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Grow your social presence: The role of a social media manager

Posted by Paul Morton
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Did you know that there are 44 million active social media users in the UK? This represents 66 percent of the total population of our island. With this many people congregated in only a few places online, these social arenas represent a massive opportunity for your marketing.

However, when you’re running your own business and you aren't outsourcing a social media marketing agency, time is precious. Between your different obligations, you don’t always have the time to engage with potential customers. Yes, there are automation tools available that can help, but it’s still a hell of a time commitment.

Yet, the simple fact is, if you’re not engaging with social media as a business, you’re not marketing properly. And if you don’t have the time, or patience, to do it yourself, you need to hire someone who does.

At the heart of it, a social media manager takes the lead on your social media strategy to boost business visibility and customer engagement. Their day-to-day work splits into five key areas: strategy development, content production, customer engagement, social selling, and data analysis.

1. Strategy Development

Creating a solid social strategy is one of the most important jobs for a social media manager. It allows you to have a set plan for engaging customers online. You shouldn’t just be randomly and sporadically posting any old thing. You need direction, and a way to measure the effectiveness of your activity on each social platform. After all, you’re running a business. Time is money and you can’t afford to waste it.

Here are some of the key steps to creating an effective strategy that you should expect from any social media manager.

Set social media marketing objectives

A social media manager needs to understand what you, and your business, want out of your social media efforts. They must align objectives with your broader marketing strategy, so that social efforts drive business goals. By doing this, you can measure the return on your social investment.

However, they should be careful about what metrics they choose to track return on investment (ROI). Avoid ‘vanity’ metrics like shares, retweets and other basic engagement. Instead, they should focus on key, tangible statistics, such as leads generated and customer conversion rates. At the end of the day, all business efforts are valuable, so make sure that even your social media activity is worth the time spent.

Carry out a social media audit

You can’t improve upon your efforts without first evaluating how effective your current strategy is. Your manager should assess your current social media use, by looking into:

  • Who is connecting. Do they match your business’s target audience?
  • Who is engaging. Are they lead material?
  • What posts work and what ones don’t? What content is most popular amongst your target audience?
  • Do certain hashtags get better results?

By measuring these metrics, your social media manager can work out what works and what needs improvement.

Create/Improve your social accounts

If you don’t already have social accounts across the top platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn), your social media manager should create and manage them.

However, if you do already have accounts, your manager should consider the findings of the social media audit. Do they need to update the branding? Is the messaging consistent across the channels? Are the posts inconsistent and in need of a set tone of voice? Is the company information up to date?

Also, be sure that your social media manager accommodates each platform individually. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to social platforms. They need to differentiate their posts on each platform. The core content can be the same, but the way it’s presented must be platform appropriate.

All these things matter to customers that visit your page, so a good manager will ensure everything’s in order before starting any big social media push.

Gather inspiration

Social media managers shouldn’t be afraid to stalk your competition online. It’s professional sleuthing sanctioned by the business gods. We’re not suggesting you should copy others, but it’s always useful to measure what your competitors are doing and how successful they are. Your social media manager can use this information to inform your own social strategies.

Create a content marketing plan and calendar

Great content is essential to social media success. Your manager’s content plan should include content creation and curation to ensure that your business is sharing your own content, as well as industry-leading insights.

They should create a publication calendar and schedule their messaging so that they’re not spending all their time posting. This way, they can set up the social messaging each week, and let it run on an automated basis.

2. Content Production

At the heart of social media is the creation and sharing of content. It’s all about providing your audience with something interesting enough to keep them engaged with your brand.

A social media manager oversees content that goes out on your channels. This can involve working with colleagues in the marketing department (if you have one) to produce brand appropriate content. If you don’t have a marketing team, make sure that your social media manager is well versed in content creation as well as social media.

3. Customer Engagement

Your social media manager will lead the charge in customer engagement across social platforms. This doesn’t just mean pushing out articles or sharing inane posts about how great your products are. A strategy based on the ‘hard sell’ will ultimately drive people away, so any social media manager you hire must be able to think creatively.

An example of thinking outside the box is a recent Charmin campaign. Their #tweetfromtheseat campaign encouraged their customers to engage with their hashtag whilst on the toilet. Combining your product with humour is a fantastic way to advertise your business and encourage customer engagement. If your manager can achieve this, your brand will flourish on social media.

4. Social Selling

More than 90 percent of executives never respond to, or buy from, cold calling. Your social media manager should create a strategy for social selling. This is when a business provides value to prospects by answering questions, responding to comments and sharing useful content throughout the buying process.

This strategy is particularly effective, with 75 percent of B2B buyers stating that they’re significantly influenced by social media.

However, this doesn’t mean you should jump straight in to the hard sell. First things first, you need to start with small, light-touch interactions with your target audience, then build up towards closing a sale with them.

5. Data Analysis

Social media managers need to be well-versed in data analysis. In order to run social media campaigns successfully, they must be able to read data, understand it and act upon it.

They can check engagement, reach, and audience demographic insights on Facebook. But, to use social media effectively as a business tool, they will need better metrics than that.

Your social media manager should be selective and monitor the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter. This could be something like the number of sales that result from social selling efforts, or the number of leads brought in through LinkedIn. These provide much more business value than each platform’s individual metrics.

The best managers will record and analyse what works and what doesn’t while putting their strategy into practice. Then, they adjust the plan to ensure it’s always improving. As they continue, unexpected challenges will come up so it’s important to keep social media marketing in a state of constant change.

Let your business come out of the cocoon

If the business world is built upon relationships, the right manager can turn your business into a social butterfly online.

Last year there were reportedly three billion active social media users worldwide. An audience like that is too big to miss. So, don’t let your business suffer, embrace social media and watch your bottom line prosper.

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