Welcome to the team! You’ve stepped into your role as a Social Media Manager, but now what? When you approach it right, being a social media manager can be a fulfilling and upwardly-mobile role. If you’ve never worked in the space before, however, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re here with a comprehensive road map to help you excel in your new position as a social media marketing manager.
Let’s dive in:
1. Become an Expert on All Your Social Channels
Being a social media manager means working with social media platforms. The catch is that there are dozens of social media platforms out there. Excelling in this position means getting familiar with each of the tools your new company intends to use. In some cases, the picks will be familiar: Instagram and Facebook, for instance. In others, you’ll have to do some legwork to familiarize yourself with the platform.
Start by doing a thorough review of each channel separately. Take a look at the content your company has posted on the channel. Learn why the team posted it and what the rationale behind it was. From there, review the history of each channel your company uses and the effectiveness of each platform. If necessary, now is a great time to suggest others that seem like they could be more effective.
It helps, here, if you understand the most effective use for each of the channels your company currently uses. At the end of your initial review, you should understand what is and isn’t working for your company, based on goals and past performance. Once you’ve got that down, you can launch into re-vamps and new goals.
2. Understand Your Competitor Presence
It’s not enough to understand your social media presence – you’ve also got to understand your competitors and what they’re doing on social media. While you don’t need to perform quite as comprehensive a review of social platforms and history, understanding your competitors is essential to driving ongoing SOV and traffic.
To begin, review what your competitors are doing on social media. What campaigns are they leveraging? Are those campaigns successful? If not, what can you do to make them successful? Many people make the mistake of ignoring their competition and solely focusing on their own companies.
Competitors, however, can serve as an excellent source of information. When you learn from their successes and failures, you can find ways to differentiate your brand on a given channel without actually doing the legwork yourself.
3. Understand Target Audience & Personas
Does your marketing department already have a formalized target personas online? If so, are they still relevant? If your company doesn’t have them, it’s time to do your research.
Target personas work like this: it’s a loosely fictionalized customer that represents your “ideal lead.” The target persona for a given business covers the age, demographics, income level, job title, and pain points of your most valuable customers, and allows you to target your marketing more effectively.
Most companies have several target personas – one for each segment of their audience. It’s normal for these personas to shift and change over time.
As your company and corporate goals change, you can research what makes this audience tick online. Do they respond better to blogs or PPC ads? Do they like colloquial language or more formal writing? From there, build out your theory and start testing!
4. Take a Look at Organizational Alignment
If you want to hit the ground running, you’ve got to have social media marketing buy-in from the people behind you. Sometimes, though, this is easier said than done. For best results, focus on creating a sense of organizational alignment within your company. Set meetings with different departments, including marketing, communications, sales, HR, and more.
Use these meetings to discuss their goals, go over metrics the team currently uses, and explain how social media can help facilitate their goals. These meetings will help you secure buy-in. They’ll also make it easier to market social media as a legitimate business driver – not just a waste of time for your team. Think about competing in a three-legged race: you can’t go far unless you and your teammate are working together. The same goes for any modern organization. The more aligned you are, the better your results will be.
5. Make SMART Goals
By this point, you should have gathered a great deal of data. Now it’s time to use it! Start by making SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. The most important metric for you, though, is that they’re measurable.
This is one area where social media typically falls short as a lead generator within companies. People assume it won’t be able to drive leads, so they leave it out of their marketing strategies. Instead, make sure your goals all have robust measurement and reporting tools, as this will further confirm the importance of social media. It will also allow you to get to work implementing it on your team.
It’s imperative to understand how the changes you are making as social media manager are affecting social media performance. You need to understand what is working and the reason(s) why. Tools like Google Analytics and PostBeyond are essential for gathering and interpreting data.
6. Set Budgets
You’ll most likely be given a budget as a social media manager. For best results, you’ll need to display ROI on that budget allocation. Based on your SMART goals, you should now be able to set a budget to help you achieve your desired outcomes.
Align your goals and the allocation of your budget to match the overall objectives of your company. If you’d like to drive increased adoption, showcasing your department as a money-maker and not a money pit is a great way to weave yourself into the team and brand yourself as a social media rockstar.
7. Develop a Social Media Calendar
People get busy, priorities pop up, and any space that is not already devoted to something else naturally gets consumed. For best results, you’ve got to get proactive about scheduling time now that you’re a social media manager. Without one, even the best-made goals will fall short. With this in mind, seek to build out a social media editorial calendar that ensures the right content mix, frequency, and amount of content to achieve your social media goals.
Brownie Points: Level Up Your Design Skills
Even if you have an onsite graphics department, you can’t always count on them for quick, one-off social posts. Since social media is all about rapid trends and timely information, posts can’t always be preplanned.
With this in mind, it’s well worth your time to learn to develop strong, professional, visually-appealing graphics. Fortunately, tools like Canva make it possible to design beautiful visuals with minimal effort.
Don’t stop there, though. Take a graphic design course to help you understand things like the design eye and how to create on-brand messaging for your various social platforms. Still not sure why this is necessary? 32% of companies say visual content is the most important marketing material they have and 80% of all marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing.