Smart businesses are rapidly learning the impact an effective content marketing team can have on their bottom lines. Content marketing is one of the best ways to generate organic leads and position your brand as a thought leader in its industry. While the Content Team Manager is critical for organizing the team, and the SEO Director is a central piece that helps maximize the visibility of all the team’s content, the Social Media Manager is equally important as the chief curator of your brand’s various social media accounts.
Stop me if you’ve heard this somewhere before: social media is really important. The relationship between brands and customers has been affected dramatically by the rise of social media as a driving force in our daily lives. More so than ever before, customers are surrounded by options. There are ten thousand ways to spend their scarce dollars, and ten thousand things they could spend their time on. In order to capture consumer attention, brands have to make a compelling value proposition and meet their customers where they live. Social media is a key tool in doing this.
In the modern age of sales and marketing, relationships between brands and customers are fundamentally based on trust. Building trust with your brand’s customer base is of paramount importance, and one of the best ways to do that is through demonstrating that you value their time. A great social media presence with free content offerings and regular high-value updates is one of the best ways to do this. The social media manger is on the front line of your communications, marketing, and customer service teams.
Social media lets your brand take advantage of word of mouth and optimize trust!
The social media manager has a number of roles and responsibilities that require a variety of skill sets. The core responsibilities are deciding which platforms to use, managing those social accounts, communicating with influencers, responding to follower questions and comments, promoting company content, curating external content, and developing an appealing brand personality. It’s a lot of stuff, but the social media manager tends to have a lot of plates in the air!
Deciding Which Platforms to Use and Managing Accounts
The primary responsibility of the social media manager is managing the brand’s various social media accounts, but that can only happen after the proper platforms have been selected. Platform selection has become an increasingly complex topic as the number of viable social media sites has increased over time. There are still some mainstays, most every brand will want to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but teams only have so much time and energy. Choosing which smaller or more niche social sites to be on and selecting which big sites to prioritize are major responsibilities for the social media manager.
There are an awful lot of platforms to choose from!
Platform choice will be closely tied to brand identity and industry, as certain platforms project different images and attract different audiences. Think about it as a spectrum from formal to casual, with LinkedIn being the most formal, Twitter the most casual, and Facebook somewhere in the middle. If you’re offering primarily to professional audiences, LinkedIn is a great choice, while Twitter is better if you’re more consumer facing and want to connect directly with everyday fans of your brand. Cultivating images targeted at the demographics of the different sites will yield maximum results.
Understanding the unique demographics of different social sites will give you a leg up
Moreover, the kinds of content you’re planning on offering will affect what other platforms you leverage. If you’re planning on producing a lot of video based content, Vine, Instagram Video, YouTube, and Vimeo are all possible platforms. We’ve covered differences between them in the past, but the short version is that Vimeo and YouTube are ideal for long-form video while Vine and IGV leverage short-form videos that have some viral potential. Slideshare is a great site if you want to build informational PowerPoints, and Instagram and Pinterest let you connect with consumers through the power of pictures.
Whatever your social media mix, make sure that it is representative of your core brand identity and leverages content you’re likely to produce. While having many social media accounts can indicate that a company is particularly tech-savvy, there’s no point if the content they offer isn’t of consistently high quality.
Communicating with Influencers
In the social media universe there are a number of brands and influencers that stand apart in different industries, and have an unusually large amount of social clout. Getting brand recognition and receiving a mention from one of these influencers can have a massive impact on the overall visibility of your brand, and lead to a sudden burst of growth in social media followers. One of the responsibilities of the social media manager is to identify these influencers in your industry and regularly engage them, increasing the likelihood of building a strong relationship that can be leveraged in the future.
Influence can be thought of as a pyramid, and targeting the top of that pyramid can yield huge results!
Initially, the best way to do this is simply to engage with the influencer’s social media accounts on a regular basis across platforms when possible. Comment on their posts, share influencer content, and reference influencers in your content when possible. Over time and with sustained effort, it’s quite likely that the influencer will notice. This then allows you to reach out more directly to that brand through direct message, potentially building an offline relationship and gaining a powerful ally; with a good team of article writers, no job is too big.
