Over the years, social media has moved from becoming a personal communication platform to a business communication platform with most businesses leveraging on social to improve their overall business performance not only in marketing but in other business areas as well.
While everyone seems to be talking about the great benefit social media has on a business, it is important to evaluate or look at certain must have or basic skills a professional social media manger should possess.
- Situation Analysis: This deals with the analysis of both internal and external factors that affect the organization. Under situational analysis the social media manager must have the following skills:
- Social Media Audit: Deals with accessing your current social media use and studying what’s working and what’s not. This can be analyzing your activity on all the social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.) where your business can be found. Analyze metrics such as number of likes, followers, engagement per post, average engagement rate, shares etc. Leverage on analytic tools such as Facebook audience insights, Twitter insights, LinkedIn insights etc. which help you to better understand the demographics’ (age, location, gender) interest, education level, relationship, of your audience. Also, the social media manager should be able to leverage on social listening tools to listen to make an audit of consumer interactions such as sentiments, number of social visits etc.
- Competitor Analysis: Understanding your competitor’s landscape on social media is key to achieving clear cut business goals with social media and is considered as one of the skills of a great social media manager. As Debbie Fields put it “There is always competition. Whatever you do, there will be competition, and you have to decide how you’re going to play”. As such you should take keen interest in analyzing your competitors on the social space, learning from them and putting strategies in place to outrank them. You can begin by identifying top players in your industry and investigating the social media strategies of the top three (3) or five (5) competitors. Perform a social SWOT analysis to understand their strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats. In analyzing your competitors, you could also look at the tactics used – how they integrate with other tactics, how they integrate with offline marketing channels, general performance effectiveness etc.
- Objectives/Goals: It has been said that goals without objectives can never be achieved while objectives without goals will never get you to where you want to be. As such the social media manager should have a deeper understanding when it comes to setting of goals / objectives for social. Objectives represent the broader destination of what your company wants to reach in the social space. Objectives can be broken down to specific number of goals and it ensures there are guidance, control, motivation and evaluation. Objectives that you set for social media should align with the larger business/marketing objectives for the year, quarter, and month or for a specific campaign. The goals you set for social media should follow the S.M.A.R.T principle (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). In setting up a goal you may follow the BSQ (Think Big, Act Small, Move Quick) framework as defined by organizational psychologist David Van Rooy in his book titled Trajectory.
An example of a social media goal using the BSQ would be;
Think Big: I want to drive 100,000 customers on Facebook
Act Small: Which steps would I need to take in order to drive 1000 customers
Move Quick: What time frame would work to achieve each of these steps?
- Content Strategy (People-Content-Platforms): A good content strategy defines how you will use social media to engage consumers or the target audience and is a highly must have skill for any great and professional social media manager. In designing a strategy, the social media manager should be able to understand the people that he wants to target and engage, content that will resonate with those people and the platform that best suits both the content and the people you want to engage.
- People: In understanding the people or the target audience for social, the social media manager must be able to undertake target market research/audience analysis.
A social target market research will not only help you identify which of your existing and potential customers are using social media, but will also help you know which networks they are on so you can create your business’ online presence on those networks. You can begin by leveraging on several tools such as Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Analytics, LinkedIn Analytics, Klout.com (for influencers) to understand the demography of the target buyer or audience. Also you can create a buyer persona to help you understand both the demographics (age, gender, location, education, income level etc.) and psychographics (attitudes, behaviours, needs, wants, goals, buyers journey, motivations, interests, challenges, cultural trends) etc. of your audience.
- Content: Curating the content that resonates with the target audience, addresses their needs and challenges, and engages (entertain, inform, educate, inspire, support) will help you build better relationships with your target audience that translate into sales for your company in the long run. You can begin by first listing the topics and ideas you want to talk about on the social web and how they help in fostering a very strong relationship with your audience. Using tools in curating content such as Think with Google, Quora etc. Organizing content curated with highly effective content calendars, seeding the content and promoting to target audience using paid media (Facebook/Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Ads), Earned Media (Influencers, employees, etc.), Owned Media (Your own social media platform, websites etc.).
- Platform (Understanding social networks): Understanding social networks/platforms goes beyond just being able to memorize the various social networks that exist and being able to create them. Each social media platform is different from the other and each social media platform has its primary use. Think of image first platforms like Instagram and video first platforms like YouTube. As such the social media manager should have skills in analyzing and choosing the ideal social media platforms for the business taking into consideration how the content lends themselves well on that platform and also the platform your target buyers spend most of their time on. Eg. A company that is into the sale of beauty products /makeup accessories will choose to have their beauty products showcased on Instagram since beauty product lend themselves on image first social media platforms like Instagram. Also, majority of consumers of beauty products /make up accessories today are mostly young adults aged between 22-35 and spend most of their time on Instagram.
Furthermore, social media platforms are ever changing. Make sure to keep an eye on new trends in consumer content consumptions eg. the rise in the use of live video and ephemeral content; content that varnishes or doesn’t last for more than 24-hours. Think of your Snapchat videos and WhatsApp statuses as one.
