Hiring a Social Media Manager: 21 Questions to Ask

The Social Media Manager is becoming the go-to person for businesses who require assistance with their online marketing efforts. It’s no secret the impact social marketing can have on a business and the advantages its brings. And it’s also no secret that most business owners cannot handle their social marketing all on their own.

A Social Media Manager does a whole lot more than just posting status updates on profiles. Social media management encompasses figuring out the who, the what, the when and why. Who does your business want to reach? What is needed to reach them? Where are they most active? Why should we use social media as part of our marketing efforts? Many businesses are finding that outsourcing or hiring someone to manage their campaigns is becoming an important part of using social media for marketing. An outside individual can usually see the bigger picture more clearly.

Social media management is a position that has attracted a huge amount of attention and membership in recent years. I see the main reasons for its popularity as:

– Low entry barriers

– A high demand for the services

– Big rewards

But is it really for everyone? Honestly, there are now a lot of social media managers. Some very, very good. Some really, really bad. So how do you filter out the bad ones and find the good ones? Well, the good social media managers will know their stuff and they understand what it takes to be successful.

Here are 21 questions you can ask your potential social media manager and what the better answers should look like…

1. How do you define success?

The amount of followers isn’t the only sign of success in social marketing. A social media manager should be able to help you define success on a strategic and tactical level, in order to support your larger marketing goals. If a social media manager has a limited view of success, or is unable to explain performance measurement beyond the volume of audiences, they won’t be able to provide you with higher level strategic solutions.

2. What sort of results can we expect?

A good social media manager will manage your expectations and let you know what results you could achieve. Remember that social media managers are not psychics. They should act on your behalf using the best practices of the industry, but there is a lot that is out of their control. They should be able to give you a rough idea of what they bring to the table based on their previous results and experiences. If a social media manager cannot communicate this effectively to you, then they probably don’t have the level of experience you need.

3. How is ROI defined in social marketing?

Contrary to popular thinking, ROI can always be measured in social marketing. But it can be perceptual. What are your goals? Were they achieved? If so, then you had a positive ROI. Did your campaigns help your business in any way or have any positive effects? If they did, then you were successful. Social marketing ROI is not always tied to tangible business benefits. Ask the social media manager which factors can be measured and how they will be reported to demonstrate the value they bring to your business.

4. What social platforms do you specialise in? Why would these particular platforms be right for our business?

Different social networks have different audiences and practices. Not every network is right for every business or industry. For example, how could a pharmaceutical company possibly engage in drug marketing on Twitter? The reality is that most businesses can take advantage of the networks out there in some way, but if there are limitations, you want your social media manager to be aware of them.

5. Should we be on every social platform?

A social media manager who has done their research on your business should know your target audience. How this is answered is the key because it provides you with an instant understanding of their perceptions of your business. If a social media manager extends your business visibility to many networks, then your marketing efforts may spread too thin and mean some of the campaigns might suffer. They should pick where your target audience is already situated and focus on maximising performance on those platforms.

6. Would Google+ be worth using for our business?

This should highlight the extent of your potential social media managers Google+ knowledge. Google indexes Google+ content faster than content posted anywhere else. It’s a platform that has grown rapidly since its launch in 2011 and is now one of the main social platforms. A social media manager should know this and should understand whether your target audience is present there, thus viable for your business, and how Google+ can be leveraged to fulfill your wider marketing objectives.

7. Could you give us an example of a limitation on a social platform that you have experienced? How did you overcome this?

A social media manager should know that social networks come with limitations; API calls, bandwidth limitations, character limits etc… If a social manager has never run into limitations and hasn’t experienced how to overcome them, then this likely means that they are not very experienced. In fact, they will probably be completely new to the social landscape. Asking how they overcome any hurdles with their past or current clients will give you a good indication of how they respond to adversity.

8. Can we run a “Like and Share to Win” style contest on our Facebook page?

If a social media manager does not know the answer to this, then move on. Its imperative you find someone who knows the rules and guidelines of each and every social platform and who will not have your business in violation of any Terms of Service. As a heads up, on Facebook you have to use a third-party app to host the contest and cannot use the ‘Share’ button, ‘Like’ button or require a comment in order to be entered to win.