Answering Customer Questions and Comments
Social media is rapidly becoming the primary customer service of the 21st century. As one of the most recognizable locations online for your brand, your social media sites will regularly receive comments, questions, and complaints from customers regarding the exact nature of your products and services. It’s critically important to hire a social media manager who has a strong background in customer service, and is comfortable interacting with people and responding to questions on a regular basis. By dealing with these inquiries quickly and effectively, the social media manager will promote the overall image of the brand and increase customer retention.
Promoting Company Content
It’s incredibly important to keep in mind:
Ultimately, the social media manager is a marketing professional.
From a content marketing perspective, the primary value of social media is the way in which it allows you to effectively promote your content to a wide audience of pre-vetted fans and potential leads. There’s a natural and intuitive connection between providing content that grows your following and content that increases the likelihood of a customer making a purchasing decision that your brand benefits from. While content can be aimed at either goal, providing consistently high-quality content that’s related to your brand’s core value propositions will lead to great results.
The social media effect has amplified the power of content marketing
There are endless possibilities for social media content, and we covered some of the rules for quality content in 12 Hacks to Quickly Grow Your Social Media Following. The two big rules are regular and reliable. Great social media managers provide content to your brands following on a regular and reliable basis. This allows your followers to develop a deeper trust relationship with your brand and lets them know that you’ll be there when they look for you. They also provide content that is related to what your followers care about, and is tailored for the specific needs of your audience. Keeping these two broad rules in mind will increase the value your brand gets from social media dramatically.
Great company content is often visual in nature. Make sure that content includes a visual element, like pictures, infographics, and video, whenever possible. Good posts need interesting headlines and copy carefully constructed to get content read and links clicked. Engage your audience through the use of questions, and keep in mind that people love to share their opinion!
Curating Content from External Sources
Part of having an active and vibrant social media account is about creating a space where your followers know that they’ll be informed of any relevant changes in your industry, and positioning your page as a great place to go when news breaks. The social media manager is responsible for curating content from external sources around the web, which presents a great opportunity to promote the content of major social influencers in your industry. This content should entertain and teach your audience while building authority.
Keep in mind the two rules when promoting external content: regular and reliable. There’s an enormous amount of high-quality content produced every day online, and it’s extremely important to filter through it and select the content only maximally relevant to your audience. Providing them with great external content will position you as a reliable source for news and continue to build that trust relationship with your audience. Let them know that you’re not just using social media as a vehicle for constant brand promotion!
Developing a Brand Personality
Hopefully you’ve developed a clear sense of brand identity before taking the plunge into content marketing. As we covered in Part One of this series, the identity of your content should dovetail with the identity of your brand. No one likes a soulless brand, and increasingly consumers are looking for brands that are relatable and have a lot of personality online. Your brand personality is the voice and face of your brand on social media. This brand personality needs to be carefully tailored to the needs and demographics of your audience for maximum effect.
The social media manager will have a huge role in shaping the overall personality of your brand through your social accounts. They will often comment, question, and interact with brands and customers online, and through doing so will develop a relatable and consistent personality. Hopefully, this personality matches what your audience expects from your brand based on the nature of the content it provides through social accounts. Obviously, that brand personality needs to be positive, helpful, and interesting, but there are other levels of nuance that are equally important.
Consider the personality of your brand the same way you would the personality of, well, a person. Is your brand more formal and withheld, or casual and open? Is it funny and silly, or serious and intellectual? Is it constantly agreeable, or willing to challenge others who dispute its beliefs? Does it open to new experiences or hold fast to tradition? These are all relatively subtle elements of personality that many forgo when building their brand’s identity, but the presence of this kind of deeper personality instantly makes your brand incredibly more relatable and identifiable.
The social media manager is presented with many unique challenges, and needs to have a wide variety of skills to effectively perform all of their important tasks. While the core responsibilities of the social media manager are selecting the core sites your brand will leverage, managing them directly or leading the team that does, and providing your audience with regular content from your brand, there are a number of smaller elements to the job that are often not thought of. Interacting with key influencers and promoting their content will increase the visibility and trustworthiness of your brand online, while fleshing out your brand’s persona will put a more relatable face on all of the work that you do. In all, a great social media manager is one of the leaders of your content marketing team, and a key piece in the content marketing puzzle!