Wondering whether it's time to hire a Social Media Marketer? If you want to grow your audience, discover where and how you could be making more of an impact, and start succeeding on social media, the answer is yes! Customers are looking to understand what brands represent, as well as the product itself. They need a reason to get behind your product.
Your brand needs to be operating effectively where people are digitally and Social Media Marketers can help you do this. When it comes to organic social media, they can help to build an engaged community of people who identify with your brand. This is the kind of engagement you can’t just buy; it’s hard earned and takes time. Nowadays it’s difficult to grow a company without a solid social media strategy.
This article will demonstrate all the many facets of a social media marketer's role and highlight how they can help to improve business goals. We'll also talk about the process of hiring this role, especially as a freelancer, so you know what steps to take next.
What exactly is a Social Media Marketer?
A Social Media Marketer is someone who understands your brand tone of voice and consumer base and uses it in all social media communications. They manage and create content using messaging that fits the brand. They ensure all content being used on various channels is cohesive, and is adapted to each channel and the customer base that spends their time there. Their main focus is growing the audience on each channel in order to acquire and retain customers.
When to hire a social media marketer
Doing social media well isn't something that happens by accident, it takes strategic thinking and consistent effort. You can't pawn off your socials to your digital marketing team, no matter how much of a money-saver it may seem. Because there are specific algorithms on each channel, best practices when it comes to posting, the need to respond swiftly to trends, respond to inbound messages and engage with other creators. So, you need someone whose sole focus is social media.
If you think you're getting by without a social media expert, consider if your team has sufficient time to strategically plan and post content. Is your output original and creating engagement? Are you able to track the profitability of each channel effectively? Do you want to expand into other channels?
JJ, one of our social media specialists, says that steps for improving social media strategies vary between brands. Some brands might need to begin using a new channel, whereas some brands might need refinement and scaling back to be able to manage their communities successfully.
Hiring freelancer vs in-house
One of the main challenges for a Social Media Marketer is converting a brand’s internal narrative into a narrative that resonates with the audience (and then getting that message out via social). That conversion can be challenging for brands because when they’re living and breathing the brand, they can forget what it looks like to a new audience. Someone who is freelance and outside of your team has a fresh perspective, and they can help to refine the messaging or branding.
Outside perspective is so useful because if you want to leverage yourself on social media you need to understand your position in the market and within the communities you want to attract.
Ultimately, it's up to your preference and budget, but in something like social media which needs a dynamic, flexible and experienced professional, freelance is a great option.
Defining the responsibilities of your Social Media Manager
Before you begin the hiring process ensure you have clearly defined responsibilities that you can share with prospective employees. Include the range of duties in your job post so that people can clearly see what will be expected of them. For example, not every Social Media Marketer will expect to actually post a brand’s content.
The responsibilities include:
- Develop, implement and manage social media strategy across all channels.
- Establish a narrative about the brand.
- Position the brand well on social media channels.
- Define the most important social media objectives.
- Manage and oversee all social media content.
- Stay up to date with the latest social media best practices and technologies.
- Constant testing and refinement of content.
Passionfruit specialist JJ starts a new project by speaking to as many people as possible: “to gauge perspectives on the brand, the main messages and what the main problems that need solving are. Usually I work one or two days a week. I’m there to act, in the early stages, as a sounding board to generate as many ideas as possible and then to come back with strategies and plans. Then we work together to improve that, in a refining process.”
Manage social content calendar
Social media specialists use the social media calendar to plot out all posts across all channels. It's where they'll plot upcoming campaigns, the strategy, captions, and set the direction for each channel. Other members of the marketing team can use the calendar to see what is coming up and what assets need to be created.
Having someone who takes control of the calendar means you won't be posting ad hoc and stressing about getting content out. It allows your social media strategy to be properly considered and support overall business goals.
Our freelancer JJ says that: “scheduling content is one of the easier aspects of the role, but that being able to handle the reactions you get from posted content is a challenge. It’s a huge part of building your brand and your community! Staying on top of that and being flexible to the trends is more challenging than managing the calendar itself.”
Articulate brand identity
The first step in creating a brand identity is defining tone of voice (TOV). There are many templates online for how to do this, but you really need someone with great writing skills to inhabit the brand and write for the target audience. The TOV will change depending on where the customer is on the customer journey or which channel you're writing for, so it's worth spending the time to get this document right. There are lots of brands with great TOV so have a look and get some inspiration!
