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How to Find and Hire a Social Media Manager: Ultimate 2023 Guide

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Having supported hundreds of freelance social media managers, Meta™️ ads managers, email marketers and virtual assistants, and hired people in our own business, we know how to find and hire a social media manager.

Now we want to make this process much easier for you to find and hire a social media manager so you can feel confident to invest in your marketing.

This guide will help you navigate the minefield of finding the right social media marketer for YOU. We’ll help you spot the red flags that could lead to you being burnt, and give you what you need to start a beautiful working relationship to grow your business.

When you are ready to hire a social media manager, check out our free directory.

What does a social media manager do?

There is a lot of confusion about what a social media manager's role entails – unsurprisingly, as it’s a relatively new thing. 

If you want to hire freelance a social media manager to help you generate leads or make more sales, you are likely to be looking for someone better described as a social media marketer.

Unlike an in-house social media manager who has other marketing team members working with them, a freelancer's sole focus is on marketing your business on social media.

What does a social media manager do on a day-to-day basis?

  • Create and implement a social media strategy to meet the business objectives.
  • Create and publish social media content which aligns with the strategy and brand voice.
  • Audience, influencer and competitor research and analysis.
  • Customer service and complaint handling.
  • Social listening and proactive engagement.
  • Data analysis and reporting
  • Monitor social media trends, news and PR opportunities.

What does a social media manager not do?

❌ Email marketing
❌ Photography
❌ Graphic design
❌ Business consulting and advice
❌ Paid ads management
❌ Google analytics analysis
❌ Video editing

But all those could be provided as additional services if your freelancer has the skills or team to support you.

Why do I need a social media manager?

#1 To get a social media strategy that sets your business up for success

What platform should you be on? Which insights matter most? What should you post to attract more customers? A good social media manager will incorporate all these elements into a bespoke strategy that they’ll tweak and refine as the accounts grow.

#2 To make social media marketing a priority for your business.

Social media marketing is crucial to business growth and success these days, so any savvy business owner will ensure it is at the top of the priority list when it comes to budget allocation.

But if social media marketing is always at the bottom of your to-do list, rest assured a freelance social media manager will make it their priority. There won’t be any more last-minute panics or posting on the run. Instead, your content will be carefully planned and aligned to help you achieve your wider business goals.

#3 To help you grow brand awareness and bring your perfect people through your buyer's journey.

A good social media marketer will understand the different types of content your business needs to attract new followers.  But they’ll ensure everything they do is bringing potential future customers into your world so that your followers align with your brand values, so they eventually become buyers.

#4 Hire a social media manager to get new eyes on your content

Social media managers know the best Instagram Reels apps and other tools to use to create the most scroll-stopping content. They understand what’s working on each platform at any time, and, more importantly, they’ll test to ensure they know what works for YOUR business.  

They’ll also spend time writing targeted captions that speak directly to your customers’ wants and needs to draw more of the right people to your platforms and compel them to take action.

 #5 To help you beat your competitors (not physically!)

Your social media manager will look to your competitors, industry experts and influencers to understand what works and doesn’t! They will then use this knowledge strategically to grow your business.

And they’ll work hard to position your business as the leader in your field, ahead of your competitors.

If beating your competitors is a priority for you, you can understand why you need a social media manager to take control of positioning you ahead of the competition.

#6 If you need faster response times for your customers, then a social media manager can help

People want answers before they buy. But they won't wait long to get them before they give up and spend their money with someone else. Having a social media manager who brings the right people into your world, monitors your platforms, responds to comments and messages, and quickly gives people the answers they need will help stop customers from going elsewhere. 

#7 Social media marketing is not an administration task

Read that again.

Social media marketing is not an administrative task, and one of the biggest reasons you need a social media manager is that your customer has the power to talk about your brand in a negative light or ensure the sentiment that spreads on social media is one of negativity.

Customer experience is crucial and is a major part of your social media marketing, but it's not just about waiting for people to contact you. Social media marketers will be social listening to ensure all brand mentions are monitored and dealt with effectively regardless of where they happen.

