If your social media empire is at the point that you’re considering hiring a social media assistant then cheers to you! We’re all about getting extra support and sometimes it’s the exact thing you need to take your brand to the next level.
A social media assistant can be really vital to your success – that is if you find the right one. Finding quality and reliable help is challenging no matter what industry you’re in so finding a qualified social media assistant isn’t any different. We’ve put together some of the most helpful factors to consider during the hiring process to help you find someone who will be a great fit.
The reality is creating content takes A LOT of time and is only a part of what you need to run a successful business as an influencer or blogger. Since there are a finite number of hours in the day, you need all the support you can get to grow your brand (and even stay afloat).
We’re big fans of hiring a social media assistant to allow yourself the space to actually do the stuff you’re good at (and love to do) aka “YOUR genius.” It just doesn’t make sense to spend time doing administrative tasks when you could be spend that time on creating content that will make you money.
For example, if you’re a travel blogger and love creating presets for your followers then you should spend most of your time taking pictures and editing photos- not physically posting on social media or following up with brands who haven’t paid you for your recent partnerships.
We all know running an online business is not as easy as it looks, so hiring a social media assistant can give you the opportunity to do what you love and do it well.
Don’t Be Desperate: Your Social Media Assistant Needs to Be a Good Match.
Since your social media assistant will be involved in your business (both professionally and personally) it’s important to find the right fit for you and your brand. Here are 11 things to keep in mind when hiring a social media assistant.
1. Do they have real work experience and available references?
In the professional world (just like in the dating world), there is a sea of “catfishes” that you have to wade through to find “the one.” It’s so easy to fudge a resume and make up prior work experience that you have to really make sure the person you hire actually knows what they are doing.
If you’re hiring someone locally then meet up with them in person to ask them tough questions face to face. Inquire about the relevant positions they’ve held and ask what their day to day was like. You’ll be surprised how quickly the line “Effectively managed social media accounts” on their resume can turn into “I just got coffee for the social media team.”
Meeting in person is a great way to get a feel for if they are telling the truth about all the amazing things they have done on their resume. It’s also the best way to see if you “vibe” with the person. For us, vibe is everything.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a virtual social media assistant then we suggest interviewing them on Skype so you can get a feel for their personality and also make sure they are a real human and are who they say they are. You want to make sure that 23 year old Jenny from Montana is really not 54 year old John from Oklahoma – trust us weirder things have happened in the world. #justsaying
2. Do they understand the ins and outs of the social media world?
It’s important to keep in mind that while everything that has to do with social media may be second nature to you, for many people it’s like asking them to do calculus. Half the battle is finding a social media assistant who understands the fundamentals of your business so they can help you fly.
While a social media assistant doesn’t have to be a connoisseur on every social media platform or app, they should definitely be proficient in the ones you use for your brand.
If your focus is mainly Instagram and Twitter then you need someone that understands the intricacies of those platforms. While it’s great if they are skilled in Facebook and Pinterest too, if you don’t use those platforms then those skills don’t really apply to you (at least not yet).
3. Do you need a social media assistant who has a similar skillset than you or a complementary one?
Not every social media assistant is created equal. Keep in mind that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses so it’s important you know what help you actually need before starting the interview process.
We suggest writing down a list of all the things that need to get done to successfully run your business and then narrow those down to what tasks you can actually outsource and what tasks you need to do yourself. This will help you figure out if you need to find someone who has a similar skillset to you or a complementary one – or maybe you even need 2 assistants!
Ok but really, if you can afford 2 social media assistants it’s nice to be able to hire someone who can act in your place when needed and then someone else that can help you run aspects of your business that you don’t like to do or you’re just not good at.
For example, if you’re a travel photographer and you need a set of 50 images edited with a 3 day turnaround but you are set to leave for a press trip the following day – having someone to stand in for you is immensely helpful. Yah sure you can hire it out but finding someone on short notice, who knows the ins and outs of what you like and how you do things is invaluable, especially when you’re in a bind.
On the other hand, hiring someone that has a complementary skillset to you is also a godsend. If you’re more of the creative type and find it difficult or annoying to have to do administrative tasks like creating press trip recaps or doing partnership research then finding someone to spearhead those areas of your business can be a huge help.
4. Are they professional, polished and tactful?
Remember that whoever you hire is a direct reflection of YOU and your brand. You need to make sure they will represent you in the best light. Some things that are easy for you, may not be easy for other people.
Take for example, basic language skills. Do they frequently misspell words? (Yes, it can happen even with the invention of spell check.) Can they form a sentence correctly? Are they rude to others? Hiring someone that is not up to your professional standards can create double work for you if you have to constantly double check their work before it goes out the door.
If you just hired an assistant to comment on Instagram images then that’s a different story. But if you’re planning on them being an integral part of your business either now or in the future, then you need to make sure they will represent you in the best light.
A great thing to do in the interview process is give them a few tests of the tasks they will be required to do. For example, if you are hiring someone to create captions, comment on Instagram posts and respond to general emails on your behalf, send them a worksheet and ask them to do sample tasks to see their work product.
Yes, it’s an extra step for you but a great way to get to know a candidate’s work quality before giving them the job.
5. Are they invested in your business or looking to make quick cash and bounce?
Finding someone who is going to stick around and help you grow your business is really important when hiring a social media assistant. Some people may be in between jobs and looking to pick up extra work before they start their next dream job but be careful of those types of people.
