tasks social media managers do daily

12 Tasks Social Media Managers Do Daily That People Never See

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“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.

hack definition

Source: Urban Dictionary

 

So for all those wondering what social media managers do all day er’day, lemme bruk bruk bruk it down for ya.

Strategy Development

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.

Research

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.

Photography

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.)

Design

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.

Creating a blog image in Canva

Creating a blog image in Canva

Writing

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.

Scheduling

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!

Listening

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.

A daily email alert for mentions of blog posts on Twitter

A daily email alert for mentions of blog posts on Twitter

 

It’s also important to listen for tragedies at any time, so we know when to pause scheduled posts.

Customer Service

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.

Event Planning

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.

Learning

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.

A glimpse at my blog subscriptions in Feedly

A glimpse at my blog subscriptions in Feedly

 

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.

 

 

small businesses manage your own social media

Small Businesses, Manage Your Own Social Media! Here’s Why…

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First post of the year! Woot! This one was seriously difficult to write.

Over the past four years, small businesses have hired me to manage social media on their behalf, and I’ve gladly jumped at the opportunity. Now, I’m telling small businesses that they should absolutely 100% find a way to manage social media in-house and never hire someone like me for that reason again.

I can just hear my colleagues now:

“Aaagh, Stacy! What are you doing?! You’re going to put us all out of business!”

Not exactly. Social media professionals worth their salt will still thrive, even if small business owners are handling their own day-to-day social media activities. They can now focus on offering strategic solutions for growth and results, rather than being bogged down by the nitty gritty details. That advice is worth a lot more and takes a lot less energy (but more brain power).

Those who will go out of business: the social media ‘gurus’ charging businesses an exorbitant amount of money just to post the same status 3 times a day to multiple accounts without providing any proof of growth or helping the business to cultivate meaningful relationships with its fans. They won’t have any place in this new regime. And I’m not exactly crying about that.

So here’s why small businesses, solopreneurs and freelancers should manage their own online presence…

No one knows your business like you do. No one knows your customers like you do. No one knows your voice like you do.

Your fans who interact with you online want to get the same experience they get in store (or wherever they are buying from you) and when it’s just you and a couple employees, that experience is often directly tied to the person offering the service. GoDaddy’s Community Manager, Jennifer Dunn, summarizes it perfectly in the below quote.

As a small business, your greatest edge over the big guys is that your customers can put a face and a name to your business. They’re not doing business with “Big Box Plus;” they’re doing business with Don’s Donuts. And if they call you up or pop in to your store, they’ll most likely see Don…that human touch makes a difference. Source

So that pretty much sums it all up, but there’s still a problem…

Small businesses are completely sucking at managing their own social media.

According to this Forbes article based on a 2013 Manta study, small businesses are showing up to social media in droves, but they are doing a terrible job. You don’t have to look very far to know that’s true either. How many small businesses are you following on social media and how many of their posts do you actually look forward to? Exactly.

The reason for the influx is all this drivel social media experts are feeding to their unsuspecting clients. Everyone is online so you need to be too. You can make a killing off social media. If you aren’t on Facebook, your business is going to die!

All sensationalism. All commercialism. All bullsh*t.

no bullshit

There definitely are benefits to small businesses being on social media, but theyare not going to get any results by just being there, or by flooding the channels with useless promotional content, without a solid strategy.

Strategizing for social media includes an in-depth analysis into the business, its target audience and its goals and using those to determine the best platforms to use, the optimal posting frequency and the content that will attain the most desirable results. They also need to be tracking their performance and assessing the numbers to determine what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.

This is where social media professionals come in.

Small business can hire consultants and advisors when necessary to help them assess their current performance, create a strategy and tactical plan they can adhere to, recommend tools to help with daily social media management and tracking results. The person handling customer service and/or marketing in the business (typically the owner) should be the one handling the posting and engagement.

Over the next few months, I’ll be showing just how easy it is for a small business owner to manage their online presence in a few minutes a day, and save the fee they pay to a social media manager while getting the same, or better results. And for the social media managers out there, I’ll be taking you through my own journey of transitioning from a day-to-day manager to a full-time social media consultant, showing you all the tools I use, my business model and all that good stuff.

Until then, I want to hear from the small business owners out there! Are you managing your own social media or do you hire someone? Have you considered doing it on your own? Would you consider using a consultant to guide you along the right path, rather than chunking out cash every month for a manager? Sound off in the comments below!

7 Little-Known Social Media Marketing Tools for the Busy Small Business Owner

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As a small business owner, you probably run your business on your own and wear many different hats each day. You know social media is important and that it can have a tremendous impact on your business but you have little time to spend on it.

You may have heard about a lot of social media marketing tools but many of them are complex and hard to use or don’t quite fit your budget or needs.

