A company’s social media manager is akin to being the voice of the company in the digital domain. Not only that, the social media manager also serves as the eyes and ears of the brand he or she is working for. This means that the social media manager, together with the team (if any), will be constantly on the lookout for related news, buzz, or relevant industry affairs that affects the company, competitors, or just about any stakeholder involved in the business.
As the digital voice of the company or brand, the social media manager also works towards increasing brand awareness, drive traffic to the website and social channels, and ultimately increase the revenue of the business, all these while still ensuring the company’s image and branding is being prioritized.
If you wish to become a social media manager and provide consulting related work to businesses as your side hustle, you will mostly likely be asked these 10 crucial questions by the hiring person. Give this list of 10 a good read and consider them thoroughly.
1. Do you have prior success in managing your own or other entity’s social media accounts?
When employers ask such a question, they just wish to know if you have the necessary skillset and experience they are looking for, and what can you bring to the table if you are hired. In addition, they also wish to find out if your prior successes are able to be replicated in their business as not two companies or industries are identical.
Employers also want to know whether as a social media consultant, how effectively are you using your own social media channels. Perhaps you have an Instagram account with a large following and high engagement rates for every posts and stories. Or maybe you share really valuable content which people find useful on your Facebook or LinkedIn.
When asked this question, it is the best opportunity for you to bring up success stories from your past social media management experience or even results from your own personal social media account.
2. What do you know about my industry and competitors?
Ideally, you should have done sufficient research about the employer’s industry and their competitors to be able to handle this question. Just like what was mentioned in the previous point, no two companies or industries are identical.
Subscribe to news alerts on the company and it’s industry. Visit the company website’s newsroom to check out news releases past and present. Visit it’s social media account as well as that of its competitors. Once you have gained these general knowledge of the business, you can then prepare some materials to document and showcase the homework which you have done. If you have prior experience in managing the account of a company in a similar niche, even better!
3. Do you have ready access to social media influencers or content creators in the relevant niche?
Influencers, or content creators as they are now called, are people who have a large number of following, most of which look up to them as the authority and domain knowledge experts in their respective niche or industry.
Do you have ready access to these people? If not, consider doing some homework and present to your employers on how you intend to reach out to them when you are required to work with them on collaborations. Some of them have managers while most are independent. Regardless, they are bound to have a business contact, be it phone or email, for you to reach out to so as to negotiate on collaborative projects. It will be good to find out their rates beforehand first as well.
4. Share with me the names of, or examples of your work for your past and present clients
Employers are interested in your work and would like to examine further your past and present successful projects to have a better idea of how you are able to contribute to their social media efforts. Not only that, if they asked for the names of your clients, chances are they might also wish to contact them to ask about your performance. Be wise and selective over what you share. You definitely only want them to have a good impression of you, nothing less.
When presenting your past and present projects, be sure to use metrics and numbers in your presentation to demonstrate the extent of effectiveness of your social media campaigns. Numbers speak volume!
5. What are some tools you use to track the ROI of your projects?
What companies hire people, they want to set KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, for their employees to work towards. In the case of being a social media manager, one of the KPI will mostly likely be metrics and analytics associated with the social media accounts.
Share with the interviewer the platforms you use such as Google Analytics or Facebook Insights and the likes of these. Most importantly, try and go beyond superficial measurements such as number of likes or follows. Go deeper and correlate more, such as how these numbers eventually lead to conversion which contributes to the bottom line companies are most interested in.
6. Which social media platform are you most comfortable with?
Granted that being a social media manager means you should have good working knowledge of most modern social media platforms. However, realistically speaking, you can’t be jack of all trades yet master of none. There has got to be one specific platform which you are personally most active in, or you think is the most effective for your client. Some platforms are more focused on images such as Instagram or Pinterest while some platforms are about words such as micro-blogging on Twitter.
7. How do you think my current social media presence can be improved on?
Perhaps they have a current social media manager, or the company is managing their social accounts in-house. Either way, such a question serves as an opportunity for you to demonstrate your creativity. Before being interviewed, scrutinize the company’s social accounts and think of new and interesting campaigns which they should try, something which they have not done before. Show them that you own the idea and with you on board, you can accurately and effectively execute the idea for them.
8. If the company is facing a certain social media crisis, how will you handle it?
Being a social media manager or consultant also means you need to be at the front line fighting fire when a public relations crisis occur. Such crisis could be due to many factors, one of which is the backfiring of your own social media campaign. If that’s the case, what are your measures for recovery and how are you going to handle all the negative comments on the multiple social media accounts?
9. How do you charge and can it be negotiated?
You have to decide if you wish to operate on a retainer fee, by-the-hour, or per project basis. How often do you wish to receive payment? Any discounts for referrals? These are some possible questions you should think about. If you know someone in the company or in a similar industry, find out from them what are the industry practices.
10. What can you do that my young social media savvy co-worker cannot accomplish?
Well, in the rare occasion which you get asked such a question, this is a really good opportunity to highlight the fact that your skill set in managing social media accounts and crises isn’t something that you gained overnight, but through years of working with clients and gaining experience along the way. Yes, all those social media savvy youths in the company might be on their phones all day and they might be very active in their social media sphere, but these are not activities or experience which have been proven to contribute to businesses’ bottom line. You possess the experience and success records, not them.