What Do Social Media Managers Do?
Compared to the personal use of social media, business use is disciplined, planned, and requires significant knowledge of the best practices and trends. Social media managers are experts at understanding this difference and aligning their marketing efforts with your larger business plan. They gather metrics on page performance, engagement, and followers, set goals, focus on branding and brand awareness, create posting schedules, curate content that is perfectly attuned to the image and tone of your business, optimize content for search engines, design advertising campaigns, select posts to boost, run ads, interact with followers—and a whole lot more.
All of those tasks add up to a lot of time spent and the need for a specialized and focused approach. You may have already decided it’s time to outsource your social media marketing. Here are some additional signs it’s the right time to do so.
The role of a social media manager can span the gamut of responsibilities that could include wearing the following hats: a marketer, a strategist, a copywriter, a designer, an analyst and a customer service rep—sometimes all in one day. The variety within this role is exciting as it seems like there might never really be a dull moment. Although, I have not had the opportunity to work within a professional social role – the challenge of managing these diverse responsibilities would be one I would find exciting.
According to Sprout Social:
Managing diverse responsibilities requires social media managers to develop several crucial marketing and marketing-adjacent social media skills.
In my current role as the Assistant director for Academic Affairs within the college of liberal arts – I wear many hats, but part of my role is to create in-person and virtual events. I was hired because of the hard and soft skills that I bring to my position. I often run into folks often who think that planning events is all about ordering food and making a table look nice. That could not be further from the truth! The event world is much more complex as it takes a design mentality or background, hospitality/managerial, organizational, strong attention to details, strong communication (written and verbal) skills, strong networking capabilities, technical knowledge for virtual events (like managing Zoom and post video editing for example), and the ability to set KPIs and measure ROIs to create a successful program where impact can be measured.
Similarly (pulling from my personal experience), If I were hiring a social media manager, I would look for someone with the hard and soft skills, someone with solid experience under their belt and technical know-how. A standout candidate would be passionate and creative, empathetic, organized, detail-oriented and have a pretty solid content and content strategy portfolio.
An effective social media pro brings both hard skills and soft skills to the table, both types which take time and effort to develop. Hard skills like data analysis and copywriting can be more easily studied and trained, whereas soft skills like being organized and making connections may be more difficult to learn but are just as important. – Sprout Social
The responsibilities of a social media manager fall into three sub-categories: manage, support and collaborate. I would evaluate the candidate based on their project management experience, their experience supporting more senior level management, and their demonstrated ability to collaborate and network with others on a team.
According to sendible.com, possessing the right soft skills could be the differentiator between an ordinary social media manager and a great social media manager. To recruit someone with more experience and a better handle on the ideal soft skills, I would be willing to pay a higher or more competitive salary to ensure a greater return on investment.
As I was reading further on Sprout social – here are seven qualities that make a social media manager really stand out (these resonated with me):
- They’re innovative
- They’re creative
- They pay attention to detail
- They’re excellent communicators
- They’re analytical
- They’re organized
- They’re passionate
So When Do you Need a Social Media Manager?
Now that we know what a social media manager is and we’ve highlighted some of the qualities that would make a Social Media Manager stand out, how do you decide when you need a social media manager? Depending on the type of business you run, traditional advertising mediums may be more effective than social media.
Demographics are shifting and older Americans are establishing more of an online presence and it’s becoming commonplace for most businesses, both small and large, to rely heavily on social media for connecting with their target audiences. And yet for a small small business few things are as intimidating as maintaining their brand’s presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
According to a blog post on Fundera.com:
Social media management for small business owners can feel like a daunting process: you have to keep on top of trends, produce content, and promote your business without coming off as sales-y or promotional. Or, if you delegate your small business’ social media management to an employee, you have to make sure they’re keeping the channels active (and that their follower interactions stay pleasant!).
Can social media management for small business owners seem like a lose-lose proposition? It would seem like the choices are either taking the added responsibility of maintaining your brand’s social channels or ceding control of your most public-facing publicity machine to someone else and hope they get it right. And yet with 89% of consumers saying they will buy from a brand they follow and 75% of consumers saying they’ll increase their spend with that brand, it’s a choice that needs to be made nonetheless if growing your business is top of mind.
Again, I ask why bother? Because even a small business can benefit from utilizing social media management tools. Most business owners can attest to barely having enough time to manage business-critical tasks in the first place, let alone curating social media accounts. Thankfully, there are tools that help with social media management for small businesses and can take most of the manual labor out of the posting process. Whether hiring a person to help with these tools or utilizing social media management software such as Hootsuite, it may be worth the investment for peace of mind and organization.
If you decide to Hire a Social Media Manager, should you evaluate their personal Social Media Pages?
One final thought about hiring a social media manager. Although I am still not 100% sure, that I fully agree with evaluating a potential social media manager via their personal social media account — depending on the managerial level, I might not only want to see the work they have produced for other companies, but I might also want to see how well they brand and/or market themselves on social media.
Or at the very least I would be looking to see if they are active on social media. If they promote themselves as a leader in the field, I might be looking to see how well the candidate builds or shares their own content and the level of engagement with their followers. Ultimately, I believe good social media managers must have a passion for social media. They should be active on more than just Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They should have a personal blog with comments. They should be able to spot promising social media platforms and/or present on some niche social media sites that relate to their interests. In, short they should be curious, inquisitive, possess an appreciation for metrics and the experiential side of social media.