Social media manager
How much time do you spend on social media every day? Even if you only scroll for a few minutes at a time, that time quickly adds up.
The average American, for instance, spends 147 minutes on social media per day, or nearly 900 hours over the course of a year. To put that into perspective, that means that most Americans spend about the equivalent of an entire month scrolling through their social media feeds every year.
Though this number is fairly disturbing on a personal level, it’s great news for brands. Every minute users spend on a social platform is a chance for brands to connect with them. Whether through social ads or organic posts, social media presents opportunities for brands to convert users into followers and, ultimately, customers.
So, as a social media manager, how can you make the most of this audience?
What does a social media manager do?
A social media manager (aka a social media strategist) strategizes, creates, posts, monitors, and measures a brand’s social media content.
Social media managers can work directly for a brand, at an agency, or as a freelancer.
A small business may only need one manager while enterprises often have an entire team of people working on this area of marketing.
Let’s take a look at what a social media manager does on a regular basis.
1. Strategize content
Given all the noise online, social media managers have to make sure their posts and ads reach the right people. That means that as a social media manager, you need to know who you’re targeting and what kind of content your audience wants to see.
Additionally, you have to focus on the right social platforms. Sending a perfectly crafted message to the wrong crowd would be a waste of time and budget.
Therefore, your strategies must take into consideration:
- Trending and/or strategic topics
- Types of media, including pictures, graphics, videos, etc.
- Intended audience
- Posting schedule
- How you plan to measure success
- Campaign goals
- How social posts fit into your brand’s overall marketing strategy
2. Analyze data
The only way to improve your content is to analyze its performance. You’ll want to keep track of how many people saw each post, how many engaged with it, and if users interacted the way you wanted them to.
It’s your job to figure out why some posts perform better than others, so you must have strong data analysis skills, know how to set the right KPIs, and create effective benchmarks for your brand. You can then use your insights to improve future posts and build a stronger presence.
3. Manage brand accounts
In this role, you’ll typically run all of your brand’s accounts. You’ll be creating and scheduling regular posts for each platform, adjusting them according to each audience and campaign.
When users comment on posts, DM you, or tag your brand in a post, you’ll likely be the one handling the interaction. Some engagements will be simple questions or compliments. Others may be less pleasant. In either case, you’ll need to know how to represent your brand well, keeping the voice consistent and approaching each interaction with care.
5 tips for becoming a successful social media manager
You don’t have to be an influencer to have a successful career as a social media manager. If you’re willing to learn what your audience wants, keep up with current trends, and pay attention to the data, you can succeed in this field. Additional skills, such as learning to write the best social media proposals, are valuable as well.
As you get started, here are five tips for gaining an edge.
1. Immerse yourself in social media
Take some time to explore each platform, even if you’ve been using them for years. Analyze them from the lens of a strategist rather than a user. Understand their core demographics and the types of content that perform well. Pay attention to any recent algorithm changes. Invest time into learning any new or up-and-coming channels.
You can then research the specifics of running professional accounts on top channels. Take online courses, stalk established brand accounts, and reach out to other social media managers for advice. Make sure you have the skills and knowledge you need to get started on the right foot, plus a willingness to learn as you go.
2. Learn how to create quality content
Every piece of content you post should be share-worthy. Higher rates of engagement will organically push your reach higher and help your brand grow.
The types of content you will need to develop include:
- Images - The most established businesses will have their own designers and photographers to help you out, but be prepared to improvise if that’s not the case. For a small business, you may need to take pictures yourself. That said, stock images are available online.
- Graphics - Apart from photos, quote cards, infographics, and other types of imagery tend to perform well on social. Learn how to use color, typography, layout, and other tools to create captivating graphics.
- Videos - Video is quickly becoming the most popular form of social media content, according to Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram. Whether you’re working with a team or filming on your phone, practice developing videos that capture attention and get your message across.
- Writing - Every post will need a caption, headline, call-to-action (CTA)—or all three. You might also include text within the image itself. Practice writing clearly and concisely to get your message across in just a few seconds of reading.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do everything from scratch. Get familiar with tools like Canva that provide templates for different kinds of posts.
3. Build good tracking and reporting habits
Make sure you know how to access the analytics that each platform provides and know how to use them well. Get in the habit of checking your insights daily to see how your accounts and content are performing.
You can use tools like HootSuite and Buffer to view and analyze your data in one place. By learning how to build custom reports and interpret the results properly, you can better guide your clients and make data-driven decisions.
4. Get familiar with social media tools
Depending on your client, you may be juggling multiple channels, ad campaigns, and responsibilities (e.g., customer care) at once.
Rather than trying to do everything yourself, explore the tools that will help you work smarter and faster. Most social media platforms will allow you to schedule posts in advance. Or, tools like Hootsuite offer automations to make your job easier.
Learn also how to create a strategic and manageable content calendar. Remember that in a given year, there are many holidays and events to work from. There may additionally be influencers, brand partners, and/or other campaigns that you’ll want to plan well in advance. Not to mention, you’ll need to remain flexible—adapting to sudden trends, current events, and/or strategic priorities that crop up throughout the year. Establishing the right workflows and tools will be paramount to your success.
5. Build a strong portfolio
If you’re looking to get new clients as a social media manager, you’ll need a strong portfolio that speaks to your skills and potential.
If you have worked as a social media manager previously, use real examples to show how you’ve increased a company’s reach, impact, and/or sales through social media. Demonstrate how you’ve used social media strategically to support a larger goal, and the technical and soft skills you used to get the job done.
If you don’t have professional experience, you can build a freelance portfolio that includes the types of posts you would create for the business that you’re courting. Alternatively, you can mock up posts and/or strategies for hypothetical needs and provide samples that way.
Get connected with the tools you need
Social media management may get hectic at times, but running your business as a freelancer shouldn’t be.
Gain control of your business with all the tools you need to start, manage, and grow your freelance business. Best of all, you can get started for free. Join Hectic today.