Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Social Media Manager

Everything you need to know about hiring a social media manager header graphic
When it comes to hiring a social media manager, many companies say, “let’s just hire some millennial”. While, yes… millennials came of age with social media, there’s a lot more to social media management on behalf of a company that what you would do on your personal accounts. Social media managers need to have a wide range of skills to be successful at their jobs. In this post, you’ll learn what skills to look for in a great social media manager, how to write a job description for a social media manager, interview questions to ask candidates, and much more.

Social Media Manager Hiring Templates

Once you actually conduct an interview, you’ll end up asking tons of questions. But, what happens when you have to sit back, reflect, and really analyze what the answers to all those questions mean? Use this free scorecard to help yourself assess and compare answers from candidates.

Social Media Manager Training 

Make sure your new hire is equipped for the job by rolling training into their onboarding experience.  Enroll them in Actionable Marketing Institute’s Social Media Strategy Certification course to develop their skills in social strategy, copywriting, design, best practices, reporting, & more!  Have your employee complete this training within their first 30 days on the job to help them focus on creating a social strategy that influences company goals.

What is Social Media Management?

Social media management involves monitoring and overseeing all interactions and content distribution across a company’s social media. It’s not about just throwing up a few posts. It encompasses monitoring, engaging, audience building, customer service, and strategic marketing to reach a business’ goals. Essentially, they are the masters of the company’s social media strategy.

Look for These Skills When Hiring a Social Media Manager

A good social media manager must have skills encompassing both creative and analytical, as well as strategic and tactical. They must have the ability to dream up the strategy and execute on the vision. They must be creative enough to experiment and pounce on new functionality, as well as be able to report on the outcomes. Here are the top skills you should look for in a social media manager. Top skills to look for in a social media manager

Planning and Project Management

A good social media manager knows how to set goals, make a plan to achieve them and manage the process to reach said goals.

Customer Service Minded

Customers don’t care if your social media channels are devoted to customer service or not. They will find you in a way that’s convenient (often social media) ask their question no matter if that’s your customer service channel or not. Social media managers must be prepared to field a fair amount of customer questions in a helpful and understanding manner. When hiring a social media manager, look for previous experience when they were customer facing. Ask them about a time that they dealt with a challenging customer and how they handled it.


The art of being succinct is important for social media managers. They have to be able to convey their message in a short space, with no grammatical errors that also encourages people to click the content they shared. You’ll want to make sure your candidates have an error-free resume… after all, that is your first impression of their copywriting. You may want to ask for examples of posts they’ve written for reference to their sills.

Analytics and Reporting

ROI is notoriously difficult to prove on social media. Your manager needs to be able to take data and prove business value in an easy-to-communicate way. They also should have knowledge of several different reporting tools.


Execution is important to the success of any social media channel. The person responsible for managing a company’s social presence, must be able to follow through on the day-to-day tasks required to keep the engine rolling.

Ability to Learn Quickly

Social media channels change quickly and managers need to stay curious about how to use and leverage new functionality in the most creative ways.


This might sound strange, but social media managers end up being the face of the company in many ways. They are often the ones hosting Twitter chats, the face of the company’s Facebook live videos and the name answering all the incoming questions. That said, this person should be comfortable being in the spotlight from time-to-time. They should also be fearless in their desire to test, play, and push the boundaries of creativity. Social media is meant to be fun and they should be excited to try new things… if they might fall flat.

What Does a Social Media Manager Do?

Pretty obvious that a social media manager is responsible for the management of a company’s social media presence. That can include a wide range of activities. Here’s a typical list of daily, weekly and monthly responsibilities.

Daily Social Media Management Tasks

There are the items social media managers must do every day:
  • Engage with followers: By this, I mean that they should reply to followers, respond to mentions and blog comments, and in general, show signs of life on social media accounts.
  • Instigate engagement: Find influencers to engage with on social media or connect, comment and converse with other posts and content.
  • Share the latest interesting content: Look through social media feeds, and share any interesting and worthwhile content.
  • Check mentions: Search for the company’s name on social networks. Is there anything to respond to? Find out what people are saying and tap into it for the company’s benefit.

