What is social media management? Having a point person for all matters relating to social media–especially coordination and oversight on content development, strategies, execution and analysis. At my last job I was the only communications professional and by default the social media manager (SMM). Unfortunately, we did very little in the way of social media, mainly because of the nature of our business as a government contractor where selection is based solely on past experience coupled with best price. Once a contract is awarded by the government, there are stringent restrictions in place to publicize this information which almost boils down to being more trouble than it’s worth. As far as the readings, videos, lecture, I was fairly familiar with the makeup of SMM.
What skills should they have? In my current job, we do have a SMM amidst 40+ communicators. Being in this uniquely, heavily-populated communicator environment, she primarily interfaces with us, while the team serves as client and customer liaisons. However, she still has to be extremely knowledgeable of the wide-array of clients we represent to ensure each message is tailored for that particular, unique customer’s mission, objectives and goals. All in all, these clients collectively service almost 10 million military health care customers around the world so our manager also has to have a global perspective of social media. In this circumstance, a deep experience and diverse skill set (writing, editing, etc.) is critical because of the high volume and visibility of our social media program that relies on congressional funding. As Bullas (2015) reminds us, the manager also has to have attention to detail and be technically, analytically and creatively skilled. One of my personal favorites is more a trait than a skill and that is “enthusiasm.” If you’re just going through the motions or doing what you’ve always done before—I suggest a new line of work!
How can social media managers find clients? By seeking interface among those whom you and your team/organization already know and building and extending your network from this point; and advertising and promotion within the core market, demographics and personas you are seeking. What I learned from the lecture that I never really considered before is that after you meet a client and set up your initial meeting, arriving prepared with a draft scope of work by outlining the deliverables within a realistic deadline. I also agree that it’s a wise move to have the sample contract and pricing available to expedite the work for a number of reasons. Among them are showing your resolve and capabilities to swiftly begin work. Most people are also very busy and the easier the process, the better for all involved. This proactive approach also decreases the chance for a client to change their mind. I also see how a client contact report is very important, especially if you work for an organization so that others can be aware of contact status to ensure no overlap in efforts, as well as a good system being in place when eventually moving on. There is nothing worse than having no record of prior customer calls from your predecessors when assuming a new position. I also agree with Cisnero (2014), “The first thing you need to do before venturing onto social networks is to make sure you have a solid website and content marketing strategy.” I believe that in this highly-competitive business you have to have a website that will knock your potential client’s socks off that will distinguish you from the pack.
What are the key components to a social media plan? Needless to say no two social media plans are alike, but the common elements include determining budget and manpower available to strategize and execute the plan, background, goals and objectives, determining key messages and statements, target audiences, channels, frequency of messages, analysis, and timeframe duration. I’m also a big advocate on delivering a good presentation as being the keystone in securing new work or potential expansion. One of our readings mentioned (Wilson, 2014) “In order to create a plan you need to have a clear understanding of your market and the general social media trends.” This cannot be stressed enough. Even though you may know social media, if your potential client sells Buffalo wings or car tires, you need to immerse yourself in those markets and culture beforehand to really create a successful plan. Too often I see ineffective “machine-gun” scattered social media based on surface knowledge of the industry. Sure, you will have some trial and error but having current, deep insights can really be the difference in achieving superior algorithm results. The social media plan really is the nucleus to your efforts and should not miss a beat in giving the entire prospective of your client’s social media landscape. In addition, Bese (2015) suggests including what your competitors are doing right and wrong, customer service, and SEO tactics. In conclusion, there are many variables to be considered and included in a plan. In my observation one of the most critical is realistic deliverables, and clearly defined calls-to-action—all of which should be achievable and measurable.