10 Questions to Ask a Social Media Manager Before Hiring Them

Simon Orgulan
9 min
January 12, 2024

Since running a business can be hard enough as is, who has the time to manage a social media channel on the side? After all, the task requires you to keep coming up with fresh content ideas all the time, not to mention presenting them in a specific way to make it more likely your audience will respond positively to what you have to say, a skill not everyone possesses despite being as sharp as a business owner can be.

At some point, many business owners consider hiring a social media manager who can take some of the workload off their shoulders. However, not all who brand themselves as such are equally suited for the job. When you’re considering multiple candidates for the role all of whose CVs look nice and tidy, what’s going to be the tiebreaker?

To pick the best candidate out of the bunch, we recommend you sit down with them and invite them over for a quick chat. Thanks to the following social media manager interview questions we’ve prepared for you, you’ll be able to spot the best guy or gal for the job in no time:

1. When marketing on social media, what is more important – engagement or impressions?

This is perhaps the most important interview question of all. Based on the answer, you’ll be able to get a glimpse into how they think and how well they can make a case for their point of view. The correct answer is that they’re both important – it’s just that one is useless without the other. But if someone were to put a gun to your head and force you to sacrifice either one or the other… what would your choice be and why?

Let’s go through each of these scenarios.

Scenario 1: High engagement, low impressions

Passionate followers are the most likely to become your customers, but what good is that if you’ll only be making a handful of sales due to the low number of people who’ll ever see your posts? Unless you’re selling high-ticket items, getting a sale here and there is not a sustainable strategy if you want to be running at least a moderately successful business.

Scenario 2: Low engagement, high impressions

In this scenario, your content is getting lots of views, but no one seems to be interacting with it. Whatever the reason may be, it can probably be diagnosed and improved simply by making a couple of tweaks to your content strategy. Apparently, you’ve already nailed the hardest part, which is getting some traffic in the first place (obviously, there is quite some demand in this niche). Do you see why such a situation is a great place to be?

2. Can you tell us your best and worst performing campaigns and what were the lessons you learned along the way?

This is one of those introspective social media manager interview questions that probes the candidate’s character. Will they get riled up for the sake of you daring to ask the question or will they meditate on it and give you an in-depth analysis?

At the same time, this also doubles up as an open-ended question. On top of it all, it also counts as a trick question because it consists of two parts. Think of it as a way to gauge their self-reflective capacities all while getting a glimpse into their working memory and how focused they can stay on the main objective. Can they process all of this info at once?

The reality of juggling multiple social media channels is that you’re going to need to be able to handle it without getting overwhelmed. Call it multitasking if you will, but you should definitely give preference to the kind of iron-skinned candidates who can take it without crumbling.

3. Who’s your favorite social media influencer and why?

Social media influencers couldn’t be as successful as they are if it weren’t for the uniqueness of their personality and the way they can keep their followers engaged, seemingly without even trying. When honing and perfecting your craft, they are your go-to sources for seeking inspiration and honing in on your approach. Surely, someone who intends to do this for a living is likely to believe the same.

At the same time, learning what strikes a chord with your future social media manager is also a way to gauge their sense of humor and general taste in content. Obviously, this is all in the subjective realm, but the goal should be to determine how well their taste meshes with yours and the voice of your brand.

Are the social media influencers your candidate likes rebellious? Are they witty? Perhaps their personality has some quirks to it, but they seem to have an uncanny ability to present it in a cute way, thus showing their human side to their audience that loves them even more for it? In the world of social media, sometimes you can be “wrong” and still be right. Remember that the primary goal is getting your content noticed at all cost – everything else comes secondary.

4. Do social media campaigns have an effect on the company’s SEO?

Social media links have the “nofollow” attribute attached to them, but whether they actually have any benefit for increasing one’s organic search engine rankings is still a heated debate in the SEO community to this very day. Most say no, but who can say for sure?

Granted, you’re not interviewing your candidate for an SEO position, but having this kind of complementary knowledge can certainly be seen as a plus. At the same time, you want to be working with the kind of people who have a passion for learning new things and if they’re into social media management, chances are they’ve at least heard about SEO and fully realize its importance.

Plus points if they know that getting direct clicks to your website can be just as powerful as SEO itself.

5. What is the right way to handle negative feedback received through social media?

Nowadays, lots of companies are using their social media channels to respond to customer feedback, complaints, and requests. Even the social media manager of a 5-star company will wake up one day to find a disgruntled customer fuming about something all while being very vocal and public about it. Whether it be technical issues or something product or service related, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

When responding, you should never get into any kind of heated arguments with the individual, even if you’re 100% in the right and the guy throwing rotten tomatoes at you and your brand is a half-witted baboon. However, this doesn’t mean you’re expected to be a doormat either. Simply state your case and all the surrounding circumstances and do your best to resolve the issue, perhaps even throwing in a special discount along the way to go the extra mile.

