3 Essential Questions to Ask Social Media Candidates for Hire

I admit these questions are strange. But if you need leads these are THE questions to ask social media candidates. Because social media is a sales tool that will filter leads, you need to hire people or agencies who define success as sales, not just engagement. So, without further ado, here are three “must ask” questions to aim at would-be social marking managers or agency reps—straight from a guy who generated a 400 percent increase in leads in 90 days for call tracking provider, LogMyCalls.

I admit these questions are strange. But if you need leads these are THE questions to ask social media candidates. Because social media is a sales tool that will filter leads, you need to hire people or agencies who define success as sales, not just engagement.

So, without further ado, here are three “must ask” questions to aim at would-be social marking managers or agency reps—straight from a guy who generated a 400 percent increase in leads in 90 days for call tracking provider, LogMyCalls.

  1. What questions do you have of ME?
  2. Give me 10 blog post titles you would write about us, right now, please.
  3. How will you track your success as a social/content marketer?

McKay Allen of LogMyCalls.com is a one-man social media lead generation powerhouse. So I asked him: How can folks hire someone as good as he is? How can an employer lower the risk of hiring an unproductive resource?

Here are more details on the questions he shared with me, raw and unfiltered.

No. 1: What Questions Do You Have of ME?
This one can really throw social media candidates. They’ll either swing and miss, or hit a home run. Point being, good candidates will ask you questions that reveal how they think. Bad ones won’t.

Asking questions of you also shows how they would act if you employed them.

“I want them to ask me questions about our lead generation strategy, and how our blog fits into our lead generation strategy,” says Allen.

“When we hire new content marketing people here at LogMyCalls, I want to hear these types of questions … they should ask, ‘How many leads does LogMyCalls generate each week from the blog? How many leads do you want to generate each week from the blog?'”

Allen says these kinds of questions demonstrate how a candidate, “truly views a blog as more than a place to write stuff. It is a tool to generate leads.”

He’s brutally honest about the importance of questions coming at you from candidates.

“As an employer, I wouldn’t consider hiring someone that didn’t have any questions for me,” Allen says.

No. 2: Give Me 10 Blog Post Titles, Please
“This will put them on the spot, but it is a critical question to ask,” says Allen.

Indeed. If your candidates have experience in writing blog post titles that sell they’ll be able to provide you with:

  • Concepts for articles that are “how to” and problem solving oriented (focused on your customers’ pain and/or goals)
  • Titles that exploit proven copywriting rules by getting prospects to take action

Allen says the social media candidate, “should be able to, very quickly, come up with 10 blog post titles they could write about NOW. Obviously this presupposes that they’re educated on what the company does.”

No. 3: How Will You Track Your Success as a Content Marketer?
Again, Allen is point blank: “The answer should not be based on traffic or YouTube views. Their answer must revolve around leads and phone calls. If they are generating more form fill-outs, phone calls, and revenue for your company, they will be successful. If they’re only interested in Facebook ‘Likes’ for example, it just won’t work.”

Be warned: Many candidates are reluctant to use such measurable, bottomline-oriented performance metrics. They’ll often overuse the word “engagement” when responding.

Be strong. Hang in there. You’ll probably need to burn through a bunch of candidates before you find a gem or two.

Have Candidates Show You the Goods
A good social media manager or content marketing pro will produce leads and sales. Period. So how can you to hire someone that will, with some certainty, work out?

Allen says hire someone who will clearly demonstrate an ability to write articles, videos and other content that produced leads.

  • Get writing samples and look for calls-to-action within them.
  • Verify they produced leads as best you can with prior employers or clients.

“You also want to make sure that this person is okay writing and engaging with people online all day every day,” says Allen who recommends exploring former journalists or copywriters.

McKay Allen is a social media lead generation rockstar worth following. He says biggest way to lessen a hiring risk is to have applicants produce content for you in a short period of time during the interview.

“For example, give them 20 minutes to write a blog post on a certain subject and see how they do … see if they can write quickly, accurately, and cleanly in a very short period of time. This will stress them out, but it will tell you what you need to know.”

Do you have questions to ask social media candidates that work for you? Let me know in comments!

How to Hire a Social Media Manager Who Can Sell

Need to hire a social media manager, freelancer or agency … or get your current resource focused on sales? Here’s a quick way to get everyone aimed at the goal: engagement that creates leads, referrals and sales, not just shares, comments and followers.

Need to hire a social media manager, freelancer or agency … or get your current resource focused on sales? Here’s a quick way to get everyone aimed at the goal: engagement that creates leads, referrals and sales, not just shares, comments and followers.

3 Phrases to Watch Out For
There are three “red flag” phrases to watch out for in the interview process, during weekly meetings or in performance reviews. These are:

1. “People are not on social media to be sold.” If your social media manager or candidate tells you this, it’s a warning sign. Pay attention! I’ll show you why this belief is so dangerous in detail below.

2. “Marketing and advertising are long-term, not instant.” In short, any good seller or marketer (you) already understands and appreciates this. The statement is a hedge.

3. “Social media marketing is mostly about building brand equity (as opposed to selling).” Indeed, but this presumes getting and maintaining brand equity is not about selling.

“You don’t sell someone something by engagement, conversation and relationship. You create engagement, conversation and relationships by selling them something,” says Bob Hoffman, CEO at Hoffman Lewis.

In many cases, any one (or all) of these phrases can be signs of a belief system that does not take responsibility for strategies like blogging for lead generation. Tactics supporting this viewpoint are often made by social media managers who don’t know how (or don’t want) to take responsibility for generating sales.

To be clear, this exercise is not about judging your social media manager personally. I’m sure he or she is a great person. This is about making sure you know how to hire a social media manager who can sell.

“People Are Not on Social Media to Be Sold”
This one is the most dangerous. It sounds totally rational and a little part of each of us can relate to this claim—until you think about it for a minute.

For the sake of argument, let’s say it IS true. People don’t go to social media to be sold. But do they turn to social media to solve problems? Have you? Or have you ever turned to Facebook to discover short-cuts to doing something really important to you?

Do people ever turn to blogs or YouTube to discover new ways to achieve goals?

Sure they do. As people do these things they often end up meeting businesses that can help them. Some people end up being courted by those businesses via social media or email lead nurturing. Some prospects even convert to customers—they purchase!

Many of us are selling on social media every day.

Consider the millions of people each day that:

  • query Google about a problem they need solved or a goal they want to reach;
  • end up at a blog;
  • sign up for an ebook or educational video series;
  • end up buying from the blog owner a few months later.

Sandy Isaacs, owner of events company, Break Away Moments, said to me recently, “Why would one opt to become part of (social media) sites if you are not wanting to either promote yourself with what you have to offer or, in turn, wish to gain as information from others especially, based on your own interests as well?”

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry
You’d better not pout about the in-effectiveness of your social media execution. I’m tellin’ you why. Saying that people are not on social media to be sold ignores both reality and the central tenant of effective online lead generation:

Helping customers (who are hungry for solutions) problem—solve in ways that give them enough confidence to buy.

Bottom line on how to hire a social media manager: Don’t hire anyone who tells you that marketing isn’t responsible for generating sales in directly or indirectly … in some way, shape or form. Watch out for the above phrases exiting the mouths of your interviewees or employees.

Also, remember to focus on the questions your social media manager asks YOU … not just answers they offer to questions you ask them.

That’s how to hire a social media manager who’s focused on leads and sales.

Good luck!