What you need to know about managing social media

what-you-need-to-know-about-social-media-managementWhile in a local Facebook group, I recently came across a post offering local moms the opportunity to “learn” social media so that they could open their own consulting business for the low, low price of $25. The post said that anyone could do it and that the hours were great.

As you can imagine, with any “get rich quick” scheme, women were interested in droves. I, on the other hand, was horrified. In response to this, and in an effort to dispel the myth that social media management is a job “anyone can do,” I have put together a list of 10 things you may not know about being a social media and managing a brand’s accounts. If you are a brand–small or large–please read this carefully, as well. It should come in very handy when you come across those who say they have social media chops.

  1. Social media managers need to have a communications background. Period. If you don’t have a background in PR or marketing (or journalism), I highly recommend you at least enroll in a college-level PR or marketing course before promising to run someone’s social media. If you are a brand and meeting with possible social media candidates, just “knowing” social isn’t enough. These days everyone “knows social,” but do they understand the implications of using social media poorly, how to use it effectively or how to leverage it for your brand’s success? Managing one’s personal account is not background enough. It is important for brand’s to look at for managers and consultants who have been in the trenches, devising strategy and studying the ins and outs of the fickle social media landscape.
  2. Social media is, first and foremost, a brand’s public statement. There was a time that we relied on press releases to be a brand’s official statement on pretty much anything, but together social media often takes the place of the press release. Whether a brand is publishing an adorable photo or making a statement after a troubling incident related to their product or service, social media is often the first (and sometimes only) communication outlet the public comes in contact with. Just imagine you own a store and there is an incident at your store that injures several patrons, or you own a restaurant and there is a food-born illness outbreak. Would you want someone who learned social media in an hour or so handling what the public would be hearing from you or someone with a bit more communications know-how.
  3. The hours aren’t easy. I begin checking my phone for social media engagement the second my eyes open, and I am still checking long into the night. Social media isn’t a 9-to-5 job–especially if it turns out that your client’s fans aren’t on social media 9-to-5, which is the case more often than not.
  4. Social media requires a plan. Posting on a whim without a plan is an absurd notion. No brand would conduct their print or broadcast media that way, nor should any brand do their social that way either. And I’m not just talking about just planning content–which in and of itself can be a grueling job–there is the need to plan for crisis, complaints and unwanted content and engagement the brand receives; the need to coordinate with other marketing and PR campaigns; graphics; video production and more. If your social media manager doesn’t have a plan or strategy, you might as well do it yourself.
  5. Social media is all about the analytics and analysis. All social media managers live in a world of numbers. We are constantly measuring engagement and looking at how posts did (and did not) perform. We use these numbers to drive our future outreach and efforts and track our successes… and our failures. Not every campaign is going to be a hit, but there is no way to know how we’ve done if we aren’t measuring progress. As a social media manager, I spend not just hours, but DAYS compiling data reports for my clients to show our social media successes, spikes and areas needing improvement. I work with them to analyze where and when we need to alter our communications focus. Communication is an art, but social media communication is an art AND a science.

I love my job. I love my clients. I have worked hard to get where I am at, and I am dedicated to providing my clients with the return on investment from my services that they deserve. I believe that social media clients take a big leap of faith when hiring someone to manage their accounts; they are essentially handing over the keys to their public microphone, and if someone screams into it incorrectly, the results can be very damaging and long lasting. Social media is serious business these days, and anyone in the industry who doesn’t treat it as such should stick to posting on their own accounts.

I made this graphic thanks to the free social media button download on the blog Life With Munchers.

I See You!

glasses-415256_1920It’s no secret that engagement is important to PR pros looking for influencers to work with their clients. (Or at least it should be.) One the easiest places to evaluate an influencer’s engagement is on Facebook. Before you start shouting at me that Facebook is dead, let’s keep in mind that it isn’t dead for all audiences. For moms and dads, Facebook is still a very viable outlet for communication and popular with the over 30-ish crowd. It is a place where parents can engage in conversations, ask questions and, of course, share photos of their adorable tikes. Likewise, for parenting influencers (bloggers), Facebook is still an important means of communication with their audience.

