MARKETING 

How to Prepare for a Social Media Manager Interview

By Sarah Potter

UPDATED: December 27, 2020

So you want to become a social media manager? Awesome! Oh, you have an interview? Congrats! Now let’s get down to discussing your importance in this role and how you can prepare for the job.

We see social media managers as a simple job. Most of this statement is based on having ZERO actual understanding of what a social media manager does in a week’s time–or even the number of positions that is actually squeezed into this role. Flexibility is a perceived idea or thing about a social media manager’s job. And is usually a given, however, that’s not always the case since social media never truly sleeps. 

 

Social media managers are the lifeblood of brands online. According to Lauren Cover, an author for Sprout Social, “What you might not know is that 70% of consumers say it’s important for brands to take a stand on social, and 66% of that group say it’s because they believe brands can create real change.” You are the voice behind the brand, you are a driver for change, and social media managers as an actual job are a REAL BIG DEAL. 


Before we dive into what you need to do to prepare for an interview, we need to determine what type of social media manager role you are diving into. 
According to Hubspot, there are eight different social media manager jobs. They are:


Social Media Copywriter

Digital or Multimedia Producer

Social Media Metrics Analyst

News Commentator and Curator

Social Media Customer Service Representative

Community Manager and Facilitator

Funnel Marketing Manager

Social Media Project Manager and Campaign Coordinator

Often, businesses don’t understand that a social media manager has multiple jobs in one and seek to hire someone who can do it all-at the price of half of what it would cost to hire the right group for the job. If you end up getting the job, it will be your responsibility to the industry to help your new boss understand that social media management is more than just one person. Let’s walk through the job descriptions for each of these positions so you clearly understand what each of these jobs are. 

 

Social Media Copywriter

 

Content is the whole reason anyone is on social media to begin with. A social media copywriter is the key developer of content in any marketing strategy. Especially when social media’s involved. If you have a team of dedicated bloggers and writers, text-based content still has to be converted into social media form. Social media copywriters are a special breed as they take pages of blog content and condense it into one simple triggering sentence.

Besides the one key sentence for social media, a strong social media copywriter will  write captions in the proper business tone for LinkedIn and then be able to switch to a conversational-community driven tone for an Instagram or Facebook Group post. 

 

Social media copywriters are typically responsible for the creation and adaptation of written content for specific social media networks, developing content calendars, and fine tuning the voice of the brand. This person should be comfortable writing social posts that are as short as 140 characters or blogs over 200 words.

 

Skills of the trade

Copywriting
Understanding of Brand Voice
Adaptability
Positioning
Creativity
Focused mindset

 

How This Drives Results

Generic posts won’t get any brand anywhere. It might also make a brand seem out of touch. Social media copywriters help keep brands relatable, relevant, and reliable. It’s vital to have a social media manager who can maintain a brand voice or having a social media copywriter whose sole purpose is to write content. Great captions can lead to great engagement and loyal audiences.

 

Digital or Multimedia Producer


80% of businesses use visual assets as part of their social media strategy. With approximately 71% regularly incorporating video. With nearly every social media platform being visually based, like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, using visual assets to enhance your profiles, stories, and video channels is a crucial and time-consuming part of any social strategy.

Being a digital or multimedia producer is more than being able to use apps and programs to create cool stuff. Your creative assets also have to speak to the brand, be as evergreen as possible, and stand the test of time (as much as possible).

 

This type of social media manager might focus on creating images or graphics to accompany Facebook posts, taking and curating photos or videos for Instagram, producing mobile-optimized stories for Snapchat, and creating other content from scratch that helps to grow your following.

 

Skills of the trade

Experience with Design Software (Creative Cloud is typically the one)
Basic Photography and Videography (or ability to outsource and manage the assets)
Adaptability
Creativity
Technical computing skills
Storytelling


How This Drives Results

Adapting visual content specifically for each social network yields more clicks and leads. For example, in an A/B test, tweets including both a link and an image optimized for the platform yielded 55% more leads than tweets with just a link. Adapting and creating content for each specific network is critical to driving results.

