The Social Media Manager’s Ultimate Guide

By on April 22, 2013

A social media manager is someone that has been given the responsibility of creating, managing and improving the social media accounts in a business, or – most likely – their own business. Many small business owners choose to become their own social media managers, but they very rarely have any idea what that means. Here’s the guide that will teach you what it means to be a great social media manager!

The 5 Principles of Social Media Management

As a social media manager you need to be uniquely aware of the online marketplace, and the social dynamics that occur on each social media network. In order to begin your journey as a manager that knows what they are doing – you need to hold these principles in high esteem. Only then will you be able to properly define your job, and your goals.

#1: Social Media Management is About Consistency

Principle number one states that consistency is key. As a social media manager you will have to learn to become a time management Jedi, as your accounts will achieve nothing without consistent content and quality. Daily posting is just a part of this overall plan. You need to create strategies that guarantee all your social properties are fed with content.

#2: Social Media Management is About Influence

Principle number two states that you must have an influencer strategy that runs alongside your other social media strategies. Experts know that small business pages won’t get anywhere without decent exposure and the only way to secure that is to make friends with top influencers. Social media managers need to focus on this more often.

#3: Social Media Management is About Practical Measurement

Principle number three states that social media success is dependent on your ability to practically test, measure, read and draw conclusions from analytics data. It’s a cycle of identifying an area that needs improvement, working on it – and then testing to see whether the results turned out in your favor. Constant improvement is key for social media managers.

#4: Social Media Management is About Exposure

Principle number four states that social media is about exposure, and the many ways you can get it. One area to work on is your appearance in mainstream media. Using press releases and online reporting sites like helpareporter.com, you can build authority – and even land television, radio or blog appearances that will help grow your communities.

#5: Social Media Management is About Engagement

Principle number five involves the one element that no good social strategy can be without – engagement. If your fans aren’t communicating with you, then you’ve failed as a social media manager. All of your strategies and content need to be geared towards prompting action or causing crowd sourced content from your fans.

The Basic Skills Every Social Media Manager Needs

If those 5 principles didn’t orientate you, then this surely will. All social media manager need to have a specific set of skills to do their job properly. First and foremost, social media managers are MEDIA specialists. They know how different types of content can be used to illicit emotional and physical responses from people.

• Ability to use Photoshop or other image editing programs
• Ability to use Lightwave or video editing software
• Ability to use apps like Vine, Instagram and TweetDeck
• Ability to optimize content for the search engines
• Ability to write engaging, grammatically correct copy
• A business understanding of social media platforms
• Ability to cleanly and easily market and sell in a social environment
• Ability to schedule, manage and navigate daily deadlines

Each of these skills are very important to a social media manager. Without a few of these, you won’t be able to create your own media, or run your own social campaigns. If you don’t know how to work with images, or video for example – you’re excluding an essential part of an overall social media strategy that can be highly effective.

Great social media managers are intelligent, curious, conversational, fast, a natural goal-setter and a results-orientated media specialist.

The Social Media Management Routine

Social media managers should work to a set routine, to maximize their time. At least half an hour of their day should be dedicated to news in their niche. When a manager knows what the absolute latest news is, they can capitalize on it for all of their social media outlets. It’s important that a large portion of their daily content is to-the-minute fresh.

This is because many social platforms and Google rank content by ‘relevancy’ which means that it needs to be tied to a current event.

• Beginning of the month content strategy and scheduling
• The 80/20 rule – 80% valuable content, 20% direct marketing content
• Creating content for 3 hours a day
• Posting or publishing content for 2 hours a day
• Monitoring analytics for an hour a day
• Taking notes and staying informed for 1 hour a day
• Reaching out to influencers for an hour a day

Social media managers can also decide to have content made for them, or to dedicate more than 3 hours per day to content creation. The social media machine is always hungry, and it always needs to be fed.

Social Media Content Rules

For the efficient social media manager, the content is what matters most. All content needs to be organized in specific ways so that it is easier to manage. Let’s take a closer look at how content should be used, sourced or published.

• Holiday or occasion based content
• Relevant, time sensitive content
• RARE niche specific content
• Content sourced from influencers, experts and fans
• Content that is cured from the internet
• Content that is meant to sell, promote or market

All content must have a purpose, which means that it’s best to decide which platform you’re making the content for, before you actually create it. That way it will work a lot better.

