by Rachel Smith
12 July 2019
“Social media? That’s just posting up a few pretty pictures, right? I can do that – no problemo.”
Err, not quite.
On the face of it, being a social media manager may seem like a cake walk. But it’s really not, and before you rush to agree to manage a client’s social media channels, you need to find out what they want. If it’s just writing the client a few social teasers a week and they’re handling the rest – happy days. But if it’s research, writing, hashtags, images, scheduling, engagement and a few analytics thrown in for good measure, that’s something else entirely. Here are a few red flags that it might not be your bag.
Now don’t get me wrong; you don’t have to have done pic research for a job (like on a magazine) to be good at it. But you do need to have an eye for a decent image, know all the free stock image sites and have all the codes for your client’s colour palette (because you’ll be creating images as well and need them to be ‘on brand’). You also need to know your way around Canva or PicMonkey or another image program really well.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is never truer on social media. Curating a great feed (particularly Instagram) is all about planning ahead. You might need to create patterns of regular posts, say, if your client does an office selfie on a Wednesday you’ll ensure you do that every Wednesday. If Monday is a business tip, you’ll slot that in on a Tuesday on pain of death. Having posts that are too similar in colours is also a no-no. So many things can mess up your feed for weeks on end. Hashtag #notevenjoking
Err, no. If you’re a social media manager, you’re a filter boss. You know your Valencia from your Amaro from your Lo-Fi and when to use each one. (And similarly, when to leave well alone, hashtag #nofilter). The end.
If that’s true, being a social media manager will officially drive you bonkers. It’s all about the data. You’ll be regularly checking insights to see when the audience is online (and when you should schedule posts). Monitoring analytics to see which posts were particularly popular so you can tweak your strategy. There’s also a need to track followers, research and try new things to engage with others and grow your follower count. And that’s not even scratching the surface of what ‘data’ and ‘metrics’ can really mean for a high-level social media manager.
Former subs might adore all the bits and pieces that go with being a social media manager – the checking, the research, the FIDDLE. Because a lot of it is about that. It’s finding just the right images and resizing them appropriately, often for multiple platforms. Understanding hashtags and how to research the right ones and how many to post for optimum engagement (doing 2 on Instagram is NOT going to move the needle; think 30 for every post). You have to be a master of clever short-form copy that engages your audience while also increasing your client’s brand awareness. It’s so fiddly that if you don’t batch your work, it can be enormously time consuming and brain-frying.
Social media is all about time suckage. Sometimes there’s no getting out of that damn rabbit hole. Not so when you’re a social media manager. Time is money and the only way you’re going to make any is if you’re ALL about the schedule. That means being super organised, having all your posts for the week (or month!) pre-written, with images ready to go. You’ll have comprehensive hashtag files you can tap for different posts (instead of having to research hashtags every time). And having an annual account with Buffer or Hootsuite is a given so your posts go out at the right time, every time and you don’t need to be madly pulling a post together at 6.30am. If all of that sounds like a bit of a nightmare, social media management is probably not for you!
Are you a social media manager or do you do social for a client or two? Has it surprised you just how much goes into it?