As you walk by your social media manager today on your way to the coffee machine, give them a hug, they deserve it! If you’re the one who’s actually the social media manager, give a thumbs up to yourself. Because, you are great!
Now, enough with the prep talk. My point is, managing social media for a brand is not an easy task. Social Media Managers need to juggle lots of different things: maintaining a presence on social, finding interest content to share, being creative in crafting that content, acing those reports, being in sync with the marketing team and the product team, developing relations with the audience, being good listeners and the list goes on and on.
When you manage social media for a brand you’re not always sure where to focus your efforts or where to begin since there are so many different tasks your job entails. This infographic by Social Cast, basically sums up the average working day of a social media manager pretty accurately.
So to give you some guidance through the maze of social media conversations, engagement reports and editorial calendars, take a look at this check list of tasks and best practices that hopefully will help you focus on the stuff that matter, divided in three main groups.
Many of the tasks you undertake as a Social Media Manager require your proactivity when it comes to placing your brand on social and maintaining a presence. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones:
1. Content curation
At Twitter Counter, we tweet once every hour, round the clock, because we’ve found that this is the ultimate posting volume for increased engagement for our account. And since we follow the golden 20/80 content rule, posting 20% own content and 80% content from other sources, content curation is a big part of our approach.
After many experiments, we’ve manage to limit the time we spend on curating content for social media down to 30 minutes a day, and all this by putting in place a system that works for us. Here’s few of the tools we’re using on a daily basis:
Feedly: Gather all your favorite news resources on Feedly and browse them every morning to find relevant, useful content to share and of course use it as an inspiration to for creating your own content. One of its helpful features is that it immediately gives you an idea on what’s most shared on a given day with the number of shares being shown next to each headline.
Unroll.me: You probably hate email as much as everyone else but email and newsletters can deliver some hidden gems ready to be tweeted, pinned, instagrammed, you name it. Unroll.me might come in handy in this case. What it does is gather all your newsletters in one place delivering all-in-one emails you can easily browse.
Smart content recommendation tools:
Answering to social media managers’ need of curating content, there are quite a few brilliant tools that recommend you content you can share on your social media platforms. Content that is relevant to you and your audience. Nuzzel, and Mentia are both tools that can recommend you relevant content to tweet, based on your community and the topics you are interested in.
2. Content creation
Of course, chances are that your brand is present in more than one Social Media platforms. It is important to keep in mind that even though you could essentially post the same content on every medium, its structure and copy need to be adjusted to the specifics of each platform.
For example, on LinkedIn link posts with linger copy work better than on Facebook.On Facebook, posts that are maximum 40 characters long do perform better in terms of engagement, whereas Google+ and LinkedIn call for longer updates. For a quick checklist of what you should keep in mind when writing social media copy take a look at this amazing infographic from Quick Sprout. Social media scientist, Dan Zarrella suggests that tweets that are 100 to 115 characters long are more likely to be retweeted.
However, the copy of the post itself is one part of the content creation process. The other, is the visuals.
Twitter suggests images or video as the best option to accompany your tweets and boost your reach.
But you don’t necessarily need to be a pro in video editing or designing to create engaging, compelling visual content for your social media posts. There’s the easy way to go for it.
Social media platforms like Vine and Instagram allow you to create fun, short videos that can also be easily shared on Facebook and Twitter. Oreo is a great example of a brand that has made the most out of Vine on their Twitter feed, with great results on their engagement.
Canva is must-use tool for every social media manager. It allows you to create professional looking images for social media in less than 3 minutes. The best part is that you shouldn’t worry about the size of your images since Canva offers templates of visuals for all major platforms.
Infographics are a great way to turn boring data into insightful, engaging visuals that can easily be shared across different social media platforms. Piktochart is just the right tool for creating infographics in a few minutes. What is helpful is the wide range of themes to choose from and the freedom the tool offers in customizing templates to fit your style and needs.
Although there are some general rules of thumb on the posting frequency for each social media platform, the ultimate posting recipe is different for every account as it often depends on the industry and audience, the type of content you post and of course the platform itself.
In general, according to a recent Buffer research a good starting point for posting across platforms is this:
Note: it is important to experiment with different frequencies for each platform. Timing is equally important to maximize the exposure of your posts depending on where your audience is.
