The 5 “Musts” of a Social Media Manager
I’m a social media manager. Turns out, it’s a job that needs a lot of explaining.
“What do you do for a living?” the Trader Joe’s cashier asks me.
“I’m in marketing.”
“What kind of marketing?”
“Mostly social media.”
Her eyes widen. I can almost feel the pang of jealousy she experiences as she scans my frozen sweet potato fries. “You do social media as a job?”
I know what’s coming next.
“So you get to like, play on Facebook all day?”
It’s also a difficult line of work to describe to your grandma.
“Now explain to me what you do again,” she asks.
“It’s like…there’s this thing called…the Internet,” I begin.
There’s even a lot of debate surrounding “social media” as a job title, with some arguing it’s just a set of tools. Call it what you want, but know this: It’s a job with a capital J.
I’ve been doing this for a year and a half. Here are my top five “musts” for a social media manager:
1. Must have multiple personalities.
You have to be able to adopt the tone of your client or their brand and be able to switch back and forth constantly. I’m me. I’m a car salesman. I’m a jeweler. A professional kayaker. An ad agency. I’m a resort and casino, would you like a deluxe or superior room?
You also have to be interested in EVERYTHING. You never know what a future client may need, so you have to follow everyone. On every social network. No exceptions.
2. Must never stop.
When I was being introduced to the job I had a meeting with a seasoned social media manager. He described one of the best social media managers he knew: “She goes 110 miles an hour. She never stops. She’s a little ADD. She’s great. Perfect for social media.”
This may change any second, but as of right now, a Facebook post has a 3 hour viewing window. This means we need to constantly be posting. And tweeting. And pinning. It’s a never-ending cycle and you MUST NOT STOP.
3. Must be a good writer/detail oriented.
Since the invention of social media, we’ve all realized the same thing about our friends. They need a little help when it comes to spelling, grammar and punctuation.
I’ve heard over and over again how important it is for those of us in social media to “think like journalists.” Well-written, timely content is vital. I’m convinced you can’t manage a client’s social media account well without being able to write well. You also must be detail-oriented. (Make sure to have a cup of coffee close by when scheduling a month of Facebook and Twitter posts for multiple clients.)
4. Must be prepared for the day disaster strikes.
Sure, everyone makes mistakes on the job. But when someone makes a social media mistake, it can be a national headline in seconds. (See Mashable’s list of the most shocking social media disasters of 2011.)
It’s inevitable that you’re going to mess up. Post the wrong tweet to the wrong Twitter account. Go off on a rant on your personal Facebook page, only to find out it’s one of your client’s pages. So have a plan. (Mine is to secretly clear out my desk under the mask of night, delete my Internet presence and move to another country.)
5. Must be a good listener.
In the social media game, you can be behind the curve in a mere minute. Listening in on the conversations of others is a must, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or in “real life.”
You have to be nosy and ask questions: “What was that you said? A new social media network? How do I sign up? Do they allow brands yet?”
I could go on and on, but I better wrap up. There are posts to be written, schedules to be approved, analytics to be studied…and a grandma who wants to know how to Google. There’s much to be done.
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