The first time someone hired me to manage their social media, I thought they must be joking. Really? You want to pay me to tweet, and post memes on Facebook?? Basically what I do on my own in my spare time, anyway?
But when I logged into the client’s account, I realized that social media skills don’t just come easily to everyone. Over time, I’ve learned that most people genuinely have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to marketing a business online, and do need assistance to create a strong, cohesive brand.
Today, social media management is the most popular service requested by clients at the firm. In fact, it is the only service that all our clients have in common. Here’s why you should consider hiring a social media manager, too.
Twitter Beefs & Facebook Wars
Earlier this year, Wendy’s made the news for trolling its customers – and doing a pretty good job at it, too. If you never heard of this, then click on the tweet above and check the threads. You should be looking for a conversation that covers this fiasco.
While Wendy’s found a clever way to go about it, more often than not, that’s not the case. Twitter beef and Facebook wars tend to happen when someone makes an unfair critique of your “baby” and you fire up.
How many times have you found yourself sucked into one of these against better judgment? You may feel like a smart Alec when it’s over, but what you’ve effectively done is alienate your audience. Many may never engage with you or your brand again, for fear of ticking you off and facing the sharp end of your wrath.
During my first gig as a social media manager, one of my biggest jobs was playing referee for arguments my client became involved in. Eventually, I banned him from posting on social media. Yes, I banned my client from his own social media pages. And you know what? Peace reigned, thereafter.
Edgy versus Appropriate
What do you think? Is this edgy, or inappropriate? Most of our clients would raise an eyebrow if this was used as a featured image for our blog post, plastered in the header on our website, or included in an ad.
Sure, we could argue that we work with writers, authors and publishers – and there are magazines all over the floor, right? And don’t we work with lifestyle brands? Where do we draw the line? That depends on your audience – and how well you know them.
Do you know your audience? When asked this question for the first time, most of our clients gave an honest, noncommittal answer. And those who promptly said yes, were later proven wrong. In fact, it often takes fancy third party apps we pay for, to tell us who our main audience is.
For instance, on College Mate, we originally thought most of our followers would be female, and between the ages of 15 to 25. But we were wrong. Our data analytics showed that only 30% of our followers are female. The remaining 70% are male, and most of them are between the ages of 25 and 34.
So do you really know who your audience and customers are? When you know who your audience is, you have a better chance of connecting with them – and of knowing, how far is too far. There’s a fine line between coy and tacky, between funny and offensive.
As Pepsi learned earlier this year, crossing that line can make you the butt of bad press for months (even years!) to come. Not everyone will have Wendy’s good luck.
Millennials confuse everyone – including each other. We are the generation that came of age during the recession and had the scales peeled from our eyes early on. We are the skeptics, the so-called misguided troublemakers, and the unsettled ones.
But like it or not, millennials are the future of the economy. We eat out more than any other generation, made a mental illness out of FOMO (the fear of missing out), and we are what we buy. This may not be true for you – it certainly isn’t for me – but it’s true for a lot of us.
So how do you engage with millennials? You hire other millennials, of course. This is why Buzzfeed is so popular. They have dominated and defined pop culture by hiring millennials to create content other millennials want to watch, read, and listen to.
But maybe you’re not after millennials. Maybe you’re trying to reach children, teens, or the elderly. A social media manager’s job is to study and understand your audience – whoever they are – so they can translate your message to reach the demographic that you want. This is true whether your audience txt lyk dis, hits you up chatting Ebonics, or communicates in erudite English.
Cohesive – not Carbon Copy
We own four websites, and if you’ve visited all four, you may have noticed something: they all look the same. The names, logos, and colors may vary. But the fonts, general design, and formats are all the same.
This is also true for my social media pages. If you jump from my Twitter to my Facebook to even Instagram, there is no guessing whether or not they belong to the same “brand”. If you’ve clicked on all those links, the second thing you should notice is that the content is similar, but not the same. That is true cohesion.
This is the first problem we rectify when taking over clients’ accounts. Most clients have social media accounts, blogs, and websites that all look fundamentally different from each other: different profile pictures, headers, and colors. They then post the same content across platforms to cut down on the social media work.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional cross-posts, but be honest. If all your timelines are exactly the same, what incentive are you giving your readers to follow more than one, if any? If you don’t have the time (or desire) to create unique content for each of your platforms, it may be time to hand over the reigns to a social media manager who does.
Recently, while scheduling a book excerpt on black CATastrophy for an indie author, we asked her for her social media pages to add to her blurb. She laughed and told us:
I don’t use social media. If I did, I would never get any writing done.
While this makes perfect sense, after completing a book, without social media and an overall online presence, an independently published book has very little chance of success.
So how do you strike a balance between focusing enough on your craft to make good work, and focusing on your audience to connect and make sales? Easy. You outsource.
According to our client, Michael Fedison:
I would recommend taking the plunge! The fact is, as an indie author, and also most likely an indie author with many outside commitments from work, school, family, etc., you simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to do everything yourself…
Alexis Chateau PR has given me peace of mind, knowing that my social media platforms are in capable and wonderful hands!
And what does Mike do in the meantime? He works on his novels – and saves his spare time for other obligations in his personal and work life. We do what we do best, so that he can do the same.
Anyone can buy their own tools to analyze their website and social media platforms. With that information, many people can learn to craft the messages and visuals that build a brand their target audience can connect with.
But nothing beats the freedom of giving up the reigns to focus on the real reason you decided to write, bake, design, or go into business. And that – more than anything else – is why you need a social media manager.
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.