A social media manager is a person within a business who is directly responsible for managing its social media presence. They will work on strategies for different platforms, create content that is suitable for the various audiences of those platforms, and work to improve brand awareness and attract new customers.
The social media manager needs to know how best to approach working on different social media platforms, and the kind of content that works best on each. They will need to have a good working knowledge of the paid ads space on each platform, and know the best way to market the goods or services of the business so that the advertising reaches the right people at the right time.
The social media manager will create and curate content like blog posts, articles, interviews, videos, photos, and graphics to suit the different platforms.
Social media managers are often responsible for monitoring the various pages of the business, replying to comments and getting feedback from current customers and potential customers. They might also run social media groups relating to the business.
For the company that is hiring a social media manager, finding the right candidate means choosing an applicant that has in-depth knowledge of the differences between the platforms, and is able to create a logical and effective social media marketing strategy with clear goals and measurable KPIs.
In this article, we will discuss the general duties of a social media manager, and the particular skills and abilities that recruitment teams should look for in a candidate. We will also discuss the different pre-employment screening tests that the recruiters should consider to ensure that the applicants have the required level of skills and abilities to be successful in the role in the future.
What should a social media manager be able to do?
The daily tasks of a social media manager depend on the type of business they are working for, but the duties are broadly the same.
A social media manager keeps abreast of the developments in technology and innovation surrounding social media, and knows how changes to things like algorithms and AI will affect the reach of a business on the different platforms.
The social media manager will identify, develop, and evaluate the social media marketing strategy employed by the business, bearing in mind things like market characteristics, costs and the objectives of the company. This strategy needs to have long-term goals and easy-to-measure ROI for the best results.
The social media strategy should be based on market and competitor research, with analysis that demonstrates whether things like paid ads are performing well.
In most cases, the social media manager will create content for different platforms, making the most of the different ways of reaching an audience. This includes pithy messages on Twitter, beautiful imagery on Instagram, and more conversational content on Facebook, for example. The social media manager might use different content for each platform, or curate existing content to suit the platform.
During the course of a day, the social media manager might need to respond to comments and feedback left on the company page, or manage the posts in a company group. They should monitor the page for anything that might be problematic, bearing in mind the brand image and company ethos.
Skills to look for in a social media manager
Successful social media managers need to have a number of different skills, both in terms of technology and in general.
They tend to be able to do quite a lot of different tasks in relation to managing the social media presence of a business, so some of the skills that you should look for in a prospective social media manager include:
Platform Knowledge: specialist knowledge in Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even Tik Tok is essential, especially when different platforms are designed for different types of content, and attract different types of potential customers.
Judgment and Decision Making: the best social media managers are able to think critically about data from analytics and use their knowledge and judgment skills to make good decisions, from the initial strategy to choosing the right content to share.
Operations and Systems Analysis: as part of their role, the social media manager must be able to perform analyses on current operations and current systems. This analysis will help inform the data the social media manager will use to create a suitable strategy, which will grow and develop through more analysis.
Persuasion and Negotiation: the role of a social media manager is as much about marketing as it is about managing social media, so being able to persuade a member of the public to become a customer should be a skill that the recruitment team is looking out for.
Instructing and Management of Personnel Resources: although the social media manager may only be in charge of managing some of the marketing activity, in some cases they will also be managing other members of staff, helping them learn new strategies or ensuring that work is completed properly and on time. People management and leadership skills should be found in every social media manager applicant.
Useful abilities for a social media manager
The abilities that a recruiter should be looking for in a potential social media manager are related to creative yet logical thinking. The social media manager should have the ability to communicate well and understand the speech of other people, alongside some other abilities including:
Oral Comprehension and Expression: the potential social media manager needs to be able to discuss strategy and present the findings of reports with other members of the marketing team and managers, and they must also be able to understand what other people are saying to react appropriately.
Written Comprehension and Expression: as part of the role, the social media manager might need to create content for public consumption as well as reports for managers. They need to be able to express themselves through writing, and understand what other people have written too.
Originality, Fluency of Ideas, and Visualisation: this is the creative side of the social media manager role - being able to come up with ways to reach a diverse demographic through different types of posts. Thinking of new ideas regularly and being able to visualize from a design point of view is also important.
Information Ordering: with so much data to gather, the social media manager must be able to order all the information they have in a way that makes sense, and can be used logically to create and update strategies.
