If you’ve been scouring every job board as often as I have this past year, you might have noticed a new type of position popping up over and over again: Social Media Manager.
That’s one position you would not have found 10 years ago, but “in this day and age,” successful companies really can’t do without it. That means all the hours you’ve spent on social media might now pay off!
I met with Daniella Soofer, the Social Media Coordinator for Soul of India Cooking Co., to ask her what makes for a successful Social Media Manager. Daniella helped Soul of India raise over $60,000 for their Kickstarter campaign last year, so she knows a thing or two about social media.
Photo Credit: Soul of India Cooking
So what does a Social Media Manager (SMM) do?
According to Daniella, an SMM is in charge of the company’s multiple social media accounts. That can range from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. They normally plan the content they’ll be posting throughout the week ahead of time, with the aim of creating the most trendy and engaging posts at the right time.
That means taking advantage of occasions like Taco Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, etc. These are all opportunities for you to connect with your customers, and as a social media manager, that’s your #1 goal.
“A large part of your day will be spent finding new people,” said Daniella, “tweeting at them, following them, liking their posts and commenting on them.”
"It’s not just about getting followers," she said, "but acknowledging your customers’ interests."
How to excel at Social Media Management
In terms of tips for being a good Social Media Manager, here’s what Daniella recommends:
Try to have a set schedule with weekly content ready to go. When you find new groups or contacts (bloggers, photographers, etc.) that might be helpful to get in touch with again, add them to an Excel Sheet or Google doc for future reference. The more specifically you categorize your references, the easier it will be to find them later on.
Make 20-30 posts and use HootSuite or similar apps to have them automatically post throughout the week. This will save you time.
3. Be mobile
Connecting the accounts to your phone makes it easier to manage them on the go.
Respond to people’s posts and interests. “If you’re a ring cleaner business and someone posts a picture of a ring, tweet at them. ‘Wow, looks great, make it shine with this!’” It’s a great way to avoid one-sided conversations on social media. Don’t just comment about yourself and what you do, but help celebrate what your customers are doing!
5. Reach out
Being a successful SMM doesn’t just mean responding to comments and questions in a timely manner, but also reaching out to new people on your social media platforms. Find bloggers and other folks with a large following and GET THEIR ATTENTION. Once they re-tweet or sponsor you, their hefty sum of followers will also know about you.
6. Use patterns/trends
“Hashtags are life!” says Daniella. Take advantage of trendy phrases and hashtags like “on fleek” or #foodporn to attract more attention and get more followers. You can even Google the most popular hashtags for your specific industry to be more effective.
You want lots and lots of visuals... and good captions.
8. Be funny!
“That’s the cherry on top... when you think of something clever, it’s such a win,” says Daniella. Funny accounts like Taco Bell’s Twitter tend to build a wider audience and get more engaged responses. (Their most recent tweet “Life is like a box of tacos” got over 3,000 retweets in less than a day.)
You want your social media presence to showcase you and your products in the best way possible, but you also want to maintain a behind-the-scenes feel where your customers feel they’re still interacting with people.
10. Time it right
Take advantage of high-traffic hours like the early mornings, evenings, and lunchtime — when people aren’t normally at work. You can also try posting at different times of the day to figure out your own industry’s peak hours. Timing is key!
Perks of being a Social Media Manager
1. Flexible work hours/space
You can do it anywhere, from a computer at home or a phone on your commute. You do have to work during peak hours though.
2. Constant feedback
“You are directly getting your customers’ reassurance that they like what you’re putting out there. It’s very cool seeing strangers’ honest reactions through their accounts — it’s sort of an antisocial way of talking to strangers — and seeing your followers grow.”
3. Get paid to do what you love
In Daniella's words: “You get paid to TWEET! It’s a dream job.”
Photo Credit: Soul of India Cooking
Let’s talk pay.
In terms of Social Media Manager pay, that usually depends on your responsibilities (how many team members you’re directing and how many accounts you’re managing) and the size of the company you’re working for.
Expect to be paid less if you’re working for a small business or a startup — if you’ve just started managing social media professionally, according to SproutSocial. PayScale reports the current average salary for Social Media Managers at $14.85/hour, with San Francisco paying much higher than other areas around the nation.
Daniella’s final words on Social Media Management?
“It’s tough. You have to get people to like you who have no idea who you are and what you’re doing... but it’s also fun!” Managing social media is a great job if you a) want the ability to work from home, b) have a great sense of humor, and c) like to keep up with current trends.