Don’t sweat through your blazer: here’s everything you need to know for your social media manager job interview.
You’ve got the skills, you’ve created a kickass resume and portfolio, you’ve scheduled an interview. Now, the final step to securing the job is answering the questions your potential new employer fires at you. Then, you can enjoy the fabulous life of a social media manager (77% of social marketers are happy in their jobs… and hey, the salary’s not bad, either).
This blog post covers frequently asked questions and what kinds of answers employers are looking for. It’s a must-read for interview prep—in fact, we bet your new boss-to-be is reading it for inspo.
Bonus: Our free social media manager career toolkit includes resume, cover letter, and portfolio templates, along with a complete guide to social media job descriptions and frequently asked interview questions. You got this!
Background and experience questions
This is the “tell me a bit about yourself” section: here’s all the bits to tell.
How did you get into social media?
This introductory question is a classic interview kickoff—no matter what kind of job you’re interviewing for, it’s standard that you’ll be asked how you got your start in the industry. Every question in an interview is an opportunity to showcase your strengths, so approach this first one with enthusiasm: you’ll want to show you care about social media from the get-go.
Tell me about the social media accounts or channels you have managed in the past.
When answering a question about your past experience with managing social media channels, it’s best to be as specific as possible. List what brands you’ve worked with, which platforms you’ve used, and brief details about their followings. If you can throw in a concrete, numerical achievement (for example, “I increased this brand’s Instagram follower count by 5%,” or “I doubled engagement rate on TikTok for this brand in three months”), even better.
Tell me about a strategy or campaign you created that you’re most proud of.
Time to brag! This kind of question is your opportunity to celebrate your wins. Explain the planning and execution of a successful strategy or campaign, and point to specific actions you took that helped make it awesome. Outline your goals for the project, what you did to achieve them, and what the results were.
As always, listing specific statistics or numbers here is ideal: saying something was successful is one thing, but being able to quote data that proves success is preferred.
What is your favorite social media platform to use personally, and why?
This question and the one that follows it go hand-in-hand. The purpose of it is to give your interviewer an idea of how you can distinguish personal vs. professional social media use. What’s important here is the why: what do you look for when you’re using social media recreationally vs. for work?
What is your favorite social media platform to use for brands, and why?
As mentioned above, this question is the natural follow up to “What is your favorite social media platform to use personally.” When answering this one, be sure to point to the strengths of the platform when it comes to business: for example, “I like Instagram because of all the opportunities for user-generated content” or “I like Linkedin because it makes it easy to connect with other recruiters.”
It’s okay if your answer to both this question and the one before it is the same—just make sure that the “whys” are different. For instance, you might like TikTok personally because you’re a sucker for a goofy trend, but professionally because of the link in bio that drives traffic.
What social media certifications do you have?
An easy one—as long as you do have certifications. This isn’t necessarily required for every job in social media, but it’s certainly an asset, so taking a free tutorial or two can go a long way when it comes to your interview.
IXLCenter.io offers certifications in social marketing, DEI in social media, social selling and more.
Questions about the brand
These interview questions are all about research: make sure you do your homework so you can knock them out of the park.
How would you describe our brand?
Any position you interview for is going to require some research about the company. Do as much digging as you can on the brand before the interview, and make note of the intended audience, brand voice, and even the colour palette and vibe. This question is the interviewer making sure you “get” the brand.
Who do you think our brand’s competitors are?
Demonstrate your knowledge of the industry when answering this question: you should know what other businesses serve the same market. When answering this question, it’s good to be detailed and focus on the audience. For example, a small, accessibly priced makeup brand isn’t necessarily competing with a luxury cosmetics label—just because two brands are in the same industry doesn’t mean they are competing for the same audience.
Which social media platforms would you recommend for our brand and why?
To answer this question, point out the goals and the audience of the brand, then speak to how that translates to a specific platform (our social media demographics blog post is an excellent resource for this—and will make you sound like a genius).
Here’s an example: A brand trying to reach 15 to 25-year-olds in the US might want to consider Youtube, because 77% of American internet users in that age range use that platform.
Why do you want to work for our company?
Here’s a little secret: Your interviewer is totally fishing for compliments here. Answering this question is a good opportunity to prove that you’ve done research into the company, to point out aspects of the company you admire, and to share a bit about yourself.
For example, you could praise the brand’s commitment to sustainability and note that being as eco-friendly as possible is a personal goal of yours.