 

Social Media Metrics Analyst

Most marketing roles these days are very data driven. This means that a social media manager needs to dig into a brand’s data and interrupt that data to develop goals, KPI’s, develop new audience subsects, and provide actionable insights to their team. 

 

The data a social media metrics analyst will provide includes more macro-based data such as the total reach and number of leads generated and micro data like information derived from small individual experiments surrounding brand position and content position. 

 

This person should also be able to set goals just out of reach — and hit them.

 

If you’re applying for a social media manager position, you must have a basic understanding of how to interrupt data and apply it to a strategy. Be sure not to get stuck in the data. It prevents experimentation and risk-taking.

 

It’s important for a social media community manager to test new strategies, new content, and new campaigns. This person will be skilled at running experiments, such as post frequency tests, and refining their social strategy based on the results.

 

Skills of the trade

Data Analysis
Curiosity
Experience with Running Scientific Experiments
Strong Presentation Skills

 

How This Drives Results

Being a consistent tester and analyzer of data helps social media managers and marketing teams build more effective standards in their routines. If you refer to the Twitter image test example, this was designed, implemented, and measured by one social media manager. This experiment has had long-lasting affects on social media efforts for brands. 

 

One social media experiment could change the world. 


News Commentator and Curator

New opportunities are waiting to be found by a social media manager! As a successful social media manager, you will keep track of your brand’s industry, news, and social media trends. You need to know exactly where to look to find this news and what the world is saying about them. You also need to keep tabs on how the social media industry might change, as this will have huge effects on how you work.

 

When a shift happens, you gotta be able to react and respond accordingly. It is challenging and time-consuming in the present age, but is a measure of success.

 

I suggest honing in on being a skilled “tactful news jacker,” meaning the ability to (tactfully) capitalize on a news story, trend, or hashtag. And if something goes awry, you need to mitigate the issue calmly and diplomatically. Otherwise you could put a nasty taste in your follower’s mouths.

 

Once upon a time Netflix capitalized on the news that IHOP was changing its name to IHOB. The Netflix US Twitter account tweeted, “brb changing my name to Netflib.”

 

As a news and trends curator, you are an extension of the PR team, or what would be a PR team if your brand doesn’t have one. Connecting to journalists and reporters can cause increased coverage for your brand. This is even more important for global brands so always be on the lookout for the next great connection.

 

Skills of the trade

Content Curation
Hungry for Information
Effective Monitoring
Quick Decision-making
Good Judgment
Can Think Globally

 

How This Drives Results

Keeping on top of as many trends as helps you be a more effective curator. Learning how to news jack will by far be one of the most content skills you can develop. Trend worthy posts related to news can boost social media traffic and encourage more organic engagement from followers who share or retweet your brand’s content. 

 

Customer Service Representative

 

As a social media manager, you are the voice of a company and if your company is large enough, you’ll have a customer service person or team who solely focuses on customer and followers’ reactions to your brand. You will be in charge of monitoring your brand’s “likability” across platforms and public image.

This also extends to reviews on websites like Google, Facebook, and yelp. Monitoring the reviews is important so you and your team and problem solve if there is a less than stellar review.

 

As a social media customer service representative you’ll manage your customers through messenger apps, follow up on other social platforms, and if you’re a pro you’ll use tools like Sprout Social for social listening to understand the general vibe of your customer base. You’ll need to be able to communicate with people in varying buying stages, moods, and dispositions. This position is the traffic director. It is important that you’re able to understand and interpret your follower’s questions, comments, concerns, and address it appropriately. No one wants an angry message.

