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9 mistakes that business owners make when hiring a freelance social media manager

In today’s digital age, having a flawless social media presence is essential for any business. As a result, hiring the right social media manager can significantly impact your brand's visibility, engagement, and overall success. However, many businesses overlook some important aspects when hiring a social media manager, leading to wasted resources and missed opportunities. Here are some common things to avoid when outsourcing this.

1. Thinking that you don't have to go on your social media profile again

This is HUGE, and a number one for me. Many businesses hire a freelance social media manager and then think they don't have to go on their profiles again... Which is totally incorrect. Although a social media manager is managing your profiles, creating content, scheduling etc.... you still need to be active on your profile. Your audience still wants to see your day to day business life including you on your stories.

You also need to take into consideration how long your outsourced social media manager will be working on your accounts per week. If you have a small budget for outsourcing a social media manager and that is absolutely fine, but just remember that their work will be capped certain hours per week. Is it 2, 3, 4 hours? Anything under 4 hours will generally only allow for basic duties such as content creation, scheduling, caption writing, hashtag research etc, which means you still need to be jumping on and engaging with your audience. Otherwise you are likely to hit a growth stop.

2. Overlooking the Importance of Strategy

Too many businesses get dazzled by flashy content and forget the need for strategic planning. A decent social media manager should not only be creative but also strategic. They should understand how to align social media efforts with business goals, develop comprehensive strategies, and measure success through analytics.

Seek out candidates with a proven track record of strategic planning who can tie their efforts to measurable business outcomes. Don't just fall for the razzle dazzle; look for substance.

3. Ignoring Industry Experience

While social media skills are transferable, industry specific knowledge is a game changer. A social media manager familiar with your industry will grasp the nuances, trends, and audience expectations better than someone who has to start from scratch.

Prioritise candidates who have experience in your industry or a closely related field. They’ll have a better grasp of what works and what doesn’t, saving you time and resources in the long run.

4. Forgetting they have to submit content at times

Unless your business is a faceless business, you will be asked to record and submit content which aligns with the strategy. You should allow at least 30 minutes or more per week to do this. This will make your strategy work, and also make the social media managers life so much easier!

5. Not Assessing Communication Skills

A social media manager is often the voice of your brand. Their communication skills, both written and verbal, should be top notch. They need to convey your brand’s message clearly, engagingly, and professionally.

6. You need to approve the content

A professional social media manager will run everything by you, especially in the beginning. It is crucial for you to check out their content and approve this before posting. This takes the guesswork out of the social media managers content and ensures that everything being posted is perfectly aligned with your business values and goals.

7. Not Considering Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is crucial for any role, but especially for a social media manager who needs to embody and promote your brand’s values and culture. A mismatch can lead to a disconnect between your brand’s voice and its online presence.

Ensure the candidate’s values and working style align with your company culture. Ask all the questions to get a grasp on this!

8. Relying Too Much on Followers

It's tempting to judge a social media manager by the number of followers on their personal accounts. However, having a large personal following doesn’t necessarily translate to professional success.

Focus on their professional achievements rather than their personal follower count. Ask for case studies or examples of campaigns they’ve managed for other brands, emphasising results and impact over follower numbers.

9. Inadequate Onboarding Process

Even the most skilled social media manager needs time to understand your brand and its audience. An inadequate onboarding process can affect their ability to perform effectively.

Develop a comprehensive onboarding process that includes brand training, introductions to key team members, and access to all necessary tools and resources. Provide clear guidelines and expectations to help them hit the ground running.

In conclusion, hiring the right social media manager requires a careful balance of skills, experience, and cultural fit. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can find a candidate who not only manages your social media accounts but also drives meaningful engagement and growth for your brand. Remember, a strategic, data driven, and adaptable social media manager is worth their weight in gold. Invest the time and effort to find the right fit, and your business will reap the rewards. Don’t settle for mediocrity when your brand’s reputation is on the line.

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