On the surface, social media writing is a piece of cake. Compared to white papers or web copy, creating social media updates and content to share seems like a relatively easy task. So easy, in fact, that you may try to handle all of your social media writing in house – or pay an intern to craft your updates. Not only does this put your social media presence at risk, but it turns a potentially thriving marketing channel into a dud.
Social media writing services aren’t created equally – and not all writers have great social content potential. There are many copywriters who can’t get the persuasive, sales edge out of their content. There are others who hang their shingle out there as social media writers who don’t have the experience or the insight into create clickable content.
So how do you ensure you’re making the right choice when you hire a social media writing service? It all comes down to carefully screening and testing out a writer or service before you fully invest. Unfortunately, there isn’t a multiple choice test or simple form you can have a writer fill out in order to test their social media writing capabilities.
There are, however, a few easy steps you can take to screen candidates and find the right fit for your social media needs. Using these steps will help you find a professional service with the experience that you need, eliminate social media writer turnover and keep your company’s presence strong and profitable.
Review their Social Media Presence
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working with a freelancer, social media service or full-fledged marketing company with a social media department, your potential hire should have an active social media presence. If you’re dealing with a one-person shop, their profiles may be less active and robust – but they should still have a consistent and professional presence.
When was the last time they updated? Do they share a variety of relevant content? Are their updates a good mix of curated content and original shares? Bonus points if their company’s social media presence in right in line with the style and approach that your business needs to use online.
Check Their References
While you’re browsing through social media profiles, take a good look at LinkedIn. This professionally-oriented social media site is a good place to check references. Select a few candidates that look good based on their experience and social media profiles then reach out to their LinkedIn recommendations independently. When you make contact without letting a candidate know, you’ll get those references’ real opinion of the service in question. The service or freelancer won’t have an opportunity to “coach” their references about what to say, and you’ll get a more objective point of view.
Conduct an Actual Interview
Working with someone remotely for your social media writing services is a real possibility, but this doesn’t mean you should eliminate a formal interview. Going through an interview process will help you evaluate your writer’s professional experience, their ability to think on their feet and your potential working relationship. Whether you’re working with a solo freelancer or service, you should have a good rapport with your contact person and get a sense of whether you’ll be able to communicate together and handle projects effectively.
Some questions to ask include:
- How long have you been writing for social media?
- What are the differences between writing for other mediums and social media?
- What level of support do you offer with social media writing? Will you be handling replies and growing the community?
- What is the biggest mistake businesses make with social media writing? How do you solve these problems?
Asking these in addition to general job interview questions will help you understand their specific social media writing experience.
Know How to Spot a Professional
Making the right hire for social media writing services comes down to understanding what you’re looking for. You need to know what makes the difference between a virtual worker who can string a sentence together and an actual writer. A good social media writer is going to ask a lot of questions – not because they don’t know what they are doing but because they want to do a great job for you.
They will need background information about each project in advance, and may ask you to complete a content questionnaire so they can determine the right voice and approach for your social media content. They’ll ask about your goals for social media, the platforms you’re using and your previous results. They’ll want to become part of your team and get to know your company, your goals and your voice. Don’t waste your time or content budget with anyone who doesn’t ask questions or seek to understand your business.
Start with a Small Project
If a social media writing service has passed the referral checks and interview process, start small! Create a small project to test out their turnaround times, their ability to capture your brand’s voice and their professionalism. Not only will a small project protect you from making a large investment with a company that just isn’t up to snuff, but it gives you insight into how you’ll be valued as a customer. Don’t waste your time with services that deliver work late, make repeated grammatical or spelling errors or otherwise make the working relationship difficult. Nip those relationships in the bud quickly and move onto more professional candidates.
Hiring any type of service online can be a risk, but with these five steps you can test out social media writing services and find the best fit for your company.
Have you had successes or disasters with hiring social media writing services? Share your insights below so others can learn from your experience!