage? Do you want training on launching a social campaign and understanding ROI? The possibilities can be endless.

Once you understand your needs, here are seven questions you can ask to find the right external social media manager to fit your organization’s needs:

What is your definition of success?

The numbers of fans and followers aren’t the only signs of success in social. A professional social media manager will be able to help you define success on a strategic and tactical level in order to support your larger marketing goals. If your vendor has a limited view of success or is unable to explain social beyond the number of fans, they won’t be able to provide you with higher level strategic solutions.

How do you measure ROI?

The right social media manager will be able to measure your goals against your existing marketing budget. As a vendor partner, they should have a clear way to measure social ROI or return on engagement. Be sure you understand their measurement philosophy and how they’ll bring their insight to the table. It’s not just about viewing the statistics. It’s about analyzing what those statistics mean and making strategic plans moving forward.

What type of results should we expect?

A good social media manager will manage your expectations and let you know what the results *may* be. Keep in mind that your manager is not a psychic. They’ll do a good job on your behalf using the best practices of the industry, but there is a lot that is out of their control. They should be able to give you a ballpark idea of what they bring to the table based on their previous results.

How do you stay on top of the latest innovations in social?

Social is always changing. Even the most experienced social media managers need to update their skills, refine their strategies and learn new techniques. Any social outsourcing service should have experience with building engagement and showing results across multiple platforms and with several different tools. If their results and experience are centered around a specific platform or tool, they may not be staying on top of the latest and greatest.

What will my responsibilities be as a client?

Social doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Your outsourced social media manager will need to be in the loop with your other marketing activities. You’ll also need to provide resources, your existing social stats and other benchmarks. Any professional manager should have clear guidelines for your role as a client. During the interview process, they don’t need to delve into these fully, but should give you an idea of what their requirements will be.

Can you tell me about your greatest social success? What factors went into its development?

Sometimes a real world example is the best way to understand how a particular social media manager will operate on your behalf. Get them to share a case study with you – or request one in writing. Ask about the specific factors that went into the development, deployment and results.

Can I have links to your social profiles?

The best social managers don’t just talk – they walk the walk. Their agency or individual social profiles should reflect the best practices of social and show that they understand how to put social to work in the real world. Outdated profiles, questionable profile elements and other red flags will help you determine whether or not your manager can handle your needs.

Keeping your organization’s needs in mind, ask these questions and you’ll be able to find the vendor that will help you meet your social goals within your budget.

Are there any other questions you would add to help in finding the right outsourced social media solution for any given company?

Courtney Ramirez
This monthly Social Media Writing column is contributed by Courtney Ramirez. Courtney is the Director of Content Strategy for Endurance Marketing, where she helps take B2B brands from boring to breakthrough. She creates strategies that helps businesses tell their story, increase their prospects and convert more customers. She manages content marketing creation and implementation so clients can see the best results from their inbound marketing efforts. She geeks out on content marketing metrics and cat memes. +Courtney Ramirez
Courtney Ramirez
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