9. Have you ever had to handle a social marketing crisis? If so, could you provide an example?

Asking a social media manager to define what that ‘crisis’ means to them can highlight their level of experience. If their biggest crisis consists of miss-typing a URL on a Pinterest pin and not noticing until their client asks why there’s so many messages about broken links, then chances are they are vastly inexperienced. It’s also insightful to ask what steps they took to resolve the crisis and how the situation was handled.

10. Could you show us some of the clients or projects you are currently working with?

Any reputable social media manager will show you their client accounts. And be proud to do so. Some profiles will probably be doing better than others depending on each campaigns goals and strategies. If they dodge the question or cannot show you anything, then it should rightfully lead you to think they are hiding something. Social media managers who take pride in doing quality work should want to show you their portfolio. Imagine turning up to a sales pitch without a product sample. Clients would never even think about placing an order unless they can see what they are buying.

11. How would you allocate our social marketing advertising budget?

A social media manager should be able to describe a plan for how best to allocate your advertising budget and how they would know if it’s successful. Specific metrics and KPIs should be given, analysed and reported. The choice of advertising platform will also allow you to gauge their perception of where they think your business should be promoted, in what format and to what audiences.

12. What will our responsibilities be as a client?

A social media manager doesn’t operate in a vacuum. They will need to be in the loop with your other marketing activities. You’ll also need to provide any necessary resources and wider marketing information or materials. A social media manager should have clear guidelines for their role, and yours as a client. This should typically be communicated to you prior to establishing a working relationship.

13. What are our competitors doing in social marketing?

Any social media manager who values your work opportunity will do initial research before sitting down with you. If they doesn’t know what your competitors are doing, it should raise alarm bells. A social media manager should be able to give you insight into the way your competitors are using the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube right from the offset. This can always be researched fully later, but will give you an idea into their proactiveness and organisation.

14. How do you evaluate new social platforms? How do you stay on top of the latest updates and innovations in Social Marketing?

The social landscape is always changing. Even the most experienced social media managers need to refine their skills, update their strategies and practice new techniques. A social media manager should have experience with building engagement and showing results across multiple platforms and with several different tools. There are some platforms considered to be the juggernauts right now, but remember the days of AOL, MySpace and eBay? Would you hire a social media manager who pitched engaging your I.T customers on MySpace? I doubt it. The point is that the social landscape is dynamic and a social media manager should be constantly evaluating new platforms and making recommendations to you on whether they are suitable for you to explore.

15. Do you offer community management in your Social Marketing services?

Social engagement doesn’t end when you publish your Facebook page. In fact, creating profiles is often the ‘easiest’ part of the process. The execution of the community management strategies that follows is the more difficult (and more expensive) element. It is important to know how your social media manager approaches community management and what strategies and tactics they will use to interact with your audiences. If you don’t know this, then you will have no clue on how they will manage your brand online. You should have guidance and offer feedback into how your business is positioned and wants to be perceived online.

16. Do you have your own blog? Do you currently write content for various Social platforms?

Social media managers should practice what they preach. You can ask to see their blog in action and see if they are posting regularly. Being a social media manager is about so much more than updating Facebook and Twitter. Content should be balanced, otherwise your social streams will either be giant advertisements or lists of interesting articles that they came across. A good social media manager will be able to write effectively, allowing you to have a constant stream of interesting and engaging articles. They will also be SEO savvy and content will be optimised to have the right keywords in the right place, ultimately linking back to your business. You can ask to see what articles they have already written so you can determine whether or not their style of writing would fit your business.

17. What blogs or social sites do you regularly read?

Social marketing is always evolving and effectively marketing on social platforms can be a bit like trying to hit a moving target. Google+, for example, had become a commonly used tool for 40% of marketers within only a year of launch. That is a huge gain in such a small space of time. This is just how social marketing works. New blogs and social sites come and go within the blink of an eye. A good social media manager should stay on top of these changes, which means a lot of reading. They should be able to list multiple reputable social sites and explain why it is they follow them.

18. What is your understanding of Edgerank?

Social media managers that know their trade will be able to explain about Edgerank to you. Edgerank is basically what runs Facebook posts. Without knowledge of this, they will have little insights into how to properly optimise Facebook campaigns. Edgerank determines who sees what, when they see it and how often it’s seen. It also provides a good picture into their technical knowledge and understanding of social marketing.