Deductive and Inductive Reasoning: making decisions about strategy works best when logic is used rather than emotion, and reasoned thinking helps make better choices. The social media manager needs to be able to spot patterns and trends as well as work with unfamiliar information.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a social media manager?
Soft skills are essential to success in many roles, and these are not easy to assess using more traditional recruitment processes. It is hard to distinguish how creative a candidate is from a CV, and an application form is not necessarily going to show the recruitment team that the applicant has the required level of other critical skills.
Soft skills testing can be used to determine skill level and provide the recruitment team with quantifiable data to use in choosing candidates for the role of a social media manager. Some of the most appropriate soft skills tests for a social media manager include:
Adaptability: technology and software are areas where innovation and development seem to happen almost daily, and the social media manager needs to be able to pivot and work with changing technology effectively. The adaptability test shows that the candidate can adapt to changing situations and achieve goals.
Communication: the social media manager role is all about communication, with colleagues and direct reports, with shareholders and managers, and with the public. The communication assessment allows the candidate to demonstrate how they will solve different problems using their communication skills.
Leadership: some social media managers will only be managing the platforms, while others are likely to have responsibility for other members of staff as well. Leadership skills like negotiation and persuasion as well as dealing with difficult situations are tested in the leadership soft skills test.
Project Management: although the social media manager should be creating long-term strategies, in the short term there are likely to be different projects working simultaneously for things like product launches, sales, or special events. Managing a project and ensuring that the team members are all on the same page while working towards the goal effectively is what is being assessed in this test.
Problem Solving: as technology develops and innovation changes the algorithms, social media strategies need to be constantly updated. As a result, the social media manager needs to have reliable problem-solving skills. They will also need to be able to solve problems for those following and commenting on the social media posts, too.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a social media manager?
The depth of knowledge required for a social media manager relates directly to the different social media platforms; understanding the different audiences that each platform attracts, and the content that works best there are all very specific skills that can come with qualifications.
However, there are some aptitudes and abilities that are harder to gauge, and that is where software and aptitude tests can make a difference. For the position of a social media manager, the below tests would be useful:
Facebook Ads: the social media manager needs to understand the different types of Facebook ads, how to target the right people, and the right type of advertising to use for the product or service that is being sold. The Facebook Ads test puts the candidate through their paces to demonstrate how skilled they are at using this particular piece of technology.
Google Analytics: using different analysis software helps build a picture that can be used for social media strategy, and a skilled social media manager can use Google Analytics as part of their arsenal when it comes to building a better picture.
Verbal Reasoning: in the verbal reasoning assessment, the candidate is able to demonstrate their ability to read, understand and analyze unfamiliar written information to get the knowledge that they require from it.
Abstract Reasoning: abstract reasoning aptitude is a good indicator of success in the future, and for a social media manager being able to think logically about unfamiliar information to find patterns and trends helps build better data and therefore better strategies.
Error Checking: for the social media manager, an eye for detail means the difference between a well-crafted post and a message that gets completely missed because there is a glaring spelling error. Spotting mistakes before they become an expensive problem is part of the daily role of the social media manager.
Our recommended test battery for a social media manager
While thoroughly assessing each candidate for their suitability takes the pressure off the recruitment team in terms of the number of candidates that they have to interview, using too many tests becomes a burden in itself - not to mention the negative effect it will have on the applicant who will be sent links to ten tests.
Here at Picked, we have put together the below battery of tests which when used together are best at demonstrating each candidate's potential to be successful as a social media manager in the future.
Leadership: in the leadership test, the candidate is presented with several realistic work-based scenarios. Each scenario is a problem, and there are several possible courses of action that could be taken to solve the problem. The candidate needs to demonstrate their leadership skills by choosing the most appropriate course of action.
Facebook Ads: in this test, the candidate has to demonstrate their ability to set up and manage Facebook ads for different businesses, targeting the right demographic and ensuring more of a return on investment.
Communication: each question in the communication test is about a work situation that the candidate might find themselves in when they are hired. Each situation needs to be solved through good communication, and there are several different courses of action that could be the right decision. The candidate needs to choose the one that is closest to how they would deal with the problem.
Project Management: in the project management assessment, the candidate must solve work-based problems presented as scenarios using their project management skills. They will have to choose the right course of action from the multiple-choice options available.
For more information about what to look for when hiring a social media manager, we have created a job knowledge test specifically for those who are employed to deal with Facebook, Instagram, and the like.