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10 Things Only Social Media Managers Would Understand

10 Things Only Social Media Managers Would Understand

Picture the scene – you’re at a party and having a nice conversation with a group of interesting people. As everyone starts talking about what they do, an uncomfortable silence falls upon the gathering. Unfortunately, someone invited the social media manager and no-one knows what they do.

My name is Tom and this situation is a familiar one. The role of social media manager is a misunderstood one and so many people believe they just sit on Twitter all day. Worse, they often think the job is simple and can be accomplished by anyone.

As these uncomfortable silences are getting annoying, here are ten things which only people in my profession understand:

1. They are skilled marketing professionals

The role of a social media manager is an extremely challenging one and so much more complicated than just writing a few tweets every day. To begin with, there are several different social platforms to work with – each with their own separate identity.

A social media strategy has to fit into a client’s wider campaign. This requires an integrated approach with different elements of marketing, be they PR, PPC, or SEO, to get the best results possible.

This mix between strategic planning and collaboration dispels another myth about social media – this job cannot be done by everyone. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, almost 60% of social media professionals have previously worked at an advertising, marketing, or PR agency. They are experienced professionals.

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To really get an idea of how skilled these individuals are, Buffer – an essential tool in the social media world – created an article that looks into most of the things social media managers do on a daily basis. While this likely differs between professionals, it’s certainly a great resource for further reading.

2. They know everything about your audience

No-one quite understands your audience like a social media manger. While other professionals will focus on fulfilling the client’s demands, these individuals are in a unique position to directly liaise and interact with the customer’s target market.

Over time, this allows social media managers to learn what makes an audience tick. Consequently, they are able to create engaging content which appeals to them directly. In turn, this enables them to have a range of different strategies for each social media platform which can be further refined to ensure each part of a client’s audience is targeted.

3. They have a pipeline of topics – prepared months in advance

One common misconception of social media managers is that they just jump on the latest trend and attempt to make the most out of popular culture. While these professionals have to be flexible and react to developments quickly, they also have a strategy to boost a client’s online presence.

Social media needs a purpose – and whether creating blog posts, reaching followers, or looking at competitor activity, this is not a job which can be done on an ad-hoc basis.

4. They are often fantastic writers

Obviously, I cannot speak for everyone in this profession – and Muphry’s Law now dictates that I will have made at least one spelling/grammar mistake in this article – but social media managers should be fantastic writers.

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This is more than just thinking creatively to squeeze complicated subjects into 140 characters, the social media manager must be a savvy blogger who is also able to communicate clearly with customers.

While your friends will forgive spelling mistakes on Facebook chat, you can bet that your audience will not.

5. They have all the data

As already discussed, social media managers do not operate in a vacuum. They work alongside other departments to accomplish an integrated campaign. Regardless, this doesn’t mean that successes cannot be attributed to the social media team and the data they collect can be incredibly useful to strategists.

For example, using the correct tracking, social media managers can show a variety of different things, such as:

  • Conversions – through sign-ups and enquiries
  • The most popular channels
  • The most popular posts
  • The best times for posting

6. They are unfortunately prone to epic sugar/caffeine crashes

Technically, this is probably true for all marketing professionals. I’ve been working for about 6 hours today, and just eaten a sharing bag of chocolate while moving onto my fifth cup of tea.

Sometimes I worry about the state of my health…

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Social media is in a constant state of flux and those working in the industry are no stranger to tight deadlines, having to master Google’s algorithm changes, and working late shifts. Combine this with the fact that most of us eat at our desks and sugar/caffeine crashes are inevitable.

We also often need the extra energy to make it through the day.

7. They never sleep

This has nothing to do with the vast amounts of sugar they consume, but social media managers have to be active even when asleep. Unfortunately, people don’t stop using the internet outside of working hours and it is therefore essential to do some degree of automation.

This becomes especially challenging if a client’s audience is based halfway around the world. If they are active at 3AM, then that’s when a social media manager should be available. This brings me onto Buffer.

An essential social media tool, this allows professionals to schedule updates while they’re away from their computers. Frankly, I don’t know where I’d be without it.

8. They live, breathe, and get popular culture

Every social media manager should be well versed in current affairs and able to understand how this affects the content they’re producing. Furthermore, this skill is essential for interacting with their audience as customers want someone who understands them.

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Get this skill right, and you’ll have followers eating out of your hands. Get it wrong, and your audience will go elsewhere.

9. Their industry is often underrated

Did you know that more than 90% of firms use social media to promote their business while almost three quarters claim to have generated new leads from Facebook alone?

This is quite an interesting statistic but, unfortunately, social media as an industry is often underrated. For example, according to an article on Social Media Today, nearly 40% of CEOs reportedly don’t care or slightly care about their company’s social media reputation. Furthermore, more than 30% of firms don’t have a social media strategy and just 21% of small businesses intended to increase their social media budgets in 2013.

Although these attitudes are changing, there is no doubt that this industry is sometimes taken less seriously than more established professions, such as PR.

10. They have no idea what the future holds

Social media is a rapidly changing industry. Every year, it develops and becomes something new. Consequently, marketers must adapt their strategies accordingly. As an example, increasing numbers of over 50s are now using Facebook while smartphones have opened up a whole new range of opportunities.

While this can seem daunting, I think it’s actually pretty exciting. After all, new changes bring new strategies. This, in turn, brings new ways to interact with customers. As a result, I’m in an industry which is never boring.

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10 Things Only Social Media Managers Would Understand

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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