How to Hire a Great Social Media Strategist

3 minute read

Upland Admin

"'Social Media" printing blocks for The Content Marketeer Ready to launch (or grow) your social media presence? Looking for direction on where to best use your limited social media resources? Need a realistic plan that fits your goals and your users’ needs?

Then it’s time to hire a social media strategist.

What they do

A social media strategist will help determine what channels you’ll use (Twitter? Facebook? Yelp?), what messages you’ll communicate (and how), and who you’ll follow, connect with, re-tweet, or comment on. Often, a social media strategist is also responsible for helping develop social media policies, juggling the concerns of your legal team, setting up a publishing or editorial calendar, and training anyone who will be managing or using your social media channels.

What to look for

Like anyone else in a content-related field, social media strategists have varied experiences and expertise. Some have worked with large brands, others with startups. Some are convinced that Google+ is the next big thing. Others lean toward established platforms. But there are a few traits to look for across the board:

  • Someone who asks good (and difficult) questions, and listens intently to your answers. Your social media strategist will be creating, evolving, and maintaining your strategy, so it only makes sense that she’ll be curious about your organization, your goals, and your audiences. And, since she’ll also be responsible for the effectiveness of your social media campaigns, she should also be the type of person who asks why. “Why do we need Facebook? Why is that our key message?”
  • An understanding of social media channels and strategies. Your strategist should be up-to-speed on the latest channels, audience data, and what other companies are doing to use social media effectively.
  • A clear communicator. It’s likely that more than one person in your organization will be involved in social media in one way or another. Your social media strategist should be able to clearly communicate the strategy—and the “whys” behind the strategy—to your team.
  • Great references. Just like content strategists, social media strategists are best judged by their references. Has her prior work been successful? What was it like to work with her? These kinds of questions can tell you a lot about your candidates.

Where to look

Now that you know what to look for, where do you look? Here are a few ideas:

  • Social networks. It only makes sense that a great social media strategist would be spending his or her time on social media. I’d start with Twitter and LinkedIn, which lend themselves well to the job search.
  • Content strategy meetups. Look up your local meetup (via or, stop by, and let the group know you’re looking for in a social media strategist.

What to ask

Now that you’ve found your candidates, it’s time for the interview. Remember: Interviewing is a two-way street, and you’re looking for a candidate who asks good questions.

As for the questions you might want to ask, we have a few suggestions:

  • How do you approach a social media strategy? Where would you get started?
  • For a company like ours, which channels might you focus on?
  • Which blogs or publications do you read? Which would you recommend for our team to read?

Don’t forget to check references and personal social media accounts while you’re at it.

Are you an employer or a social media strategist with tips and criteria to add to our mix? Please leave a comment below.

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