By hiring a professional to handle the job, you’re investing in your business's long-term growth and reputation. That’s probably not something you want to leave to an office junior who may have good intentions but doesn't know how to be a social media manager.

#8 Hire a social media manager to build an engaged following of buyers

Engagement is critical on your social platforms; the days of posting and praying for comments are well and truly over. 

But engagement doesn’t pay the bills!  

You need people to spend money for your business to grow. So, conversation with your future customers is essential to bring them through your sales funnel. A freelance social media manager will work to create strategic content that’s designed to generate engagement from the right people. 

Once the conversation starts, they’ll continue building that conversation to bring people through a buyer's journey to eventually become customers.

#9 Strategic social media marketing can help you get more PR opportunities

There are tons of PR opportunities on social media, and one of the many benefits of hiring a social media manager is that they will be able to respond to those on your behalf so you can grow your reach even further. Your social media manager might be the key to getting your business featured in the media.

#10 Hire a social media manager to reach your industry influencers.

Your customers are already on social media following other people. Social media managers will identify any influential accounts and will work strategically to harness their power to amplify your message.

Think of this as a way to strategically borrow someone else's audience so that even when your audience is small, you can still reach the right people.

#11  Hire a social media manager to get time back for your business

You didn’t start your company to have to be on social media every day, so outsourcing that element of the business means you can focus on your zone of genius and work on the other critical money-making areas of your business.

Social media is time-consuming and can also take up a lot of energy and focus that should be redirected elsewhere.

#12 So you don’t need to know how everything works

One of the benefits of hiring a social media manager is that they love being on social media! So, if you hate Facebook, don't ‘get' Twitter and don’t always want to be on your phone, outsourcing your social is a no-brainer.  

Social media managers live for social media… their phones are almost glued to their hands! And because of that, they know how everything works, even on the constantly changing platforms, so you won’t ever need to worry about learning how to use new features to get your business in front of the right people.

#13 You are too emotionally involved.

Sorry, but you are! A social media manager won’t be as emotionally involved as you so they can make more rational decisions about your marketing. 

This is especially helpful when responding to snarky comments or negativity without damaging your brand. And because they aren’t emotionally involved, they can conduct efficient testing and follow the data to get better results.

#14 Hire a social media manager if you are not a marketing expert

Would you service your own car? Cut your own hair? No? didn’t think so! Social media is no different. 

It’s a time-consuming job that requires specific skills and knowledge. That’s why it makes perfect sense to outsource this vital job to an expert. While you can spend time on the things you are an expert on.

#15 A freelance social media manager saves you money! 

That’s right, one of the many reasons to hire a social media manager is to SAVE MONEY! When you hire a social media manager also skilled at digital advertising, they’ll know how to harness the power of paid traffic to reduce your advertising costs and boost your return on investment.

And by not hiring an employee, you avoid having to cover payroll, pensions and all the other expenses that come with having an employee on your team.

#16 You don't want a huge agency… trust us on that!

Freelance social media managers are not big agencies, which is GREAT. It means they aren’t juggling 10 clients and only working traditional office hours. They’re as invested in your success as you are. 

When you work with an agency, you can often find that the person who is managing your account isn’t the person who is managing your socials. And that can be a big issue.

#17 Crisis aversion & management 

…who wouldn’t want to outsource that! One of the many benefits of hiring a social media manager is that they will have their ear to the ground to shift tact in line with global events quickly. 

If a big news story breaks, making your planned content inappropriate, your social media manager will ensure your messaging is managed swiftly.

They’ll also work with you to quickly resolve any business-related PR crises and protect the reputation of your business.

#18 You might get more support than you expect

Many freelance social media managers aren't just experts at social media marketing.

Many understand email marketing, paid ads, copywriting and other areas too. So you might find they can advise you on other aspects of your marketing too. If this is your priority, we'd recommend you list exactly what you'll need help with before you look for a social media manager.

#19 You get more than one freelance social media manager on your team

One of the reasons to hire a social media manager who is part of our membership, The Inner Hub®, is that they can tap into the collective brilliance of a much larger community. Our members have access to the latest social media and marketing updates, ongoing training and a community where they can get advice and ideas almost every day of the week!