For Twitter, Followerwonk can tell you when your Twitter followers are online and Twitter Counter calculates the most successful times and days in a week based on your engagement metrics.
Facebook insights offers information on the best times to post for maximum reach whereas for Google+, social media science concludes that weekdays from 09:00 am to 11:00 am are the best.
No matter the schedule and frequency you will choose, you’ll definitely need to automate most of your posting. ‘Cause you know, sleep. Here’s three scheduling tools you’ll love:
Twibble is a cool tool that will automatically post your blog posts on Twitter with amazing visuals to go with. All you need to do is set up the RSS feed and specify how often you want to tweet, hashtags and attributions. Twibble then will start scanning your source for blog posts and automatically post them to your Twitter feed using the posts featured image.
Buffer is one of the most popular schedulers for social media and for a good reason. A few months ago, buffer integrated Pinterest which is a big plus and which means that buffer now supports all the major social media platforms with the exception of Instagram. You can either let Buffer suggest you times to tweet or set up your own custom content schedule.
Although it started as a Google+ tool, Friends+me is a good alternative to Buffer that allows you to schedule content from anywhere on the internet.
When you have a social media content calendar, managing your accounts becomes a lot less daunting. Organizing the way you create and curate content helps you save a lot of time in managing social media but also allows you to have a clear overview of the type of content you post across different platforms, allows you to better plan and prioritize your social media marketing campaigns according to your business objectives and of course gives you a solution when you get to the “What should I post now” point.
The easiest way to organize a content calendar is by using a separate sheet for each month, with activities further broken down by month or day, depending on the volume of content you plan to publish. Your plan should include any seasonal marketing campaigns you are planning to run, any new content that is being published to your blog and needs promotion and any paid social media ad campaigns you are planning on running. This free template from Hubspot can help you organize all your social media outreach by week, month and year.
I find listening a proactive social media practice. Social Media listening is:
- a great way to define and better understand your audience.
- it makes curating quality content to share on Social Media a lot easier.
- It is an efficient technique to monitor competition and their social media activity as well as to listen to what is happening in your industry.
- It can improve your customer service with providing immediate response and solutions to your customers.
- It will help you build relationships with your customers and your brand’s ambassadors.
- It can be a great source of leads, marketing opportunities and customer acquisition.
All you need is a good system in place to make social media monitoring as quick and cost-effective as possible.
A big part of your job as a Social Media Manager, requires engaging and interacting with your audience, as well as building meaningful relationships with current and prospective customers and industry influencers.
Spending as much as a few minutes a day asking questions, replying to comments, engaging with your community and sharing their content can really make a difference.
Tweetdeck can be a very helpful tool you can use every day for monitoring real-time conversations, replying to mentions and engaging with your audience on Twitter.
Attending events is another way to tap into ongoing conversations, get fresh ideas from peers or market your brand to a relevant audience. But since attending conferences and meetups is probably not in your daily agenda, Twitter chats are a great alternative of an online (free) event with similar effect.
Twitter chats are a wonderful way to engage with your niche, build authority for your brand and expand your reach. They provide you with the chance to be useful and relevant, offer your help and communicate your brand’s voice and identity in a constructive way.
Every social media manager knows that analyzing and testing your social media activity can make things much easier in the long run.
In this process, it is important to clearly define your KPIs and how you are going to measure them, but also set a time frame for analysis and for testing new things. For example, have you chosen the right posting frequency? Does video on Twitter work for your audience? Is a certain copy format on Facebook outperforming others?
Having the right analytics tools in your tool belt will help you evaluate your social media presence keeping and eye on some basic metrics such as engagement, audience growth, traffic and leads generation.
As dreadful as it may sound, a social media audit is something that you should do on a frequent basis in order to assess the progress of your social media marketing.
Social media audits help you get a grasp of how you’ve been doing so far in terms of meeting your social media marketing goals, if everything you had planned at the beginning of the year are working and whether you need to reconsider certain tactics of your social media plan.
Managing social media is no easy task, especially if your job description includes a variety of other duties as well. But the constant switching between tasks, from strategizing, to creating content to monitoring and evaluating is what makes it all worth it, don’t you think? All you need to keep it rolling, is a system that works for you.
Now tell us, are you the super hero that manages social media for a brand? How does your average working day look like? Let us know in the comments right below.