19. What do you think is the most important thing a Social Media Manager should be doing?

A solid answer you should look for would be something along the lines of ‘monitoring’ and/or ‘listening’ to your audiences within your social domains. It’s quite an ambiguous question, but the answers will provide insight into their general thinking about managing your social campaigns. The key word many fail to incorporate is social. If answers are not somewhat geared towards a social dynamic, then they have missed the point completely.

20. Could you tell us a story?

These type of answers are commonly used in interview processes to see how someone reacts to a random question. In this instance, it’s actually a well-thought out question for two reasons. Firstly, if a social media manager has the ability to tell a compelling story, that will give you a huge advantage in all levels of your social marketing activities. Secondly, it puts them under pressure and you are able to gauge how they handle something unexpected.

21. Why should we hire you?

I honestly don’t like this question but I think it is fair to ask a social media manager this directly before hiring in order to see how they can sell themselves. This could have strong implications if your campaigns are tuned towards sales and lead generation. A social media manager should demonstrate how valuable they can be to you and what makes them different or valuable in your situation.

There are definitely more questions that could be asked. Some will no doubt be specific to your business or industry. Hopefully, asking questions like these will help you determine the right social media manager for your business.

What questions would you add to this list?

One final thought though… I don’t think this is a position that should be taken lightly, or seen as an entry-level position. A social media manager will speak the lifeblood of your business to an indefinite amount of customers. The skills needed to fulfill the diverse tasks of varying social marketing campaigns means both expertise and experience is crucial. Would you trust an unproven CEO to run your business in a new direction? Would you trust an unskilled social media manager to guide your brand online?

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Quality Management Framework for Educational Institutions

Introduction

Management is the ability to create, organize and utilize resources, economically, efficiently & effectively. Management is essential aspect of human life, both personal as well as collective. Personal management shapes effective individuals, while collective management is required for well-performing institutions. Management is either good or poor. Poor management plays a decisive role in institutional failure or ineffectiveness. Educational institutions provide knowledge, build character and enhance wisdom level of students. They prepare students for practical life. An inefficient-ineffective educational institution will produce harmful individuals for society. There are multiple reasons of inefficiency or ineffectiveness of an educational institution such as mediocrity of teachers, irrelevancy of syllabus, ineffective headship and poor management system. However, poor management is decisive drawback of non-performing educational institutions. Poor management means – traditional management techniques by educational entrepreneurs, imitative leadership approach by academicians, micro management style by head teacher/principal, investor mindset by owners, and dictatorial approach of classroom management by teachers.

There are three major areas of Quality Learning Process – Key Activities Area, Performance Area, and Relations Area. Firstly, the key activities revolve around knowledge absorption / knowledge dissemination. Generally, the key activities include learning goals, course planning, learning schedule, teaching methods, and classroom management. Secondly, the performance area concentrates on learning outcomes. It studies learning performance of students, teaching performance of subject teachers, and managing performance of class teacher/principal. Thirdly, the relations analysis addresses multiple relations among students, teachers, parents, and educational managers. Dominantly, it deals with effective management of all learning events. The ultimate target of relation analysis is to realize synergistic outcomes from learning process.

Quality Management Vs Micro Management

Governance is inevitable aspect of collective life. It may adopt two courses – good & bad. Good governance is based on Quality Management while bad governance is outcome of Micro Management. Primarily, Quality Management is a system that pursues relentlessly excellence towards improvement of services offered, while Micro Management adopts cosmetic approach towards improvement. Quality management differs with micro management on countless dimensions however the prominent differences are:

Quality management is modern management, while micro management is traditional management. Traditional management is very hierarchical, organized, and disciplined. It is the military style of management, so that it only works in the military or in a micro set up. On the other hand, quality management is democratic management; it is against dominating tactics of individuals. A quality manager derives its powers from the principles she/he follows while the micro manager derives its power from the position she/he enjoys.

Quality Management utilizes talent of people at all levels (learning, teaching and management) optimally, while Micro Management concentrates on talents of leader only, it is forgetful towards talents of everyone or collective talent based on healthy competition or cooperation. At institutional level, an achievement or failure is dominantly team phenomenon. The phenomenon of individualism means massive flattery of leaders / seniors. In nutshell, quality management means meritorious interaction, while micro management means massive institutional politics.