The importance of Facebook is not a mystery to parenting bloggers. Most serious influencers work hard to cultivate all of their social media channels, including Facebook. There is nothing I love more than an influencer who works hard to engage with their audience. Unfortunately, there are times when influencers “misdirect” their hard work and instead of creating dynamic, authentic and engaging content.

Recently, a client asked me to do a deep “vetting” on influencers they were interested in for a media event. The event was coming at a great cost to the client, so it was of the upmost importance that we not only found influencers with the “right” audience, but we wanted influencers with an engaged audience. As part of my “deep dive,” I looked at each influencer’s Facebook fan page and found some very interesting things.


Huge Followings with No Engagement

I’m not talking a few thousand followers and a like or two on posts. I’m talking about tens of thousands of followers on Facebook with virtually NO likes on posts. As in ZERO. Let’s make something really clear right now: If you have 25,000 followers on Facebook, your posts should get at least a FEW likes–especially given the fact that the posts I am seeing aren’t actually bad. (And those likes shouldn’t be from you, your significant other or the same one or two people every time.)

Huge numbers of fans with absolutely no engagement tells me you have a ton of fake followers OR you got all of your followers by running contests and giveaways to people who had no intention on being your “fan” or reader in the first place and they have all turned off all notifications from your site. (And… again… you probably have fake followers.)


“Interesting” Engagement

Your posts have likes. Awesome!

Your posts have comments. That’s great!

All of your posts happened to be “liked” by your spouse and other people sharing your last name. That doesn’t count. It takes someone like me a matter of seconds to figure out that you and your significant other are the only ones liking your content.

…And here’s the one that gets me the most…

All of your post are like by other bloggers. No! No! No! That doesn’t count as fan engagement! Yes, bloggers. Those of us checking see that you are liking one another’s posts. We know that you are in groups together asking for likes and comments on your posts. Trust me when I tell you that I get it. Sometimes a post may need a little bit of a nudge for it to take off. But every post?! People like me SEE this and groan. We see the same bloggers liking all of one another posts over and over. I would rather see a small amount of authentic engagement with a handful of fans who might actually provide my clients with a return on their investment, than the likes of other bloggers you personally network with. Am I saying bloggers shouldn’t promote their work? No way! Get the word out there any way you can about your hard work! And again, I DO get it–sometimes you need a little push every once in a while for a post–but by and large, you shouldn’t need a push on every single post if you are writing dynamic, personal, engaging content that is relevant to your audience.


The bottom line is this: Let your content be the key that opens the door to your engagement. Great story telling and authentic content is what people want to read. Take a step back from your blog and ask yourself if YOU would actually want to read what you are posting. Are your posts interesting? Do they engage, entertain, excite or inspire? Are you creating content that is unique? I’m all for networking; in fact, I love networking. But why not network with other influencers to inspire better content and more authentic reader engagement instead?

To vet or to vet: That is the answer

vetting-social-media-inffluencersAs a PR and marketing professional, one of the many services I provide my clients is influencer relations. Because I am not part of a big, over-blown agency concerned with cramming in as many billable hours possible to provide clients their services in the quickest amount of time, I spend a great deal of time vetting the influencers I propose they work with. And I don’t just don’t do this once… I reevaluate the influencers I work with at least once a year. For me, I look at a lot of things when selecting a blogger or online key opinion leader to work with.

When I select an influencer to work with, I look at a lot of things, including the following:

  • The influencer’s demographic.
  • The influencer’s blog and/or social media content. Is it mostly sponsored, well written, etc.?
  • Social media reach and the authenticity of their communication.
  • The influencer’s personality.

I am floored by the brands and PR and marketing pros that do not do these things when putting together lists of folks they want to work with on campaigns. Working with bloggers and other online influencers is a big investment for brands, and I believe that just like with any other investment, there should be a tangible return in the form of authentic communication and reach with an audience that will be responsive to the messaging.

No one wants to speak into an empty can. I make sure my clients are speaking into a microphone. If you are working with an agency, consultant or even your own on-staff PR pros, be sure to discuss vetting the influencers your brand is connecting with.