Using Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites can take big chunks out of your work at home day. They’re something most of us have to learn how to manage our time, so it only takes up as much time as we can allow. But if you really love using social media, wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to do so?
It’s not impossible. Many companies need someone to take care of their social media. Obviously, this kind of work is different from managing your own accounts and socializing with your friends, but it’s a job that requires you to use social media, and can often be done from home. Some companies expect you to work in their office, of course.
What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
The basic job of a social media manager is to manage the business’ social media effectively. While some feel it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns – it’s very difficult to draw a direct connection between social media results and sales in many cases. Nonetheless, a healthy social media presence is a benefit to businesses – it’s one more way to for customers to connect with you.
To help with this, a social media manager must do several things:
1. Understand what your audience needs from the business.
Social media has a large impact on how people view the brand. It’s up to you to know how your employer’s brand should look on social media. What do people buy from the business, and what do they want to know from it? Your social media efforts should help your audience in those areas.
This also involves knowing where your audience is. Your efforts won’t be effective if you focus on Facebook when your target audience prefers Instagram or Twitter.
2. Engage with your audience.
Social media is where many people go when they just can’t get results from a business any other way. How often have you heard stories from people who said they had a problem with a company, and it was only resolved when they complained about it on social media?
A social media manager makes sure these complaints get taken care of if at all possible. You have to know how to handle a wide range of problems, or who to talk to if you don’t know what to do. Problems that are left unresolved or ignored may only get worse on social media. Word can spread quickly. When possible, it’s better to make it word of how well the problem was handled, rather than how awful your response or lack thereof was.
Other times, you may be answering simple questions about the company. People are usually happy to have their question answered directly from the company, even if they didn’t direct it right at you.
You will also need to be aware of any threats to the business. Hopefully this is a rare thing, but if there is a threat, you will want to have it handled appropriately, even if that means calling the authorities. Online threats can be difficult to handle, as not all police departments know what to do about it themselves, but you need to pay attention.
3. Share content.
While much of your employer’s content creation may be handled by bloggers, you have to make it work with social media – phrasing things effectively for the limits of each platform, choosing the right images, right timing and so forth.
Make sure your content works with other promotions going on. Other kinds of advertising may refer people to the business’s social accounts – be sure the messages work well together.
4. Advertise your social presence and build a following.
Many social networks allow you to pay to promote your content, so you can get in front of more people and build your following. These may appear different from your regular social media content. Know whether you’re trying to make sales directly with paid social advertising or if you’re more focused on building a following. A solid following on social media can have long term benefits for a business, so even though it doesn’t show immediate results financially, it can be a very worthwhile goal.
5. Build conversions.
A solid following does very little good if it doesn’t convert into paying customers. You may be able to use your social media efforts to capture leads for other types of marketing or bring in sales. 100,000 fans or followers have very little value if none of them buy anything from you.
6. Show a good ROI.
Proving that your social media work is giving a good return on investment can be difficult, but it’s part of the job to prove that what you’re doing is worthwhile. Analyze the results you’ve gotten each week, not only so you can show what gave a good return, but so that you learn what kinds of things do better and worse.
How Do You Get the Job?
As with any other job, employers hope to find social media managers with the experience to help them reach their goals. You have to find a way to show that first employer that you have what it takes to do the job.
Marketing experience is a big help. A degree in Marketing isn’t a must, but if you don’t have that, some sort of experience you can show is.
You can expect potential employers to want to look at your own social media profiles. If you can’t show that you post interesting things regularly, or if you haven’t built your own following very well, why would an employer want you to manage their social media marketing? Your profiles are highly relevant, so make sure they look appropriate. Ideally, you should be able to show examples on multiple platforms, and show that you know how to work with each one.
You can spot openings on various job boards, as well as on the social media pages of various companies. Sites such as Jobs In Social Media specialize in this kind of job opening. Regular job boards such as Monster and Indeed also have listings you may find of interest. Remember that not all will be flexible or home based.
Freelancing is another option. Rather than work for one company, take on a variety of clients who need help with their social media. Freelancing can be both more flexible and more demanding, depending on the relationship between you and your clients. Check sites such as Elance, Guru and oDesk (edit: now Upwork) for openings.
Beware These Social Media Mistakes
Many people make serious mistakes with their social media profiles or when talking to potential clients or employers. If you want to become a social media professional, don’t make these mistakes:
1. Badmouth current or previous clients, anywhere.
Whether on your own social media, on someone’s social media account you’re managing, or in conversation with a potential client or employer, don’t say negative things about your other clients, past or present. It only makes you look bad, and makes potential employers wonder what you’ll say about them.
2. Link dropping.
Do not drop links to your social media pages or regular websites when they aren’t relevant, especially if the only thing you post is the link. You aren’t making that page look any better, and you aren’t getting people interested in visiting it.
3. Post about your services when they aren’t relevant to the conversation.
Similar to link dropping is posting about your services or the company you’re trying to promote when they aren’t relevant to the conversation at hand. You’ll look much better if you participate in the conversation and keep it relevant.
4. Be overly personal.
You should be a little personal on social media, but keep it within reason. Some things you should share only with friends, not with the rest of the world. Keep the really personal stuff to the profiles that only your personal friends can see; don’t share it with the world.
5. Be boring.
At the same time, don’t be so impersonal that you’re boring. Allow your posts to sound like a real person without posting the things you don’t need random people to know about you. Be funny when funny is appropriate, serious when serious is appropriate, and so forth. You’re human – show it.
6. Stress about posting the right amount daily.
There are all kinds of theories about how often and what time you should post on social media. While you should be aware of these observations, don’t let them entirely rule you. If you don’t have something worthwhile to post, don’t. Quality is much more important than quantity.
Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.