• Social media dashboard

As a social media manager you’ll be working with several different types of content, within several different types of platforms in an ever changing online arena. You will need some help to manage this content, and that help comes in the form of a good social media dashboard like Hootsuite, TweetDeck or Argyle Social.

Social media managers use these dashboards to schedule their automatic content, and to organize what sort of content needs to come next. There is always content you can create that is very general, and this makes for good foundational content for your platforms.

There are certain rules that you must abide by if your content is going to do well, in a sea of millions of other pieces of content.

• Your images must always be beautiful, inspiring, educational or profound
• Your videos must always be stylized (fans must be able to see they belong to you)
• Your text must always be the absolute best you can make it

There is a reason why social media managers need to create content that is way better than their competitors. If they don’t, they won’t accelerate the pace of their strategies. Everything slows down when content is average, or poor. Social media is about speed and quality – the publishers with the best content, published the quickest – get the traffic, fans and sales.

The Social Media Manager and Connections

There is a principle that is used in social media, known loosely as the ‘association’ principle – whereby authority, credibility and fame is gained according to who is in your network, and who you are visibility close to online. A no-name blogger that gets guest posts from other no-name bloggers doesn’t mean anything to people.

But a no-name blogger that gets guest posts, videos, audio and images from top names in their niche is clearly someone to follow. They are ‘up and coming’ stars. That’s why, the savvy social media manager knows that to make the RIGHT friends online can skyrocket any strategies from the beginning. It should be your first priority when you begin.

Connect with bloggers, authors, experts and speakers that can help you launch your business properly. This is one strategy you won’t find anywhere online. It’s tough to approach and impress people that don’t know you. But there are ways!

• Create an influencer strategy
• List 20 people you simply must have in your networks
• Follow all of their social media pages
• Comment, share, like, on all of their social media for 4 weeks
• Engage them in conversation several times
• Be an advocate for their business, before approaching them
• Once they know who you are, send an introductory email
• Get blogs, tweets, events, videos and audio from them!

Your Social Media Manager Scoreboard

As old as Excel is to many people, it’s still the only efficient way you can really keep track of all your social media strategies and practices online. Use an Excel spread sheet to detail which platforms you’re on, what you’re doing there, when and how. Take notes all the time and record your results.

You’ll notice patterns forming over time, and you’ll be able to make your own adjustments to improve your overall campaign. The ‘overall’ improvement is tough, as social media dashboards only offer limited help. That’s why every social media manager, in my opinion, should know how to use Excel. It’s one scoreboard you don’t want to ignore.

Common Social Media Management Mistakes

All social media managers are basically self-taught, unless you did a few of our excellent courses that we offer here at SMMU. But on the whole, the industry is littered with mistakes, based on practices that don’t work. Here are a few to avoid.

• Marketing and advertising practices are short term. This is wrong! Marketing content is a long term strategy, while advertising is more of an instant technique.

• Social media is about online exposure and engagement first. Wrong! Social media is first and foremost about selling in a non-intrusive manner. One example may be to build communities around you brand…for long term selling.

• People hate all forms of selling on social media. Wrong! People don’t like direct sales, but there are many other ways to sell – by being a quality brand, by engaging your customers, by offering discounts, deals and value to your consumers.

• Winging it will work. Wrong! You can wing it on social media, but don’t expect any serious results. Only really lazy, really bad social media manager’s wing-it, with no strategy at all. This is considered poor practice in the industry.

The Route To Social Management Success

The only way to really excel as a social media manager for your own business, is to make sure that your basic infrastructure is in place. You must have access to content on a daily basis. You must be posting several times a day. You must build the main assets of your business online – these are:

• Your website or blog email list is an asset
• Your fan count on any social platform is an asset
• Your level of engagement on any social platform is an asset
• The viral potential of your content is an asset

A modern social media manager can achieve success with very little financial input, if they are willing to trade their time for results. Don’t expect to follow the ‘15 mins’ a day recipe and suddenly expect to have a lot of sales from your online profile. Sales – which are your ultimate goal – only come from strategy, analysis and expertise in content.

As a social media manager you are a seller above all else. A social seller that is able to access many people, many opinions and many wallets on your own social media properties.

What part of managing your social media do you find the most difficult? Drop me a line and I’ll see if I can help.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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