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How to Get the Most from Your Social Media Manager

Would you expect a newly recruited chief financial officer to plan next year’s budget without first understanding your corporate priorities? Or a human resources manager on their first day to choose which employees should be let go without first letting them know who are your thought leaders and outstanding achievers?

No smart business would hand over the keys to the castle and send a new hire in at the deep end without a solid knowledge of the brand, the culture and the company’s future goals. But when it comes to adding a social media manager to the team, too many businesses simply supply them with their key pass, show them to their desk, and then leave them to it with the expectation that they will quickly begin to generate huge profits for the company.

Clearly this is not the best way to set your new employee up for success. Most companies know they need to do more to amplify their social media identity, but they do not fully understand what social media marketing is or, more to the point, exactly what a social media manager does. All too often, this leads to companies placing a new hire at the helm and crossing their fingers with the hope that all will go well.

To make the most of your new social media manager, you must at least begin with an awareness of the fundamental role they will play in your organisation: to be ‘social’, to be the centre of a network of social innovation that requires a connection and adequate communication with every other part of your business.

Your social media manager is an integral part of your company’s overall reputation management and acts as the voice of your company in social media circles. This is a great responsibility and something that cannot simply be handed over to a new hire without the proper background and preparation. If you are not going to step up to introduce them to what they need to know to effectively represent your firm, who will?

Your social media manager may have the skills and knowledge to take your company to the next level, but to most effectively do their job, they need to understand your business from the ground up. Your brand has a particular tone and style, ethos, culture, language and persona that must be conveyed in every piece of social content published online. They need to understand your company’s particular challenges, become familiar with your competitors, know which lines cannot be crossed, and be connected to every facet of your firm. They need to be introduced to each department, have at least a basic understanding of what each does and spend enough time with your Legal and Security teams to feel confident that they can comfortably stay within the confines of what is legally acceptable for them to say and do in social media environments.

Just as important is a meeting with IT and Technology to help them better understand your company’s current technological limitations within which they will be working and to be able to best decide which boundaries to push to expand technological capabilities to take your company to the next level.

Personal connections with stakeholders should be encouraged to allow for the free flow of information, which will enable your social media manager to more effectively take on the important role they have within your company.

You also need to keep in mind that this key staff member will be at the forefront of introducing the public to new products, announcing promotions, and posting about your company’s successes and achievements, which makes it imperative that they are among the first to know about innovations or developments within product lines.

Social media management is a stressful job that includes sourcing and sifting vast amounts of data, maintaining a unified brand voice, combating negative posts and taking on the responsibility of always acting as a company representative. It is, therefore, important that they are not left to feel isolated or alone, they should feel supported and valued and you should be aware of any signs that the stress is building to an unacceptable level. You don’t want your social manager to snap at fans and followers!

Your social media manager could have a significant impact on expanding your business while increasing its profits, so you have a responsibility to give them the best start by introducing them to all of your key stakeholders as well as putting into place a framework of support to get the best from them.

Maz Nadjm, @Mazi, is the founder of Social Media Consultancy SoMazi.

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  • Rachel Miller's picture
    Nov 4 Posted 2 years ago Rachel Miller

    Spot on. Too often social media managers are launched into the deep end to sink or swim, without having a chance to check the water and discover what the environment is like. 

    Your point about ensuring they are kept informed is absolutely critical. This role represents the organisation in so many ways, that if companies fail to prepare them, they need to prepare to fail in their efforts. Done right, the potential is enormous. Done wrong, the potential to publically fail is equally as large.

    There's been many examples of social media managers reaching the end of their tethers and snapping online and your caution about ensuring they are kept motivated, supported and valued is crtical, Rachel

  • Maz nadjm's picture
    Nov 1 Posted 2 years ago Maz nadjm

    Thank you Katherine and I like the suggestions. 

  • Katherine Raz's picture
    Oct 31 Posted 2 years ago Katherine Raz

    Great post, Maz. It's important for companies to remember there's a "splashdown" period for social media managers. Like any new hire, they've got to get integrated, and that takes time. Even more so for the social media manager, as they have to eventually turn out their immersion to become the company "voice." Too often I think companies withdraw whatever social media efforts the rest of the team has been doing as soon as they hire a social media person, too. Companies should keep up whatever they've been doing until the SMM can start directing the process for them.... and feels comfortable doing so.