I want to address one of the biggest misconceptions about social media management - the assumption that all we do is post content.
Yes, content development is a large part of management, and it need to be done well, especially for our clients who have blogs. But for our company, content development is only one piece of the puzzle.
This came to light recently in the first quarter review with a client in a technical industry. Developing the blog and social media content for this highly-specialized industry is challenging, but it's only the beginning of the what we need to do so that my client can actualize results. We are on track to meet their goals and they're happy with the traction we're gaining, however we had a list of a half-dozen ways we can refine our efforts. These recommendations will take more work, but they will get my client closer to their goals, which is ultimately what we're hired to do.
To ensure clients achieve results, here are the top six roles of an effective social media management company.
1. We're strategists
Before moving into management of social, an effective social media manager will develop a social media strategy tailored to the specific needs of the business, their target customers and their goals. This strategy is your roadmap for success and it's continually refined to ensure that you remain on track to meet the agreed goals and that you're considering relevant emerging platforms or features that could be of value.
Most importantly, strategists tie all social media activity to specific business metrics so our customers understand social media's role in their bottom line.
2. We're optimization specialists
There are performance metrics (such as followers and reach) and there are optimization metrics (such as cost per interaction and engagement rate).
While many social media firms focus on the vanity or performance metrics, they're meaningless without optimization metrics. The latter tells us what we need to shift to make sure our clients are maximizing their opportunities. This is where experience and expertise are critical to effective social media management.
3. We're community managers
Garnering and keeping the attention of your target audience is more challenging than ever due to the vast amount of information on the web, as well as the algorithms put in place by social media platforms to remain relevant to their users.
A social media manager should aim to help their customers to use social media effectively in order to engage their audience, strengthen their brand and nurture relationships with their customers and prospects. Managers should also on top of interaction, so the audience knows someone is listening. This includes brand reputation management, which can be deadly to a business if not handled promptly and effectively.
4. We're content distribution experts
Social media companies will tell you to generate strong content, but many don't do enough to emphasize that content is useless if no one's listening.
It's critical to develop a content distribution plan to ensure that our clients' content is seen, interacted with and shared by their audience. In doing so, we evaluate the opportunities to distribute content through industry syndication sites, develop relationships with influencers and form brand advocacy groups of super fans.
5. We're integration specialists
Social media doesn't exist in a silo. It should be incorporated into business operations and existing marketing outlets.
A good social media manager should aim to develop an integration plan that touches on all aspects of the business including sales, customer service, marketing and advertising initiatives, human resources and everything in between - regardless of the size of their business. Social managers also need to consider ways to leverage partnerships, non-profit or community efforts and even ways to work smart by incorporating secondary channels in the mix to enhance distribution and integration.
6. We're partners
Our core values include communication and collaboration, which is why value the partnership we have with our clients. The relationship with our clients allows us to do the heavy lifting, but with the communication in place that will ensure their social media efforts move them toward the results they want to achieve, rather than distract from them. We're an extension of their brand who they can trust to represent their business well.
When we pre-qualify prospective customers and we ask them about their expectations of the tasks a social media manager would complete, many do not know or, again, assume that we just post content. The latter is what those lower-cost companies do for their clients. And, I'm happy to refer them to some places they can get services for this amount of money, but frankly, it won't do them justice in the long run. It's simply not a sustainable business strategy in this competitive and fast-moving world of social media. In fact, any business looking to outsource social media should challenge a management company to supply tangible results that go beyond content posting.