Almost every single time that I tell people about what I do I get the comment “Oh, so you just play around on Facebook and Twitter all day, cool”, hardly! Social Media management is far from playing or even “having fun” all day on Facebook, its an ever-changing job that requires long hours and being on top of your game 24/7. In the past 3+ years that I’ve been working in Social Media Consulting I have worked with quite a large amount of different companies, some fun, some not so much, some just plain difficult and frustrating. Most people don’t understand what the job involves, there is a large responsibility in speaking for a brand and making suggestions that could easily fail, or be quite the success.
It’s no secret that some companies know more about the media than others, a lot of businesses that hire a Social Media Consultant do it because they need clear direction from someone who is experienced enough to guide them through the process of exposing their brand to Social Media networks. I must imagine it can be a difficult task for companies to hire Social Media consultants and managers, now-a-days a lot of people are calling themselves experts and gurus. As in any other business I believe experience, recommendations and results speak miles for a person, the same applies for a Social Media Consultant or Manager.If your company has hired Social Media Manager, here’s a few tips on how you can work together for the best results:
LISTEN: There is no school for Social Media, most of us know our business from long hours of hands-on experience. In addition to that, we read a lot, daily. The business is so ever-changing that we must stay informed on what’s new, what’s changed, case studies, experiences, other people’s success and failures, etc. Just because you’re on Facebook or think you know how Twitter works, that doesn’t mean you know the ins and outs on how it can work for your company, or not. Take the time to listen to your Social Media manager and ask as many questions as you need in order to understand our job, what we do, how we do it and how you can support us on a daily basis. Most of us are pretty used to evangelizing on the subject so don’t be afraid to ask questions even if you think they’re too simple or just plain stupid, we’re happy to explain as long as you listen.
RESULTS: Never ask us how many followers we can promise in a week or rush us by asking when you will see results (unless you’re ok with “blackhat” strategies). Social Media is not an exact science and it sometimes needs to begin with hit and miss strategies. What worked for one brand may mean failure for yours. Understand that a lot of Social Media strategies require patience and the more you are aware of this, the easier the process will be. Think of Social Media strategies as SEO on your website, the more you do to support the process, the easier the results will come and it will always take about 3 months to see any real progress.
TIME: A lot of us work as freelancers or have contracts with a few different companies and most of us have an amazing knack for time management. Handling Social Media profiles for one, two or even 5 different brands is not only time consuming but it takes a large amount of concentration and organizing skills. Has it ever happened to you that you’re chatting online or tweeting and you send a message to the wrong person? We cannot allow this to happen and therefore we need to be focused on our tasks when we’re online speaking for your brand. Always be aware of this and respect your Social Media manager’s time, be punctual for meetings, send that information you promised, be speedy on important feedback and be respectful when we don’t answer immediately on chat.
TRUST: You gotta give a little to get a little. Wether you’ve had bad experiences with staff or you’re just untrusting in general, you must try to give your Social Media manager a little trust in order for them to produce results. If we need to speak for your brand, we need to know all the details about your company, how it works, what you do, how you do it, who are your people, what do you sell, how do you sell it, etc. If you must, sign a NDA in order to move forward. Social Media management is not only posting on Facebook and Twitter a few times a day, it’s about helping solve company needs, it’s about customer relations, living and breathing the brand. Having access to information such as policies and analytics is crucial to what we do so be kind enough to share!
INVOLVE: Make us feel like part of your team, a part of your company. It’s hard enough to sit at the computer all day speaking for your brand but it’s even harder when you feel shut off from the rest of the company. Your staff needs to know who’s behind the company profiles speaking for the brand, introduce us and give your employees access to communicate with us… sometimes this type of communication can provide great input and ideas that can become part of the strategy and eventually, success.