For the busy professional, here are some tools which promise to save you a ton of time on social media, so you can get back to doing the work you love.

 

Oktopost

Most comprehensive social media management dashboards are designed for managing multiple accounts with a large number of interactions. Oktopost, designed for B2B organizations, sets itself apart by helping its users to manage campaigns and relationships. Along with a single Social Inbox to review all incoming messages at once, it helps you with building customer relationships by creating profiles for those you interact with, including contact details and previous messages.

It also offers an Autoposter feature that allows persons to save draft posts as part of a campaign, then post or schedule as necessary. Another time-saving feature is the ability to see all your scheduled posts at-a-glance in calendar view, so you can fill in blank spots and not have to worry about any gaps.

Oktopost calendar view - little knon social media marketing tools for the busy small business owner

Oktopost’s calendar view (Source: Oktopost)

Oktopost comes with a 30 day free trial (no credit card required) and costs $9/month after.

 

Swayy

Swayy is the ultimate tool in content curation. You simply connect your social media accounts and plug in keywords of the content you’re interested in. It consistently brings you the latest and most relevant content. The best part about Swayy is the top articles they send in their daily email. A quick click allows you to read the articles that interest you and share them with your fans.

Swayy dashboard - little knon social media marketing tools for the busy small business owner

Swayy dashboard (Source: TechCrunch)

Swayy is available for free with paid options for additional features starting at $9.00/month.

 

Canva

Let’s face it – we’re not all fluent in Photoshop. And for the small business owner with minimal graphic design needs, Photoshop only uses up valuable time and money. Luckily, there are few online apps that have popped up within the last few years to take care of the non-designer’s graphic needs. The best one we’ve found – Canva. Canva provides a simple interface and beautiful templates that allows you to create ideal images for all popular social media profiles within minutes. You can also save your work to use them as templates later on.

Canva is free to use but some graphics and images cost $1 per use. To eliminate this fee, use images and photos from any of these completely free stock photo sites.

 

Instapult (or Chronogram)

Instagram is tends to be more difficult to use than other platforms because of their API restrictions, which do not allow others to build scheduling software for the app. Additionally, you can only post to Instagram from a mobile device, which limits usage. It is still a very useful and beneficial platform for those with visual brands, so many have built workarounds to help users who don’t want to have to post directly every time.

Welcome, Instapult. Instapult is an online app that allows persons to upload, edit and schedule Instagram photos. It offers filters and space to write a caption, similar to Instagram’s native app and sends posts directly to Instagram.

It must be noted that, with Instagram’s restrictions, this app directly logs into your account in order to post to your profile. Hence, you must provide your Instagram username and password directly to Instapult for it to work. If you’re not comfortable providing this, you can use Chronogram, an alternative app which allows you to schedule posts with the app, then alerts you on your chosen mobile device when it’s time to upload to Instagram.

Instapult offers a 7 day free trial, after which you pay $12/month for up to 3 accounts. Chronogram is free for up to 40 posts per month on unlimited Instagram accounts.

 

Tagboard

While tracking mentions of your social media accounts is great, it’s not enough, especially if you have a brand-specific hashtag. Tagboard offers a similar service as Oktopost’s Social Inbox, but for hashtag mentions across platform. Log in and claim your hashtag, then get a visualization of all the posts using it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Vine and Flickr. You can also embed it on a website. It’s perfect for brands that have a running campaign with multiple entry platforms.

Tagboard is free with a $99/month paid option for upgraded features.

 

SumAll

The hardest part of social media management, and the one usually ignored by small businesses, is measurement and analysis of results. While it may seem complex, understanding your social media performance is crucial to improving. The good news is that a tool like SumAll makes it much simpler to understand your results and apply it to future posts and campaigns.

Once you’ve connected all the accounts you want to track (see the options below), SumAll automatically tracks the performance of each account and send you a daily or weekly report (based on your request) with changes in your performance. The emails are easy for anyone to read and understand, minus the graphs and complex charts. If you like graphs and charts, you can always log into SumAll and view the details.

Platforms SumAll can track Platforms SumAll can trackPlatforms SumAll can trackPlatforms SumAll can track - little known social media marketing tools for the busy small business owner

Platforms SumAll can track

SumAll has a forever free package with additional paid features such as more detailed reports.

 

Hope these apps take some weight off your shoulders. Once you take care of all the tasks that can be automated and simplified, your job as a part-time social media manager for your full-time business will be much easier to handle. Best of luck!

watch tv online

How to Watch TV Online for Free Outside of the US

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Disclaimer: These options range from borderline questionable to strictly illegal, hence I am not recommending or advising anyone to use them, just providing information to educate the masses. Don’t kill the messenger. And as for my review – let’s call it research.