Daily social media tasks

Weekly Social Media Management Tasks

The items below are a list of weekly responsibilities required of social media managers.
  • Trends and keywords: Look for trends and keywords that are popular on social media feeds and plan content (or curation) that will use them. Monitor topics and words that matter for the company’s industry. For fast-moving networks like Twitter, this would be done daily.
  • Find content to curate: Find outside content to share with followers.
  • Attend Twitter chats or Facebook live events: Share insights and business experience on a Twitter chat to help build an active and vibrant community.
  • Monitor performance: In-depth reporting is usually done on a monthly basis, but it’s a good idea to keep a pulse on what’s happening to catch any snags early.
Weekly social media tasks

Monthly Social Media Management Tasks

Finally, here’s all the things a social media manager should do on a monthly basis.
  • Check data and analytics: Check stats and analytics to see how well social content is performing. Look for trends in traffic, topics, networks, time and date shared, and type of content shared.
  • Brainstorm ideas to test: Think about coming up with new experiments for social media and things to test from improved performance.
Monthly social media tasks

Should You Outsource Your Social Media Management?

Many companies struggle with this decision. Should they keep all their social media activities in-hour or would it be better to hire and agency to manage their social activities? Maybe there aren’t enough internal resources to effectively manage all the social media activities. Or, maybe there isn’t the internal knowledge needed to implement high-performing social media campaigns. These are all common reasons why many companies turn to social media agencies. Before you dive into bringing an agency on board, review these pros and cons of outsourcing your social media management activities. Pros and cons of hiring a social media manager Should you hire a social media management agency? Here are the pros and cons...

Pros of Hiring a Social Media Management Agency

  • You don’t need to go through the hiring process.
  • There might not be enough work to hire a full-time staff member. Hiring an agency means you only pay for the work needed.
  • Agencies have a vast amount of knowledge in social media management.
  • It saves you time since you can save your time for other marketing initiatives.

Cons of Hiring a Social Media Management Agency

  • It can be costly. Agencies want to make money, so they charge more per hour than what you pay an employee’s salary.
  • There are collaboration challenges. Since the agency isn’t in your office on a day-to-day basis, it is often challenging to collaborate in an effective way.
  • Ad hoc content can be non-existent. That employee cook-out or Cinco de Mayo party makes for great social media content, but the agency isn’t usually present at those events.
  • They won’t know your business as well as you do. Answering customer service inquiries on social media can be challenging if they don’t have a high level of product knowledge.

How to Write a Thorough Job Description

Writing a good job description can be the difference between finding the right candidate and the vacancy sitting open for an extended period of time. Here’s how to write a great job description for a social media manager.

Don’t be Overly Creative with the Job Title

It seems to be all the rage these days to be hiring a “social media ninja”... but people applying don’t really know what this means, It sets no expectations and makes it difficult to know if you’re qualified for the job, what level the job is and how much experience is necessary.

Avoid Jargon

Marketing is an area that is filled with jargon. Sometimes we have a tendency to be too clever for our own good. Being overly complicated with your job descriptions means people won’t really understand what their daily tasks will be. Here’s an example to avoid: “We’re looking for a social media wizard to guide us through the labyrinth that is SMM. You’ll need experience creating communication pathways for our fans and followers, as well as the ability to formulate synergistic campaigns encompassing a multitude of organizational and departmental need. …. And what you should say instead: “We’re looking for a social media manager with at least 3-5 years of experience with social media marketing. This person will be responsible for community management and launching social media campaigns from all departments within the organization.”

Sell the Job

Spend some time explaining why they should want to work for your company.
  • What benefits are included?
  • What is the time off they can expect?
  • Are there any added reasons they should choose to work for your company?

Sample Social Media Job Descriptions

The best way to understand the full scope of what social media management is all about is to investigate some real-life job descriptions. Maybe you are looking for inspiration for hiring a new manager or are looking for areas to improve your own skill set, these examples will help.

Amazon Music - Social Media Manager

Core Responsibilities
  • Manage the day-to-day messaging, monitoring, and moderation of social media channels
  • Build out content plans and calendars for assigned handles
  • Develop programs to grow audiences and social conversation
  • Guide the creation of micro-content such as social graphics, visual development, animated GIFs, and short-form video
  • Execute paid promotion in partnership with Paid Social team
  • Track performance of social media campaigns, content, and overall health of the assigned social handles
  • Aide in the development of the social strategy as it relates to messaging, engagement, and content performance
  • Present to senior leadership regularly on social plans and results
  • Continuously ideate and innovate within the social space

GoPro - Social Media Manager

  • Copywriting on all social platforms
  • Content Management
  • Sourcing content (Photo of the Day, Shares, Featured Photographers, etc.)
  • Catalog asset details
  • Spredfast Admin (own reporting, label, link tagging, etc.)
  • Community Management (publishing, engagement, moderating, listening)
  • Managing social activations and partnerships