- Monitoring/Evaluation: Deals with having the skills to setup Metrics/KPIs to track or make sure objectives set are achieved. As part of tracking to see how your company is using social to achieve objectives set, you should constantly monitor what is being done on the social space and identifying areas of improvement. It encompasses the following:
- Social Listening/Monitoring: With billions of information shared on the social space and the web in general, it presents companies the opportunity to tap into such information being shared on the web. Tapping into conversations and information especially those that relate to their brand or product will require that the social media manager should have skills in social listening and monitoring. Social media monitoring as it sounds is the process of monitoring for mentions, comments etc. about your brand on social media and in the web whereas social media listening goes beyond just monitoring for brand mentions, comments, etc. and uncovering insights that can be used to improve business/product development, customer service, innovations etc. The social media manager must be skilled in listening and analyzing where most brand conversations take place (where to monitor), what to monitor, tools used in social listening/monitoring and design a listening plan.
- Metrics/KPI Setting: Identifying and setting success metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that align with business goals is very critical in making sure you are on track in achieving set goals with social media. Metrics can range from Brand Awareness, Leads/Customer Acquisition, Share of voice/Mentions and Customer Satisfaction. Metrics that you set for a business should align with the overall business goals and objectives. The KPIs you set would be a major indicator or check to see if you are on the right path in achieving the metrics set. Moreover, success metrics should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). A good example can be found in this statement: “I would achieve 50% increase in leads within 3 months by generating 200 leads”. In this statement the metric to track and measure would be leads and the KPI would be to generate 200 leads. In all, the professional social media manger should understand and shift from reporting on activity based metrics such as likes, comments, shares etc. to value based metrics or metrics that management understand eg. Brand awareness, sales etc.
- Internal Organization: As said earlier in my 2018 social media advice for Ghanaian companies, companies must pay particular attention to developing social media policies and programs to educate and guide the use of social media internally by employees and also a plan to manage crisis when they happen. It has become evident that the lack of proper social media policies, governance structures and crisis management plans has subjected several companies and personalities into public attack and ridicule. A popular example is the incident that happened to Nana Aba Anamoah when she got busted for making false claims on Twitter, that she was in old Trafford to watch her favorite team Manchester United play against Sunderland. As such the professional social media manager should be skilled or have an understanding in developing a social media crisis management plan, social policy and social media governance.
- Social media crisis management plan: Managing a business on social media involves a two-way communication between a team your business can control and an audience you have no control over. A good social media crisis management plan should aim at tackling among other things nasty comments, bad product/customer reviews, trolls, marketing faux pas etc. and should also assign roles to who would be responsible in handling such events as they happen. In managing crisis, the social media manager should be able to smartly differentiate between trolls, problems and crisis. Problems have short term implications on a business eg. customer complaint of bad product on Facebook whereas Crisis have long term implications on the brand eg. Death of an employee, mass attack on a brand on Facebook by unhappy customers. Also in separating trolls from genuine customer problems or crisis you should have in mind that trolls will continue to speak negatively about your brand even if their problem is resolved. You should be on the lookout for a consistent stream of negativity that differs from the norm by unknown persons.
- Social Media Policy: In the 21st century social communication, social media has become an extension of our lives. Today’s businesses and companies need to have a social media policy to educate and guide the use of social media at the workplace. Employees need to be informed of company best practices concerning social media usage and general and online activities during work and non-work hours. Regulations must be set in place to deter employees from making publishing posts that don’t reflect the brand position and subject the company they work for into public ridicule.
- Governance: While a social media policy defines how employees should engage via social media channels, a governance model is a bundle of policies, guidelines, processes, and educational resources to guide your employees to successfully represent your company in social media activities. Governance is much broader than a policy and may encompasses but not limited to the following;
- Approval Processes: who has the right to approve the publishing of a post on the company’s social media platform
- Branding Guidelines: Making sure all designs reflect the font type, design style and colors of the company. More importantly the social media manager should be skilled in making sure all social media posts reflect the brand voice of the company.
- Social Customer Service and Training: The “Human” element is your most important business resource. Whether it is answering a customer’s question under your posts, providing solutions to a problem or simply hitting the “like” button on a comment, your interaction with social media users is very critical. Your business must have a deeper understanding in social sentimental analysis, brand listening and monitoring in order to identify and handle customers’ questions, problems and dispel negative news about the business/brand. Also be sure to have a dedicated team to respond promptly to conversations on your social media content.
Bringing it all together, the social media manger should be skilled in bringing the above skills together with others to develop a comprehensive social media strategy plan document.
Thanks for having the time to read this piece. Don’t forget to drop any suggestions in the comment section.
The writer of this article is the product team lead and senior digital and training consultant for eazzysocial. Eazzysocial is an Accra based social media company dedicated to helping thousands of people gain relevant digital skills and grow their business in a social-first world. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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