I want to address one of the biggest misconceptions about social media management – the assumption that all we do is post content. Yes, content development is a large part of management and it must be done well, especially for our clients who have blogs. But for our company, content development is only one piece of the puzzle.
This came to light recently in the first quarter review with a client in a technical industry. Developing the blog and social media content for this highly-specialized industry is challenging, but it’s only the beginning of the what we need to do so that my client can actualize results. We are on track to meet their goals and they are happy with the traction we’re gaining, however we had a list of a half-dozen ways we can refine our efforts. These recommendations will take more work, but they will get my client closer to their goals, which is ultimately what we are hired to do.
To ensure clients achieve results, here are the top six roles of an effective social media management company.
We are strategists. Before we begin management, we develop a social media strategy tailored to the specific needs of the business, their target customers and their goals. This strategy is our roadmap for success and it’s continually refined to ensure that we are on track to meet their goals and that we’ve considered emerging platforms or features that could be of value. Most importantly, strategists tie all social media activity to specific business metrics so our customers understand social media’s role in their bottom line.
We are optimization specialists. There are performance metrics (such as followers and reach) and there are optimization metrics (such as cost per interaction and engagement rate). While many social media firms focus on the vanity or performance metrics, they are meaningless without optimization metrics. The latter tells us what we need to shift to make sure our clients are maximizing their opportunities. This is where experience and expertise are critical to effective social media management.
We are community managers. Garnering and keeping the attention of your target audience is more challenging than ever due to the vast amount of information on the web as well as the algorithms put in place by social media sites to remain relevant to their users. We help our customers use social media effectively to engage their audience, strengthen their brand and nurture relationships with their customers and prospects. We’re also on top of interaction so the audience knows someone is listening. This includes brand reputation management, which can be deadly to a business if not handled promptly and effectively.
We are content distribution experts. Social media companies will tell you to generate strong content, but many don’t do enough to emphasize that the content is useless if no one is listening. It’s critical to develop a content distribution plan to ensure that our clients’ content is seen, interacted with and shared by their audience. In doing so, we evaluate the opportunities to distribute content through industry syndication sites, develop relationships with influencers and form brand advocacy groups of super fans.
We are integration specialists. Social media does not exist in a silo. It should be incorporated into business operations and existing marketing outlets. We develop an integration plan that touches on all aspects of the business including sales, customer service, marketing and advertising initiatives, human resources and everything in between – regardless of the size of their business. We consider ways to leverage partnerships, non-profit or community efforts and even ways to work smart by incorporating secondary channels in the mix to enhance distribution and integration.
We are partners. Our core values include communication and collaboration, which is why value the partnership we have with our clients. The relationship with our clients allows us to do the heavy lifting, but with the communication in place that will ensure their social media efforts move them toward the results they want to achieve rather than distract from them. We are an extension of their brand who they can trust to represent their business well.
When we pre-qualify prospective customers, we give them an average cost for our services. Many are surprised because they either assumed it would be $100 or $200 a month or they talked to another company who can offer management for this amount. When I ask them about their expectations of the tasks a social media manager would complete, many do not know or, again, assume we just post content. The latter is what those lower-cost companies do for their clients. And, I’m happy to refer them to some places they can get services for this amount of money, but frankly, it won’t do them justice in the long run. It’s simply not a sustainable business strategy in this competitive and fast-moving world of social media. In fact, any business looking to outsource social media should challenge a management company to supply tangible results that go beyond content posting.