It'll be 2020 in just a few short months, and the start of a new decade in the social media landscape.
Over the last 10 years, social platforms have become increasingly more sophisticated, and the role of the social media professional - whether that’s a manager, associate, or freelancer - has also evolved to become more creative, strategic, and motivated to keep up with ever-changing trends in the space.
So what should businesses seek out in potential social media hires before they start recruiting for these positions next year?
Here are some expert insights and tips:
1. Look for candidates that possess a relevant, thoughtful portfolio
As the digital marketing specialist at Blendhub, Daniela Furtado knows that social media is a very crowded space. If a candidate wants to stand out, they should be able to provide a strong portfolio with examples of their work.
Three key components that social media professionals should have in their portfolio are:
- Samples of work created for brands - The applicant shouldn't include their personal social accounts, as Furtado notes that managing your own social media accounts is radically different than managing business accounts.
- Key metrics - “In their portfolio, I want to see key metrics like engagement rate, number of impressions, and sales (if applicable),” Furtado says. “I also look for information about how these metrics changed while they handled the business accounts.”
- Highlight accomplishments and detail how they were made - As Furtado notes, most social media professionals aren’t creating content for Instagram because it’s a hobby. “It’s valuable to have a social media manager that understands how the social accounts play a role in the business.”
2. Don’t worry if the applicant’s personal handles don’t have tons of followers
Does a social media professional need to have thousands of followers on their personal account/s to be considered successful?
Emily Lyman is the founder of digital marketing agency Branch & Bramble. Lyman has assisted in hiring many social media managers over the years for the agency’s clients as well as her own team.
In Lyman's experience, a social media hire’s personal accounts tend to fall into two camps - some people have tons of followers while others have a much smaller cluster.
“There are those individuals that love social media and want to be on it all the time for work and personal reasons. They tend to have significant followings,” Lyman explains. “Then, there are individuals that love social media, but need a break from it because they spend all their time on it at work. They usually have fewer followers.”
Ultimately, if the candidate has a great portfolio and strong credentials, Lyman doesn’t advise taking their personal followings into consideration.
3. Seek out individuals who demonstrate a passion for creating copy
Individuals with a creative and agile writing style are what Lyman refers to as “writing chameleons.”
“Oftentimes, a social media manager will need to help provide a script for influencers or partners, which will be in a different voice,” Lyman says.
According to Lyman, you’ll know you’ve found a writing chameleon if they tick off the following boxes.
- Can they consistently create on-brand copy without being repetitive?
- Can they write in multiple voices without it being, or sounding, forced?
- Are they always looking for ways to optimize and experiment? Copy aside, can they blend creativity and analysis in everything they do?
4. Don’t forget to review their LinkedIn profile
As you wrap up your list of what you’re seeking in a social media hire - from a portfolio to writing chops and passion for the workload - take note of individuals that present themselves as organized from the start.
“There are a lot of moving parts and last-minute changes in social. You’ll have to know how to coordinate your work with other departments in the company,” Furtado says. “An excellent social media manager understands the importance of having a process or tools in place to stay organized.”
After that, make sure to visit their LinkedIn profile - and keep in mind that the potential hire’s LinkedIn profile should be a pretty close mirror image to what you see in their portfolio.
“Your LinkedIn profile is part of a professional social media network,” Furtado points out. “As such, your profile needs to be on point, well curated, and optimized.”