“You are a social media manager, Stacy. All you do is tweet and stare at your phone screen all day. That’s nothing.”
Grrr! If one more person tells me that, I’m going to go all DC Sniper on their *deleted due to graphic content*.
Most people only see a tiny part of what social media managers do – posts and responses. There’s much more happening behind the scenes that separate successful social media professionals from hacks.
So for all those wondering what social media managers do all day er’day, lemme bruk bruk bruk it down for ya.
We don’t jump in the moment you hire us. It’s important to assess the business to determine how social media can help. Then we choose the perfect channels, posting frequency and content. This assessment and planning phase can easily take a couple of weeks initially, and requires a few revisions every 3-6 months.
To consistently develop quality content, we need an information bank we can refer to regularly. This includes newsworthy topics and industry developments to use for the next week’s posts. It can take 1-2 hours, depending on the type of business.
I am a crap photographer. Seriously. I take one decent photo out of 1,000.
But, for the most part, a lot of social media jobs need images of products, in-store happenings and live events. It takes time to show up, take photos then edit and share them online. (Or at least hire a photographer to do it for us.)
Don’t expect any modern-day Picassos here. We only use basic design skills to create cool images for social media and blog posts. A few of us battle with Photoshop, but the rest of us don’t mind working with free/low-cost like Canva and PicMonkey.
It takes a bit of time to choose the right image size, source stock photos, and pick the perfect font.
We get A LOT of writing in as social media managers – blog posts, social media updates, website copy. The length and language of each piece varies according to the channel.
It gets easier with time, but there are days when writer’s block causes you to spend 3 days writing a 1,000 word blog post. Don’t judge me.
Let’s say we’re posting 2 times a day on Facebook, 5 times a day on Twitter, and 3 times a day on Twitter. That’s 70 unique posts a week!
Then there’s choosing the perfect time. You can’t possible imagine how much torture we go through picking the right times to post a status update. When operating your personal account, you just post when you have some free time. Businesses aren’t so fortunate.
Crafting and scheduling a week’s worth of content for each client can easily take 4-6 hours.
Interaction and Audience Building
Scheduling keeps a consistent flow, but there’s no substitute for human interaction. We find amazing people to follow, share their posts and engage in discussions. This requires us to shed our own personalities and take on the brand persona instead. Try doing that for several brands simultaneously!
Oh yeah, listening is a thing. That’s why you see us staring at our phones and spontaneously laughing out loud…or crying.
We set alerts and track relevant hashtags to see when someone mentions the business. We also visit social media networks and competitors’ websites to see the latest hot topic discussions.
It’s also important to listen for tragedies at any time, so we know when to pause scheduled posts.
Customers who post on social media expect a response within the hour. That means that we have to turn on notifications on our mobile devices and stay glued to them.
We pretty much hold the fate of the brand in our fingertips. One wrong letter or poor response and that brand could go down in history for all the wrong reasons.
Analytics & Reporting
Numbers, graphs, spreadsheets, the whole shebang. When I got into this industry several years ago, I never imagined the huge role analytics would play in my daily life.
Many tools generate reports with performance statistics, but they are too complex for many business owners to understand. So we have to decomplexify (yeah, I made that up) the reports to send to you on a weekly or monthly basis.
For every Twitter chat we host, campaign we execute or live event we attend, we have to create a social media plan – which is pretty much like planning an event itself. We get busy creating a schedule, sending invitations, handling promotions, logistics, and setting up contingency plans for any number of things that can happen when dealing with technology.
Social media changes every day. New platforms are being built while change are being made to others. Campaigns are making waves and we need to dissect them to use for our own clients.
Any professional in digital media subscribes to several different tech blogs. We also participates in peer groups and do a few courses to improve the above-mentioned skills.
So when you see us staring at our Twitter feeds on the regular, please don’t assume that it’s ‘nothing’. We’re doing serious work over here.