Social Media Manager, that is…9 October 2022
Always on-line on their smartphones and always ready to engage on social media, with posts and comments: so are the consumers of today, always-on and mobile-first. In this situation, every company needs to have a good digital presence and a good on-line reputation. There are professionals who focus on this specific aspect: Social Media Managers, a role that is more and more important for a company’s marketing strategy to be successful.
Truth be said, when talking about digital marketing, many companies still go with the idea that, beside a few more complex marketing jobs, there are also more “mundane” ones, where you don’t need any specific skills beyond being a digital native and having a knack for fiddling on a smartphone. The job of a social media manager is among those that are noted for being “easy”. But is that really so?
To answer that question, let’s start from a definition: social media managers are digital professionals who handle marketing and advertisement on social media channels for a buyer (be it a company, an institution, an independent contractor, a no profit organization); they do so by spreading news, by creating and managing publishing calendars, by dealing with communication and promotion of brands, products, services and events, by creating and sharing web content.
This management activity is comprised of several macro-tasks, including: planning, strategy and identification of goals; developing brand awareness and managing on-line reputation; content creation; lead generation; networking, sales support, and community management. Social media professionals therefore have a dual nature that is both creative and strategic, they master the technical features of each app, they keep up to date with the latest trends and news, they know how to tailor their content to each platform, they are able to engage their audience, all with the final goal of transforming fans into clients, and clients into brand ambassadors.
From these few words, one can already get an idea of how essential this profession is, but also of the wide range of skills it requires, skills that cannot be improvised, and in such a number and such a variety that it’s hard for one person to cover them all. That’s why big companies have a whole department dedicated to Social Media Marketing, whereas in many other cases the best and most productive solution is to outsource this activity to an agency where each person has a specific role: there is a social media strategist, a content manager, a community manager, a person for analytics and reports, a social media campaign manager who handles paid ads, someone to create graphics and video-making, and so on.
A Social Media Manager’s skills and activities
A social media manager’s first responsibility is to devise and implement a social media marketing plan, which of course must match the wider corporate communication plan. The marketing plan, which is not static but rather needs to be revised regularly to adapt to the ever-changing scenario of social media, includes at least three macro-tasks:
1 brand development,
2 identifying target clients for each social media platform, and
3 defining clear, specific and attainable goals. Good social media manager know that a company’s main goal is conversion – whether in the form of buying a product, filling in a form, or subscribing to a newsletter – so they can never be satisfied with a page that counts many followers and interaction, but doesn’t convert: fan engagement and interactions on their own represent no real benefit for business.
When a social media manager defines the plan’s goals, it’s therefore important to identify which are critical issues for that specific company. Common examples can be: insufficient website traffic and/or few visitors; difficult sales; bad on-line reputation; a drop in client retention.
After defining a social media marketing plan, a social media manager will take care of creating varied quality content, meaning both textual and visual content (pictures, reels, videos). Whether a status update with a picture, a YouTube video, a Facebook post or any other content published on a social media channel, the principle is always the same: what people see is what they remember, so a social media manager needs to make sure that every piece of content they publish is compelling, relevant, and good for creating engagement.
To do that, the most effective strategy is to avoid any content that is openly advertising material, and to guide users inside the company’s world by way of interactivity and entertainment (as demonstrated, for example, by the success of TikTok for Business’ new features).
After creating a content strategy, social media managers will put on the hat of Community Managers, that is, the people whose role is to listen to their audience, answer questions, and ask questions of their own, i.e. engage with their audience. And they need to keep it consistent with the brand, comprehensive, and never trite.
On social media, more than on any other media, there is a direct and personal relation between company and customer: nothing is more harmful for a brand than not answering to its users, ignoring critics, or worse, being argumentative in its answers; similarly, a static page that is used only as a showcase and is closed to comments has little chance of being effective.
Another must-have skill for social media managers is managing on-line ads (campaigns and sponsored posts). Sponsored content is a cornerstone of any strategy for promotion on social media, especially as algorithms get updated: even the best social media calendar, even the most charming and eye-catching content, will have a very limited reach if they don’t have at least a small budget to support them.
Social advertisement, such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads or LinkedIn campaigns, is a precious tool to amplify your message, and it allows a company to reach good results with limited investments. This means that social media managers must also be able to manage on-line campaigns, with all the different strategic and technical skills they need for that.
The last fundamental task of a social media manager is monitoring and evaluating results with the right tools. Measuring and analyzing social analytics, both for organic and paid interactions, both for single pieces of content and for the page itself, is crucial to determine ROI. Some of the insights (stats and data on performance) to check are, for instance: audience growth, audience profile, engagement level, content coverage, engagement for each type of content, conversions, referral traffic, and negative feedback.
Good practices suggest that results should be measured on a daily basis: data should closely follow the general marketing goals defined at the beginning, so through them the social media manager can understand whether their strategy is winning, or whether they need to touch it up a bit.
Oscar Giacomin / General Manager, Facto Edizioni
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