LG - Social Media Manager

Key Responsibilities
  • Responsible for the management of all social media communication through various channels including Twitter, Facebook, community forums, etc.
  • Coordinate and lead with web team all related Customer Support experience
  • Collaborate with Marketing, Customer Service and Legal teams to establish brand guidelines for messaging, tone, style, and quality
  • Oversee community management, monitor review sites, and reply/resolve consumer issues as needed
  • Build metrics-driven marketing strategy and measure KPIs through analytics and distributing reports with actionable insights regularly to stakeholders
  • Consistently research and identify trending topics
  • Conceptualize and create eye-catching digital media content for social media
  • Build mutually-beneficial partnerships with complementary external brands for promotions to aid in brand building and deepen consumer engagement
  • Manage a team of 4+ with the responsibility for coaching, mentoring, providing feedback, and career development

Panera Bread - Senior Manager, Social Media

Essential Job Functions      
  1. Project Lead
  • Manage social-driven campaigns from insight through amplification through measurement
  • Develop and refine the brand voice on social media, specific to each channel; and ensure consistent use within community management team, paid social, organic social, and social customer care
  • Manage integrated brand digital campaigns that span beyond social media
  • Refine and drive real-time integrated social process
  • Manage internal social media team, creative agency and social-specific partners.
  • Manage measurement and reporting process to ensure the team is tracking towards KPIs.
  1.  Team Lead
  • Oversee social media team’s work on influencers, brand partnerships, real-time social and organic content
  1. Cross-Channel Brand Messaging Oversight
  • Manage social media component of all celebration and ecommerce initiatives.
  • Partner with internal people team on all associate/recruitment communications including LinkedIn and Panera People Facebook page.
  • Lead messaging & social direction to support the Panera Bread Gift Card program, MyPanera loyalty initiatives to maintain brand/campaign consistency.

PlayStation - Social Media Manager

  • Coordinate with marketing, PR, production, design, web, and other internal departments
  • Help define and maintain community strategy
  • Communicate directly with fans, building strong relationships and maintaining a visible external presence on social media sites and forums
  • Plan, create, and execute the release of external and internal messaging
  • Support and help generate asset releases, including screenshots, videos, patches, and demos
  • Monitor discussion forums and other communication media to identify common player issues and discussion patterns
  • Advocate internally on behalf of the player ensuring that company and development priorities are informed of player needs
  • Conceptualize and execute community-facing initiatives including contests, volunteer programs, offline events, convention presence, viral initiatives, promotional opportunities and email campaigns
  • Coordinate with production and web development teams to help plan and develop community and website features (forums, content systems, etc.)
  • Compile and distribute Weekly and Monthly community-related metric reports
  • Identify and offer solutions for breaking down barriers between customers and our product and studio
  • Claim and protect brand names on new social networks by creating profiles

Trip Advisor - Social Media Manager

What You Will Do
  • Define & drive the strategy to grow audiences and user engagement for TripAdvisor on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and other emerging channels, with a tailored approach for each
  • Develop & implement new strategic initiatives to drive 2-way conversations with travelers on social channels
  • Create engaging, clickable, shareable social content that encourages virality and ensures the brand remains a top-of-mind source of travel inspiration
  • Collaborate cross-functionally with partners in Content, Marketing, PR, and CRM to create, support, and execute content and campaigns to support key Marketing initiatives
  • Conduct relevant analyses and user research to inform the social strategy and roadmap
  • Determine, monitor, and report on all social channel KPIs. Apply any data-driven insights to optimize each channel strategy accordingly
  • Serve as the voice of the traveler; articulate analytical & qualitative learnings effectively to the team and to key stakeholders
  • Manage the social budget to stay within annual budget targets and to maximize the return on spend
  • Ensure all content adheres to the brand voice and brand guidelines

