So, You Want to Be a Social Media Manager

two people in a discussion with mobile phones

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You see ads for the position of Social Media Manager. You use social media every day.  Maybe you’re no designer or marketing expert, but could you be an SM Manager?

What are the job responsibilities? Of course, that varies based on the employer, but here’s a quick list of some common parts of the job.

  • Work with content creators, possibly a content manager, public relations and marketing teams. If this is a small organization, you might be a one or two-person “department” and some knowledge of photography, videography, image editing skills is a real plus.
  • Develop a social media strategy
  • Manage all social media tactics to leverage content, drive community engagement and ultimately increase key KPIs.
  • Probably you will manage the social media budget
  • You will capture quantitative metrics and provide analysis and insights using SM management and analytical tools (Salesforce, Hootsuite etc.) for listening, scheduling, engaging, and reporting.
  • Manage the social media content calendar
  • For that job interview and when in the position you will need to stay up to date
    on your industry, especially the social media trends of competitors.

Do you need a college degree? Depends on the employer. Some may accept previous SM experience in a company – not personal social media experiences, though that certainly will help you. There are very few people in social media with degrees in social media because there are very few social media degrees though there are related fields such as marketing.

You certainly need experience managing social media or relevant, digital marketing experience across social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Crisis Response and Social Media Strategy

t-rex in the rearview mirror

Ready for a crisis when it appears?

Often when we think of a social media strategy, we think of marketing. Create a plan, make a content calendar, and build campaigns.  But organizations also need a strategy to respond to a crisis using social media (SM) and ones that emerge in SM.

Many organizations and boards use an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach for dealing with a crisis. But that ERM was probably overseen by an audit committee or some group other than a social media team. In fact, the SM team might not even be in-house. The traditional ERM might have originally considered things like disaster recovery (fire, flood, hurricanes) and had its purview expanded to oversee things like cyber readiness. A well prepared organization’s risk mitigation should also have pre-reviewed  SM responses ready.

Betsy Atkins, writing in Forbes, suggests that you prepare for your ten most likely risks. Having prepared such strategies and taught students to do so, I know that though there may be some industry typical risks that are obvious, you really need a list customized to your organization.

For example, Atkins suggests that for a restaurant, those risks might include a wide range from food poisoning, to a #metoo issue, or a breach of customer info, to an armed attack/active shooter.

She notes that the difference between Starbucks’ speedy response on an alleged racial bias issue contrasts poorly with the poor responses by United Airlines concerning passenger abuse removal scandal followed by a puppy suffocation death.

In a time when customers are more likely to tweet their anger with your organization or post a bad review, you need to respond very quickly and as proactively as possible. I was a MoviePass customer and I saw many complaints on social media about service and all received the same boilerplate “contact us privately” kind of response. I knew they were in trouble. Beyond the person who posted their complaint, there were many more readers of it who had the same issue or would have in the future and they saw that the company was avoiding any public response.

Is there any crossover between the marketing side of SM and the risk management side? There should be. Since I work frequently in higher education, I was interested in an article about how George Washington University is using campus influencers  to market for them. Using students, alums, campus leaders is not unique, though much of what you see online is probably accidental rather than intentional marketing. These participants received a package of GW “swag” and were asked to post about GW at least three times a month using the hashtag #GWAmbassador and attend at least two events at GW (tickets provided) each semester if they live in the D.C. area.

The article was vague on details but said that “officials” would provide these ambassadors with “expectations” about how to promote the given material. I hope those expectations are carefully worded and thorough in their coverage since you have designated these people as ad-hoc members of the marketing team. Are they disclosing that they were given the ticket to the event they are posting about?  If they wear their GW hat and sweatshirt at a gun control rally and post a photo without the official hashtag are they still representing the university at some level?

The campaign sounds okay, and the few examples I saw in Twitter seemed innocent enough. Are they ready to respond to a crisis emerging from it?