It's the standard American conversation starter, besides discussing the weather: "What do you do?" When I tell people I'm a Social Media Manager, they nod appreciatively. Then, more often than not, they furrow their brows and ask something along the lines of: "So what exactly do you do all day?" The standard short answer is that I manage Facebook Pages and other social media accounts for businesses. But of course it's a lot more than just that. When I have time, the long answer sounds something like this.
- The social media world is complicated and what might be right for one business may not be for another. Drawing from my considerable knowledge of social media best practices, I develop a unique, individually tailored social media strategy for each of my clients, using an understanding of their goals for being on social media, target demographics and brand identity.
- Just like people have Facebook Profiles, businesses can have Facebook Pages. They contain a bio of the company, including its history and anything else that it might put on its website. And just like a person can with a Profile, the company can put out status updates, including photos and links. Instead of friends, Business Pages have fans. When people "like" a Page, its status updates appear in their news feed, just like their friends' status updates. I help companies create their Pages, and I put out content on their behalf, and respond to comments on their updates and posts on their wall. Acting as the Page, I "like" other Pages, and interact with their content and post messages on their walls. Pages can also advertise on Facebook, so I create and manage those ads as well.
- On Twitter, I create and manage accounts for my clients, including developing and posting content, and following and interacting with other accounts, especially "influencers" and "thought leaders" in the client's field. I also track and respond to mentions of the client's name and relevant keywords and, if they have a physical location, respond to check-ins and reviews on sites like Yelp and Foursquare that get pushed to Twitter. Twitter has its own advertising as well, which I manage on behalf of my clients to promote their accounts.
- Because a Google+ presence has such a great SEO benefit, I use Google+ to share similar content to Facebook and interact with other accounts by "circling" them and interacting with their content.
- If the client has video content to share, I create a YouTube account for them and use it to post videos, respond to comments, and interact with other YouTube accounts, including commenting on their content and adding their videos to the primary account's playlists.
- Reputation management in the social media world means monitoring review sites like Yelp and Citysearch, as well as location listings like Google+ Local. Since listings on these types of sites can be generated automatically or by customers, I search for new listings in addition to monitoring to existing listings, and respond to reviews as needed.
- Pinterest is an excellent way to share clients' images and curate image collections, especially for clients with a visually compelling or physical product for sale.
- I help clients set up a LinkedIn listing for their businesses, and in some cases manage their personal LinkedIn accounts, posting information relevant to their industry and helping them manage their network of connections.
- In addition to managing the most popular social media accounts on my clients' behalf, I also closely monitor trends in the industry to determine if new social media products might be right for them.
- As they're so fond of saying over the loudspeaker at my gym, "what gets measured gets improved!" I use a variety of analytic tools to track the progress of the work I'm doing and use those insights to refine my social media strategy.
As one of my mentors, Robert Caruso, is fond of saying, social media is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires advanced training, careful planning, incredible endurance and constant adjustment to conditions on the day. Considering all of the above elements as well as the flexibility to adapt to consumer interactions and changes in the field, the answer then to "What do you do all day?" is: work - hard.