What Social Media platform or platforms do they recommend and ask them how they came to that decision.

Ask them to tell you about your company with several descriptive words to test their knowledge in knowing your company voice and your company brand.

How often are they monitoring your company for the two most important social media metrics?  

  • No matter what social media platform they plan to use they all offer measurable chatter about your brand. Does this person/company you are about to hire know how to write great content?  What is their background in writing it?  Have they been published?  Have they won awards? Great content is the driving force behind social media being successful.  What is their knowledge base and where do they find great topics to write about?
  • How do they run social media campaigns that turn into lead generations? Do they run Facebook ads?  Do they create landing pages that capture attention? Ask for examples of how they structure organic (non-paid-for) leads.  Great content can and does go viral where your fans are spreading the word and excitement flourishes.

How long have they been in business working in a social marketing environment?  Do they understand the importance of good customer service?

Ask your candidate to define the difference between the two.

One calls for conversation, the other for handling a situation should one occur. These are two different ways of communicating. There is a big difference between someone who is just starting to build trust in your company and someone who needs to be sent up the food chain quickly to resolve an issue.

Ask them to tell you in their own words the #1 thing a social media consultant/manager should be doing?

Watching and listening to each platform they have been given the responsibility to monitor. Engaging on a regular basis with fans and followers shows that your company cares.

Have they ever had to handle a social media/online PR fail?

Ask them to give you a story and what they did to fix things and in what order.

Keep in mind that you, as the company, need to have a plan for just such a time that there is a #PRfail because there is always an unhappy person lurking and one day they will pounce.

How are they planning to apply your budget for social media advertising?  Ask them to explain this to you.

What is their plan for advertising, how, when and how do they track the success of an ad campaign? You need to have an ad budget in mind because advertising is what works on social media. Do they advertise on other social media platforms or concentrate only on the biggest, that being Facebook?

How do they show you what your ROI is and how often?

Do they have a reporting program that you can understand easily?  Do they email you a report?  Do they meet with you in person if possible?

Social media analytics programs can be tough to understand, do they break it all down for you?

Do they have a blog and do they currently write content for social media channels?

Ask to see their blog in action and make a note to see if they’re posting regularly.

Ask if they have published any other material on the web.  It’s crucial that they have a working understanding of how content drives everything in digital marketing – SEO, content, and social media.

Ask them what marketing strategies they plan to use to generate leads.

This possibly sounds redundant but many times asking the same question in different ways differentiates the weak from the strong in social media marketing.

Ask them what they recommend starting with first, what is their #1 idea?

There are companies in social media that will promise you numbers.  More fans, more likes, more connections and many times they use methods that are not on the up and up. If/when this happens ask them how they plan to do it.  Be aware there are good ethical ways, and there are ways that are not what you would want for the reputation of your company.

Keep in mind big numbers of fans/followers/etc do not guarantee big results.  Never underestimate the power of small numbers.

In hiring a social media coach/consultant/company the one thing they should do better than anyone else is to be able to paint a picture in your mind’s eye or the mind’s eye of your customers.  Ask them to paint one for you verbally.

I think this is a great way to assess the ability of anyone you are about to hire. When I am asked to speak in public I always start with these words; “Let me tell you a story.”  When I trained in public speaking it was all about the story or several interwoven stories.  This is how we identify and connect.

Do you know what the one thing you should never ask is?

Do not ask them to share their client list with you.  In many cases to do this would violate a non-disclosure agreement. Many times companies do not want it to be public knowledge that they have outsourced their social media.  Asking for business references is fine, but asking for privileged private information is not.