There is nothing like a visit home or a family holiday to make you question your career. Not so much in the introspective, existential, what am I contributing to the world sort of way, but in a nuts-and-bolts sort of way.
If you work in Social Media and have ever tried to answer the “so, what exactly do you do?” question, you probably know what I’m talking about. Attempting to describe the role of a social media manager to someone who isn’t involved in marketing, let alone digital marketing, can be somewhat of a challenge.
“You tweet and post to Facebook for a living? Sign me up!”
Unfortunately, this perception doesn’t stop with your Great Uncle Jimmy, it still exists in the business world, too. While social media has matured and become a powerful and pervasive tool for businesses of all types, there is still a bit of a gap in how business leaders perceive the role of social media manager and the true contributions that role makes to achieving marketing and overall business objectives.
Want to know what a social media manager does day to day? Read Career Insider: What Does a Social Media Manager Do.
Whether you are interviewing for a new role, asking for more budget, want to take the next step in your career, or just explaining your job to Great Uncle Jimmy, here are five things you need to know.
Social Media Is Customer Service
J.D. Power surveyed over 23,000 online consumers and found that 67% of those respondents have used company social media channels to address a customer service need, making social media managers a first line defense in delighting and retaining customers.
In fact, it has been reported that a brand’s response time to a social media complaint or question can have a big impact on the customer relationship, effecting brand advocacy, positive word-of-mouth, and purchase decisions.
Social media managers add value to the customer experience by diffusing contentious situations and delivering timely responses.
Social Media is Influencer Marketing
At their core, social networks are designed to bring people together. Within these social networks there are people who have a larger presence, more connections, and bigger social footprint than others. Those people are influencers and they can have a big impact on the growth of a brand.
In the past, brands relied on movie stars and other celebrities to add credibility or bring attention to their products. With the advent of social media, what defines a celebrity has changed. Now there are the “Internet famous.” People who have cultivated a large network, established themselves as a thought leader or tastemaker, and can wield a lot of power in their niche and with their audience, which might also be your audience.
A social media manager can help identify those Internet celebrities, determine if their audience is the right audience, and build a relationship with that influencer that will benefit the brand.
Social Media is Content and SEO
Online access to information is becoming increasingly important to buyers. Whether they are buying a car or a can of soup, people often research their purchase decisions online. The art of developing informative content and the science of having it rank high in search engine results is becoming increasingly dependent on social media.
Social media serves content initiatives and SEO strategies in three key ways:
As search engines become more sophisticated, brands need to be strategic in how they deliver relevant information across formats and channels. A social media manager is critical to developing and realizing that strategy.
Want to hear from a current Social Media and Marketing Manager? Read A Day in the Life of a Social Media Marketing Manager.
Social Media is Advertising
There is no doubt social media has changed the way people consume information, but it has also fundamentally changed how people share it. Social networks work better when they have more information because that information feeds the algorithms that serve up relevant content to network members.
That wealth of information has become a goldmine for social sites which are then able to sell valuable ad real estate to brands—to the tune of a projected $41 billion in 2017.
Social media managers have to be savvy advertisers. They have to look at site data to find the platforms their target audience visits and determine which of those places offer the right price points. They then create ads and copy that will be the most engaging and relevant to each audience, and analyze ad spend and conversions to determine ROI.
Social Media is Analytics and Insight
Social media is a massive conduit for information and data that can be mined by customers and companies alike. When a social media manager looks at the analytics available in sites like Twitter and Facebook, they are able to better understand who their audience is. Furthermore, by looking at engagement rates, they are able to understand the types of content and topics that best resonate with their followers.
Social media managers can also listen in on conversations their customers (or competitors’ customers) are having and offer advice, support, and useful information. In this way, social media managers can offer valuable insight that can help shape future marketing efforts.
Explaining your role as a social media manager might leave you a little stumped. But by being able to communicate the impact social media has on overall marketing strategies and how social media integrates with and supports a variety of marketing channels, you’ll be better able to demonstrate your value to an interviewer, the CEO, your boss, or even your Great Uncle Jimmy.
Are you a social media manager ready to find your next role? Search our jobs and register for job alerts here.
Editors' note: This article was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated to include recent information.