Today, most of us around the globe cannot imagine a life without Social Media – But let us not forget that only a decade ago, the term ‘social media’ was practically nonexistent among the majority of the masses!
Though you can trace the roots of social media from the 1990s with Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and Six Degrees , it wasn’t until the advent of social networking sites such as; Friendster, MySpace, Hi5, LinkedIn, XING which were based on the ‘social-circles network model’, that the idea of ‘social media’ took flight.
Facebook, which was created in Feb 2004, was only open to everyone around the world in 2006, (Those at least 13 years old with a valid email ID). And it took about six more years to reach its monthly active user mark of 1 billion, to become the major player in the ‘social media’ sphere.
The term social media and therefore the term ‘Social Media Managers’ entered the social lexicon and into the fabric of ‘marketing’ only in recent times. If you look at the term ‘Social Media Managers’ in Google Trends below, it shows how the need, interest and demand for the term has escalated only in the last couple of years.
Now, along with Facebook dozen of other dynamic and diverse social networking platforms such as; Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., are a commonplace amongst the masses and businesses around the world.
For brands big and small, it's now almost a ‘necessity’ to have Social Media Managers, whose primary job is to watch over, manage and run various social accounts which operate under their brand name.
It's not an easy job to say the least, when every tweet, post, story and hashtag has to be delivered and exchanged, with the reputation of your brand always on the line.
For those aspiring Social Media Managers, who would like to venture into this exciting yet highly responsible world of social media, here are a few winning tips to help you along your way:
1. Plan For Every Channel & Post Consistently
First things first, before you start jumping into sending messages, posting pictures and tweeting your heart out, create a strategy or a plan for every social media channel you wish to engage in.
Your plan should primarily provide answers as to why you need your brand’s presence on social media. Thoroughly researched social media channels which are most likely to feature your user personas or targeted audience, are the ones you need to start with.
It's always good to start with not more than two effective social platforms, rather than spreading yourself too thin with multiple accounts. Here’s a link from HubSpot to help you build a robust Social Media Marketing Strategy.
Once you've decided on your channels, you're ready to post your content. However, sending out a tweet or posting a pic on Instagram when you feel like, is not going to cut it. You need to work on your marketing plan to develop the type of content you need to publish, create a content calendar or a publishing schedule and stick to it to deliver content on a consistent basis. Consistency with your posts help you to build credibility and trust amongst your audience and keep them engaged with your brand.
2. Be ‘Real’ And Commit to Quality
With Social networks, it's always about being your authentic self or simply being ‘real’. Brands that are able to portray the ‘human’ side of their brand engage well with their audience, than their counterparts who are using logos or icons instead of engaging with human emotions.
A great example is of the tweet below from the brand Always, which connects exceptionally well with their female audiences, with a face and a genuine message that every girl or a woman can relate to:
3. Editing Like A Trauma Surgeon
When it comes to editing your team’s posts, Social Media Managers need to make sure there aren’t any grammatical errors or any misleading post that could jeopardise the brand’s image. It's essential you take care of the most important ones first.
Just like a trauma surgeon who uses triage as a system to prioritise treatment of patients to attend to the most needy ones or ‘life threatening’ conditions, a Social Media Manager should also treat the ones that could be highly detrimental to the brand’s image, than mulling over spelling mistakes.
The post, taken by many as a hilarious faux-pas, was later amended by British Airways saying, “Finally we agree on something except for how to get there.” British Airways must have gotten away with humour with ‘not-so-harmful’ post, but it's nevertheless a stark reminder for the British Airways’ Social Media Managers that such ‘slip ups’ can also turn quite ‘ugly’ if not monitored and resolved in a timely fashion.
‘Shout-Out’ Trade Offs To Promote Your Brand
Shout-Outs basically refer to partnering with other social media accounts and cross promoting each other’s profile – A ‘Share-for-Share’, where you share one another’s profile and content and you both encourage your followers to follow the other account.
The idea here is to strike that ‘win-win’ balance where you’ll easily double your ‘following’ by accessing others’ audiences, and they in turn get access to your followers.
If you’re using Instagram account for instance, you need to make sure the other Instagram account is somewhat close to what your profile or brand represents – i.e. you wouldn’t want to partner with a brand like Strava, (who’s into running & cycling) with a jewellery brand. You may get the ‘shout-outs’ but not enough to garner any leads. On second thought, a brand like Strava could be more receptive if you’re into sports clothing and accessories.
5. Be Extra Sensitive With Humour
Nothing can lighten up your followers’ day than a post with a good humour, however, it's crucial the joke is a light hearted one and doesn’t pinch the wrong nerve.
Most of all, you need to be wary about making a joke that mocks one’s ethnicity, gender or economic status. Anything even close to teasing these human attributes is a huge blunder on your part, and the brand could be easily labeled as insensitive and immoral, causing a bad rapport amongst your followers.
6. Always Use Second Pair Of Eyes
Whether it’s a picture, video, blogpost or a tweet, it always pays to have it reviewed by at least one other person other than the creator, before it's published in the social media.
No matter how many times we re-check our work, being human we all have our blind spots and could easily miss out a major glitch in the content. If you’re in a team, it's always best to design a process where the content is reviewed and signed off by at least one more person in the team, before it sees the light of day.
If you happen to work as a solopreneur and don’t have a team to point out your mistakes, you're still required to run them over a friend or your close ones who has the knack of an editor or keen sense to figure out ‘soreness’ or ambiguity in the content.
7. Learn To Take Criticism
One thing Social Media Managers need to understand is that people are instinctively drawn to post a ‘complaint’ rather than to ‘praise’.
When it comes to human interaction, the ‘social’ side always reflects some form of ‘criticism’, and Social Media Managers must realise the criticisms or complaints aren’t aimed at them personally. Even if it was their fault, they need to take it with a ‘pinch of salt’, learn from the mistakes, tackle the issue, pacify the agitated voices and portray the best possible ‘face’ of your brand.
For instance, when a customer has a poor experience with a retail chain and lashes out on social media feed of the brand, it's the Social Media Manager who’s the first line of defens, and it's up to them to acknowledge the mistake, empathise with the customer, and solve the problem without losing the customer.
8. Using Analytics For Better Performance
The only way to find out if your social media marketing is producing desirable results, is by measuring and analysing your efforts.
Analytics here refers to tracking both the social media metrics (likes, comments, shares, etc.) and the business metrics (traffic, leads, conversions, revenue, etc.) Social Media Managers who understand and assess both of these metrics are able to ascertain and apply how a brand’s social media performance translates into business goals.
To maximise a brands’ ‘social media ROI’, a weekly, monthly and quarterly tracking of these metrics should be carried out and changes should be made to the social media strategy as required.
For those aspiring Social Media Managers out there, these tips should give you a head start in launching your brand into the social sphere, however, it's imperative that you constantly analyse the metrics, try and test new social strategies to figure out what works best for your brand and your target audience.
If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.
Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Website is www.element7digital.com.au