Social Media Managers Don't Just Post

One of the hallmark misconceptions of what to look for when hiring a Social Media Manager for your organization is that "anybody can do it". We all know how to use social media, right? So… why not just add the responsibility to your Marketing Assistant's role. Or better yet, hand it off to the receptionist to do in between the influx of phone calls and scheduling. Right?

The above approach is precisely why so many brands fail to leverage their company's digital footprint. Let's walk through some of the technical responsibilities of a Social Media Manager that should be included in the desired qualifications. (This is far from an exhaustive list)

CONTENT DIMENSIONS
No two social platforms are the same. A video sized for Facebook will appear distorted on Instagram and vice versa. Heck, even a video created for Instagram won't look right if it's then posted as an Instagram story. 

A true social media manager needs to be diligent in researching optimum dimensions, resolution, video length, etc for any given post. And this is no small task. Just take a look at this sponsored post by WGN. The video is distorted and the most common comment on the otherwise tasty content is "FIX YOUR SIZE RATIO". Not only is the video ugly, it makes viewers question whether or not WGN is a trusted news source if it can't even upload a video correctly (no disrespect to WGN, I think they do a fantastic job overall).

VARIETY of FORMS
When we talk about variety of content for social media, we usually focus on subject matter. Beyond that, we might mention different forms of content, namely: Photo, video and audio. And that's all well and good. But are these basic combinations going to set you apart from the rest? Here's a thought; do something that your average social media user/manager can't: Make a cinemagraph, utilize special effects or bust out the green screen. 

Our goal is to raise eyebrows and give people something to share. Sometimes, your subject matter is enough to do that. But sometimes the content well runs dry and the aforementioned techniques can make an otherwise trivial idea rise above.

SPEED
We live in a time of memes, trending topics and news flashes. What do all of these things have in common? They are time-based. Memes get played out, trending topics get replaced and news is, well… news.

An effective social media manager has the ability to generate content that rises to the top of any one of these categories within the window of time it takes to catch  the wave.

WRITING and GRAMMAR
When brands communicate improperly, it follows that their products function improperly. That's how the audience perceives it, at least.

To be a strong copywriter, one must also bear the creative flexibility to assume another identity's voice. ie: the brand's.

A GOOD EYE and TRIGGER FINGER

"Sometimes in life, you have to hit send." This is a motto I've lived by since I started running the NBA on ESPN Facebook page years ago. As a creative type, I err on the side of perfectionism. The things I make represent me to some degree. That's great for learning your craft and testing its limits. But when it comes to social, one must be able to fit all the years of skills into a one hour session and whip up something that brings them 95% of the way to perfect. Then, hit send. In a sea of content, there's no time to put agency level creative into every post. It probably won't change the bottom line and from my experience, audiences are more endeared by a brand that seems human.