“Can we measure the ROI of social media?” the role of the social media manager has not evolved much in the ways of goal-oriented, metrics-driven marketing. It’s possible that this is because many companies haven’t figured out the right way to measure the ROI of their efforts — so they don’t know to hire someone that can help them drive real business results. It becomes a vicious cycle — with little focus on the bottom line efforts from social media, companies relegate the social media role to people without much experience proving bottom-line results, and then once hired, those social media managers don’t have experience proving those bottom line efforts.
Here are the six roles that the best social media managers should play.
1) Content Creator
Content is a key component in any marketing function, and social media is no exception. Even if you have dedicated bloggers and eBook writers, that content still needs to be adapted to each social network. A good portion of a social media manager’s role is creating and adapting content for the specific networks. This includes positioning content in under 140 characters, creating images to accompany posts, creating variations of posts for each piece of content and even creating content from scratch specifically for growing a following on social media.
2) Marketing Analyst
As all marketing roles become more and more data-driven, a social media manager needs to be able to dig into the data, analyze that data, and draw actionable insights. That includes macro data — like overall reach, leads generated, leads nurtured, customer cases supported — all the way down to micro data, like individual experiments around content positioning. A successful social media manager will be able to look at data constantly to make smart decisions. Plus, they should be constantly testing new strategies, new content, and new campaigns — running tests and analyzing the results every day to constantly iterate and improve their marketing efforts.
3) News Junkie
Being on social media is like being in a crowded room at a networking event where everyone is talking and things are happening all the time. A social media manager needs to be in the thick of it. They need to know what people are saying, what’s changing on social networks and in the industry, and be able to react and respond accordingly. Furthermore, the social media manager can act as an extension of the PR team, connecting your team directly with journalists and reporters, which can result in broad coverage for the company beyond their existing reach. A successful social media manager will be able to find new opportunities for the company by keeping a pulse on the industry.
4) Customer Service Rep
When someone runs social media, they are the voice of the company to many audiences, including customers, potential customers, journalists, and fans. They will constantly get questions and comments about their company’s products, services, and content — which may not always be positive. You need to be able to communicate with people of different buying stages (for example, customers and non-customers) and different dispositions.
5) Community Facilitator
Part of building a following on social media is helping that following connect with each other. True communities don’t simply engage with the company or moderator — they engage with each other, which actually scales your role much better too. But facilitating a community takes work, including asking questions to seed discussions and kicking out people who spam or otherwise detract from the community.
6) Marketing Manager
Social media is a powerful tool to expand the reach of your content, attract visitors to your website, generate leads, and nurture them to become customers. That means a social media manager needs to be able to pick and share content in a way that will accomplish each of those goals.
They need to share content that generate leads, and run new campaigns to find the best ways to do lead generation via social media. A social media manager also needs to engage one-on-one with potential customers who are considering your product or service, or simply need your help. Social media is particularly effective as a lead nurturing tool because prospects use multiple media (not just email) to consume information and social channels allow you to engage in a more timely manner.
In order to do all of this effectively, social media managers need to have a strong understand of the sales and marketing funnel, and which leads to monitor and nurture, and what content to use in getting those leads to the next stage in the process.