How We Found the Perfect Inbound Social Media Manager

Nicole Mertes
Posted by Nicole Mertes on June 10, 2016


Anybody who's executed social media activity for their company knows how difficult a job it is. Social media management incorporates a variety of critical skillsets: effective writing, customer service, salesmanship, networking, creativity, and consistent organization. It's not easy, and it's one of the few roles in marketing/sales that relies exclusively on broad, T-shaped hires; anybody too specialized is usually inadequate for a social management role.

In inbound marketing, social media is an important channel for attracting visitors and then following up to nurture leads through your marketing funnel. And when dealing with B2B organizations, as we do, social media management requires even more specificity: crafting ways to connect directly with users that fit your target personas and the sectors you serve.

So, as Weidert Group approached hiring a fully-fledged social media manager this year, we knew finding a person with the right skills, mindset, and set of experiences would be no easy task.

What's in a Social Media Manager Job Description?

To start with, we needed somebody who was already passionate about social media for business. We knew that social media changes quickly, so whoever we hired needed to be personally committed to becoming entrenched in the world of social networking technology. We needed someone that would geek-out over the latest and greatest in social media—continuously researching, testing, and analyzing to take our approach to the next level.

We also wanted to make sure that our job description matched the kind of person we were looking for. These days, the problem with the title "Social Media Manager" is that too many companies hire an entry-level person with little experience, expecting them to invent social media along the way. To us, social isn't for the new and naïve; a social media manager in inbound marketing needs to be a true thought leader that deeply understands the prospects he/she will be messaging. Here were our top 3 qualifications for an inbound social media manager.

1. A Content Creator

To be a thought leader in social media, a candidate needs to have experience producing content themselves and a social following to show that the content was effective. Experience writing blogs, creating videos, or producing content campaigns is essential. 

It's easy to value project management skills heavier than content creation, but remember: tweets, linkedin updates, Facebook statuses—they're miniature forms of writing, and to make short content clever, you need a natural writer.

We found that we started to realize the importance of content creation about mid-way through receiving applications. Many candidates had project management or sales skills; but the best candidates were those who could write in a highly effective, voice-conscious way.

2. An Analytical Mindset

We learned from past social media experience that vanity metrics such as, "number of likes" or "shares" should never be the way social media managers evaluate their work. One piece of our application process that worked extremely well was having all candidates analyze social media results.

Those that began by identifying the overarching goals of the situation and picked out which metrics could be used as KPIs performed best, according to our assessment. We want our social media managers to think of their work in the context of a holistic inbound marketing plan and business development strategy. An analytical mindset is critically important when it's tied to a larger goal. 

3. Precise Sense of Voice

Suprisingly, the vast majority of our applicants that were sent a writing assignment as a next step never took the time to send back the requested sample blog post or sample social media posts. This could have been indicative of candidates that simply weren't passionate about the job, or it may have been that they simply weren't excited about the idea of writing. It's good to weed out both. A social media manager that doesn't like to write is like a truck driver that doesn't like to drive.

Not only does a Social Media Manager need to be proficient in writing, they need to understand the audience they are writing to and excel at representing the "voice" of these target personas.  Tone, length, purpose and need for detail and persuasion vary for each company and target persona. You can't just hire your nephew and expect him to understand your industry. Ideally, a social media manager has done work in sales, customer service, or some other client-facing role. In order for your social media manager to have a precise sense of voice, it can no longer be considered an entry-level role; there's too much at stake.

How Did We Find Our Social Media Manager?

Since we're an inbound marketing agency, we knew we needed our inbound social media manager to be more than good; he needed to excel. Where could we find an analytically-minded content creator with a strong sense of voice and the project management skills to make things happen? After looking far and wide, we realized the best person was in-house the whole time.

For the past three years, Alex Sobal, a content specialist in our creative team has been an avid social media user and through our marketing blog efforts, has grown an individual following to rival many of our longtime leaders. His work for clients, writing and crafting content in a variety of voices is evidence of just how adaptable his writing voice can be. He's also highly analytical—continuously looking for ways we can improve and marketing experiments he can implement.

He's the kind of broad liberal arts graduate that Weidert Group loves to hire. And, clearly, he was the best fit to become our social media manager and thought leader.

Lessons Learned?

We were lucky enough to find a great fit within our organization (congratulations, Alex). And, already we'd recommend an internal search for many of our clients considering adding a social media specialist to their team.

These days, social media is too much of your marketing presence to leave up to somebody new to your business. If you're on a journey to finding the right Social Media Manager at your organization, hopefully some of our discoveries in the hiring process will prove to be helpful to you.  

If you're in need of some help building the job description, check out this recent job description template from HubSpot. And learn more about how we build inbound marketing plans around people, in this hiring guide:

Assemble the right people to achieve inbound success

Topics: Social Media

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