Are you preparing for your first, or next, social media manager job interview? Make sure you’re ready to answer these common interview questions.
Social media marketing offers a great career path in a rapidly growing field. Seeing as almost half the earth’s population was active on social media in 2021, businesses are keen to use social media platforms for brand promotion, customer service, and product sales. As a social media manager, you’ll be responsible for supporting your company’s goals for this space.
This is a popular job that requires a varied skillset. Hiring managers use interviews to ensure that a candidate is a good fit for the company’s particular needs, and prospective employees need to be prepared to prove they have what it takes to succeed.
Though no two interviews are the same, and every hiring manager has their own interview style and objective, this article will provide a general idea of what questions to expect. Use them as guidelines, and you’ll go into the interview with more confidence and some well-thought-out answers.
Here’s what we’ll cover in our social media manager job interview guide:
- What does a social media manager do? (A quick recap)
- Landing a job as a social media manager: What education and background do you need?
- General social media interview questions
- Job-specific social media manager interview questions
- Questions about your experience with social media
- Sample answers for common social media manager interview questions
- How to prepare for a social media manager job interview
- Key takeaways and next steps
Before we jump into those common interview questions, let’s explore what the role of a social media manager actually entails.
1. What does a social media manager do?
Social media managers can have different responsibilities depending on the company’s size and visibility on social media, but the following duties are pretty typical for the role:
- Create and execute a social media strategy that will support company goals
- Build and publish content on social media that aligns with the company’s brand
- Keep abreast of social media trends and adopt ones that make sense for the business
- Monitor brand mentions on all social media channels
- Manage and cultivate a community presence
- Respond to public-facing and private customer concerns
- Initiate and maintain relationships with relevant and influential social media personalities
- Run and optimize social media marketing campaigns
If you’re someone who enjoys writing, building relationships, and sussing out trends, being a social media manager could be a great fit for your skills and interests.
2. Landing a job as a social media manager: What education and background do you need?
Social media managers come from all different backgrounds; there is no “one true path” that will lead you to a career in this field. Many social media managers start as social media aficionados who turned their passion into a profession; others may have experience in digital marketing and decide they want to specialize in social media.
While a degree or certificate in digital marketing is not a prerequisite to enter the field, both help provide the skills and knowledge you will need. We’ve got a free, 5-day short course you can check out, to see if it’s the right field for you.
However, plenty of social media managers have either learned on the job or have taught themselves the necessary skills.
To learn more about what it takes to work in social media, check out the following:
- How to become a social media manager
- 11 Must-have skills of a social media specialist
- A guide to social media manager job descriptions (and what they really mean)
Now you can begin prepping for job interviews by practicing answers to typical questions you may be asked for a social media manager role, starting with general ones.
3. General social media interview questions
The hiring manager may ask some of the following questions during the initial part of the interview to kick things off and get to know you a little before digging into more specifics on skills and experience.
Here are some broad social media manager interview questions that are likely to come up:
- How did you get into social media?
- What interests you most about this role?
- What social media platforms are you active on and which one is your favorite?
- What type of content do you post?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- What social media accounts do you follow and why?
Once you and the interviewer have developed a comfortable cadence, the real meat of the interview begins. It’s especially critical to prep answers to the more job-specific questions, which will outline now.
4. Job-specific social media manager interview questions
The answers you provide to job-specific social media manager interview questions will give the hiring manager a better idea of how you’d perform in the role.
Here are some job-specific questions that commonly crop up:
- Tell me about your comfort level with setting up different ad formats on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
- What could we improve about our company’s presence on social media? Do you recommend dropping or adding any channels?
- How does SEO relate to social media?
- What metrics should we be looking at when evaluating the success of our campaigns?
- What social media management tools do you use to manage your company’s social media accounts?
- How would you make the most of a contest on Facebook where we gave away a free product?
- What are your thoughts on what our competition is doing on social media?
- What is the most important part of a social media manager’s job?
- How do you keep up with social media trends?
Along with job-specific questions, you’ll no doubt get asked questions about your prior experience with social media. This is your time to shine! We’ll show you how to prepare for those kinds of questions next.
5. Questions about your experience with social media
Hard numbers always add credibility to your responses about your social media experience. Make sure you focus on key performance indicators that directly contribute to a company’s bottom line instead of vanity metrics.
For example, if you grew your company’s Instagram follower count by 20%, that’s great, but if you were able to increase Instagram product sales by 20%, that’s even more powerful!
Here are several questions you should rehearse before your interview:
- Tell me about your thought process for formulating a social media strategy
- Talk to me about a campaign that failed and how you would change it (or did change it) the next time around
- How do you juggle multiple campaigns?
- Tell me about a successful campaign you ran and how you were able to scale it or use your learnings for another campaign
- How do you decide what content to post and how frequently?
- Share a time when you successfully resolved a customer concern on social media
- What is your go-to strategy for tackling negative social media engagement?
- What relationships have you built with influencers, and how did you go about doing so?
