How to Find and Hire a Social Media Manager

May 17, 2018

If you’ve been DIY’ing your social media, but you’re ready to find and hire a social media manager – a GOOD social media manager – this is the episode for you.

Today, we’re covering seven red flags to look for when hiring someone to manage the socials for your business.

Here goes.

So, let’s dive in!

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I’ve kept quiet about my thoughts on this for a while now, but it’s time to call it.

There are a lot of sub-standard Social Media managers out there. Like, a LOT a lot.

And it’s time to speak up, because they’re giving decent social media people a bad name. I can pick them straight away.

They’re in Facebook groups waffling on and making very little sense as they haphazardly sprinkle words like ‘pixel’ and ‘analytics’ into their posts to make themselves seem knowledgeable.

They’re taking on 27 Social Media Management clients and promising the world when in all honestly? Managing 27 social media accounts and doing a great job with them all is DOWNRIGHT BLOODY IMPOSSIBLE (and frankly, gives me hives just thinking about).

They’re telling people all about their social media manager superpowers.. yet their Instagram account has been running for 18 months with 112 followers and they haven’t posted on Facebook in three months.

It’s crazy, and frankly it’s getting a little out of control.

What breaks my heart the MOST, though?


When you’re not working IN social media and you’re looking to hire a social media manager, it can be SO HARD to to work out who is the real deal and who is dressing up in their mum’s clothes and playing shop when 51 people are all professing their expertise.

Don’t get me wrong.

Like any profession, there are people at different stages and levels of expertise and their prices will generally reflect that, and that’s OK.

In fact, it’s great – having passionate people wanting to learn and grow is a sign of a healthy, growing industry.

What’s NOT great though are these people at the other end of the spectrum just downright giving social media managers a bad name.

So, who am I talking about?

I’m gonna make it easy for you.

DON’T hire a social media manager that does any of these things.


One thing that I really can’t stand (although it’s sometimes well intentioned) is a Social Media manager that says this:

“Isn’t it always the way? Your own socials are often neglected when you work in social media!”

NO! Just NO!

In my opinion, that’s not okay.

If you’re thinking of hiring a social media manager, for the love of all things good and holy please check out their own socials. If they’re unattended or a hot mess, that should be A GREAT BIG RED FLAG.

Social Media managers need to make the tending to of their own accounts a priority.

It’s their shopfront, for god sake.

It’s the best opportunity for them to show that they know what they’re doing, that they’re passionate and that, if a client was to work with them, they could expect a similar job to be done of THEIR accounts.

This is, in my opinion, the NUMBER ONE cardinal sin and it happens far too often. Sometimes it’s a result of overwork (a sign they already work with too many accounts), sometimes lack of passion (in which case, WHY would you want them touching your accounts), and sometimes just plain laziness (in which case, see point two).

In all three cases, it’s a REALLY bad look.. and a REALLY bad sign.



In my opinion, a good Social Media Manager can competently manage 5 accounts, plus their own. At a stretch, 7. If they’re at 10 or over, I’m going to guess that they are heading for a nervous breakdown and can put money on them not doing a stellar job on any of them.

Ask a potential Social Media Manager how many other accounts they are managing.

I recently saw a newbie Social Media Manager post in a Facebook group about wanting to take on 20 clients.

My mouth literally dropped.

I also felt very sorry for her potential new clients, because that poor girl wasn’t going to get very far with her well intentioned business plans.

Social Media Management is a TIME CONSUMING gig.

If the number of clients a Social Media Manager has taken on doesn’t reflect that, don’t hire them.


I get it. Budgets are tight, and for some small businesses it’s not realistic to be spending upwards of $250 a week to have your socials managed.

But with that said, I’d be very wary of hiring a social media expert offering full service management – daily posting, content creation/curation, community engagement and strategy – for peanuts.

You know what they say: pay peanuts, get monkeys.

Social Media Management is an incredibly labour intensive gig to do well.

I’d say at a stretch, you’d need AT LEAST 5 hours a week to really nail a week’s worth of social media content and management.

If your potential Social Media Manager is charging $50 for five hours work, that’s $10 an hour.

I don’t know ANYONE who would work for that, and so what’s probably happening is that they’re cramming five hours into one and that’s a recipe for crap-ass socials.

You. Get. What. You. Pay. For.

