Every dealer wants his or her business to grow. At some point (maybe it’s today), you’ll likely recognize the valuable marketing opportunities available with social media. One of the steps you’ll need to consider is hiring a social media manager.
Hiring a social media manager will require an assessment of your resources and possibly an adjustment to your current operational structure.
Realistically speaking, it’s unlikely that you, as the owner or manager, will be doing the social media marketing. It’s very difficult to produce original, high-quality content, monitor engagement, run ads successfully and continually up your game while still operating the store.
Hiring a social media manager can be a challenge.
During the hiring process, you’ll need to figure out who measures up and who doesn’t. Many GMs, owners or HR managers don’t spend a lot of time on social networks so it’s quite a challenge to figure out who the best candidate may be to handle the store’s digital reputation, social presence, and sales leads.
Social media reaches people who buy the cars and service you sell. It targets those likely to buy and your social media manager must develop a leads funnel strategy.
Who speaks for your business on social media?
Social media is a popular marketing medium and there are many people trying to capitalize on it. Remember this: not everyone who says they can do social media marketing has actually done it successfully!
When you’re ready to hire (or promote) your social media manager, pose these 10 questions to your candidate. Their answers will inform your decision and help you pick the right person.
1. Which social media platform(s) are best for our business? (and have them explain why).
Ask them to describe the “personality” of your company brand in three words. They should have done research on your organization and your customers before assessing the potential across today’s social media channels.
Facebook, Twitter, your company blog, Instagram, YouTube, and others are all unique channels and each has different marketing tactics. Focus on the channel(s) where your target customers spend their time.
2. What are the two most important social media metrics to monitor regularly?
- Engagement. Whatever the channel, there needs to be measurable conversation around your company brand. Content drives social marketing success so if your content stinks, you won’t see people engaging. Your candidate should be well-versed in writing and curating relevant content for your target customers.
- Leads. What’s their track record with Facebook ads? Have they run a social campaign that generated leads? Ask them to outline a strategy for Facebook ads. Listening and responding timely to social media leads is crucial. Just like in real life conversations, when people talk to you, they expect a response. Make sure they have a solid grasp of how leads will be handled, too!
3. Are they accomplished in a social marketing environment AND in a social customer service environment?
Ask your candidate to define the difference between the two.
- Social marketing environment is “pre-sale.” It calls for a more conversational approach. Most social media conversations don’t revolve around sales. Your candidate should be able to recognize where a customer is in their purchase journey and guide them to their destination.
- Social customer service environment is “post-sale.” It requires empathy, patience, and the ability to resolve a conflict. Your candidate must be able to recognize situations that may call for an escalation to management Remember: they’re not just responding to that one customer, but for an audience of future customers!
4. What’s the most important thing a social media manager should be doing?
A solid answer would be monitoring and/or listening to the audience within the brand’s social channels. Engaging regularly with fans and followers is evidence that you’re there – you care – and you’re interested in having them as a customer. When you listen, you learn how to help them buy.
5. Have they ever handled a social media crisis?
Ask them to define what a social media crisis means to them and what steps they would take to resolve a situation. If the company doesn’t have a “best practices” protocol in place, it’s time to get one. This would be included in your Social Media Policy and should emulate your current conflict resolution process.
6. How would they allocate your budget for social media advertising?
Facebook is pay to play now. Ask your candidate to describe a plan for how best to allocate your budget and how they would know it’s successful. A typical budget consideration is for Facebook ads. Depending on your company and your market, a minimum $1,000/month is a good start.
Allocating a budget for every investment is crucial. These are the six social media investments you’ll need to consider as a prerequisite for success:
- Human Resources
- Monitoring, publishing & reporting software
7. Do they have a blog and do they currently write content for social media channels?
Ask to see their blog in action and make a note to see if they’re posting regularly. Ask to see links to content they’ve written on the web. Candidates will often produce content for places like LinkedIn and Medium, rather than having their own personal blog.
It’s crucial that your candidate has a working understanding of how content drives everything in digital marketing – SEO, content, and social media. A working understanding of HTML and WordPress websites would be ideal too.
8. Ask them what social media strategies they plan to use to generate leads.
As the business owner or GM, you need to know that social media is giving you quantifiable results for your money. There are various and specific KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to consider and for dealerships, social media ROI means generating leads.
Social media strategies that generate leads require social advertising. Each platform has its strengths but, in most cases, Facebook ads offer the most valuable and cost-effective opportunities.
9. Ask what their first goals would be.
If your candidate starts talking about vanity metrics like growing ‘X’ number of Facebook likes or ‘Y’ number of Instagram followers, stop them and ask:
- How will they build an audience of in-market customers?
- How do they plan to engage with that specific audience?
The candidate might try to focus on vanity metrics so keep in mind that a small, switched-on and engaged audience offers a lot more value than a bunch of disengaged fans/followers from outside your market area.
10. Ask them to tell you a story.
I’ve saved the coolest, most enjoyable question for last. If your candidate has the ability to tell a compelling story, that will deliver a huge advantage in all levels of social media marketing.
We all connect via stories. Stories paint pictures in customers’ minds and evoke emotions that foster trust and credibility. Your candidate must be able to illustrate, through stories, why people buy from you rather than your competitor.
One Final Thought
This is not a position that should be taken lightly or seen as an entry-level position. Your social media manager will speak the lifeblood of your brand to an infinite amount of current, new and legacy customers. Please take deliberate steps to find the embodiment of your brand’s personality. Choose someone who takes the leadership role in building your digital reputation. Should you find yourself having more questions than answers, please reach out to me, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
Author: Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”.