Last September, Hubspot published an awesome article on how businesses are using social media to drum up new customers with some statistical highlights including that, between 2009 and 2012, the amount of businesses that felt Facebook marketing was critical or important for their business increased by 75%, and that 80% of surveyed social network users prefer to connect to a brand using Facebook.
The level of exposure and engagement that social media offers its users has, quite clearly, captured the attention of business owners. However social media is still a fairly new medium to market in, and businesses that set up their own social media department often have little to no clue as to what their employees should be doing. I talked with my own social media manager Heather Taylor, and we came up with three jobs that you should expect your department to be working on.
Produce good content.
SEO has become very misunderstood. A high ranking on Google is not won by repeating key phrases over and over and over again. Keywords are still an important part of SEO, but changes to search engine algorithms means that unique content needs to produced and disseminated through your various social channels. Google filters out duplicative, low-quality content, so you need good writers on your social media team. Hosting well-written posts and pages will help your search engine ranking, and posting links to those same well-written posts in your Facebook feed or Google+ page helps draw new visitors.
Monitoring your social feeds is a big part of social media. However, having a department that stares at their computers as tweets whiz by will not help you market your brand or attract new customers. Monitoring a feed means engaging customers, showing that there is an actual person running these social profiles. No one wants to talk to a business that doesn't care what they have to say, and part of social marketing is connecting with your customers at a level that was once nearly impossible using traditional advertisements like commercials or direct mailing. Let them inject a little bit of personality into the business's social presence - doing so will go a long way in attracting followers and increasing your fan's affinity for your business.
Social media employees have to stay up to date, plain and simple. Things are constantly changing in this industry, and your department needs to stay abreast of those changes, lest your social presence stagnate. Being an active member of a community of social media professionals, like Social Media Today, makes staying relevant a lot easier as that community is constantly tracking, and informing other members, of changes. It also pays to network with other companies and departments through the comments section, or by re-tweeting certain articles, as they can help increase your own business's exposure. Just try and keep the outside articles that you do plug relevant to your business. After all, it would probably seem odd if a cupcake shop started randomly tweeting about how politicians have begun to use social campaigning strategies.
A lot more goes into running a social media department, but if your social media employees are doing the above three things, then they are off to a good start. Building a social presence is a lot like building a business - you learn things along the way, and have to rise to meet the unique challenges that every company inevitably faces. There is no magic formula for deciding how, exactly, a social media department should be spending its time. But there are certain things that you should expect to be done, and knowing what to expect is the first step in determining the value of your social media department.