Keep that in mind when shopping to outsource your socials.


Someone bleating on about pixels and custom conversions and impressions and reach DOES NOT MAKE THEM A SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT.


I have quite literally read articles by Social Media ‘professionals’ that made such little sense that they honestly could have been written in Japanese.

And it kind of breaks my heart.

Great Social Media managers can explain social media in very clear, plain english.

If you don’t understand what a ‘social media expert’ is saying, it doesn’t make you dumb. What it MORE LIKELY means is that they don’t 100% know what they’re on about themselves.

Here’s the thing.

Social media isn’t rocket science.

The principles are simple (albeit admittedly, hard to execute well). Don’t hire a Social Media manager that can’t articulate their strategy or social media tactics in layman’s terms.

If you don’t understand what a social media manager is saying, it doesn’t make you dumb. What it MORE LIKELY means is that they don’t 100% know what they’re on about themselves.


In my experience, the people that boldly and assertively claim to be social media experts VERY RARELY ARE.

I can’t even tell you the number of BIG PR agencies, marketing agencies and so-called social media experts that profess to offer full service social media, yet have no clue what it actually takes to grow a large, engaged following of people that will one day do business with you.

Social Media is CONSTANTLY changing, and a good Social Media professional will tell you that they are always learning and testing.

ALWAYS ask a potential Social Media manager HOW they learn before you hire them.

They don’t need to have a PHD in social media – in fact, most courses which teach theory only aren’t going to get you very far.

What they do need to show, though, is that they are super passionate about reading articles, writing blog posts, testing new tactics and doing things that DEMONSTRATE their passion and willingness to learn in everything they do.

If you find one of THOSE people, sign with them on the dotted line YESTERDAY.

It shows they’re not in it (just) for the money, that they’re gonna show your socials love, that they’re go over and above, and that they’re NOT going to rest on their ‘expert’ laurels and continue to roll out tactics that worked a year ago but which are old and yesterday’s news because they haven’t kept up to date.


We’ve all heard it before – it’s not all about the followers.


I mean, that’s their JOB, right?

Social media numbers aren’t everything, but let me just come right out and say it – it’s ultimately what people want.

And when you keep in mind that the GOAL of social media is to have people buy from you, the MORE of the RIGHT social media followers you have, the more potential clients and customers you have.

There’s a reason that people hire a social media manager. It’s because GROWING YOUR FOLLOWING IS HARD.

So, it makes sense that good one will show you that they know their stuff BY HAVING SUCCESSFULLY GROWN THEIR OWN ACCOUNT.

There are two BIG caveats to this.

Number one, some people are newer to the industry. They’ve just started and they’re in the growth phase. That’s okay. If they’re passionate and they’re ticking the boxes above, cut them some slack.

Number two, HUGE followings can be deceiving. I know of accounts that have grown with really shady tactics and they’re full of bots, unengaged followers, and followers that will NEVER do business with them.

What’s the use of a whole heap of spammy American Instagram followers if you’re a Brisbane social media person working with Brisbane companies? It’s not a good look, and I can honestly pick it a mile away.

Look for accounts with decent followings of passionate, engaged people that clearly want to do business with them.

You’d never work with a landscaper with a messy garden. Or a hairdresser with crap hair.

Why oh why would you hire a Social Media manager with 96 followers despite having been in business for two years?


Beware of generalist digital marketers.

Social Media is a field which requires specialist knowledge. There are SO many intricacies which require specialised knowledge, and the truth is? It’s a full time job keeping up.

Hats off to generalist digital marketers – they have their work cut out for them keeping across everything.

But the truth is, they will NEVER do as good a job as a specialist Social Media Person because they aren’t living and breathing it every single day.

Okay guys, that’s my rant over.

If you’ve gotten to the end and it’s helped you, I’m glad.

If you’re a Social Media professional and you’re wondering if I’m calling you out, I want to end with a MASSIVE disclaimer for the newer legends wrongly thinking that this post is targeted at them.

Bottom line is? If you’re genuine and you care and you’re transparent and passionate about the industry, I’m NOT talking about you.

I’m just over the people – like with any unregulated industry, really – that are giving the genuine ones a poor name. For those people, I hope this post helps you to start working on the things that will set you on the right track.

In the meantime though? Don’t try to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Because it’s working, and that makes me sad.

Keep Listening!

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