Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and now Snapchat. All places where your prospects are spending 3+ hours a day. That’s three hours a day that you have an opportunity to reach and influence them to buy from you.

But wow. Keeping up with social media can be a challenge. So many social media channels… so many things to understand about each one… so many changes to keep up with…

You didn’t build your business so you could spend hours and hours on social media every day. You built your business to do… whatever it is you do!

So instead of doing it yourself, consider hiring a social media manager. To help you find just the right person, here are five qualities to look for:

She captures the voice of your business.

The last thing you want is representation that doesn’t represent you. A good social media manager is able to understand your business’s goals, personality, and culture. She should be able to be professional for the attorney or doctor and also know how to have fun as the yoga studio or roller rink.

It’s called social media because it’s supposed to be social. But that means something different to every business. Before outsourcing your voice, ask to review some of the other accounts she is managing. Do they all sound alike? Do they represent the different businesses in their own personal way?

Another good indicator of whether or not she can do this effectively is the number of questions she asks, or the research she has done on your business. If she is making an effort to get to you know you, to get to know what you’re trying to accomplish via social media, then she may be a good fit.

She understands the different social media channels and how to use them as part of an overall marketing strategy.

Every social media channel has its own nuance – that thing that makes it different from the other channels and why it’s popular for certain users. It may be the platform. (Instagram and Pinterest for images. Twitter for breaking news and following live events.) It may be the audience. (Facebook for gen Xers and baby boomers. Snapchat for Millennials.)

Knowing how to leverage the different channels, knowing which ones are right for your business and knowing about new ones that come up is something she makes a priority.

If she’s really good, she’s asking about other advertising and digital media (SEO & PPC) that you are doing. She uses your presence on social media to enhance and complement your other marketing efforts.

She doesn’t just post. She engages others.

This is the biggest difference maker when it comes to social media. While she posts quality content on your social media channels, she also takes the time to engage others. That means that she is part of the conversations that happen on others’ Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Snapchat stories.

She’s liking, commenting and sharing others people’s content, and that creates big wins on social media. The more notification badges people earn, the more the pleasure centers in their brain are activated. When it is your business responsible for those notifications, be they a simple like, share or a friendly comment, the more your business and your brand is going to be considered something positive.

Fellow social media managers and business owners are more likely to share and promote your content, increasing your circles of influence on the social media channels.

She communicates with you…

…regularly. Your business is constantly growing and changing. You’ve got new products and services and projects you’re working on. New seasons bring new challenges and opportunities. She makes sure that these things are reflected in your social media because she’s in contact with you at least monthly, but probably much more than that. You know that an email to your social media manager will be read and handled within 24 hours.

She also communicates with your staff and your other media providers – everyone from the rep handling your radio ads to the folks who are handling your search engine optimization. *

* Social media enhances SEO efforts. It’s vital that she is in communication with your SEO provider.

She helps you achieve your ultimate goal: more customers.

She understands that you aren’t paying her to post content to your Facebook page just so you can have a presence there. She knows that you’re investing in her skills with the goal of acquiring more customers.

She builds relationships online and promotes your brand with that goal in mind. You will never hear her say, “I posted something every day. My work here is done.”

She works with you to ensure that she is posting the right content on the right channels and that she is reaching the right prospects.

She proves the value of her efforts through metrics.

Too bad for marketers that we don’t live in a world where customers call businesses and day things like, “I just wanted to let you know that I’m hiring you today because I’ve been following you on Facebook for three months. So when my toilet broke, I immediately thought of you.” Wouldn’t that be nice?

Proving the value of social media’s direct impact on sales can be very challenging. However, there are metrics that can show anecdotal evidence that she is doing the right things to get your business noticed.

While you can easily measure how many people like or follow your business, every channel has its own way of measuring that all-important engagement – probably the best indicator of social media’s impact on sales.

She provides reporting that not only shows what she did for your business but also how it was received by users. Monthly reports or even an online dashboard that measures customer engagement is a must when outsourcing social media management.

Bonus: What you don’t want: Someone who is “young”.

To be fair, a young person could certainly possess the skills to effectively handle your social media. What I’m saying is that being young doesn’t automatically qualify someone to handle your social media. If you’ve ever uttered a statement like, “My niece handles that for us. She’s right out of college and knows all about social media.” then I’m talking to you.

Look at it like this. Would you put someone who watches a lot of television in charge of your TV advertising campaign? Of course not. Watching TV doesn’t mean you understand the nuances of television advertising or how to reach the right audience.

Having hundreds of friends on Snapchat or thousands of Instagram followers doesn’t automatically qualify someone to handle your presence on those channels either.

Certainly, they may be familiar with how the many social media channels work – perhaps a million times more familiar than you. But unless they also embody the other qualities I’ve listed here, their “youth” doesn’t qualify them to handle the voice of your business in a place where your prospects are spending over three hours of their time each day.

When you’re ready to hire a social media manager, make sure she (or he):

  • Captures the voice of your business
  • Understands the many social media channels
  • Focuses on your overall marketing strategy
  • Engages others
  • Communicates well (and often)
  • Helps you grow your business
  • Provides documentation of performance

Your friends at Be Awesome DIGITAL