WAH Career Spotlight: What is a Social Media Manager?

Did you know that 50% of businesses do not have a social media strategy in place? This doesn’t even take into account the number of authors and freelancers that either don’t know how or don’t have the time to take advantage of the marketing potential provided by social media.

These statistics open up opportunities to those who are social media savvy. People need social media managers to help them reach their potential customers. Plus, the market is wide open for people wanting to use their social media skills.

In fact, CNN recently named social media manager as number 42 in the top 100 list of careers. So, what is a social media manager?

What is a Social Media Manager?

A social media manager’s primary role is to drive traffic to their client’s website. You want to make sure you’re driving traffic that will convert to customers though. While you can’t guarantee that all leads will become customers, you can take steps to reach the likeliest leads.

To do your job effectively, a social media manager researches industry trends and relevant hashtags. You watch for trends that will reach a target lead so you can grow your client’s audience. This means you must understand the client you work for.

You must keep up with your client’s website to find news and information to share on social media. You also need to understand their market.

  • Check your client’s website daily for updates.
  • Create alerts for industry news.
  • Watch Twitter hashtag trends.
  • Pay attention to your client’s competition and/or industry peers.

Become an expert on your client, their industry, and their customers. With simple research, this is not hard to do.

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager Job

What does the daily life of a social media manager look like_

It’s important to remember that social media platforms do not rest. These are 24-hour media sources. This means each day starts with playing catch-up.

A social media manager’s day starts with checking up on what happened through the night. This is true for each platform you’re managing.

  1. Check for replies, shares, mentions, and questions from your client’s followers. This needs to be done for each platform.
  2. Reply and/or acknowledge the responses and questions. Also, acknowledge shares of your content.
  3. Check for new trends. This includes trending hashtags, conversations, and topics. Determine how those trends work with your social media strategy.

Once you’re caught up with the overnight info, it’s time to move into creating your material for the day. Ideally, you’ll have some graphics, posts, or other content ready and scheduled ahead of time. Remember, social media is one aspect of the overall content marketing strategy.

To create an effective social media strategy, you need to combine your client’s content with content from other reputable industry leaders. You also want to use non-marketing communication.

Ask questions and answer questions, share in the fun of a trending hashtag or conversation, share funny stories about your clients day-to-day. If all you do is market to social media followers, they’ll stop caring what you have to say.

As a social media manager, it’s your job to mix things up and keep people interested. You are the person interacting with your client’s audience. You need to understand what that audience is looking for.

Successful social media strategies find ways to be funny and relevant while sharing information. They look for ways to get the audience involved. It’s your job to create a community around your client’s brand.

Wendy’s is a good example of an effective social media strategy. They engage in conversations happening all over Twitter. They bring humor into their marketing strategy. They even created some humorous online “fights” with other restaurants in their industry.

If you’d like a good look at the day-to-day of a social media manager’s job, Hootsuite created a video that shares what their social media strategy looks like.

 Social Media Manager Skills Required

To be an effective social media manager, there are some basic skills required. While most of these skills can be learned, you must have a willingness to learn and use these skills if you want to do social media management.

Social Media Savvy

To manage social media accounts you have to understand how those accounts work. A social media manager needs to have a good grasp of the major social media platforms.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

These are not the only platforms, but they are the most popular. Each platform has a different set of rules and etiquette for effective communication.

To use each platform effectively you have to understand the rules for each platform. You also need to understand the common uses for each one.

Which platforms use hashtags, and how are they used for each platform? Which platforms are for videos and graphics? Which rely on the written word for effective marketing?

You also need to know who is using each platform. It does you no good to create great content if you’re sharing it on the wrong media platforms. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

Writing and Editing Skills

For an effective social media strategy, you must have the ability to grab people’s attention with words. You also need the ability to do so quickly. You can’t spend five minutes getting to the point because people will lose interest quickly.

A good grasp of copywriting and content creation skills are a must. It’s not just about catchy words though. You also need a good grasp of grammar.

Let’s face it, people won’t take you seriously if your messages are filled with grammar mistakes. In fact, grammar mistakes are a good way if catching the wrong type of attention for your client.

There are some tools that can help with this. Apps such as Grammarly can help you catch grammar mistakes that you miss. You can also use Hemingway to help you make sure the content you use is readable.

books business computer connection
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Research Skills

An effective social media manager knows how to research. You are constantly looking for new sources of content and news. You want to stay up-to-date with the industry your marketing and the client your marketing.

Internet research is your best friend here. There are some simple tools you can use to make research easier too.

Google Trends allows you to search current trends and keep up with where and how topics are trending.

