A lot can change in a decade. Ask anyone who works in the digital marketing and social media marketing space. Social media started out as a mode of communication that most businesses were wary of using. But today, it’s one of the strongest tactics in any digital marketing strategy – not to mention it’s responsible for making (or breaking) online trust and reputation.

In the last few years, this channel of marketing has grown from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have.” In fact, the field has seen salary increases, especially in the last decade — making this a highly competitive occupation.

The number of social media users have grown from 930 million in 2010 to 2.9 billion in 2019. Given the sheer reach of social media, it’s no wonder that companies entrust social media only to the best professionals they can find. According to the “Marketing Hiring Trends” report by Hubspot, social media marketing is among the top 5 areas of expertise in demand within digital marketing. 

With the growth of social media, the field has become more competitive. Here are some tips to help you stand out during your social media marketing interview.

Do Your Due Diligence

Make sure to study the company and its social media presence. If they ask you what you think of their current strategy, you shouldn’t be caught off guard. In fact, you should be ready with an analysis of their approach. 

Start off by mentioning what you like about the strategy, followed up by what you think can be improved. Make sure that all suggestions build on existing strategies, and are aligned with the company’s business goals (which you should have a reasonable understanding of once you’ve done your research on them).

Extra brownie points if you’ve researched the competition and can mention what they’re doing that your interviewers need to be doing too!

Know Which Social Media Channels are Right for the Business

A common question in social media marketing interviews is, “which channels do you think are most suited to our business?” This may even be followed up with “what do you think of our current social media strategy?”

Every business is different, and it may not be in their best interest to be on every social media channel. So, your social media marketing interview answer should take into a variety of considerations – such as whether the business is B2B or B2C, where its customers (current and potential, both) spend most of their time, and what its business goals are. 

When you frame your response around these factors (you can ask questions if you need any more information, such as their business goals, which you aren’t expected to know), you portray the image of a thoughtful, deliberate professional who knows how social media works. And if you’re asked to analyze their current approach, be frank. Start off by telling them what you like about it, and then work toward what you think can be improved by building on the existing strategy.

Similarly, if they ask “What strategy do you think is a surefire winner in social media marketing?” don’t get blindsided – the correct answer here is: “An authentic one.” There’s no magic formula or secret sauce to social media marketing success. It all depends on what you’re selling, where your audience is, and how effective your marketing goals are. The only approach that can help you gain audience trust (and therefore, in the long term, success) is authenticity.

Showcase Your Maturity in Crisis Management

At times, interviewers like to know how you’ll react in times of crisis. So, what should you do if they ask you how you’d respond to negative comments on social media? Or maybe even a troll?

In the case of negative comments, it’s important to respond to them quickly. Ensure you communicate the urgency of an immediate response during your social media marketing interview. According to a report by Smart Insights, the first few hours constitute a crucial window to try and turn the situation around. Explain to the interviewers that the company should have a crisis communication plan to address the comment based on its severity. Your approach should be to take the conversation offline, if immediate resolution can’t be offered. 

And when discussing managing trolls, never indicate the intention to engage them and win an argument. No official social handle is the place for a mud slinging match with trolls.

Get Your Storytelling Skills Down Pat

Social media marketing is all about putting the right spin on things – it’s about weaving a story, one that draws your audience in, engages them, and keeps them hooked. If you can’t come up with a compelling and engaging story on demand, it’s a red flag during your social media marketing interview. The larger concern is that someone who can’t come up with a half-decent story on the spur of the moment is probably not capable of engaging an audience in the long term. For instance, you might be asked to write some social media copies during your interview. If you can’t be creative and tell an interesting story then it will go against you.

Know Your Priorities

You might be asked questions like ‘What do you think is the most important part of social media marketing?’First understand if the question is for organic or paid because the answer will differ in both these cases. 

If it’s for organic, you might think it’s engagement, lead generation, and conversions, you’re right – but only partly. The most important aspect of organic social media marketing is that it allows you to be a fly on the wall, and really discover what people think of your brand (in this case, the one you’ll be representing). It’s not that social media affords you a platform (or several of them) to push all the content you can out to your audience, it’s that you can listen to them. Listening and responding (not reacting) should always take priority over posting content and starting conversations.

If it’s for your paid strategy then ROI will take a priority. Understand what might be the priority for the business — lead generation, conversions or brand building. This would also depend on various factors like the maturity of the brand, the type of product/service you are advertising or the kind of content you are promoting. Do your homework well!

It’s Time to Rock Your Social Media Marketing Interview!

Social media is an ever-changing landscape. No matter how often you catch up on the latest updates, it’s always a marathon. The best way out is to opt for a great certification program that can have you covered for a good amount of time. And if you’re new to the space, it’s the best way to get started.

Check out our Digital Marketing Nanodegree program which has a detailed course and a project on the subject to help you prepare for your social media marketing interview. 

Happy prepping!

Ritika Pradhan
Ritika Pradhan
Ritika is the Content Manager at Udacity and is passionate about bringing inspirational student stories to light. When not talking to the amazing Udacity students, she can be found reading an article or watching a video on the internet.