Social media management requires faster and more constant action than has ever been required of communication professionals in the past. It also requires us to multi-task within our organizations more than ever before. These are three of the main roles successful social media managers/multi-taskers play.
1. Customer Service Representative
As much as we (communication professionals) don’t like to call our jobs customer service, a large part of representing a brand online involves customer service. Responding to questions, concerns and comments is quite possibly the most important daily task of a social media manager. This role keeps brand community members engaged with you brand because they feel heard and validated. It also helps the brand respond to concerns in the public sphere, allowing community members to see that the company or organization is listening and has a vested intrest in their satisfaction.
How to be a great customer service rep:
- Keep a list of key contacts throughout your organization, so that you can call on them if you need help respond to a question or concern.
- Timing is everything when it comes to responding to community members. Respond in a timely fashion to keep constituents satisfied.
- Remember that some community members may have their first/only contact with your brand or organization through social media, so you want to leave them with a positive experience.
2. Content Creator
The role of content creator is possibly the most widely recognized responsibility of social media managers. For social media managers it’s about telling your brand’s story, with pictures, in 140 characters or less. Social media managers are asked to create and share content across multiple platforms on a daily basis that keeps community members engaged with the brand in a positive way (tired yet?).
How to be a great content creator:
- Be original! Don’t simply recycle industry news. Find stories that are unique to your brand or organization.
- Create content that community members want to share. This is the hardest task of a social media manager. Just remember that everyone online is sharing content that enforces their personal brand. Give them content that adds value to their brand (makes them look cool, smart, hip, green, etc.) and they will want to share it.
- Keep at it! Creating content can be tiring (especially when something you work on for days receives 1 “like”), but keep at it and something will stick. And just think, once you figure out what sticks, it will be that much easier to create interactive content in the future.
3. Brand Expert
The most important role of a social media manager is that of “brand expert.” I believe that you cannot be a successful social media communicator without having expert knowledge of you brand. This goes beyond knowing the dates of upcoming events and memorizing the style guide, to truly understanding the idiosyncrasies of your brand, employees and community members.
For example, at Trinity University (where I manage social media) after talking with people on campus, I learned that mountain laurel blooms on campus in the spring, making the air smell like grape candy (if you haven’t smelled it, you really should). Mountain laurel blooms aren’t huge or ostentatious, and the smell isn’t overwhelmingly noticeable, however they are a part of the Trinity spring experience. After learning this, I posted a picture of mountain laurel blooms with the caption “Spring has sprung at Trinity!” From the outside it might just seem like a nice spring flower picture, but Trinity alumni and current students were very active on the post because to them this was an essential part of being on Trinity’s campus during the spring semester.
How to be a great brand expert:
- Learn the idiosyncrasies of your brand and use them to create stories and connect with your community.
- Become engrossed in your brand. Talk to people, ask questions, attend events, learn all there is to know about your brand.
As social media mangers we wear many other hats, but I believe they usually fall into one of these 3 main categories. Agree? Disagree? Am I forgetting any? Let me know in the comments below.