10 Ways to Prepare for Your Social Media Manager Interview

August 10, 2013

How to prepare for your social media manager interview


Social Media Manager has become a rather popular position lately. Whether it’s a dedicated or partial position, the function exists within most organizations.

Enterprises, non-profits, small businesses and associations understand the benefits of maintaining social media channels to generate awareness, engage with prospects and interact with customers and partners.

A Friend’s Interview

Recently, a friend of mine was preparing to interview for a Social Media Manager position. He was looking to transition into that position from a related role and asked me for advice on how to prepare for the interview.

Here are ten tips on how to prepare: they’re meant for people who haven’t done the job before.

1) Clean up your social media profiles.

It's important to manage your privacy settings on Facebook

Pictured: privacy settings options on Facebook.

I can guarantee you that your social media presence will be a key consideration for this position. Your prospective employer will look you up on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (in that order).

Congratulations on passing the “sniff test” – you scored an interview.

That being said, between now and the interview, clean up and optimize your profiles. Professional-oriented sites like LinkedIn are a given; also be careful to review the “Who can see my stuff?” settings on Facebook and un-tag yourself from photos that you wouldn’t want your mom to see.

2) Find and discover the organization’s “brand voice.”

Every organization has a “brand,” which means that every organization has a brand voice. In other words, do some research on your potential employer.

Check their website for a listing of their mission statement or core values (example: the core values of Zappos).

Understand what’s important to the organization, along with their vision for the future. Then, subtly reference some of the information you learned during your interview. When you get the job, you’ll need to tweet, post and pin with the brand voice.

3) Practice being the organization’s Press Secretary.

Jay Carney (photo via Wikipedia)

Photo of Jay Carney via Wikipedia.

Jay Carney is President Obama’s Press Secretary. Like all presidential press secretaries, Carney has a challenging job. He needs to stand up in front of the White House Press Corps and answer questions.

Sometimes he’ll be thrown “softballs,” while other times, he’ll need to address pointed and difficult questions. Carney needs to answer the questions in the “brand voice” of the Oval Office. As a Social Media Manager, your followers on Twitter (for example) are the press corps and you’re the press secretary. So watch a few White House news briefings and see how Carney handles questions.

4) Immerse yourself in the role.

Plan a number of 30-45 sessions during which you observe brands in action (on social media). “Like” some brands on Facebook, both in the target industry and a few outside of that. See how they’re crafting their status updates on Facebook.

Then, venture over to Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and other social networks and observe how brands are using those channels. Pay particular attention to how those brands engage with their audience. You get bonus points for tracking a single brand across channels and figuring out how they uniquely use each one.

5) Be prepared to define ROI.

It’s great that you’re proficient at tweeting, posting and tagging. It’s even better when you can do it in the brand’s voice. Some organizations will want you to take it to the next step and measure the Return on Investment (ROI) of social media.

So do some research on ROI models (for social media) and be prepared to talk through some of them. Then, turn the question around and ask about the organization’s goals with social media. Suggest particular social media metrics that can be assembled to tie back to those goals. The key point: the definition of social media ROI should be unique to each organization.

6) Do research on social media advertising.

Twitter's Promoted Tweets set-up

Pictured: some of the targeting options available in Twitter’s Promoted Tweets.

There are lots of options for spending money to augment your reach on social media: Promoted Tweets, Boosted Posts (Facebook), Sponsored Updates (LinkedIn), etc.

Do some research on how these work: how are they priced, what are the benefits, how can you measure, etc. If your prospective employer is not yet using these tools, you can score bonus points by planting the seed (with your knowledge).

7) Consider celebrating your outsider status.

Let’s say you’ve never worked in the industry of your prospective employer. Especially for social media marketing positions, employers are starting to look past the “industry experience” pre-requisite.

If the topic comes up during the interview, be prepared with a way to celebrate you outsider status. You may bring a new perspective to the organization’s approach to social media and be able to communicate in a fresh, new way (while maintaining the brand voice).

8) Research agency relationships.

While this may only apply to larger organizations, do some research to see if your prospective employer uses agencies in its social media: PR firms, design firms, interactive agencies, etc. A good place to check is the “Press Release” or “News” pages on their website. Having this information in your back pocket keeps you better informed going into the interview.

9) Think up a creative idea or two.

Do NOT tell your prospective employer what they’re doing wrong on social media. However, it’s fine to observe what they’re doing and think up new and creative ways to do the same thing. Sort of like this: “I noticed you’re doing <this>, have you considered doing <that>?”

10) Research past campaigns and contests.

Take a look at past social media campaigns and contests run by your prospective employer. Understand what they were looking to achieve and how it was received by participants. You’ll have a role in campaigns and contests going forward, so speaking knowledgeably about them during the interview puts you ahead of the pack.


It’s important to remember the “larger calling” of your role. It may be neat to tell friends that you get paid to tweet, post and pin, but it’s all in the context of the organization’s goals.

The social networks are the tools that you use to help achieve those goals. Portray that message during your interview: your excitement about the opportunity is less around social media and more about leveraging social media to advance the organization’s cause.

5 Reasons to Run Social Ads for Product Marketing

April 27, 2013

Social ads help generate awareness

Photo source: User TimYang.net on flickr.


As a product marketer, you need to generate awareness of your products. Of the many tools in your tool chest, social media has emerged as an effective swiss army knife.

While some have found success driving leads and opportunities via social, I’ve been using it to generate awareness. I’ve found paid social ads to be a necessary complement to my “organic” (non-paid) social marketing.

Let’s consider five reasons to run paid social ads for your product.

1) Our short attention spans are getting shorter.

Across television, the web and print; across devices mounted on walls and in our palms, we’re inundated with more media than ever. How can we pay attention to any one thing? It’s hard and social media adds more food to the media buffet. Paid social ads can provide you with a small boost of attention (with your target buyer).

2) Your posts on social media are bound to be missed.

Let’s face it: unless your product is sold to social media managers, your target audience is not on social media all day long. In addition, social media is breaking news, real-time information, here, now. I like to say that if happened yesterday on social media, it didn’t happen. Paid social ads help combat this.

3) Gets you past social gatekeepers.

Reach more people with Facebook Promoted Posts

You spend years building up the Likes on your Facebook Page. Now, you pay for Promoted Posts to reach your own fans? Yes, that doesn’t seem quite right to me.

But I’m a pragmatist. “It is what it is” and you know what? It works. Spend $10-$15 and get more awareness to your own followers (Likes). You’ll also reach people outside of your network and have the potential to generate new Likes (of the post), shares and Likes (of your page).

4) Extends the life of your social posts.

So you wrote an awesome case study, then crafted a creative tweet to promote it. Chances are 95% of your followers didn’t see the tweet. And of those who missed it, another 95% will never, ever see it (the other 5% may see it because you included a hash tag that they follow).

With paid social ads, you can set a budget and your ads (posts) will be promoted until the budget runs dry. If social media posts suffer from radioactive decay, then social ads double your half-life.

5) New targeting options available.

You can now target Twitter ads by keywor

Twitter recently launched keyword targeting for Twitter Ads. Now, you can target your Twitter ads to users who engage with certain keywords in their timeline or in search.

Let’s say you tweeted about your daily special at your hot dog stand. You can now promote that tweet via these keywords: hot dog, ketchup, mustard, frankfurter, relish. The targeting can help not only with awareness, but also in driving conversions (leads).


The fun thing about social media is the fast pace of change. And while I’ve focused on Facebook and Twitter ads in this post, I’m sure new advertising options will emerge. In addition, there are existing options to explore, such as LinkedIn Ads. So experiment, measure and adjust. And have fun!

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