Now that you know the correct course of action, is your candidate on the same page? Keep in mind that the way you go about conflict resolution can leave a lasting stain on your brand – people have a long memory when it comes to such matters. You want to entrust handling them to someone who can keep their cool even when under heavy fire.

6. What are your most and least favorite social media networks? Please explain your answer.

It’s entirely possible to have a knack for certain social media platforms but be completely clueless on others. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn tend to be based around written content, while Pinterest and Instagram heavily favor images by design. Depending on your social media strategy and your niche, you want to be focusing on those that are the most relevant to your brand, the customers you serve, and the overall focus of your company.

If you’re selling beauty products, Pinterest should be your go-to social media platform of choice because it’s dominated by a female audience. At the same time, you should also be looking for a social media manager who feels right at home posting there. After all, photography, image editing, and content writing are completely separate skillsets not everyone is equally good at.

It’s a good idea to be completely transparent with this and even mention it in your job ad so as to respect other people’s time.

7. Where do you draw inspiration from when creating a social media content strategy?

Depending on what you’re aiming for, “I just wing it” may or may not be an acceptable answer to this one. Even the brightest minds should have no quarrel with going outside of their comfort zone every once in a while and checking out what the competition is doing. In case you’re noticing a trend, it’s probably something worth investigating – after all, they probably wouldn’t all be doing it for no reason or purely by chance.

Your ideal candidate should know that and default to this answer. Variations of it are fine too. Examples include keeping up with the news, following various influencers in the niche, and even noticing what kinds of billboard ads are getting popular when walking down the street. The key thing you’re testing for is their capacity to learn through observation and the ability to adjust their strategy on the fly.

8. Are you familiar with the term “audience persona”? How do you identify it and adjust your social media campaigns accordingly?

Not every type of content resonates with every audience. For instance, talking about data models would likely induce a mighty *yawn* from golfers who are looking for ways to improve their swing, different types of golf clubs, and how to apply them in each scenario. The key takeaway is, you need to be familiar with the key characteristics that apply to the majority of your audience before writing the very first word.

Your ideal candidate should be familiar with using different tools for the task (SimilarWeb is a good example) and be linguistically inclined enough to adjust their lingo based on the audience they’re addressing. If, for example, you’re selling products to an audience that mostly consists of teenagers, using words like “cool”, “hip”, or whatever the young ones are using these days has a strong likelihood of triggering a favorable response. The reason being is that you will be seen as one of them, and as every marketer is well aware of, people are more inclined to buy from the ones they like.

9. What is your tool of choice for social media management and post scheduling?

If your candidate claims they can manage all the workload manually, kudos to them! But in reality, social media management tasks can pile up pretty quickly, so asking these kinds of technical social media manager interview questions is necessary to establish whether they’re comfortable with using the latest technology to make things easier on them. At the very least, your candidate should be comfortable with learning how to use a new piece of software if it’s going to give them a clear advantage.

Kindly point them to this quick how-to guide if your organization is already subscribed to (or considering using) Ocoya! To see how easy it is to schedule your posts in advance with this tool, simply navigate to the main screen and locate the "Posts" section to the left.

Scheduling a new post with Ocoya - Step 1

In this section, you will be able to see all the previous posts you've created within the tool. To create a new one, press "Create New".

Create a new post with Ocoya

Enter the body of your post.

Body of a new post in Ocoya

Select what social media networks you want your post to be published to. It can be one or more.

Select the social network to post to in Ocoya

You can post it right away or schedule your social media post to go out later. In this case, we're going to schedule it for later.

Schedule a post in Ocoya

Pick the time and date of when to post (Ocoya also allows you to choose the exact hour).

Pick a time and date you want to schedule a post in Ocoy

Hit the big green button to the right and you're done. That's how simple it is to manage your social media channels with Ocoya!

Confirm your selecion and post with Ocoya

10. What is the funniest social media story you’ve experienced or the one with the most surprising outcome?

You want to conclude the interview on a lighter note, so asking these types of social media manager questions can be a good way to let your candidate know that working with you is not going to be nearly as stressful as doing open brain surgery every day. Leaving such a question for last also lets them unwind after having endured such “torture” for so long. So have at it and let them tell you a funny story!

If your candidate turns out to be the overly talkative type, don’t interrupt them and let them finish. Ironically, even if this doesn’t seem like the character trait employers would usually look for, overly talkative people often tend to be natural content creators. It’s like turning on a content creation machine that can't be shut down. That’s the exact profile you need!

Picking the right person to manage your social media channels is a decision that should not be rushed. Apart from their experience and technical knowledge, you should also consider how well they fit into your team and whether their personality and the way they express themselves falls in line with the voice of your brand. At the end of the day, you should give the job to the kind of person who “clicks” with your company or organization and shows signs of enthusiasm for having the opportunity to become a part of your team.

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