Visual brand identity guidelines set out how you silently convey your brand's personality. It's a collection of assets which help an audience to recognise your branding, including fonts, logos and colours.
Other elements can include:
- Photography styling
- Patterns or graphics
- Web design
Visuals have always been a surefire way to attract attention, but creating a cohesive visual identity is more important than ever as your brand will be communicating on multiple channels. Make sure people associate your branding with your brand and then use it everywhere. A social media marketer will understand the importance of using these elements and ensure the brand TOV or visuals don't stray from being, well, on brand.
Increasing followers across channels is the overall focus of a social media marketer, but it's not an exact science and calls for lots of trial and error, with tactics and goals constantly changing. The channels you focus on might even change, which is why the flexibility of freelance hires works really well in this area.
Followers generally increase with exciting, unique content, a regular posting schedule, focus on video, nailing the brand look and feel and excellent community management.
Publishing content on your brand's channels is a key part of a social media marketer's role. That's obvious, but what's not obvious is that not all content will work on all social networks. Some marketers use a 'TikTok first' approach, where you prioritise TikTok, which needs a high quantity of video, and then see what other channels the videos could work for. Instagram's algorithm is currently favouring video content, but your brand might choose to mix that with 2D visuals. Instagram stories translate to Facebook stories, but where else might these ideas live? An experienced Social Media Marketing expert will know which content to put where and be able to steer content creators in the right direction.
JJ tends to have a back-up template that she establishes when she joins a brand, so they can react to trends or news if she isn’t working that day. It is a simple asset adhering to the brand guidelines and tone of voice. A company will be able to drag and drop an image and put text on which can go out at any moment.
Where to find talent
There are lots of freelance marketing sites these days, as well as the usual job boards, but there you'll have to trawl through the options, read reviews and make your own shortlists. At Passionfruit we do all the hard work for you, presenting you with one or two excellent options who can turbo charge your social media strategy.
What questions to ask
Here are some suggested questions to ask in order to make sure you'd work well with your prospective freelancer:
Details on past campaigns
A key thing to look out for is any social media campaigns they have managed in the past. You're looking for how engagement and conversions improved, how they handled community communications, whether they worked with influencers and negotiated contracts, and what data they used to inform the planning of the campaign. You can compare this to any KPIs you have set out and assess whether or not this marketing professional would be able to achieve the goals you set out.
How they measure success
The beauty of social media is that it is immediate - you have direct access to data and results on content that is being published. Some analytics take longer to process but generally you receive quick customer feedback. Your new hire should be able to use data to measure success and should have a history of hitting targets.
What they've liked and disliked about their previous roles
This is a great interview question. You can gauge someone's interests and passions from this kind of question and see if it aligns with your company. If someone dislikes something that you're aware is going to come up in the proposed project, that could be something you need to flag.
How they would define your current brand voice
This is a task that involves your prospective hire looking through your TOV guidelines if you have them, or looking through your current online presence. Asking them how they would improve the brand TOV gives you an insight into how they perceive your brand, their writing prowess, and if they have a vision that aligns with yours. It also shows you their understanding of TOV as a whole which is key in a social media professional!
Typical Cost of hiring a social media marketer
An in-house social media marketer's salary is from around £30,000 - £50,000 per year depending on their experience, whereas a freelancer costs £200-£500 per day.
Measuring their impact
JJ says her impact is measured from the start: “Key KPIS and goals are outlined in the strategy, so they are known from the get-go. So every month we’ll highlight targets we want to reach, then at the end of the month review whether or not those targets have been met. In the experimental stage, which is usually the first couple of months, we will be trying different content out to see what works and what doesn’t and that will mean reviewing every week. There has to be flexibility in a structure when it comes to social media.”
She also said that if a brand finds that a particular style of TikTok video is gaining fewer follows or likes than usual, that particular style of content should be changed. You’re looking for an upward trajectory.
Hopefully you can now understand why a social media marketer is a must in any marketing team. Remember the freelance route provides maximum flexibility, expertise and is cost-effective. It's definitely a hire you won't regret if you do it right.
Hannah is a Communications & Brand Consultant. She is an experienced PR Specialist with a strong reputation for developing, delivering & managing standout campaigns for consumer brands.