So when you hire a freelance social media manager from our directory, you’re tapping into the wisdom of hundreds of social media managers worldwide!

#20 Social media marketing is not going anywhere!

If you've been burying your head in the sand, thinking social media will die a slow death, think again. No matter what you sell, who you are trying to attract or where you are based, your customers ARE on social media.

How much does it cost to hire a social media manager?

Annoying answer alert! It depends on the size of your business, the number of platforms and your business objectives your monthly investment could be more, or less!

According to SocialPilot social media management costs companies an average of $4000 to $7000/month for both organic and paid marketing on more than one network.

Recent research from SproutSocial shows that 24% of social media managers charge an average of $500-$999 per month while 15% charge within the $1,000-$1,499 range and 14% of respondents charge over $4000 per month.

It is important to remember that a social media manager is a business investment and your decision to hire should never be based on price alone.

Should I hire in-house or outsource?

There are three options to consider when hiring a social media manager. Do you want an in-house employee? A freelancer or the support of a full service agency? Consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.

Pros and cons of hiring a freelance social media manager.

✅ A freelancer is flexible and can often work to your specific requirements.

✅ There's less risk working with a freelancer as you’ll often be on a short-term, rolling contract.

✅ Freelance social media marketers invest in their learning and development to ensure they stay on top of marketing trends. So you’ll not only have their knowledge to pull from but their network too.

✅ Hiring a freelancer who is a platform specialist and knows everything about the platform you want to become known on means you're more likely to get results.

✅ It's environmentally friendly to hire a freelance social media manager! As more and more staff return to the office post-pandemic, a remote social pro means no commute, no additional office space and a far lower carbon footprint.

❌ They may be juggling other clients and won’t be on call 24/7.

Pros and cons of employing an in-house social media manager.

✅ An employee will be laser-focused on your business.

❌ Permanent employees come with more risk and can cost more in the long run.

❌ You’ll need to provide ongoing training & ways to ensure they are on top of all the changes in social media

Pros and cons of working with a full service agency.

✅ A full service agency will have a team of people with various skills and can typically manage all your marketing needs under one roof including asset creation and paid traffic.

✅ They’ll have a large team so there will always be someone available to answer queries.

❌ The person you deal with is unlikely to be the person managing your marketing.

❌ The best marketers tend to be freelancers so you may find your account being handled by a junior team member on a day-to-day basis who is also juggling a lot of other clients.

How to hire a great social media manager.

There are two things to consider when hiring a great social media manager. 

  1. Do they have experience and expertise in the platform you need to use to reach your audience?
  2. Do their personality and values align with yours and your business?

To get the best results from your social media marketing budget, hire someone who understands your business, knows the platform of choice inside out and has a well-rounded knowledge of marketing.

Hopefully be working with this person for the long term and you’ll want to build a great working relationship with them so personality is also key. So we’d recommend you spend time thinking about what makes someone a good fit for you and your business.  

You might have strong family values and want to work with someone who feels the same.  For us, it would be someone creative who understands our audience and our goals but also understands our dry sense of humour and doesn’t take things too personally if we question something.

Should your social media manager be a platform specialist?

If you’re prioritising one platform (because you know that is where your audience is most likely to convert) then it might be wise to work with a platform specialist who can ensure you get the best results from that specific platform. 

To identify a platform specialist, check out the social media managers presence on the platform you want to use.

For example, an Instagram specialist should be actively using that platform to market their business.  That doesn’t mean they’ll have a huge audience – in fact, most social media managers won’t have a huge audience because they don’t need one – but they will be active, consistently visible and showing their expertise on the platform.

If you plan to use more than one platform then you can either work with multiple platform specialists or choose a freelancer who has knowledge of multiple platforms. This choice will largely depend on your budget and objectives.

How to spot a great freelance social media manager.

Any freelance social media manager worth their salt will be highly active on their own social media platforms.

They’ll share great content with tips and advice about the platform they are a specialist in as well as general marketing advice.

They’ll respond to DMs and comments in a timely manner and will have testimonials, reviews or case studies on their socials and website.