Questions to Ask a Social Media Manager During an Interview

Stumped trying to come up with a list of questions to ask? Here’s a good list to get you started.
  1. Do you have a strong grasp on basic marketing principles?
  2. How would you rate your creative writing skills?
  3. Which social media channels do you have the most expertise with?
  4. Do you have experience with audience research?
  5. Which social media content types do you have experience creating?
  6. Have you ever been tasked with running a social media campaign, from ideation to execution to measurement? And if so, what were the results?
  7. Do you have previous experience managing online communities?
  8. Have you reviewed our business’s social media presence? If so, are there any specific things you’d recommend changing?
  9. Tell us about a time you were confronted with a social media crisis, and how you handled it.
  10. Which metrics do you consider most important for measuring social media success?
  11. Which blogs and news sources do you read to stay on top of social media trends and changes?
  12. How familiar are you with running contests on Facebook without running afoul of that platform’s guidelines?
  13. Do you have experience blending organic and paid social strategies?
  14. Which social media platforms are your favorite for personal use?
  15. What’s your opinion on using social media for customer service?
  16. Are you familiar with Facebook’s guidelines on promotional posts?
  17. Which social media marketing and management tools have you used in the past, and which have been your favorites?
  18. What are your favorite brands on social media and what, in particular, do you think they do well?
  19. In your own opinion, what can social media do to impact business outcomes that other channels and tactics can’t deliver as well?
  20. Do you have experience managing a social media calendar?
Interview questions for a social media manager position

Social Media Schedulers

There are a plethora of social media schedulers to help manage the social publishing aspect of managing social channels. Most of these options do a lot more than just schedule, but,  for the sake of this post, we’ll categorize them here. Here are a few good ones to choose from: Buffer – With Buffer, you can schedule, reply and analyze your social media posts in one comprehensive dashboard. People love Buffer because of it’s easy-to-navigate interface and affordable plans. HootSuite – This social media marketing tool allows you to manage your social media scheduling, monitoring and analytics. In addition, Hootsuite allows additional functions like boosting posts directly from the tool and helps solve content curation hurdles. Sprout Social – Sprout is similar to Hootsuite in its functionality, but offers additional analytics capabilities like hashtag reporting and social ad reporting. Later – If Instagram is your bread and butter, Later is a great choice. Later offers users to schedule with the grid view in mind, to ensure a beautiful and carefully curated Instagram profile. Tweetdeck – If Twitter is your bread and butter, Tweetdeck is a great choice. It’s a no-frills Twitter dashboard that allows you to schedule posts and see your feed, notifications, and mentions and all in one place. eClincher – As with the other options on this list, eClincher allows you to plan, respond and analyze your social media posts with the added feature of being able to auto-post suggested content. AgoraPulse – What makes AgoraPulse unique is its ability to help users identify influencers based on historical interactions with your company on social media. You can also segment using its CRM-like database.

Social Media Monitoring Tools

Mention – Mention is a real-time monitoring system that lets you stay up-to-date about what others are saying about you on social media. Never miss a mention, tweet or conversation about your company again. Brandwatch – This super powerful tool is built on Boolean queries and pulls mentions from across the web. The learning curve can be a little steep, as can the price tag, but Brandwatch is a very powerful tool for monitoring. Meltwater – Meltwater is somewhat similar to Brandwatch in its social listening capabilities, but has additional features to scan news sites to meet the needs of PR teams. Nuvi – Nuvi is a real-time social media monitoring tool that provides full social media coverage and over 5 million RSS feeds. Nuvi is also built on Boolean queries, but isn’t quite as powerful as Brandwatch in its ability to tailor its results.

Set Your Social Media Manager Up For Success 

You know the saying “it takes a village”? Social media is kinda the same. It often takes several tools to properly manage a company’s social channels. Here’s a list of some of the best to help your social media manager be more successful:


Marketing Calendar software gives your social media manager full visibility into your marketing team’s priorities, projects, & promotions.  By using a tool like CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar or Marketing Suite, your social media manager can publish & promote your projects easily - without missing important dates or deadlines.  Learn more. 


ReQueue allows you to easily auto-fill your social calendar with your best messages. Add your social messages to ReQueue and it will automatically and intelligently post them on your behalf so your social channels are always posting great content. It also allows you to automate all your #MotivationMonday, #WednesdayWisdom, and #TBT posts to go live on the exact day and time you choose.

Social Media Training 

But most importantly, you want to make sure your new employee has the skills & confidence to develop a social media strategy that drives results for your company.  Enroll them in Actionable Marketing Institute’s Social Media Strategy Certification course to train them on best practices, processes, & strategies that drive more engagement, growth, leads, & traffic.  Learn more.
About the Author

Leah Johanna is currently the digital director at North Dakota United. Previously, she was the Customer Marketing Lead at CoSchedule. Outside of work, she loves hunting for cool stuff at thrift stores. If not for marketing, Leah would be a psychiatrist, given her fascination with Dateline NBC, true-crime podcasts, and Netflix documentaries about cults.