When I was a kid, my parents taught me to be useful and to share stuff with others – be it food, time, books. Even a single bourbon biscuit was asked to be shared with my brother.
Little did I realize then that sharing is the basic human quality that would influence the way how businesses fueled their customer base in just two decades from then.
Today, that has taken a monstrous turn and is known as Social Media. Almost all the content on Social Media websites and Social Networking sites are user-generated content ‘shared‘ by someone with someone.
Mostly that content is viewable by anyone in any corner of the world. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, Quora, and a plethora of other websites, where social media has established and evolved as a game field where different kinds of players meet, co-exist and complement each other. Everyone meets different demands and works differently. But the purpose of every player has evolved since their inception and ideation stage.
That evolution was imminent because of just one factor – customers.
Being in the midst of these two are the social media managers. Such is the criticality. There were times when social media was just a means to connect with people, mostly friends and families. However, businesses saw a great platform there to connect with their customers and tap into the collective psychology to increase and improve what mattered to them – their brand, which obviously is the topmost on their sales funnel.
Social media managers are like the tiny working ants who can be compared with the traditional salesmen. Their job description keeps evolving continuously who got converted into tech savvy managers today to keep customers engaged and add relative value to maintain their businesses alive and current.
But behold, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Here’s an interesting infographic that shows what a day in the life of a social media manager looks like:
Infographic source: Socialcast
Must have skills for a Social Media Manager to have on resume:
0. Content Creation and Curation – copywriting, creating infographics/images and videos. This is the first and foremost work of an SMM. Without something to offer first, an SMM cannot expect an effective relationship-building happening, as a majority of us first see what’s in it for us. So when an SMM works on creating (a blog post, infographic, interesting piece of news or an article) something, that starts as the first step towards attracting targeted customers.
1. Planning, Scheduling and Posting – These three pieces of the micro-puzzle is a semi-automation exercise that works wonders when set on an auto-pilot. Of course, planning is something which can never be automated – you plan for what to create, what to post when to post and whom to target. The remaining work could be delegated to your social media robots like Buffer, HootSuite or post planner.
2. Measuring, Analyzing and Reporting – while creating and curating content can become tiresome in the long run, there is a method to this madness. And that method becomes evident when an SMM starts to measure her creations – A/B Testing, Landing Pages, posting frequency, data analytics and sentiments capturing. This is done using the analytical tools available in almost all the social media tools out there. Effective monitoring and analyzing of the tweets, for e.g., to see the reach, study the engagements and sentiments can provide great nuggets of wisdom if you have the eye to see. Not to forget that these metrics are used for your social media strategy meetings with your company’s members who matter.
3. Communication Skills – all types and sizes. writing, listening, speaking, body language, reading – all at work here in this SMM role. An efficient use of these skills can help you rank better than your contemporaries and competitors. Sometimes you would receive a complicated question publicly on a social media platform and you would need to know where to route that to and get a quicker response. That’s why a social media marketer has to be resourceful enough to quickly pass and take the baton when needed.
4. Understanding Cultural Differences and Different Timezones – it’s a given that with social media, the reach is global. But any member performing the role of a Social Media Manager has to be aware of the time zones and other sensitivities of what’s happening across the globe. For example, some hashtags could be regionally suitable. However, some could create havoc if it’s culturally taboo. Inappropriately timed Twitter Chat Sessions while a country which has other boiling topics being discussed – like a leader’s demise.
5. Engaging and Reading Between the Lines – It takes a careful eye to read the written word but an even more special one to read between the lines, to make sense of what is being implied. Engaging the customers will become easier if that’s deciphered.
6. A Helping Mindset – if your mindset has ‘helping’ as the bedrock platform, everything you do comes naturally appealing to your customers. Just find how you can make your customer’s life easy today.
7. Studying Patterns and Experimenting – more importantly, the ability to find patterns in the way consumers respond is critical to explore the human psychology. An SMM can effectively do this by experimenting different ways to interact with various kinds of customers. Some may like to read a lot of stuff so you can communicate via blogs and some might like images (Pinterest), and others gobble up videos after videos (youtube, vine).
8. Being Up To Date with Current and Emerging Technologies – still trying to connect with myspace buddies and searching for Orkut friends? OMG, who recruited you as a Social Media manager? Well, just kidding – you get the point. Change is constant. Just be updated. Snapchat, Vine – are you 100% sure of using them? Teenagers, these days, do. Gen Y and Gen Z do. Go with the flow, don’t get run over.
9. Being Flexible. Being Agile. – just like that previous point said about finding out recent trends and other happening topics or hashtags, be sure to think on your feet to change and nibble your carefully crafted plans to engage customers. Knowing what’s going on there at their part of the world helps more than you think – it even makes them believe you are an excellent communicator. Be agile.
10. A Community Mindset – after all, you are building a community even if you feel you are talking to a bunch of free information absorbers. no, that’s not the case. you are not just engaging them between the both of you. A real community will interact among themselves.
11. Time Management Skills – as seen in the infographics, there is a lot to do in this role. It can easily keep you busy throughout the day, but fortunately, everything can be done using mobile apps today. It all depends on where you work and how comfortable you are. Just ensure you manage the work day well and thus get some good amount of sleep and family time too. It has to be in the balance. Or else it just doesn’t make any sense.
12. Sales and Marketing Skills – are you one of those homeowners who keep a placard outside your fence keeping salespeople at bay? oops! you are now one of them. Sales and marketing are part of the game here. It’s not all. Just part of being a good Social Media Manager. Don’t come across sounding salesy. If we both meet up then, I will ignore you 🙂 Being a good salesman does matter.
13. Being Natural – the best smm’s can do their work out of gut instinct with a cool head from a hotel swimming pool. it’s not always about selling. it’s mostly about making connections with other people who will eventually buy because of the connection you both made. Not the other way around.
Conclusion: In a nutshell, it’s basically a platter of Facebooking, blogging, scheduling, tweeting, commenting, replying, liking, sharing, pinning stuff all your work day long. Call it Social Media Marketer, Social Media Manager, Social Media Evangelist, Social Sales Person, Brand Ambassadors, Content Managers – you call it whatever you want – it’s all about interacting with people who matter.