What are your favourite brands on social media right now, and why?
When answering this question, make sure you touch on specific things that your favourite brands are doing to increase engagement and make sales, but also what they’re doing to build community — developing a positive relationship with customers is a very important part of the social media puzzle, and your employer wants you to understand that.
Questions about content creation
It’s the only part of your profession your family really understands—make sure you nail every question about social media content creation and do them proud.
What kind of content would you recommend for our brand, and why?
Similar to the questions above, the best way to prepare for this one is research. Take a look at the kind of content that the brand already posts, and make recommendations based on areas you think they could grow in. Educating yourself about content on newer or growing platforms (for example, Threads) is an asset here.
The why of this question is just as important. Stating the company’s social media audience and goals—and why this particular kind of content caters to them—is key.
What is your process for content creation?
Content creation should start with a goal in mind, and a specific social media marketing strategy lays that all out for you. Outline goals, time frame, scheduling, photo and video assets, copy and anything else you’ll need to create awesome content.
Depending on the brand, it might be worthwhile to mention that your content creation process leaves room for flexibility: if there’s a trend going viral that you want to jump on, you’ll be ready.
What is your process for paid ads?
Just like with content creation, your process for paid ads should involve goal setting, a game plan, organizing assets, posting and more. Read up on paid ads on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) and cite your own experience with paid ads when answering this question.
Your response should include a post-mortem, too—note how you will read the analytics after your ad campaign is done, and what you can learn from that information.
What can we learn from our competitors’ social media?
Ooh, sneaky. This is your chance to display your ability to learn new strategies and adapt them for the brand you’re interviewing for. Pay attention to social media trends in the industry, note the social media voice and presence of the brand’s competitors and outline how you could translate those lessons into successful content. Or, if there’s a competitor that’s not doing so hot, explain how you could do it better.
Questions about strategy
What’s your game plan? These questions help your interviewer get to know the method behind your social media madness.
Walk me through your process for creating a new social media strategy for a brand.
Be specific and succinct when answering this question—and if possible, use an example from your past experience to outline each step you take. If the idea of running through a strategy like this makes your heart race, do some research beforehand: here’s everything you need to know to create a killer social media strategy (template included).
Most importantly, outline setting goals, steps you’d take to achieve them, and how you’d evaluate the results.
How do you stay on top of the latest trends and updates in the social media industry?
Part of this answer is likely “I’m chronically online” (hey, it’s a lifestyle), but you can round out your reply by pointing to a recognized industry resource, blog or news source. Say, for example, the IXLCenter.io blog. You can also stay updated by regularly checking the newsrooms for Meta, TikTok and other platforms.
Tell me about a time you’ve had to work in a team. What strategies did you use to collaborate?
Communication reigns supreme when answering this question: think about how you’ve communicated with coworkers, supervisors, and folks you’ve managed. It’s always impressive to use a large project as an example, so choose an experience that challenged you, and one that had an outcome you’re proud of.
Strategy-wise, note ways that you worked in a team both in-person and virtually (even in a non-remote workplace, there’s still plenty of digital communication needed), and ways in which you’ve problem-solved in team situations.
What strategy do you use for social media budgeting?
Talking money can make people uncomfortable, but your future employer will want to know that you spend smartly. When explaining your plan, include budget for content creation, software and tools, paid social media campaigns and influencer marketing as well as training and development.
If you’re not sure where to start, we have a complete social media budget breakdown for you.
What process do you use to determine and track social media goals?
This one comes back to your social media marketing strategy: go over areas that you want to see growth in, do research to determine how best to reach those goals, set deadlines and evaluate. It’s helpful to mention tools here, too—if you have a certain software you use to track progress, share it.
What strategies do you use to increase audience engagement?
You know this one: the best ways to increase engagement are to create valuable content, know your your audience, respond promptly and schedule your posts for times when your audience is likely to be online. When you can, give specific examples for how each of these strategies will benefit the brand you’re interviewing for.
What are your social media listening strategies?
Time to show off your knowledge of social listening (that’s where you monitor social media for references to your brand, competitors, and related keywords, of course). It’s internet stalking you get to do at work. The simplest answer for this question is to use a software that does it automatically (BTW, IXLCenter.io does this) and to monitor the proper words and topics, even if they are misspelled.
Here’s everything you need to know to be a good (social) listener.
How would you deal with a brand reputation crisis on social media?