Watch TV Live

USTVNOW

With USTVNOW, one can watch 6 US channels for free all the time: ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC & PBS. If you wish, you can also pay to watch many of the other stations available – which will work out to a lot less than what you’re paying for Cable TV now.

When signing up, they ask if you’re a US resident, since this site is designed for US expatriates. This checkbox needs to be ticked in order to get access.

RipSink

RipSink may be the most annoying site in existence, but when you’re desperate, anything will do. The Good: You can get live access to most of the major cable channels here for free. The Bad: You will be subjected to a lot of ads. The Ugly: I mean A LOT. And sometimes the channels don’t work. And sometimes they freeze in the middle of your favorite show.

I don’t quite know if this site is legal but it has managed to stay alive for a long time and it’s talked about quite a bit around the Web.

 

Watch Immediately After Airing

Hulu (& VPN)

Now Hulu is very, very legal. It’s beautifully made, works like a dream and offers numerous TV shows almost immediately after they air. Some are available for free, with a bit of ads thrown in (like regular TV) but you can pay a monthly subscription fee (again, a lot cheaper than cable) to access everything ad-free. Only one problem: It’s blocked outside of the US.

In a completely unrelated thought (wink, wink), a VPN or Virtual Private Network, allows anyone to look like they are browsing from a different country (like being in Jamaica but looking like you’re in the US, for example). This can be useful if you want to protect your identity online or not disclose your location. The best VPNs I recommend are TunnelBear (desktop or mobile app – up to 1.5GB free, paid options) or Hola Better Internet (Chrome extension and Android app – free unlimited).

Torrents

This is how people download movies and TV shows and watch in their spare time…and how those street guys get the movie they sell on the road side. Since I’m on good terms with Uncle Sam, I won’t go into exactly how torrents work on this site nor will I say that discovering it will change your life. I will just say, if the prospect of having free access to every show, movie, book, etc. ever made interests you, you can go Google it yourself (you unethical scoundrel).

 

Watch Whenever

Netflix

Netflix is often compared to Hulu but I can’t quite figure out why. They both offer the ability to watch TV shows and movies online and that’s pretty much where the similarities end. You have to pay for a subscription to watch anything on Netflix (still cheaper than cable), they only offer shows and movies that are pretty old (about a year or more) and their own original series (most popular being Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards), and no ads. They are available in Jamaica, though, so that’s a plus.

YouTube (and sometimes a VPN)

Some TV shows that only air once, like talk shows, will upload the fun segments of their show on YouTube, usually a few hours after airing. These are typically available anywhere. My guilty pleasures are the Wendy Williams Show and Tonight with Jimmy Fallon.

There are other shows that only allow viewing in the US. For those, you have the trusted VPN I mentioned earlier.

Now go forth and prosper in your newfound Internet TV wisdom. (And if you have any additional recommendations, tell me about it, duh!)

 

traditional media

Traditional Media and the Accuracy vs Speed Dilemma

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It’s hard out there for a traditional media house…

Now that digital media offers real-time updates of the latest news and current affairs and entertainment, traditional media outlets feel pressured to release news stories as quickly as possible; paying more attention to being first, and not to the accuracy of the content and grammar of the piece.

jim carrey typing furiously gif

I imagine newsrooms looking a lot like this

 

To some extent, I understand why traditional media outlets like newspapers and radio stations may feel this is necessary. When you compare news consumption 5-10 years ago with the way it’s done now, it’s pretty clear that there has been a drastic change. This article from Journalism Ethics by Kendyl Salcito explains the adjustment:

No longer does an overwhelming majority sit down in the evening to watch one or two major TV newscasts. People get their news updated throughout the day, when they want it. They surf the web to find the stories that interest them. Some describe these niche audiences as impatient, “remote control” audiences, who want the information they’re seeking without delay and without additional, unsought news.

So media outlets, out of fear of losing their audience, succumb to the pressures of the digital space by forming their own blogs and releasing ‘breaking news’ riddled with grammatical and factual errors.

The danger is that speed will prevail over accuracy, and journalists will exchange their ethical motives as fact-checking truth-seekers for the love of breaking a story — any story.

Well, I’d like to tell these media outlets, on behalf of my peers and elders: this is not the kind of irresponsible, impulsive, reckless behaviour we expect from established media entities.

As a publisher and consumer of digital ‘instant’ media, I understand the weight given to breaking news, hot topic blog posts and niche stories. Yet, I still strongly believe there is a very prominent space reserved for trained, established journalists to provide the hard-hitting news and editorial pieces that comes from in-depth research and hours of writing and editing. There is room for articles that we would have never thought about on our own, but completely change perceptions and understanding once read.

