May 18, 2017

Content And Social Media Hires: What To Look For

By Polly Allen at Inspiring Interns

We know there’s an ongoing crisis in digital marketing hires. This year’s Zazzle Media content marketing survey found that three in five respondents’ content marketing strategies were affected by having ‘not enough staff’. Zazzle also revealed that 33 per cent of respondents said they can’t find the right creative talent to run their content marketing.

So how can you appeal to the right candidates, and how can they make their mark at your company? Here’s what you should be looking for.

Someone Who Isn’t Afraid To Refresh Their Knowledge

Social media and content marketing are both rapidly changing. You need an employee who doesn’t rest on their laurels and isn’t afraid to try something new. They need to be testing out the latest social platforms and finding new ways to market your company – such as contacting vloggers, pitching a story to a new website, and keeping an eye on the latest hashtags.

You should get an idea of their willingness to learn just from looking at their CV – for example, have they taken on big challenges early on in a job? Are they frequently attending conferences and training sessions (maybe the pricey Growth Tribe two-day course, as tested by Techworld) or planning big campaigns? You can get them to expand on these details in a job interview.

An Accurate And Snappy Writer

Everyone makes mistakes, but until there’s an ‘edit tweet’ function and customers lose their ability to screen grab any misspelt or misdirected tweets before you delete them, your social media fails will live on the internet forever. This could even affect your rapport with customers, because mistakes on your timeline could suggest you’re not that hot on accuracy in business, either. Your digital hire should be hot on spelling, grammar and sentence structure, able to write a punchy tweet and know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’.

In 2013, Business Insider noted that Coca Cola’s social media had better spelling and grammar than Pepsi; furthermore, it reported survey findings from Disruptive Communications (a London-based agency) that said 42.5 per cent of people would change their opinion of a brand due to ‘poor spelling or grammar’. Pepsi may have bigger problems right now, due to its recent controversial ad, but ignoring little issues like spelling can lead to trouble.

A Chameleon Who Can Adapt To Any Brand Voice Or Strategy

If you’re running multiple brands, or you’re dealing with a brand that has changed its identity to target a changing customer base, your digital content needs to keep up. If you have a team of people writing web and social content, it’s no good letting them each do their own thing in their own voice, where Person A uses formal language and Person B litters everything with emojis and GIFs, because your Twitter timeline will look really patchy.

Give your new hires, and your whole team, clear brand guidelines to work with. For starters, try Econsultancy’s brand voice template document for Twitter. The same goes for website content, and external content used to build links. Anything connected to your brand needs to feel distinctly yours – not copying the competition or reading like a cheap piece of copywriting from a content farm. A great digital content hire will understand this straight away.

An Idea Developer

It’s a huge advantage to have a content marketer who comes up with their own content campaigns from scratch, but you may find you prefer to set them a specific challenge, such as creating a Christmas campaign, and seeing them tackle it. Whatever the end goal – let’s say ‘increase brand awareness in under-35s’ or ‘increase web traffic year on year by 20 per cent’ – your new hire needs to be ideas-driven, so you don’t have to keep holding their hand.

In practice, make sure they can come to you as an idea becomes a reality, because you don’t want them getting carried away with a strategy that could easily backfire or be far too expensive. Set some boundaries, show them successful digital campaign examples you love, and schedule regular meeting times to regroup. If this all feels too relaxed, you can always test these skills with a practical test in an interview situation, then you know what your candidate is capable of before you hire them.


Polly Allen writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in graduate recruitment and helping interns find their perfect role. It also offers careers advice to graduates and young job seekers. For internships, graduate jobs and graduate jobs Manchester, visit their website. 

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By Polly Allen at Inspiring Interns