We’ve all been going social for awhile now and more and more businesses are increasing their social media budgets to keep up with the growing demand from customers to engage in the product or service via multiple social channels. This is why many companies, large and small, have chosen to either hire a social media manager internally or outsource to individuals or agencies.
Maybe you have been had some success managing your own social media but you are finding you have less time, patience or skill set for it. Maybe you are not getting the results you want from your current social media campaigns. Maybe you have had no desire to have a social media presence, but are feeling social and business pressure to “get on the bad wagon.”
No matter the reason your reason for considering outsourcing your social media, it’s important to know what to look for in your social media manager. Practitioners of social media come from many different backgrounds such as communications, public relations, copywriting or marketing for example and the scope of the work varies depending on the goals and needs of the hiring party. This is someone (or a company) that you are going to trust with your brand and it is not a decision to be taken lightly because it takes time, money, lots of know how, and a great social strategist to create a prominent online presence.
But what does a social media manager actually do?
- Understands business goals
- Develops an online strategy
- Creates relevant content
- Engages with customers
- Analyzes data
- Stays up to date on social topics, trends & tools
If you want to know what activities that involves, check out this cool infographic about the daily schedule of a social media manager:
Who better to tell us what we should be looking for than the experts themselves…I found several articles from social media experts about their skill set, characteristics and day to day activities. Most of them had a similar take on what a social media manager is responsible for. So here they are:
1. Understanding business goals
Creating goals and metrics will help ensure that the time and resources your organization invests in social marketing are well spent. Your social media manager should collaborate with you to create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive) for your social campaigns. These goals will need to be revised periodically based on the the results of your campaigns. So remember, meeting your goals, is not not as important as having goals.
Having a clear picture of your business and your goals are essential before even approaching a social media company.
And if the person trying to get your business does not ask you questions about your biz and your marketing goals, then run! Chances are, they are not who you want running your social media campaign.
-Angie M Jordan, Social Strategist, Social Media Manager, and Blog Consultant.
Article: Read This Before You Hire A Social Media Manager
You need a social media manager that understands your business-related goals and can help you. All content on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel, etc., has to support your business-related goals. Which means that your social media manager must have an intimate understanding of the company’s goals. That requires an editorial calendar displaying a majority of your company’s posts for the next 30-60 days — each tied to your goals for the current fiscal quarter or year.
-Mikal E. Belicove, Entrepreneur magazine columnist & contributing writer and a business strategist specializing in market analysis, messaging and positioning, and content development
Article: 6 Must-Have Attributes of Social Media Managers
Businesses have different goals they want from each element of marketing. It’s no different for social media, as it is just another marketing tool and medium. Marketing fundamentals still apply. For some, brand awareness is paramount. For others, it’s increased sales.
Any marketing strategy and the resulting tactics should keep in mind the two key fundamentals:
1) the target audience and
2) the goals.
Social media is not a magic bullet and should be used where appropriate just like television, radio or email marketing.”
-Jeff Bulas, Consultant, coach, mentor and speaker and work with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and company presence and brand with digital marketing and social media through the use of social media channels and other web and mobile technologies.
Article: 26 Tips for Managing a Social Media Community
2. Develops an online strategy
The way a social media manager develops a social marketing plan is similar to developing any other marketing strategy. While there is no standard approach, the basic components can be addressed by answering these simple questions:
• Who are you targeting with your social marketing?
• How can you deploy social marketing tactics for measurable success?
• What goals or objectives do you want to accomplish?
It’s important to a social media manager to have a client receive a large return on his or her investment. A quality social media manager will be knowledgeable about where and when to run ads, as well as what keywords to use.
-East Cooper Company, LLC is a small business Social Media Firm.
Article: What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
Quantifying the value of social media can be a daunting task. Unclear objectives and numerous metrics add confusion. It’s time to ground your social media initiatives with a strategic plan that makes measurement clear and easy.
Start by following the social media strategy funnel. Before diving into tactics, you need to define social media goals that align with business objectives.
-Angie Schottmuller, an inbound marketing thought leader skilled at creating magnetic content optimized for search, social, conversion and mobile.
Article: Social Media ROI: How To Define a Strategic Plan
Social media marketing requires a lot of work, a certain amount of technical savvy, excellent writing skills, empathy for customers, and an awareness the company’s strategy.
3. Creates relevant content
The social media manager is responsible for either producing or delegating of content creation across multiple platforms as part of the marketing strategy. Here is an example of a “product mix” of content for a company.
Community managers also have to source and create consistent, reliable streams of content that are relevant to both the business and their audience for all of these channels. And each channel has its own rules, limitations, etiquette, and best practices.
At its most basic, a social media community manager’s job is to drive visibility and engagement of a brand via social media channels. At the tactical level, this means managing several streams of content on a variety of different platforms.
They (the professional) are posting resources, blog posts, strategies, tips, articles, video’s, motivational quotes, images, events, etc.