Google Alerts allows you to have relevant news on certain topics delivered to your email each day. This helps you find good content to share about relevant topics for your client.

Hashtag searches are also a great tool. You can search hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to find what’s trending for each. Facebook doesn’t use hashtags as much as the others, but you can still use them on this platform.

For example, try doing a Twitter search on #writerscommunity. This is a trending hashtag for writers on Twitter and gives you insight on what topics are relevant to writers.

Research is also about keeping up with how your strategy is working. All the major platforms provide analytics tools to help you see how your content is working.

p.s. Buffer has a great list of other analytics tools to help you see what’s working.

To keep up with your research and strategies, you might want to use an observation journal. This is a great way to keep up with useful trends and ideas for content.

 Planning Skills

A social media manager also needs to know how to plan their social media strategy. This means determining what and where you’ll post. It also means knowing when to post and the tools to help you keep up with all of it.

You have to pay attention to what content gets the most engagement, so you can take advantage of those types of posts. For instance, graphics and videos get a lot more engagement than written words alone.

Once you have a good content strategy, you need to know when to post those things. You want to make sure your content is posted when more of your audience will see it. This does require some playing around, but with the use of analytics, you can get a good idea of peak posting times.

For each platform, there is an etiquette to how often you should post. You’ll need to schedule posts throughout the day for each of your clients. This task is time-consuming if you don’t have the right tools in place.

A post scheduling tool is a must for social media managers. With this tool, you can schedule posts ahead of time so you’re not spending all day searching for and posting new material for several clients. This doesn’t mean you won’t check in, just that you’re freeing up your time to engage with your client’s audience.

Two major scheduling tools on the market are Buffer and Hootsuite. They both have a free plan that allows you to manage up to three accounts. If you have more accounts to manage, you can pay a small fee to keep up with more.

Each of these tools is set up a little differently, so you’ll want to check them out to see which works best for you. (I personally use both).

advertising alphabet business communication
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

SEO Skills

SEO skills are important for online marketing. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the use of keywords to help search engines rank your content. While SEO is mostly used for website ranking, search engines also rank social media accounts.

This means the keywords you use in the bios and the content posted affect how your client’s brand is found on search engines. The SEO markers include:

  • Long and short-term keywords.
  • Use of brand names.
  • Amount of engagement.
  • Content length.

The more that you can combine keywords from your client’s website to their social media updates, the higher they can rank on search engines. This is a simplified explanation, so there’s more to it than that, but it’s important to stay on brand when sharing content from your client.

This also means sharing other content relevant to your client’s market. SEO is about showing relevancy and expertise.

Graphic and Video Creation

Before the idea of creating graphics and/or videos scares you way, just know you don’t need a degree in graphic design or video creation to create effective content. You do need to know where to find the right tools to help you create content though.

People are more likely to click on a post that contains pictures or video. That’s just the way things go. Infographics, how-to videos, and behind the scenes pictures or videos are especially popular on social media.

For an effective social media strategy, you need to know how to incorporate these medias into your content plans. Luckily, there are tools for the non-savvy creator.

My favorite graphic designing tool is Canva. You can create a free or paid account, and pick from different templates to create a graphic for your needs. You can even pick from graphics created by other users and modify them for your needs.

There are also pictures and illustrations provided for use. If you want another picture for your graphic, you can easily use your own or upload a picture from a website like Unsplash.

For video creation, this can be as simple as a video taken with your smartphone. With resources such as live videos, people aren’t looking for the perfectly edited videos from brands. If the video has a clear message and proves entertaining, you can get a lot of traction from them.

If you want a more polished video, you can use a program like Biteable for helpful templates. If you want to try your hand at animated videos, you can try Animaker for an affordable price.

You can also find or create your own GIFs with a program like Giphy. This is a fun way to create engaging content. People love GIFs.

man with headphones facing computer monitor
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Customer Service Skills

An effective social media manager also needs good customer service skills. Remember, you are the person interacting with your client’s audience. You need to do so with respect and friendliness.

It’s important to work on your online communication skills when dealing with people on social media. You WILL come across rude or vulgar people. Knowing how to deal with these people is important.

You will also need to have answers to customer questions or know where to direct them to get their questions answered. It’s important to answer questions professionally and in a timely manner.

You also need to know which inquiries or replies are worth responding to and which are not. Let’s face it, sometimes responding can cause a situation to get out of control. It’s up to you to know when to let something go.

Finding the Right Freelance or Work-at-Home Option for You

Does social media manager sound like the right job for you? If so, make sure you do your research about getting started. You can always contact me for more information.

If you want more information about other freelance or work-at-home options, check out my guide for freelancers. Find an option that works best with your skill-set.


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