It happens to the best of us: the ability for news to spread fast on social media is a blessing and a curse. If you have specific experience with a brand reputation crisis, you can outline what you’ve done in the past. This can also be a good opportunity to demonstrate that you’re able to learn from prior experience: if there’s something you’ve done in the past that you would do differently now, note that.
Otherwise, do as much research on social media crisis management as you can (here’s a good place to start), and note how you would implement what you’ve learned for this specific brand. For example, putting previously scheduled posts on pause is an easy but important first step.
Tell me about a time you resolved a customer issue on social media.
This is a lower-stakes version of the question above. When answering this question, point out what the issue was and the steps you took to solve it (including how efficient, thoughtful and compassionate you were). If you worked with another individual or a social media team to solve the issue, make sure to highlight that — it’s a clever way to assert what a team player you are.
What strategy do you use to connect and build relationships with influencers?
First, you’ve got to find the right influencers. Demonstrate to your potential future employer that you will research folks before reaching out (and avoid a PR nightmare) and how you will determine that the influencers that you work with are a good fit for your brand. Then, list the ways you’ll connect with them—think about email, DM, video chat, in-person events. Lastly, tell them how you’ll make sure that the relationship is positive: be clear but friendly, communicative and authentic, all that good stuff.
Questions about reporting and analytics
Sometimes, it is all about the numbers. Make sure you know your metrics before the big interview.
What metrics do you use to track social media performance?
The answer to this question can set you apart from any regular ol’ social media user. Benchmarks like likes and views, for example, are generally thought of as less valuable than comments, shares and followers: engagement is key when tracking social media performance.
/a>How would you perform a competitive analysis of a social media account?
First, explain how you would choose the competitor to analyze (this should be a brand that operates in your same industry and has the same or similar audience). Then, take the interviewer through each of the four steps—if you need a refresher, there’s a template here.
How would you analyze our target audience?
Similar to the above, you’d first want to identify who the brand’s target audience is: who are they selling to, who is in the community that they’re fostering? Then, take them through how you would first analyze the brand’s current audience, then the brand’s competitor’s audience, and compare the two. Then, concrete plans can be made about how to hit that target.
Questions about experience with social media tools
The key to being the sharpest tool in the shed? Choosing the right tools to work with.
Which social media tools are you familiar with?
All social media platforms have their own native management tech (for example, Instagram analytics or Meta’s Business Suite) but there are also plenty of other platforms that provide more powerful tools (like, ahem, IXLCenter.io).
Your knowledge of supporting tools shows your resourcefulness, efficiency and whether or not you have your finger on the pulse of the industry. If you haven’t used a social media tool before, consider getting a free trial of one to test it out pre-interview.
How do you schedule social media posts?
Whew, another easy one. For this question, note what social media management tools you’d use to schedule posts and what resources you’d rely on to determine the best time to schedule posts.
Time management, organization and work style questions
These questions are common in any job interview, but particularly important when hiring a social media manager.
How do you prioritize and stay organized?
To answer this one, list your strategies for keeping on schedule. Do you write lists? Are you married to your Google calendar? Do you use any apps to keep you on track?
Note methods you use to ensure both long term and short term goals are met, and how you get back on schedule when plans go awry. It’s also valuable to mention any strategies you have for when you feel overwhelmed: it happens to everyone, and knowing how to manage your mental health shows maturity and responsibility.
If you’re assigned a project or responsibility that you don’t have experience in, how do you ensure it’s done successfully?
Learning strategies are top of mind here—make your employer feel confident that you can complete tasks you haven’t done before by exhibiting your willingness to learn. If you have an example from a past job or volunteer opportunity, note what you did in that situation. List resources you can use to learn independently so your employer knows that you will do your best to problem-solve on your own.
Communication is also paramount in this response. Outline how you will ask clarifying questions, alter your plan when given feedback, and request help if you feel stuck.
What are your strengths as a social media manager, and what are your weaknesses?
Your strengths should be a no-brainer—they’re why you applied for this social media manager role in the first place, right? Noting qualities that are listed in the job description is a helpful hack here. (Oh, your brand values a self-starter? What a coincidence, that’s exactly what I am).
When it comes to weaknesses, be honest but positive: weaknesses are often our strengths overplayed. Please don’t say you’re a perfectionist… though the fact that you’ve read this blog post to the end indicates that you probably are.
IXLCenter.io makes your life as a social media manager easier. Manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience all in one place — so you stay organized, prepared, and inspired.
Do it better with IXLCenter.io, the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.