This type of content can only come from those seasoned in the field – those whom have taken their promise to inform the public and act in their interest seriously. And as for the breaking news, I prefer a (relatively timely, but) accurately written story to one that’s almost-immediate but spotted with errors.

Aim to be the credible, reliable source known for truth, transparency and unbiased information and your stories will be consumed, and respected, for your effort.

57223lisa_hanna

The Lisa Hanna Bikini Debate: A Social Media / Public Relations Perspective

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As a person with experience in social media and public relations, the Lisa Hanna situation definitely caught my attention. Prior to the bikini photo that has gotten the attention of the mainstream media, I was quite uncomfortable with the direction in which the minister chose to take her Instagram profile. The latest discussion, however, has led me to develop a different, more complex opinion on the matter, as follows:

There is nothing wrong with Lisa Hanna posting a picture of herself in a bikini on the beach on her personal profile, even if she is a Minister of the country. However, Miss Hanna must bear in mind the pictures she posts will contribute to the public’s perception of her and perpetuate her image as a ‘beauty queen’, rather than someone who is capable of managing her Youth and Culture portfolio effectively, which is especially crucial in a time when her work is under a lot of scrutiny.

Of course, her reputation as an impressively beautiful woman is possibly what got her elected in the first place, so one could say her strategy is simply giving the people what they want, to secure her votes come the next election. The picture in question, after all, isn’t an isolated incident. She has shared several Instagram photos showing off her fashion and body, including one in a carnival costume showing off a lot more skin that the bikini photo. These have been some of the most liked photos on her profile, so it may just be working to her advantage to perpetuate the present image.

Now, if you’re still here, let’s break down some of the other viewpoints that have been shared online.

 

Arguments for the Bikini Picture

The proponents of the bikini photo seem to be quite shallow-minded. So far they have offered very little defence besides ‘so what, body good, body hot’ and ‘should she wear a burka?’ They emphatically state that she is at the beach. When you go to the beach, you wear a bathing suit. When you go to the beach with a body like Lisa Hanna’s, your bathing suit of choice is a bikini. White t-shirt that clings to your every curve: optional.

This would have been a solid argument had we been debating whether or not Lisa Hanna can pull off a bikini, but we’re not. People are not saying she looks terrible in a bikini, the concern is whether the beach picture should have been posted in a public forum at all.

I suspect that, had she been wearing a full one-piece bathing suit while dripping wet, it would also be up for discussion. If the picture were kept in her personal archives, however, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

The only solid argument in defence of the bikini I’ve heard from one person is echoed in my own sentiments on the matter. Many Jamaicans who voted Lisa Hanna into power did so because of her public image: the devastatingly gorgeous, but approachable, charming beauty queen. Her Instagram profile is simply a reflection of this image, and that photo fits right in.

 

Arguments against the Bikini Picture

Persons fueling the argument are mostly acting on precedence – they are simply not used to seeing politicians behave a certain way because traditional society demands a certain image.

I’m not sure who dictates what appropriate behaviour is for a minister, but I don’t see a Minister of Culture enjoying, what is considered, a national pastime among Jamaicans inappropriate. Had anyone bothered to read the caption, they would have also noticed that she used the picture to discuss her involvement in the Reggae Marathon, a Jamaican cultural event. She has simply taken a different, more appealing angle to get the attention of potential viewers, and it worked. (One could argue though, that if the message being sent isn’t received, it’s flawed communication.)

To the persons concerned about the ‘myc’ addition to her Instagram name, and arguing that it should be removed to define it as a personal account, I’m sorry to say that ‘lisahanna’ has already been claimed on Instagram, and I suspect this is the ‘myc’ was added in the first place. It’s pretty clear, though, that this is her personal account, but that she uses it to share her daily activities, which include those of a political nature. Her content is balanced enough to maintain the association with public office, so there’s no need to set up a private personal profile either.

 

The Changing Political Social Media Landscape

Overall, we should all prepare for change. The new age of social media and hyper-connectivity offers us a more in-depth look into the lives of politicians. The President of the United States is hitting his dougie while the First Lady is using the latest pop and rap music in her national development programs.

We shouldn’t be surprised to see that these politicians have a ‘human side’ and we mustn’t shame them into returning into the shell from whence they came. It’s actually great that they can ditch the stuffy, high-brow campaigns and develop strategies that are relatable to the everyday man. As long as they are not crossing ethical or moral boundaries (see Anthony Weiner) or being utterly and stupidly offensive (see Dr. Dayton Campbell), I say let them breathe. At the end of the day, however, it’s important to distinguish between someone you like because they look great and someone who is doing great work. Vote accordingly.

Share your thoughts below! All views are welcomed.