Episode #26: RED flags to look out for when hiring your first SMM

Nowadays, everyone and their dog can call themselves a Social Media Manager. If you are ready to make this hire, here's what you should look for so you get the right support (and RESULTS) for your business.


As always, if you prefer to listen to the podcast episode instead of reading it, then click on the player below. Follow my podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, and all the other platforms to get notified as soon as a new episode becomes available!


Are you ready to make your first SMM hire? That's great! Here are some red flags you need to look out for:


1) They promise overnight results:

A SMM that promises quick fixes that produce insanely positive results will take shortcuts to get there, delivering you substandard outputs that could give you a major headache in the future.


Believe me, the number of ad accounts I have come across that have completely been destroyed by previous SMMs and in particular, agencies... I cannot even tell you how many of those accounts I've seen. And let's not even start with organically-grown pages that have an abysmally low engagement rate. Overnight results are not a thing. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


2) They don’t have a portfolio or any previous experience:

I'm going to voice a controversial opinion here: I don’t think that everyone can or should become a Social Media Manager. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for people starting their own business, pivoting in their life, trying out something new, making a living by themselves but nowadays, a lot of people call themselves SMMs even though they have zero experience and they have just decided one day, that now, they will be a SMM. I don't really believe in that because I have seen accounts managed by people who claim to be a SMM from like one day to another and well, you can mostly tell by the results and by the content they are making.


I think that as a Social Media Manager, you have to have a certain amount of experience or a certain background. If you don't have that, then yes, you will be able to make nice graphics for your client but in the long run, you won't be able to understand how social media plays in with the rest of the marketing and business strategy. It might all look nice but it's not going to have the effect that it will have if you have the right experience.


If you are in a specific industry, maybe even a highly specialized industry, then it will pay off for you to work with someone who is specialized in that area. For example, I know there are a lot of SMMs who work with beauty businesses. There are others who only work with service-based businesses or even online businesses, just like me, but you can even go further than that. The other day I saw a SMM for dentists in particular so that is very, very highly specific and that can be so beneficial for you as the business owner.


Obviously, everyone can say that they have worked with someone in that industry in the past or with a similar business, but, ideally, you would see a portfolio.


3) Their own social media platforms are rather meh:

Another, maybe again, rather unpopular opinion is that I think, as a Social Media Manager, your social media presence should be great as well. How are you expecting to market someone else’s business, if you don't even know how to market yourself?


A super lazy excuse that a lot of Social Media Managers will use is saying: "I don't have time for my own social media because I am focusing all of my time on my clients." OK, that sounds like a really cute excuse - obviously, everyone wants to focus on their clients but let me tell you this: you can do both. You can establish your own social media presence and continue to market your business and your services on social media while you take care of your clients. If you don't manage to do both, then you either have very poor time management skills, you are taking on way too much work or you, in my opinion, just don't know how to market yourself.


Another point why looking at someone’s social media is very important is to see if they even know how to use all of the features. If I were to hire someone as a SMM, I would want to see on their social media profile that they are able to use all the features and that they know what feature takes which role in the social media strategy. Your social media profile acts as a portfolio and we can come back to the previous point where we have said that having a portfolio and having the experience is really, really important.


4) They don’t do analysis/tracking and reporting to you:

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I am obsessed with data. One of the reasons that I always tell people why they should market on social media or use digital marketing in general is because it has a major advantage over traditional types of marketing & that is DATA. A lot of businesses will not have a look at their analytics, they will just ignore it and hope for the best. You have the data so you should also be using it. Otherwise, you might as well go back to marketing on TV or handing out flyers.


If your prospective Social Media Manager doesn't do any analysis, how do they know how to improve the content? How can they make the right decisions when it comes to social media?


If you are in the process of hiring a Social Media Manager, ask them:

  • How they will analyse your data?

  • How they will track it?

  • Will they report back to you? If yes, how?

Ideally, your SMM will create a report with some insights and action steps for the upcoming month. My monthly report includes some general insights (reach, content interactions, engagement rate,...) but it also includes the best performing posts, why have they been best performing, and some learnings that we can take into the next month.


If your Social Media Manager doesn't provide you with any tracking or with any kind of analysis, then run! That means that they are just making decisions by their gut feeling and they don't take the data into account.


5) They aren't proactive or are people pleasers

Proactive:

Another important thing that each SMM should bring to the table when it comes to character traits is that they need to be proactive. They are the experts, so they need to take the reins into their hands and lead you when it comes to social media strategy. One of the main reasons for hiring a SMM is because you want to save time. If you constantly have to tell your SMM what you want them to do, you actually lose more time than you win.


Strong opinion & not a people-pleaser:

As a SMM, they are the expert. They know what works on social media. Sometimes you might think you know better what works and what doesn't but trust me we have a pretty good idea of the things that will perform well on Instagram. A good SMM should not be afraid of telling you their professional opinion. They have to be able to tell you if you are going down the wrong track with something. They shouldn't be people-pleasers out of fear of losing you as a client.


6) You don't "vibe" with them:

A really, really important part of working with someone is that you have to be on the same wavelength, or, like the younger generation would say, you have to "vibe" with each other. What I mean by this is that the person can be the most professional person ever, they can give you the best results and your social media is gonna flourish, but if you hate working with them, then it is not going to be a great long term relationship.



I hope this blog post has helped you to get a bit of a better idea of what to look for if you are thinking of hiring a Social Media Manager, whether that would be me or any other of my fantastic colleagues in this industry. If you do think that I could be the one that you would love to work with, then you know what to do: book yourself a discovery call and we can find out if we are vibing with each other and how I can support your business!


Talk soon

Hanna