Recently an entrepreneur friend of mine called me long distance to pick my brain about what questions should he be asking candidates applying for Social Media Consultant’s position. I am sure many of you have similar concerns regarding hiring a company for your social media and SEO needs.
This blogpost is meant as a guide for HR and business owners/managers to help them hire social media contractors that will deliver real results and not just rack up billable hours. Even before the interview you must conduct detailed background research and check the company/consultant’s profiles on popular social media platforms. Your first order of business should be to “Google” the company and ascertain their influence and search real-estate-ownership. Decent social and search visibility means that the candidate should be prominently featured on at least 3 pages worth of Google results. The candidate’s personal/company social graph is perhaps the best barometer for gauging success and skills. Once you have short-listed the candidates next comes the interview. Here are some relevant questions:
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Social Media Marketing Company:
- Are you certified in social media? How long was the training and who was the trainer?
Research the credentials of the trainer and the program. A real trainer would have conspicuous social media presence
- What are the keywords or search-terms with which you have optimized your social media profiles?
Take each keyword/phrase and check if the company’s social media pages and website show up on the first page of Google for those terms
- How do you measure social media success?
A winning answer would include information on taking base metrics and setting up relevant KPI
- What kind of reporting will you provide?
Social media reporting should include measuring buzz, engagement, sentiment, growth, referral-traffic to your website, influencers, etc.
- What tools do you use for social media management?
The tools should be a mix of robust syndicated ones, well-reviewed free tools and some home-grown tools
- What is the importance of SEO? How do you leverage search marketing?
Your social media contractor should be able to explain the quantifiable search engine optimization related benefits of social media
- Does your team include an SEO specialist? Is he/she certified?
Check their credentials and the company’s search engine standing for keywords
- What will you require from us before initiating a social media program for our company?
The candidate should ask for brand and corporate policy guidelines, your business goals, target audience segmentation and profiles
- What are some marketing goals that social media can help us achieve? What are some typical KPI for social media?
Make sure the KPI are measurable and relevant to your business otherwise consider finding a different candidate who will provide you with those
- How many people will be on the team? Breakdown of strategic and executional members?
Based on your business you should be assigned appropriate resources
- What is the technical proficiency of your team in terms of design and programming?
- Describe your top 3 social media success stories (case-studies)?
- Where will we fit in your portfolio in terms of size?
If you will be the smallest client then you might consider another company. If you will be their largest then you must ask for how they will manage your business and their scalability potential
- Why should I hire you and not the other?
- What are your 2 weaknesses? How do you plan to overcome?
- How do you deal with a crisis situation?
The candidate should have a clear, practical and workable plan for managing crisis
Social media marketing is a critical tool for all businesses. It provides huge payoffs that are both tangible and qualitative. If done right social media engagement can forge brand affinity with your customers that is somewhat resistant to external factors (like the economy and competition). What’s more, the kind of ROI you eventually get from social media marketing is worth all the effort you put into it.