You’ll see them using all the functions of the platform they are prioritising and you might spot them testing new features and sharing their thoughts on those too.

Look out for these red flags when hiring a social media manager.

Run if… they guarantee results! Nothing can be guaranteed on social media, we cannot predict human behaviour and we have no control over the platforms themselves. 

Leg it if… they charge by the hour! Social media marketing is not something that can be done on an hourly basis. If they’re charging by the hour it probably means they providing an administrative job rather than implementing a strategic marketing plan.

Head for the hills if… they have no social media presence! Any marketer worth their salt will be investing time in marketing their own business. That’s how savvy social media marketers test new tools and strategies and stay on top of marketing trends. And let’s be honest, if they can’t be bothered to market their own business what confidence would you have that they’d bother with yours?

Where to find a social media manager.

The best place to start when hiring a social media manager remotely is the Meet The Social Pro® directory where you can search for experts in a variety of ways. 

Search by platform, service or even narrow your search and use keywords to search for someone with expertise in your specific industry.

The Meet The Social Pro® directory features social media managers, ads managers, email marketers, virtual assistants and more!

And if you can’t the perfect person using our search function, use our special enquiry service to submit a request that we can share with our community.

The best thing about the Meet The Social Pro® directory is that it is completely free for you to use! We don’t even charge a referral fee!

Hiring a social media manager remotely.

One major benefit of hiring a remote social media manager is that you are not limited to only working with people within your local area.

Hiring a social media manager remotely allows you more choice and can often lead to better support.

Is hiring a remote social media manager the right choice?

If you need someone to attend in-person meetings or be on-site to take photos or shoot videos then a remote worker is unlikely to be the right choice.

But, if those things are not important to you a remote social media manager is probably the best option.

Frequently asked questions.

Should a startup hire a social media manager?

Yes! Any ambitious startup should hire a social media manager who is dedicated to growing brand awareness and building your social media presence.

Is it worth it to hire a social media manager?

It is worth it to hire a social media manager if your business needs to:

  • Grow brand awareness.
  • Connect with and build relationships with new and existing customers.
  • Drive traffic to your website.
  • Identify collaboration opportunities & collaborate with people your audience knows, likes and trusts.
  • Manage customer services via social media platforms.
  • Use social media as part of a wider marketing strategy.

But don’t expect to…

  • Rely solely on social media marketing for your business's success. Savvy business owners will use a variety of marketing tools to achieve consistent growth.
  • Get overnight results. It can take 6+ months to get consistent results from social media.
  • Get sales. This isn’t possible on the platform itself (platform and region dependent), and while a social media manager is responsible for sending traffic to your website, what happens when people are on your website is not their responsibility – this is why Google Analytics and a good understanding of your website traffic is crucial.

Growth on social media takes time. Your social media manager will work hard to get your business in front of the right people, but it’s important to remember that your perfect people are humans and even the best social media marketer cannot predict or control human behaviour.

Do social media managers create content?

Social media managers create content in line with your social media strategy to ensure you can reach your perfect people on the chosen social media platform.

The type of content and frequency of content publishing will depend on the business objectives. Over time the social media manager will carry out testing to understand what content formats work best and will then refine the strategy to get better results.

How much do you pay a social media manager per post?

Paying a social media manager per post is not advisable. If you aim to reach more potential clients and generate leads or sales, you should approach your social channels with a marketing mindset.

This means your social media manager will carry out ongoing testing to ensure they are doing everything they can to get you the best results. Testing points will include frequency and timing of posts, so paying per post will limit your social media manager's ability to get you results.

What makes a good social media manager?

What makes a good social media manager is:

  • Good communication skills
  • Creativity and copywriting
  • Marketing knowledge and a strategic approach
  • Efficiency & organisational skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Willingness to test and learn

Final thoughts

If your aim for social media is to generate leads and sales, then you should hire a social media manager with a marketing focus. When you hire someone who approaches your social media channels as a purely creative or administrative task, you will be unlikely to get the desired results.

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We’ve been where you are today... we launched (and still run) two successful social media freelance businesses and joined forces to help you do the same.

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