Working as a Social Media Manager demands a lot more than have a casual scroll through Instagram and knowing about #primetime
Oh no. As a Social Media Manager you’ll be in control of up to seven social media properties (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tout, Google+, Tumblr) for a brand (or three), all. at. the. same. time.
We spoke to a Social Media Manager who works for a large online magazine, she told us a bit about her role and the key to staying on top of it all.
What do you actually do (the short version)?
Social Media Manager are basically responsible for their company’s social media presence. They manage social media pages like Twitter and Facebook but also create social media plans to execute over time. They’re responsible for keeping track of emerging social media outlets and ensuring that the company does not fall behind if a new platform (e.g. SnapChat) takes off.
Depending on the company you’re working for, it may be especially important for a Social Media Manager to ensure the accuracy of information being shared online. Finally, they’re also responsible for teaching other employees in the company how to use different social media platforms from a business perspective.
Do you focus your time on where you get the biggest return, or treat them all equally?
Each channel employs a unique strategy so we’re able to see the most return on investment (ROI). We have scheduled content being shared across all platforms at key moments in time (for example, our Google+ followers are most engaged at 9am) and an editorial calendar that takes into account how content performs differently across all channels (our Facebook followers love superfoods and fitness content while our Twitter followers are more receptive to trending news).
We therefore ensure a balance across all platforms.
What advice would you give to those hoping to follow in your career footsteps?
Consider roundabout entry points to your dream gig.
Want to be a writer but finding it difficult to break into print? Writing and journalism is no longer just a pen to paper industry. Try looking for brand and writing opportunities on e-commerce sites. Also, if you want to manage social media for a brand or news entity, make sure that your personal brand has a strong online presence. No one will hire a community manager who has a poor social footprint themselves. You’ve got to prove it.
What is a typical day like for you (if there is one)?
Every morning our web team has a (prompt) 10am news meeting to discuss the headlines, what we’ll be covering on the site and what’s trending on social that day. I’ll plan the day’s editorial content before segueing into other strategy work or on-going campaigns. From there, we execute the plan and record results so we can stay informed and improve. For example, I’ll look to draw parallels between our engagement metrics (likes, shares, clicks etc.) and how that impacted our share of voice (how much we dominated over our competitors) in the market.
What would you say are the greatest challenges working in social media? The greatest rewards?
The greatest challenge is integrating social media into the fabric of a legacy brand and a traditional print magazine. [Editor’s Note: think of it like trying to tell the square hole you’d like to put a round peg in it).
The greatest reward is immediate gratification. You post a picture, you tweet, you share on Instagram and a sense of validation instantly occurs. The likes, the shares, and the comments pour in. It’s addicting. You try to out-do yourself every time. How can I make this better? How can I get 900 likes next time? How many new Instagram followers can I amass in one week?
Every editor and writer should know how to leverage social media to not only build their personal brand but also for story sources. Editors and writers should build public or private Twitter lists as listening tools and have a basic understanding of social storytelling.
What skills does someone need to work in the industry?
Beyond a passion for digital and social media, you will need to be well attune to the demands of an audience. You will need to have the literary skills to hook readers into your content via one line or sentence, you will be fluent in audience analytics – and know how to strategise using these.
I recommend studying a business, media or communications course to get your foot in the door. I studied Media & Communications, which was a three year Bachelor degree and taught me media landscape, the roles and functions of each medium, and the importance of the consumer.
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