Brands, listen up, this can be helpful as you navigate the ins and outs of creating and enhancing your social presence. The following is a guide intended to prepare you for life beyond the one-way posting internship.
There’s More to Social Media Than Posting Updates
Hiring Interns to assist with social efforts can work out great for all parties involved. However, the actual strategy for your Social Media should be performed by a Social Media Manager or equivalent employee. To be fair, this is not a critique of the social media skills that students already possess, which is a lot! Rather it’s a critique on the lack of strategic business thinking on the side of the company that temps out their strategy to interns. Social strategy requires executive two-way communication when planning out the messaging for a very important medium. Go ahead, hire those Interns for daily posting (and pay them!) – but make sure we build your social infrastructure first. Here’s where to start:
First Things First
Social Media falls under Marketing/Advertising. When appropriately used as a medium for messaging, an effective social media PR strategy can provide value to the target, enhance messaging, and work in combination to fulfill a successful integrated marketing communications plan. With any effective IMC plan, a target market (or brand persona) needs to be identified. This target person should reflect the group the brand identifies as having the most opportunity to engage with and ultimately convince to find value in the purchase.
Moment of Opportunity
To target the message to the right group via the representation of our brand persona, it’s crucial to find the platforms for communication the target is on and what the competitors say. Manager beware! Do not fall into the trap of assuming a platform is right for the target because it provides value to you personally. Marketers will tell you, it’s a common mistake to assume yourself as the target – you must train yourself to think like your target. Research is key.
The Modern-Day Poet
Make no mistake, Social Media is writing intensive. Ongoing communication must deliver a message to the right audience and, to prevent audience fatigue, that we must deliver a message in planned snippets via a creative tone that provides value to the audience. A Robust editorial calendar of strategic posts, delivered in a consistent but not intrusive way is a must. Posting incessantly and off the cuff only works in response to customer service issues (however, flexible customer service messaging must follow set protocol.) A social aggregation tool like Hootsuite is a minimal standard for planning posts, listening to competitive feedback, customer feedback, and coordinating cross-platform efficiencies.
You Need A Handbook
You need a social media policy. A brand must craft a policy for the group of people who will take on the job of social posting (it’s a big job) to follow. Have you heard of brands that have Social Managers posting personal insights on purpose or mistake? We do not want that to happen!
Identify Evergreen Campaigns Vs. One-offs
Besides ongoing posts which should reflect the overall goals of the brand’s mission and vision, distinguishing one-off campaigns combining regularly scheduled posts with Social ad spending, need to have their own unique schedules and budgets. For example, ongoing messaging which provides the target with information useful to them, looks (and sounds) very different from messaging that would appear on sponsored posts. Sponsored posts and social ads serve a different purpose and the messaging should reflect this.
Eyes on the Prize
The goals of the brand must be clear. As with any Marketing/Advertising Tactic, following a straight-forward S.M.A.R.T. goal method (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) for a campaign needs to be identified at the beginning of creation.
A Day in the Life
Let’s look at an actual Social Media Manager’s slice of daily life. They provide the following by Mario Moreno (day snippets), as interviewed by Buffer.com, who is a Social Media Manager for one of the World’s largest retailers. Buffer is a social engagement platform like Hootsuite (Buffer.com).
- 8:30-9am: Check-in on all social media platforms
- 9-9:30am: Measure social results and add to spreadsheets
- 9:30-10am: Respond and engage with the community
- 10-10:30am: Schedule new content to Buffer
- 10:45-11am: Read and learn
- 11am-12pm: Content creation (podcast, writing)
- 1-1:30pm: Respond and engage with the community
- 1:30-2:00pm: Curate content
- 2-2:30pm: Read and learn
- 2:45-3pm: Schedule content to Buffer
- 3-4:30pm: Content creation (video, graphics)
- 5-5:30pm: Check Buffer queue
Moreno offers “The most important and productive times for me throughout the day are when I create content, engage with the community, and learn (Buffer.com).” For him, Social is not merely updating a site, it’s a way of engaging the brand on all levels of the community, company, and consumer. He admits that even as a Social, professional, there is a lot to learn and dedicates chunks of his day to increasing his skill sets in ever-changing platforms.
Qualifications For Hiring a Social Media Manager
Before we compile any job description the organization must first define how the business uses and sees social media (Act-on). If your company is looking for long-term brand building and engagement (Rome wasn’t built in a day) the Social Media Manager qualifications would look different from someone, like an intern who might be useful for one-way communication in the form of sales updates and random news. For implementing an effective strategy, however, the following are all considerations:
- Able to effectively communicate with leadership and present ideas clearly
- Able to seamlessly adopt new technologies and platforms
- A blending strategic and customer service mindset
- Background of early technology adoption (LinkedIn Learning: Social CRM)
- Able to bridge brand and consumer skillfully (LinkedIn Learning: Social CRM)
- Need links to show their social experience (Act-on)
- Working knowledge of paid SEM and SEO tactics (Workable)
On a basic level, a Social Media employee must exhibit the ability to seamlessly adopt new technologies and platforms. Everyone has a comfort level and favorite platform (s) which they incorporate most in their personal life. Meanwhile, an adept Social Manager must be open to all platforms and the changes that are incorporated and ongoing in existing platforms. Social Media is very much in its infancy, only the second decade of widespread global use (Mashable) regulations, and the way we connect will continue to alter the landscape of the industry. Knowing TikTok exists is not enough, a superb manager will need to be aware of the top communication trends (hello dance challenges!) and the ensuing consequences on what’s trending (Vibing with Cranberry Juice while listening to Fleetwood Mac).
Act-On. 2020. How To Hire The Perfect Person To Run Your Social Media | Act-On. [online] Available at: <https://act-on.com/blog/how-to-hire-the-perfect-person-to-run-your-social-media/> [Accessed 2 November 2020].
LinkedIn. 2020. Social Media Marketing: Social CRM | Linkedin Learning, Formerly Lynda.Com. [online] Available at: <https://www.linkedin.com/learning/social-media-marketing-social-crm> [Accessed 2 November 2020].
Morning Consult. 2020. A Tough Task For FTC: Regulating Instagram When Anyone Can Be An Influencer. [online] Available at: <https://morningconsult.com/2019/05/28/a-tough-task-for-ftc-regulating-instagram-when-anyone-can-be-an-influencer/> [Accessed 2 November 2020].
Rampton, J., 2020. 5 Powerful Ways Social Media Has Forever Altered The Way We Do Business. [online] Mashable. Available at: <https://mashable.com/2016/09/14/5-ways-social-media-changed-business/> [Accessed 2 November 2020].
Recruiting Resources: How to Recruit and Hire Better. 2020. Social Media Manager Job Description Sample PDF | Workable. [online] Available at: <https://resources.workable.com/social-media-manager-job-description> [Accessed 2 November 2020].
Peters, B. (2020, June 30). A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager: How to Maximize Your Time on Social Media in 2017. Retrieved November 08, 2020, from https://buffer.com/library/social-media-manager-checklist/
How to Create a Social Media Strategy in 8 Easy Steps (Free Template). (2020, October 28). Retrieved November 08, 2020, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-plan/