If you are reading this article, it is likely that you are either considering hiring a social media specialist to manage your brand’s social media presence or you are doing research to learn how to do it yourself. Perhaps you aren’t quite sure exactly what qualifications they (or you) should have or even what a social media specialist does … and after reading this, you still won’t have any idea.
(I’m kidding of course!)
My first experience working with brands on social media was in 2009 when Facebook rolled out pages for businesses. I decided to offer complimentary Facebook page setup and training to my local website clients. They were able to use my proprietary CMS to maintain their own websites, so I figured it would be a piece of cake to train them to use Facebook.
Boy was I wrong!
In my mind, I was creating my own little army of do-it-yourself social media specialists.
In reality, I had unleashed a tsunami of marketing gurus who seemed intent on inundating their audiences with self-promotional posts.
I knew they were “doing it wrong”. Unfortunately, at that time, I wasn’t quite able to articulate what they should be doing instead so my suggestions to “just be social” seemed to fall on deaf ears. My clients had discovered what they believed to be a “better way” to get ads in front of an audience … and they weren’t going to let me or anyone else tell them differently.
They used Facebook in the same way as they used newspaper ads, mailers, placemat ads, brochures, billboards, etc. They had no idea what was or what wasn’t working, but that didn’t stop them. All that mattered to them was getting people to “Like” them, and that these “likes” weren’t costing them any money, so the more likes, the better.
(I did try to explain that wasted time = wasted money, but for the most part, that went in one ear and out the other.)
A social media specialist needs to know how to post to Facebook; however, knowing how to post to Facebook does not mean you are a social media specialist!
Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea to offer brand page management as a separate service for my clients who did not want to DIY it. So, of course, I hired someone who was “good at Facebook” to handle the new work.
He really looked like that too. Perhaps that should have been my first warning.
He did well until the day he had a meltdown and lashed out at my client’s audience. That was my first lesson in the many things that can go wrong when you hire an intern (or a “guru”) to manage a client’s social presence. (Oh, this might make a good blog post…making a note!)
A social media specialist needs to “be good at” Facebook; however, “being good at” Facebook does not mean you are a social media specialist!
Anyway, I think you get the point. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this post.
Over the years, I have built a strong social media presence of my own, and I have developed relationships with many business owners around the world. It was one of those relationships that led to me joining Steady Demand as Social Media Specialist.
It is probably easiest for me to explain what a social media specialist actually does by telling you what I do here at Steady Demand. So what DO I do anyway?
“I get paid to Tweet.” (Yep, that about sums it up. Thanks for reading!)
Seriously. This is what my keyboard looks like.
(Img Credit: https://flic.kr/p/k7JqPn)
Ok, I’m kidding again. (I really had you going for a moment though didn’t I?)
I admit, I actually have said “I get paid to Tweet” before when asked what I do. Unfortunately, it belies the unique qualities and skills that I bring to the table. Luckily, I have finally come to the realization that what I actually do is a whole lot more complicated and that the experience I bring to the table is one of the reasons why I am good at what I do.
A social media specialist might “get paid to Tweet”; however, “getting paid to Tweet” does not mean you are a social media specialist!
As a Social Media Specialist for Steady Demand, I am expected to keep up with the tools, current news and trends, and to be aware of changes and best practices across various social media platforms. My job requires excellent communication skills and the ability to communicate professionally and effectively in both long or short form. My background in web development, Internet marketing and SEO doesn’t hurt (although not required); and it also doesn’t hurt that I have both business sense and common sense.
(You would be surprised how many people are lacking in common sense!) 😀
Basically, just as in any profession, you need to be learning constantly and fine-tuning your craft.
Since I work from home, I need to be a self-starter who is both detail and deadline oriented. And, because I manage brand pages for several different industries, each with their own brand persona, it doesn’t hurt to have a split-personality as well. (Ok, I am kidding again … a sense of humor is definitely a good quality though!)
Steady Demand has clients all around the world, so I am cognizant of time zones, currency, language/spelling, customs, etc. and keep them in mind when I post. This allows me to represent each brand in a more authentic way and (almost) as well as I could if I were an actually a member of their team working on location. I say almost because if I were actually there, I could take better photos than they generally send me! 😀
I meet with each client during our on-boarding process to discuss their social media goals (sales, sign-ups, brand awareness, etc.), their brand identity, the demographics of their audience, their competitors, etc. This is my chance to ask questions and gather the information I will need to develop or adapt to their brand persona and tone, and to get a clear understanding of the purpose of the channel and the language that I need to learn in order to “become” the voice for their brand. BTW, here is a good article to read to gain a better understanding of brand persona, tone and voice: http://gplus.ly/1KGW52c
It is my job to create and/or curate content for their channels, so I subscribe to their newsletters, become familiar with their websites, blogs, other social media channels, etc. as well as find other sources of content related to their industry/topic. I create and maintain a “content calendar” and I create or source photos and graphics as necessary … always respecting copyrights and ensuring that the content is accurate and relevant. I identify influencers and keep an eye on competitors. I set-up their brand pages and optimize them as needed to ensure that they are “ready” for truckloads of new fans and followers. 😀
Research. Research. Research.
Yes, I do it. I want to understand our clients’ industries so I am able to create and curate relevant content that I can discuss with intelligence. Some industries are more challenging for me than others; in fact, I am still struggling to learn the lingo and sub-culture of the vaping community. Speaking of challenges, each social media platform has its own set of unique rules for regulated industries that I need to be aware of…. More on that another time.
And all the above is necessary before I even make a single post. I had planned on covering posting in this article; but, that will put me over the ideal length for a blog post (according to RESEARCH of course), so you wouldn’t read it anyway. I will cover that in Part 2 of my article, scheduled for next week, so stay tuned!
Can you learn how to become a DIY Social Media Specialist for your own business?
Of course you can! (You thought I was going to say you couldn’t or shouldn’t – didn’t you?)
Yes. Absolutely. You most certainly can. You can learn to do most anything in this world with enough time and effort!
So why would you ever consider hiring Steady Demand to manage your brand page if you can learn to DIY?
To answer that, I will ask you this question. Do you actually WANT to be a social media specialist or do you want to focus on running your business?
You need to think about where it ends. Do you want to be a web designer? An accountant? A receptionist? You CAN learn to do it all, but do you want to? And if you do, can you learn to do it all well? Sometimes it is best to outsource to those who specialize in their field as they are likely able to do it better and more efficiently than you can. And that’s ok. This frees you up to focus on what you do best.
If you actually want to be a social media specialist, well, we are hiring, so give us a call! Just kidding. If you really do want to learn, follow this blog over the coming weeks and months and I will share everything that I know with you!
If you want to focus on running your business, we would love to be your social media specialist. so give us a call!
If you are an agency you may want to consider outsourcing to a social media marketing company too! Our team is happy to help.