-Livvie Matthews, Social Media Consultant and Coach with a specialty in Dentistry.
Many businesses have the problem of using social media tools without first doing their homework to understand their potential audience.
You must plan before you act in social media if you want to have a positive return on your investment. Random acts of marketing (RAMs) and social media (RASMs) will get you nothing but in the red come month-end!
Eight things you should know about your audience to create content that inspires:
- Who is your audience?
- What are their pain points?
- What does your product or service do to minimize or mitigate their pain?
- How can your product or service inspire and help them personally and professionally?
- How is your product or service positioned?
- What is your zoom factor? (We’ll discuss more in #26.)
- What is your competition up to? (We’ll explore further in #24.)
- What’s your audience up to, both online and offline?
A keyword analysis and social media demographics will only take you so far. You’ll need to evolve your content strategy over time, based on what’s going on in your industry, with your audience and in the world around you.
Revisit your content strategy frequently and be flexible about what and when you post.
4. Engages with customers
Engaging with your customers via social platforms is crucial to having a successful online presence. Your social media manager may be responsible for responding to comments and inquiries on social sites or to delegate them to other members of the team such as HR, sales, customer service, etc. It involves not only responding to your customers, but also to begin the conversations by share their content, asking them questions, requesting feedback and of course, delivering useful content.
Managing social media for a client isn’t just about posting to Facebook and tweeting, it’s about brand reputation management, customer relationships, marketing, brand representation and a whole lot more that your friends don’t understand.
They have to be careful to position their company in the best possible light while being responsive to all kinds of comments, questions, and yes, at times, rage—all on (very) public forums. All while projecting an approachable, knowledgeable, and genuine brand personality. Oh, and they often have to limit the space in which they have to do this down to the character.
Social media is an opportune place to get involved in the community with your customers. It is a place to listen to your customers and get to know them better. Joining social media communities helps keep your business top of mind, and gives you an opportunity to get involved with customers one-on-one.
-Carrie Keenan, Social Media Community Manager for Thill Logistics, Inc. out of Neenah, WI
Article: 10 things you should never say to a social media manager
A good community manager should listen to the buzz already online — finding out what groups your target audience is joining on LinkedIn, for example, and who they’re following on Twitter. What are they talking about? Who are your rivals? What are they interested in? When are they most likely to read a tweet, or an update? Are they aware of your brand? Who are the key influencers within your industry who you should develop a long lasting relationship with?
-Alistair Norman, Marketing Director of Zoober’s partner company, the inbound marketing agency Tomorrow People
Article: 5 Key Characteristics Every Social Media Community Manager Should Have
5. Analyzes data
As you begin to execute your strategy via various online tactics, a social media manager will set key metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaigns. The data collected will help determine how to revise and improve its effectiveness. The data speaks the truth, just be sure you have a social media manager that can listen to the truth.
A community manager should have an excellent handle on engagement and visibility metrics. They need to be able to gauge the effectiveness of both individual pieces of content as well as the program as a whole. If your community manager has some marketing operations background, they may be adept at integrating these social-specific metrics with marketing campaigns and programs focused on customer acquisition and conversion.
-Erica Ayotte, Social Media Manager for Constant Contact
Article: What to Look for When Hiring a Social Media Community Manager
A social media manager will also review a business’ Google Analytics on a regular basis. This data allows a social media manager to know if the current content is effective. This type of manager will also do the same with your Facebook Analytics. Depending on these results, your social media manager may rewrite content, add new pages and photos, or completely change the way the existing website and Facebook page currently look. These changes are essential to providing a return on investment to the client.
-Christine Smith, Public relations specialist for Davanti Digital Media, LLC
Article: What does a social media manager do all day?
6. Stays up to date on social trends & tools
There are constantly new tools being built to either improve how social marketing is created, managed, shared and grown. Trends, like tools, are always changing and evolving with the industry and by having a social media manager that is on top of “what’s hot” and “what’s working”, then you’ll be sure to end up “on top” too.
In short, to be a community manager you have to be a bit masochistic in addition to being passionate and slightly nerdy about the ever-changing technology landscape, get excited about connecting to people and starting conversations, and have a healthy dose of competitive driv
The truth is, there is a bigger picture than just social media marketing. To create an online presence you will need a blog, great SEO, social media, email marketing, and even a little PR. Make sure that you are aware of this “bigger picture” and know that you will also need to invest time and money into these other areas as well… because without them, your online presencewill not grow and will be limited. Wouldn’t it be great to find a social strategist who not only saw the bigger picture but also could help you in those other areas as well?
As you can see, there is a lot more complexity to building, maintaining and growing a successful online presence than just “Facebooking” or using the “Twitter” a few times a week. If you are seeking to improve customer satisfaction, relationships, and engagement while gaining relevant leads and thus, more revenue for your business, than it is worth your time to develop and execute a social media strategy OR finding the right social media manager to do it for you.