If you always pictured social media managers as quirky college kids who sit at their desks all day, sipping coffee, liking and sharing Tweets and commenting on Instagram and Facebook, I beg to differ. Being a social media manager is much more involved than that. In fact, it’s so involved, there’s a reason why elite PR firms and digital and content marketing companies employ multiple full-time social media managers to handle clients’ social accounts. Ask any experienced social media manager and they'll readily admit that managing a mere handful of clients' social accounts can easily be a full-time job in itself.
What Social Media Managers Do
There are multiple aspects to a social media manager’s job: They create detailed content calendars for clients, post to social media through automated systems like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, and post manually every day to social media accounts. They also interact in real time with people on various social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn – often as the very clients they are paid to generate social posts for…it’s a never-ending, but critical job because social media isn’t nearly as effective without a live person planting little seeds and constantly watering them as they grow.
To this day, there’s still no way to have a truly effective social media campaign without having a real, live, human being strategizing social media posts and actually interacting on various platforms, essentially putting a real person behind the voice of each brand.
Social Media Tools Don’t Replace Humans…Yet
Social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are indispensable to the skilled social media manager; however, social media experts won’t be losing their jobs anytime soon due to automation. Until social media tools can get into the minds of the client and the client’s target audience, and respond to comments and direct messages, social media managers will continue being the “voice” behind their clients' brands big and small.
Not All Social Media Managers Are Equal
A business owner cannot go and hire just anyone to manage their social media accounts and think their social media presence will automatically grow; it doesn’t work like that. While most social media pros learned by doing and by trial and error, the best social media managers have a firm grasp of their client, the client’s product or service, and the client’s customers. To be effective, social media managers have to understand their client’s audience – and what makes them tick. For example, the social posts for an estate planning law firm would be very different than the posts for a women’s clothing store that targets high school and college students.
Social Media Managers & Marketing
The best social media managers are well-versed in marketing and customize their client’s social media posts to specifically target the client’s audience. They also have to know where their client’s customers are hanging out, meaning, which social platforms they are on because it’s different for every business. Getting to the nitty-gritty of it, social media strategies take into consideration everything from the ages of the people in images used, to the language in the articles shared, to the tone used in posts, to how direct messages are responded to “as the client.”
Before posting anything for a client, the savvy social media manager pauses and asks themselves, “Is this how my client would respond?” For example, if I were responding (as my client) to a Twitter post for a Baby Boomer entrepreneur who was very professional in his personal and business dealings, I wouldn’t use words like “awesome” or “cool,” though those words may fit beautifully for a light-hearted Millennial entrepreneur who wants to come across as friendly and personable on social media.
Never Underestimate the Power of the Social Media Manager
Do social media managers hold all the cards? In some ways, they do. Often, it’s the social media manager who decides whether or not to accept a LinkedIn connection, or to follow someone back on Twitter or Instagram. And it’s the social media manager who decides whether or not to share industry news and articles – they have a lot of control over what information is shared and what isn’t.
Social media managers keep tabs on their clients’ friends and followers. It’s the social media manager who swiftly and artfully hides, deletes, or blocks a comment on customers’ Facebook accounts. It’s the social media manager who meticulously scrolls through Twitter followers and decides who should be deleted and when, and it’s the social media manager who decides whether or not someone is suitable (fits their client’s target audience) to follow back on Twitter. These tactics may sound somewhat discriminatory, but they're a neccessary aspect of social media management because in reality, social media managers have to maintain the integrity of the client's brand.
The most skilled and experienced social media managers are a power to be reckoned with. Not only do they act in their clients’ best interests, they constantly test new ideas and methods and watch the analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t work, organically and non-organically (paid advertising). Social media managers have to adapt to each client because they know that each one is unique, thus, no two social media strategies are ever the same.
Elainna Ciaramella is an independent journalist, business blogger, and ghostwriter for entrepreneurs and business professionals nationwide. She has written extensively on the topics of business, entrepreneurship, law, and medicine. She is well-versed in search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Instagram.
Originally published on LinkedIn.