Training your new social media assistant will take substantial time and energy – both of which you can’t spend on building your brand. As much as they are investing in you, you are investing in them. In the beginning you will also have to monitor their work and tasks to make sure it’s exactly how you want it to be done.
Of course, it’s totally normal for people to make mistakes in the beginning (after all there’s a learning curve every time you start a new gig) but it is important to catch them early on so they don’t become bad habits.
Putting aside the time to train your social media assistant is totally worth it and flat out necessary but time is money so invest in someone that is going to stick around for the long haul. Trust us, we’ve learned this lesson the hard way :)
6. Are they a generally reliable and trustworthy person?
Finding a social media assistant that (1) does what they say they are going to do and (2) when they are going to do it is a major win. These things may seem small to you now but when you’re in the full swing of things and deadlines come into play you need someone you can count on.
Sometimes these qualities are difficult to decipher from just one or two interviews but listen to your gut feeling (which 9 times out of 10 leads you in the right direction). If you have a funny feeling about the social media assistant candidate then you should probably look for someone else no matter how impressive their resume is.
It’s also easy to be lackadaisical when it comes to deliverables since you’re the boss but it’s important to make deadlines and stick to them. Make your social media assistant accountable for their work and YOUR timeline.
After all, their sole purpose is to help you grow your business and it’s nice to have an accountability partner along the way.
7. How are you going to monitor their work product and activity?
Micromanagers get a bad rep but knowing what your social media assistant does while they are clocking their time is a very good idea. In the end you are spending money so you should know what you are paying them to do.
It’s also good to see how long it takes them to do projects – if a task that should take them 30 minutes takes them 2 hours then you need to see what the issue is and how you can train them to be more efficient.
Monitoring their work is simple and easy. You can either have them send you a monthly document with all of their tasks outlined or have them track their time in a spreadsheet. If you’re paying them hourly it’s important to identify how you want them to track their time – whether it’s by the exact minute or if they should round up or down to the nearest tenth of an hour.
For example, if they answered one email on a Saturday that took them 4 minutes, would they charge you for 4 minutes or round up to the nearest tenth of an hour (6 minutes)? There are free time tracking apps and websites available for your social media assistant to use to keep track of their time.
Also, it’s important that every time tracking entry have a descriptions of the tasks they performed during that amount of time. This information is also helpful for you to know what projects are being worked on and what are completed, without having to constantly ask them for updates. An example of a description is as follows:
March 15th: Responded to direct messages on Instagram, Created brand partnership recap (1.25 hours)
8. Are you going to be able to afford them in the long run?
Having extra money to pay someone now is very different than having steady income to pay someone regularly. If you don’t have steady income but need the extra help, you may want to consider hiring someone on a project basis or part-time. As your business grows so can their role.
It’s important to keep in mind that this person will depend on the work you give them to pay their bills. Don’t let your ego get in the way of really understanding what taking on a social media assistant means for you financially.
If you live brand partnership to brand partnership then it may be risky to take on such a big expense without a safety net of savings in the bank. When you take on a social media assistant you should be prepared to put them first (i.e. if a check doesn’t come through one month from a brand partnership you should pay them what you owe them and you find money to cover your rent from someplace else.)
It may sound crazy but that’s what being a good boss is about.
Also, just a general tip, if you don’t pay your social media assistant on time it’s also a huge red flag that there is something wrong with the business and that can make them insecure about their position. When people are worried about job security, they usually start looking for another job.
The best way to keep the people who work for you happy is to pay them on time (and obviously be respectful too).
You Have To Do Some Homework Before Hiring A Social Media Assistant To Protect Your Business.
9. Should You Hire An Independent Contractor or An Employee?
It’s important to know the difference between an independent contractor and employee because there are certain laws and regulations that you have to follow depending on which type of business relationship you create with your social media assistant. For example, if your social media assistant is an independent contractor you will only have the right to control or direct the result of the work they are performing. You can’t tell them what has to be done or how you want them to do it.
On the other hand, if your social media assistant is an employee then you can control what they do and how they do it. This obviously sounds like the better option but hiring an employee comes with a laundry list of things you have to do to hire them as well as extra expenses you’ll be required to pay.
It’s important to properly classify your social media assistant as an independent contractor or employee and KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS.
If you call your social media assistant one thing and treat her/him as another, you can be in big trouble with not only the Internal Revenue Service but also the Department of Labor aka DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
10. Are they willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement and contract?
We’re sticklers for confidentiality and like to keep our business exactly what it is – our business.
Of course, when you have someone join your team you have to let them in on information you may not want the world to know. That’s why it’s a good idea to have them sign a nondisclosure and confidentiality agreement so you can let them into your world but still protect your business. Frankly, confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements are non negotiable in our book.
Another important consideration is to ensure that any social media assistant you hire assigns their work to you in writing. If you are paying someone to do work for you than you definitely want to make sure you own it.
We get it, contracts can be awkward but what’s even more awkward is when there is a disagreement and someone takes legal action. Contracts are great for both parties because they clearly lay out expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page.
11. Are you complying with laws and regulations in the state of their residence?
If you’re looking to hire a social media assistant that lives out of state (think virtual) then you need to check with their state’s laws to make sure you are complying with any rules or regulations that are specific to their home base. It’s a good idea to seek the advice of a lawyer to make sure you’re squared away before offering the candidate the job.
As excited as you are to hire a social media assistant to grow your empire, take your time to find the right fit and make sure you have your ducks in a row. Taking your time may not be ideal now but will definitely pay off in the long run.
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