 

Skills Necessary

Strong Communication
Adaptability
Calmness
Desire to Solve Others’ Problems
Ability to Troubleshoot
Knows where to Pass Complex Questions
Knowledge of the Company, Products, and Services

 

How This Drives Results

Speaking to your customers on their preferred social network allows your audience to feel incredibly accommodated. Responding to concerns on social instead of through email or over the phone can also save your company time, money, and effort. Since social media is a public forum, you can also use this time to showcase your brand’s ability to provide quality customer service.  

Community Manager and Facilitator

 

A community manager extends far beyond the reaches of Facebook or LinkedIn Groups. A community manager listens and responds to the community as a whole across multiple platforms. True communities expand beyond basic engagement on social media and scale up to an engaged community.

Community management is work though! As a community manager you’re responsible for asking questions to spark conversation, kicking out spammers, managing the ebb and flow of discussion, and keep a constant and consistent flow of communication.

Lindsay Kolowich Cox says, “A social media community manager responds to posts in an online discussion. A good facilitator asks relevant and thought-provoking questions in an engaging way. Another part is setting the tone for the community, being present, enforcing community guidelines, and sometimes even removing members or deleting posts when appropriate.”

 

Skills of the trade

Resourcefulness
Ability to Connect People
Can Stimulate Discussion
Firm but Empathetic

 

How This Drives Results

If your followers like your community, they’ll recommend it to others — either on purpose or inadvertently by commenting and having it show up on their timeline. This leads to more exposure, which leads to more reach.

 

To grow a social following, the social media community manager needs to help the company’s community get value from each other. A community manager will also provide new and interesting ways to monetize the group without being overtly sales focused. 

 

Funnel Marketing Manager

 

Social media is a powerful tool that can help the whole funnel, not just the top. It expands the reach of your content, attracts visitors to your website, generates leads, and nurtures those prospects into becoming customers. That means a social media manager needs to be able to pick and share content in a way that will accomplish each of those goals.

 

A funnel marketing social community manager plans a strategy around the company’s funnel.

 

At the top of the funnel, they need to share social content that generates leads. As they get further down the funnel, the social media expert needs to engage one-on-one with potential customers who are considering a product or service.

 

Social media is also particularly effective as a lead nurturing tool because prospects use multiple media to consume information. Because social channels are more fast-paced than traditional media, like email, you can engage with leads in a more timely manner.

 

Social media community managers need to have a strong understanding of the sales and marketing funnel. Then, they must understand which content is appropriate for each level of the funnel.

 

To be effective, this manager will need to keep in touch with multiple teams in their company. For example, they’ll need to pass appropriate leads to the sales team or product feedback to customer service.

 

Skills of the trade

Funnel Understanding
Knowledge of Content for Each Funnel Stage
Basic Sales Skills
Strong Communication

 

How This Drives Results

Sharing conversion-oriented content on social media can attract more visitors to your site and convert them into leads for your sales team. According to a 2018 GlobalWebIndex Study, 40% of digital consumers use social media as a tool when researching products. With the right person at the helm of your company’s social media accounts, your posts could catch the eye of these users.

 

Project Manager and Campaign Coordinator

Your marketing director and marketing team may have specific ways in which they want you to respond and engage on social media. It is up to the social media manager to delegate and manage which aspects of each request fit where. This is a sign that you gotta be incredibly organized and capable of multitasking. This is very much like a project manager. 

 

Project managers typically meet with colleagues to plan out social projects and campaigns. These people need to assess if a request will resonate with followers and audience members and then provide alternatives as needed. 

 

Social media community managers also need to effectively coordinate with different departments to organize campaign launches, while still pushing launches and growth initiatives of their own.

 

Skills of the trade

Strong Organization
Strong Communication
Ability to Negotiate
Data-Based Decision-Making

 

How This Drives Results

When a social media community manager balances these promotions with other engaging and relevant content, they’ll be able to win over their followers and key stakeholders. Social media plays a big role in promoting initiatives from different departments and teams across a company. 