With all these questions in hand, you may be wondering the best way to answer them. Keep reading for some handy samples you can refer back to when crafting your own responses!
6. Sample answers for common social media manager interview questions
While there is no “right” way to answer any one question, there are some best practices to keep in mind, such as:
- Try to keep your answers as concise as possible and respond to the entire question.
- Avoid vague answers; provide enough detail to the interviewer so they understand the context of your responses.
- If you are unsure how to answer a question, ask clarifying questions.
- Don’t be afraid to pause for a few seconds before answering!
Check out these sample answers to inspire your own responses:
Q: Tell me about a campaign that failed and how you would change it (or did change it) the next time around.
Answer: I had one of our employees do a “takeover” of our Instagram account for a day so our followers would learn about how our company operates behind the scenes. Unfortunately, I had not elected to pre-approve the content this individual posted and instead let them publish everything themselves. As a result, several posts with typos and poor-quality photos that did not reflect our normal quality went live on our Instagram profile.
Fortunately, a couple of hours into the takeover, I checked on our Instagram profile to see how things were going and noticed the errors. I immediately contacted my colleague and told them what I had seen, subsequently requesting that they let me approve each post before they published anything new. Luckily, they agreed, and the rest of the takeover went smoothly.
Moving forward, I will pre-approve all content that my company publishes on any social media channel, so I can be assured of its quality.
Pro tip: Make sure to acknowledge your role in whatever went wrong. There is no shame in admitting you made a mistake (or a few mistakes); what matters is that you learned from your experience and will avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Q: How do you juggle multiple campaigns at once?
Answer: I have a few tools at my disposal to manage all the campaigns that I’m running. To start, I use a Google spreadsheet in calendar format that has color-coded notes on the promotions for each platform (including their budgets) and their durations. I also use Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance and another Google spreadsheet to document the results of my campaigns. Every Friday, I take a few hours to assess the results of the past week’s campaigns and set up a to-do list for what I need to set up the following Monday.
Pro tip: The tools you use aren’t nearly important as your ability to show that you can remain organized and on top of your work. If your methods have made you successful in the past, that’s all that matters!
Q: Share a time when you successfully resolved a customer concern on social media.
Answer: At my last company, we had a customer who was very unhappy with our product. They insisted that it had arrived broken; when the customer contacted our support team by phone, they were put on hold for an unreasonable amount of time and their concern remained unresolved. This individual communicated their displeasure by writing poor reviews on Amazon and TrustPilot and tweeting negative comments.
To help de-escalate the situation, I first reached out to the customer by phone; when I was unable to make contact that way, I sent an email, offering a sincere apology and the option of a full refund or a replacement product. I also responded to the customer’s reviews and tweets in a similar fashion, acknowledging their complaints and providing a resolution.
The customer responded to my email, and we gave them a new product and a code for a discount off their next purchase by way of apology. After receiving the product, the customer ended up loving it and wrote a thank you message on our Facebook page.
Pro tip: Choose an experience you can speak positively about. The last thing you want is to show irritation or annoyance when recounting a customer service situation. Responding to customers and protecting your company’s brand online are critical responsibilities for social media managers. A prospective employer will want to know that you can handle yourself in difficult situations.
Armed with potential questions and with an idea of how to answer them, you’ll be well on your way to hitting your interview out of the park! Read on for additional tips that will help ensure your success.
7. How to prepare for an interview for the role of social media manager
Here’s some good news: by reading this article, you’ve already started your prep work. However, you’ll need to do a few other things before you’re ready for the big interview.
1. Start by researching the company thoroughly. You should be able to speak knowledgeably about their social media presence and competitors (this will help you answer some of the questions they might pose to you).
2. Review the questions in this article and loosely prepare responses. Don’t attempt to memorize answers (which could backfire), but have an idea of what to say so you don’t get caught flat-footed. Have some examples at the ready to substantiate your answers.
3. Write down some questions of your own that you’d like to ask the hiring manager. An interview shouldn’t be a one-way conversation with you doing all the talking! The interview is a time for you to gather intelligence on the company culture, department you’d be working for, colleagues, etc., and should not be squandered.
4. Prepare a few “success stories” that you can use to answer multiple questions. Remember to keep them as concise as possible and include key success metrics.
5. Keep things in perspective. Remember that this is not the only job you’ll ever enjoy or want. No job is perfect; many jobs can be very fulfilling. Labeling one opportunity as “the golden one” will only serve to make you anxious before the interview and devastated if you don’t get it.
6. If you need to remind yourself to write a thank-you note to your interviewer, make sure to set one up! Common courtesy is important.
8. Key takeaways and next steps
Snagging a social media manager job isn’t always easy, but by giving yourself ample time to prepare, you’ll have the best possible chance for having a stellar interview.
If you’re brand new to the field of social media and digital marketing, why not check out our free, 5-day course?
If you’re reading this article in anticipation of transitioning to a new career, we recommend these articles as a starting point: