So you’ve heard the buzz: you need to be present in the digital space in order to stay relevant and generate leads, and now you are looking to hire a digital marketer.

As a digital marketer, I have noticed a recent trend in the workforce. On one hand, digital marketers are highly in demand, and on the other, we are highly misunderstood. It seems that everybody is racing to hire somebody to keep their business relevant on social media, yet few recruiters know precisely who (or what) they are looking for in an applicant.

These seven tips are designed to make your digital marketer hiring process quick and painless and to bring you the best return on your investment.

1. Understand the difference between a marketing expert and a media expert.

Simply put, media is about creating and marketing is about analyzing. Media experts will create promotional materials to send into the digital space and marketers will analyze the data signifying whether these materials had any real benefit. Although top candidates will possess skills in both, these candidates will typically come with a much higher price tag.

2. Personal social media accounts matter.

Many professionals actively censor their personal social media accounts for fear that potential employers might search them and be turned off by what they find. Good social marketers understand this, but take it one step further: instead of censoring their social media accounts, they curate them. They have thriving accounts on multiple channels, filled with thoughtful posts and a high level of community engagement. They want you to find these channels so that you can see that they are already an experienced expert in the social space.

If you are deciding between two candidates and one has 1,000 Facebook friends with 10 plus likes per post, and the other has 200 friends and only posts once a month, your decision is pretty easy — isn’t it?

3. Hire a candidate who is memorable.

There was an excellent article posted about this recently. Good marketing copy is memorable — it makes an impression on the viewer. Good marketers will make an impression on you with their personality and public conduct. It might be a way of dressing, a way of speaking, a unique set of mannerisms and body language or something even more nuanced and subtle. Whatever it is, if a candidate makes an impression on you so that they stick out in your mind after all your interviewees have left, they are probably a good option.

4. Hire somebody who can write.

Digital marketing involves a lot of writing and, in terms of the marketing battlefield, digital marketers are on the front line. Although certain skills in the marketer’s repertoire can be learned, writing is something that should come naturally. Hire a digital marketer who is capable of quickly producing thoughtful, engaging, bulletproof copy that they can safely distribute to the public at their discretion.

5. Ask them what they love to do.

This is true for most professions, but for digital marketers it is especially important. Digital marketers must be actively engaged online with a high level of energy and excitement for what they do — this excitement is what breeds compelling marketing copy. They need to be enthusiastic, willing to take risks and able to embrace change. They need to be braced for failure and be dynamic enough to turn every failure into a new success. If your digital marketer isn’t in love with the important aspects of their job — reading, writing, learning, analyzing and experimenting — these traits just will not rise to the surface.

6. Understand what you are hiring them to do.

Are you looking for a graphic designer, a web developer, a blogger, an analytics expert or a community manager? Despite what many recruiters seem to believe, these are mutually exclusive and valuable skill sets. You can’t just hire an Internet savvy university graduate and expect them to act as a one-person digital marketing department. Hire somebody to perform a specific, predefined set of duties and be prepared to offer them support with the rest.

For example, I learned early in my career to make it abundantly clear in job interviews that I enjoy reading and writing and am best suited to do these things. I’ve worked as a jack-of-all-trades before, and it’s exhausting. In my most recent interview with Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies my manager took my concerns seriously and ensured me that I would have access to resources such as graphics, videos, photos etc., so that I could focus on doing what I do best. Needless to say, as I sit here writing this article, I am enjoying my job very much.

7. Make them work for it.

There was a great article posted recently on Inman about this topic. You’ve narrowed your job search down to a few candidates who fulfilled all of the requirements above. They are all enthusiastic and memorable, with great portfolios and strong writing ability — you’ve got a tough decision to make. Now it’s time to challenge them.

Ask each candidate to create a free account on Instapage and mock up a landing page specifying why they would make an excellent employee, or have them open a free site and publish a blog post detailing why you should hire them. The ideal candidate will do a great job, and they will do it quickly, and hiring them will be a no-brainer.

Patrick manages the Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies Blog. He is interested in empowering real estate professionals with dynamic content marketing strategies and recipes for personal success.

Email Patrick Wiltse.

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