Who Is Your Social Media Manager?
The social media manager has become one of the most important titles in internet marketing because of the impact social media is having on business. In the last year and a half the starting salaries for this position have jumped significantly.
If you haven’t heard the term ‘earned media’ it refers to consumer information sharing or advertising. Objectively your business brand, reputation, product or service is shared over social media and the social media manager ensures that the discussion keeps going and the crowd keeps growing.
An advertising budget dedicated to increasing social recognition through paid ads on social media sites yields a much higher ROI because the real growth is all freely spread between friends online. This is why businesses can budget a salary or hire someone to handle the daily management of their social networks; advertising costs less and is extremely targeted.
Then and Now
Before the internet marketing specificity was almost impossible unless you were marketing to existing customers. Reaching new customers through radio or TV was hit or miss.
The explosion of cable and satellite channels meant people rarely had to watch or listen to commercials. Recording devices could actually skip them. Hit or miss became mainly miss.
The internet gave consumers the option to find exactly what was of interest to them and business owners were now able to speak only to the people who had an interest in them. Earned media is the explosion of friends across networks like Facebook who keep sharing the message your social media manager introduced.
Why People Buy
Buying is an emotional activity and social networks are ideal for sharing the stories and experiences friends have with new purchases. Nothing is more motivating toward making a decision to buy than a friend’s recommendation.
Interruption marketing (paid media commercials) can’t make the emotional connection. Sharing information among friends about a new product is natural; it’s also contagious. The only thing we like more than hearing new information for the first time is telling it to someone who hasn’t heard it yet.
Even when someone isn’t ready to buy, hasn’t even considered buying something or never had any intention of buying, hearing a story from a friend about a great deal has the potential to change that. Even if the second person never makes the purchase, if the story was good enough they’re bound to repeat it.
Social Media Is Emotional
Social sites are all about emotion and conversations that get passionate also get noticed. Earned media is the objective but the initial goal of the social media manager is to touch a few nerves by connecting on a personal level.
This isn’t advanced marketing and you don’t have to select your audience or sell them anything. Simply enter the virtual world of people who share an emotional connection to your products and services. Then let them do what the social media manager does; share.
While most of the work done by your social media manager will involve consistently engaging your ‘friends’ they’ll still face the challenge of keeping up with the changes and developments affecting how the process works.
Timeless and Continuous
Speaking strictly in terms of how Facebook works the links that lead potential customers directly to your website are never hard to find. Posts that are shared can start going viral immediately because every single friend in that person’s network has the ability to post to their respective network.
The like button affects far more than the compulsion for others to read what their friend likes, it begs an emotional response, “Click like to agree with me!” An effective social media manager will always be involved in the conversation and always maintain or escalate the passion in the exchange.
At one time called ‘Business Pages’ then ‘Fan Pages’ now ‘Like Pages’ Facebook now brings it all back into the same context. You like many of the things, including a business page, that your friends like, and they like what you like. And those pages you like are remembered conveniently in the left hand column (for now).
How about the businesses that are looking for professionals to network with both online and in person? A social media manager can help arrange the details of corporate events while giving them the friendly flavor that makes work more enjoyable.
Expanding your client list through exclusive social media networks is far more practical than the old school method of mailing out invitations. While email invitations may be a practical step to reminding people of upcoming events the real kicker is:
1. An online video presentation of the event
2. A detailed layout of the location
3. Links to the hotel or conference center
4. Online registration and booking
5. Details of the events agenda
Images of a golf course, spa or restaurant go a lot further toward engendering an emotional reaction to a business event than text copy on a folded piece of paper.
Integration of Social Media
For those of us who always looked at social media marketing as one of the important aspects of an overall marketing strategy, the social media manager has become far more valuable of late. At one time the challenge was simply to fuse business websites and blogs with social sites.
Now the challenge involves mobile communications and e-commerce within the same social setting. If you have a customer who’s ready to make a purchase you don’t want to send them to another store, you want to close the deal. But regardless of whether you have buying options within the social media sites or have to bring clients and customers to your site, your social media manager has it covered.
The bigger social sites also want the same thing which is why they want users to have the ability to find whatever they need, schmooze, make a purchase, learn something new, or watch a funny video while riding the train home from work at night; all on a single app. Dropping links tastefully and socially is what makes a social media manager great; making it effortless for their friends makes them valuable to everyone.
Tying It All Together
In an effort to make it all manageable for the common mortal companies are now developing sites that attempt to roll it all into one place meaning you can post to multiple sites from one location. If the intent is just to make an announcement that would be fine but imagine having to carry on the same conversation in 20 different locations with hundreds of different responses. Suddenly it doesn’t sound so easy.
Not to knock these companies because they do answer many important needs except for needing someone to manage it all. The obvious advantage of being able to post content in one location and have it hit multiple sites means that you only have to post it once, but what happens to all the responses that go unanswered? Not only is that not a good thing from a business perspective, it isn’t very social.
I’ve been asked whether a company should have their own SEO specialist and the short answer is yes. SEO and social media aren’t necessarily exclusive but they’re both critical in the online business world. I wouldn’t hire an SEO specialist that isn’t aware of the valuable part social media plays anymore than I’d hire a social media manager that doesn’t understand SEO.
The Big Picture
Marketing includes every aspect and every department associated with business and I’ve said before that you construct a business model with your marketing plan. If the marketing plan includes commercial advertising that no longer provides an adequate ROI the business model falls apart.
Like a building that has been damaged it is necessary to remove part of that structure in order to save the building. If you’re tracking the ROI of your print ads, radio and TV spots and they’re still effective, great. If you can’t track them it might be necessary to weigh their importance based on growth over the last 5 years.
Any paid advertising campaign whether it’s social media or billboards along the highway should be measured against growth. Businesses don’t advertise to sustain the same results or keep the same client base.
Why It Works
We’ve established that social media allows businesses to integrate themselves into the framework of specified society. You don’t have to invest in reaching people that are not interested in what you offer.
You have an opportunity to introduce yourself, your brand, your product, your service and your vision where you can expect a warm welcome. If done correctly you become popular and everybody likes you.
This information is valuable for home business owners because of the potential for creating another income stream while benefiting your team or network. It’s also valuable to traditional business owners because the social media manager is becoming the lynchpin between businesses and the online business world.