Hiring a community manager needs to be about more then just being a fun Tweeter or avid Facebooker.
We recently encountered a woman claiming to be the expert in her field. She boasted ten years in the niche of breast health and further claimed she had an active community of 60,000 members. She billed herself as a freelance, expert, community manager capable of sustaining and building a community. What we found was she was just another example of someone with an internet connection that decided they knew it all. We’ll use this example to show you what you need to be looking at before you hire a community manager.
1. Look at their actual website. Does it work? Like we said, anyone can slap together a few pages and call it a site, but if those pages don’t work, what good is it?
2. Take a look at their community. Is anyone engaging on the forums? If you claim 60,000 people but there are only a dozen or so posts in the previous months, that is not much of a community. That isn’t even even .1% engagement. If you can’t engage even 1% of your users over a month, you either have no personal skills, you have nothing of value to offer or you are lying through your teeth about the size of your community.
3. Check their social media. Don’t be impressed by having a large number of friends or followers. This is an era where anyone will connect with anyone else just to be polite if they are asked. Raw numbers mean absolutely nothing. Look for engagement. Look deeper and see what people are engaging with, if anything at all. If you have 5,000 followers somewhere but less than 50 interact with you over a month, you’re doing it wrong. If you claim 60,000 followers but have less than 300 likes on the corresponding Facebook page for the “site”. you’re doing it wrong.
4. Look at the prospective community manager as you would an employee in real life, because it is your money that is being spent. Are they stable? This means is it safe to assume, natural disasters aside, they will be online regularly enough to do their job? Are they t=stable personally? You don’t want someone going through major life drama in charge of your community. Something will always come up and give them an excuse to be absent which means your community is untended.
5. Check their reputation. As for real references from people that are willing to put their name on the line to endorse the individual to you directly. Dig around a little bit and see how much actual. verifiable experience they have.
6. Ask them real questions related to community management. How are they going to maintain and build your community? How do they handle spam attacks, defamatory and/or unduly insulting and profane comments and members? Do they even know how the algorithms related to the content shared in your community are worked – or more basic what they are called? Prepare a list put together by a real, known, community manager and then interview them real time to see how easily they can give correct responses if at all.
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