 

How to prepare for a social media manager interview

 

Now that you understand the many roles that can either make up one social media manager or a team of social experts, let’s talk about ways you can prepare for the job interview. 

 

In my experience I have seen a variety of preparedness when it comes to social media manager interviewees. Some have known the brand and social media  presence just as well as I have and some haven’t been able to answer anything beyond what they use Facebook for personally. 

 

When preparing for a social media manager interview you need to have several things prepared. Here are my top four items you need to prepare for when prepping for an interview: 

 

    1. An understanding of who the company is you’re interviewing with. This information you understand should be; The mission of the brand, how involved the brand is with the community (local and/or global), if the brand has any major partnerships in play, etc. 
    2. What sort of presence the brand currently has on social media. Look at all their social media profiles linked on their website AND go search for their brand name on all other social channels to identify which other unlinked profiles they have.
    3. An understanding of how social media could be working better for the brand. Create a quick mini strategy for the brand, write down notes and things you would do to make the brand look better and have better engagement on social media. Write down quick notes and be prepared to share those notes during your interview. 
    4. What excites you most about working for the brand. Being able to speak to the parts of the company you like and appreciate most makes you look really good and gives the brand an idea so how you would fit into the company.
    5. A portfolio showcasing your previous work on social media. Similar to how an artist creates a portfolio showing off their work, you will need to be able to showcase the work you’ve done and established for the brands you’ve worked with. This social media portfolio should include; Stats from previous clients, top social media posts and their stats, conversion rates, post performance, and any other relevant information about your work style.

Aside from these four items you should be preparing for you should make sure you are also able to answer a series of questions about the position you are interviewing for. Here are a few sites I recommend you look through to prepare for the question/answer portion of the interview. 

35 Social Media Manager Interview Questions (With Sample Answers) from Indeed.com

21 Social Media Manager Interview Questions from Business to Community

10 Social Media Marketing interview questions and answers from UpWork.com
 

These are the 15 questions I ask social media managers the most. I highly recommend reading through these and coming up with answers on your own. Holding a mock interview is always a good idea!

 

  1. Which social media platforms do you have experience using?
  2. What social media tools are you familiar with?
  3. What is your preferred tool for scheduling posts? Why?
  4. What metrics do you use for monitoring data and performance?
  5. How do you decide when to post?
  6. Tell me about your social listening strategies.
  7. What does engagement mean to you?
  8. Tell me more about your experience managing social media accounts.
  9. What are the components of a successful social media campaign?
  10. How would you respond to a user harassing our company’s accounts?
  11. How would you respond to a negative comment or mention about our company?
  12. What would you do to make our brand more engaging on social media?
  13. How would you increase awareness of our brand?
  14. Tell me about a time you had to handle a social media crisis.
  15. How do you successfully manage multiple social media accounts at once?


One last item you should prepare for: Showing off your personality. Let me be honest and transparent with you here; You have a lot of competition. There are a lot of people who will say they can do your job, those who can do the job better than you, and there are those who will challenge your abilities. In order to stand out in a series of interviews you will need to understand that your personality matters.


Being quiet and coy during an interview won’t help you stand out, being bold and informed will. Outside of your interviews you will need to ensure your own personal social media presence is also on par with your skill set. If you prefer to keep your profiles private that’s fine but you should have a very clear reason for keeping private as a social media person.

There are so many myths surrounding what a social media manager should be. One of those myths being that in order to be good at social media you have to have thousands of followers–which is untrue regarding your personal social media accounts and even the brand accounts that you manage. The most important parts of your interview as a social media manager, will be showing off your skill set and knowledge base, your personality, and how you will fit into the culture of the brand.

 

Keep these tips, tricks, job descriptions, and Q&A’s bookmarked for your own reference and to pass onto your fellow social media managers. If you ever need help, references, or want to practice being interviewed, I’m here to help! Find me on Instagram and Twitter and we can set something up to test your knowledge. Book some time with me here. 

 

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