Quality Management is based on humanistic philosophy. It begins with the belief that all people can be trained for the betterment of system. People want to do a good job and expect respect. The philosophy behind the approach values the self-esteem of those who teach and learn. It is Micro Management that deals with teachers/students, wrongly. The situation nurtures apathetic mindset among students/teachers. On the other hand, quality management develops empathetic mindset among students/teachers.

Quality Management postulates that the system of an institution is vital for staff performance. At the time of crises, the quality framework advises a system approach, it is the system that overwhelmingly is the main source of problem. The quality framework gives special attention to the processes that produce substandard services. It is a comprehensive and cooperative management so that it is against managing each component as though it were separate from the others and warns steps that pit the person against the system and against other persons. In micro-management processes are ignored and persons get undue importance. A micro-leader adopts generally the policy of ‘divide & rule’, so that workers are derisive towards each other.

Quality Management believes in personal responsibility, but goes beyond that concept to consider the especial responsibilities of those who manage for optimum system performance. A proactive concern for how people respond to managerial actions is crucial to the success of quality management, which is why the theory emphasis the need for managers to understand elementary principles of psychology, statistics and decision analysis to analyze the ground realities during some decision-making/interactive process. In micro management, there is gulf between thoughts, words & deeds of leader. A micro-manager manipulates persons/situations for optimum performance, so that performance is unstable and volatile. A consistent performance of students/teachers is inevitable requirement of educational institutions, so that micro-management means failure.

Law of Causation is universal phenomenon of life. The law categorically states that an outcome is inevitably based on some antecedent, that is, there is mean-end duality. Means are antecedents; they are necessary precondition for ends. An end can be materialized through right or wrong mean. Human life repeatedly faces the dilemma of right mean vs. wrong mean. Sometime, an end become unachievable, seemingly or really, through right means consequently means are generally comprised by effort-makers. For example, profit is an essential end for institutional viability; it can be achieved through wrong means such as rent-seeking, kick-backs, manipulation of teachers and manipulation of students. Quality management proposes wise mean-end framework for goal materialization. In micro-management means are not decisive during goals realization process so that means are compromised now and then. Micro Management is derisive towards law of causation so that it breeds mistrust among stakeholders and fails ultimately.

It is generally said, justice delayed is justice denied / justice hurried is justice buried. At institutional level procrastination or haste are two great menaces that disturb institutional performance, now and again. Micro Management is unable to tackle these issues due to non-system thinking. The solution lies in systematic thinking towards time efficiency / information efficiency, these factors are vital tools of quality management against haste or procrastination.

The end-user of a service is always decisive for the survival of institution. Parents are decisive for the continual existence of educational institution. Quality Management gives due importance to the requirements of all parents especially responsible parents. On the other hand, Micro Management gives importance only to reactive and affluent parents. The situation is not tenable, so that institution fails eventually.

Elements of Quality Framework

An institution is contractual arrangement of interdependent individuals to realize some goals and objectives; it works under the direction of some leader. Institutions are multiple, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and multilateral, both operationally and structurally. The orientation of an institution determines its course of action. For example, a specific group of some individuals assimilated to provide knowledge and to shape behavior-pattern of children give shape to schools, school is a social institution. Similarly, we can observe countless social, economic, and political institutions working in a modern society. A well-performing institution needs some success factors/performance indicators. An effective educational institution generally practices ten elements for quality management. Each variable has a functional significance that cannot be ignored. The elements are:

MISSION, VALUES, VISION, STRATEGY, SKILLS, RESOURCES, ORGANIZATION, EVALUATION, REWARD STRUCTURE AND ADJUSTMENTS

The efficacy of each element is tested on three grounds – foundational, structural, and operational. The first three elements – mission, values, and vision – have foundational significance. The next four elements – strategy, skills, resources, and organization – erect stable institutional structure. The last three elements – evaluation, rewards, and adjustment – have operational significance. The foundational, structural and operational aspects jointly shape a well-performing educational institution.

Elements of Quality Leadership

Leadership is essential pillar of well-performing institution. Leader is either effective or ineffective. An effective leader realizes institutional targets, optimally. Generally, an effective leader

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