What Do Social Media Managers Actually Do?

I had a follow-up conversation with a prospective client earlier this week. We walked through the proposal Liqui-Site delivered for social media management/marketing (SMM) for their business, discussed the details of what content would need to be produced on their end, and I answered questions about reporting and so on. And then, the inevitable… “This all sounds great and your firm came highly recommended, but what is your social media team actually going to do?”

This was our second discussion, we had numerous emails back and forth, and we were into this conversation about 15-20 minutes by this point! He had been asking pertinent questions and seemed to be digesting my responses – but his question brought up a much bigger issue: Most organizations – sole proprietors, small businesses, mid-size corporations and non-profits – don’t know what social media management actually entails. And when you don’t know what you’re buying, there’s no way to understand the value of it.

I thought it would be helpful to try and explain to others in the same situation what they’re going to get from SMM providers (the good ones at least!). In the case of this client, we also suggested he speak with one of our SMM clients so he could get a different perspective and hear specific examples of our work and the kind of return he might expect. So, here goes…

(1) SMM Strategy
The first thing that must be developed is a sound social media marketing strategy. This involves:Competitive analysis (to see how your competitors are currently using social media)Demographic research (you already know who your demographic is, but we need to find out which social media platforms they use most, what time of day they are most active and more)Identification of business objectiveA comprehensive, detailed plan of action that addresses everything from brand messaging and social profile design / customization to an editorial calendar and creative ideas on how to reach goals and objectives set forth.

(2) Content Development
Even though you’ve hired a social media management company, your organization will probably be responsible for some degree of content development. Most times, this is dependent on the scope of the service offering, associated monthly retainer, and separate fees for exclusive articles or video production.

(3) Daily Implementation
This is “what social media managers actually do”. Again, depending on the scope of the service offering and monthly retainer, a social media marketing (SMM) manager will publish content on the company’s applicable social channels – meaning that the same post will not be suitable for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, Instagram, Google+ and your company blog). Each message is sent at a particular time through a particular channel to meet various objectives, as defined in the SMM strategy. Then, there’s interaction between customers and the brand that must be managed – usually hourly – and online reputation management, so that negative comments about the brand can be addressed and remedied in near real-time. There’s so much more to daily implementation, like proactive interactions on relevant blogs and forums, driving traffic back to your company’s website, and running contest and promotions – to name a few – but this should give you a better sense of what social media managers actually do. (If you have questions, please use the comments section below. We respond to each commenter individually!)

(4) Reporting
This is where the ROI in “Social ROI” comes into play. All of the items in #3 don’t mean a thing if they aren’t meeting or exceeding goals and objectives, right? Right! So, regardless of who’s handling your company’s social media marketing initiatives – reporting and analysis of data is critical. These numbers should drive revisions to the strategy and decisions about where to invest efforts in the future because, after all, social media and how it’s used effectively for businesses constantly evolves. There are continuous changes to each platform’s regulations, privacy policy, profile layout options – not to mention, brand new platforms that emerge and could be extremely beneficial for your business.

2 comments on “What Do Social Media Managers Actually Do?

  1. There are any number of business owners or managers who are not closed to the idea of social media, it’s just that they feel they don’t quite “get it.”

    Thank you for this concise, wonderfully informative overview of social media for business. (BTW managers: you could use this posting as a basis for writing a job description for your new SM consultant or manager).

  2. They’ll come around! Great idea about the job description – it would obviously depend on your focus (content development/ multimedia, advertising, customer service etc), but yes, it is a job that requires planning, creativity and execution. That’s why we recommend prospective clients do a little audit of their internal staff and resources to see if they really are able to provide some, if any, of the work.

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