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12 Things Social Media Managers Wish You Knew

When owning a business, social media scheduling and posting can feel like a daunting task to add to your list.

So we sat down with one of our resident social media managers, Jessica Doehling, to find out what’s important for you to know and understand.

She provided us with a list of general vocabulary to know and understand as well as easy-to-use tools. She also helped identify how to know when you need help and what expectations you should have when it comes to growing your business through your social media marketing strategies.

Let’s start at the beginning — What does a social media manager do?

“The major gist of what a social media manager does is curate and post content, manage a cohesive brand presence on social media as well as managing the brand’s reputation and community. 

“They also build out a content calendar to make sure the right content is being pushed out and built in around the other marketing aspects that are happening. That’s all the organic approach. 

“They also focus on building out paid social campaigns and getting a clear idea of what the big goals are for the company. They are making sure that social is reflecting the messaging and driving the big goals for the company forward each quarter.”

Which platforms do social media managers usually run?

“That would be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and sometimes YouTube. There is also TikTok, Snapchat and Clubhouse.”

How can a social media manager help a business?

“A social media manager is building an online portfolio. Before people go to a website, they're going to check out your social media platforms. 

“You want to make sure everything that is reflected on your website is aesthetically pleasing on your social media accounts and the messaging is accurate — because your social platform is your portfolio.

“Social media also reflects your other marketing efforts. For any kind of email marketing or blog building, social media is going to generate the leads for that. You're going to nurture your clients through email, and you're going to convert them on your website, but social is how you're going to build relationships, build brand awareness and generate leads.”

What are some easy steps that a business owner can take to lay the groundwork before bringing someone else on?

“Make sure you're on every platform. Even if you're not active on them, make sure that you have a profile on every platform with a link to your website to contact you. 

“So that way, no matter where your audience is living, they know how to find you [and] your audience can see that you are legitimate and you exist.

“The second thing that is important to have is a brand guide or a brand kit. This is something that has your mission and vision statement, your colors, color codes and logo. This is a package that your social media manager can pull messaging and graphics from and see what kind of imagery you use so they can build out your social posts. That is always my number-one step with my clients — to build them a brand kit.”

What will a social media manager need to do to jumpstart growth? What is the first group of tasks?

“The first thing that needs to happen to build growth is to have clarity and communication around expectations. Realistically, it's gonna take six to 12 months to see growth from your efforts. 

“A social media manager will need to have access to all of their client’s content. I like to put together a content inventory of any blog posts that they've done or any graphics or images. Having a Google Drive of assets that you can use is helpful. 

“It would also be helpful to set aside at least a small ad budget – even $5 a week on your highest performing posts makes a big difference on your reach, the number of eyes that you’re accessing, and the engagement that you're getting. 

“You also want to make sure you're consistent in your posts for each platform and make sure you’re sticking to it. Even if it's something short and sweet, your audience wants to see that you are active, engaged, consistent and trustworthy.”

What are some of the reasonable expectations that should be set in place to start? 

“It's going to be different for every company, but work with your client to determine the top-five KPIs – or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). After that, it’s important to research your industry benchmarks. HubSpot has a great list of industry-standard benchmarks for engagement, shares, saves, comments, likes, and even your audience growth.

“[This way,] you can know — based on the industry that your client is in — what the growth should look like. Once you have those numbers in place, you can make adjustments every month and determine how to tweak your content strategy.”

How do you grow a following organically, and why is that important?

“If you're building your audience from zero and you are starting a whole new social following, I would not recommend putting ad spend in. Once you're promoting it to a larger audience, you want to have a robust content feed behind you instead of just people coming to a brand new page. 

“In building the content out, make sure you're posting on holidays, make sure you're introducing people to your brand, and, more importantly, the people behind the brand. Audiences don't connect with companies, they connect with people. You want to show who you are, what you’re good at, and what your ‘why’ is. 

“The more you can give people a look into what is going on behind the scenes the better and that makes for great content starting out. 

“There are lots of fun ways you can stay active and make sure you're posting the average amount of times you need to. I would recommend building out your profiles for one to two months before you put in any ad spend so that you do have a robust set of content behind you when the time comes.”

Once a social media manager is getting into a groove with their client, what do their tasks and goals start to look like?

“Ideally, you're having weekly meetings and check-ins to know what kind of news is happening. 

“Knowing what events and big things are happening each week helps your social media manager know how to build out content while also hitting your quarterly goals.

“If we're going to aim for X amount of growth, we're going to aim for X number of posts on each platform and that we want X engagement and shares. 

“Setting those goals is important so you can make sure the strategy you’re using is working. After a few months, you can start to identify the type of content your audience is engaging with and make space to continue to create more of it. That’s when the real growth starts to happen.

“You want to be engaging with the whole of your industry. You want to be following relevant people and sharing their content because the people that are going to come to your profile are going to see who you're following to make sure you belong there. 

What tools should a business owner have and already be using for their social media accounts before bringing someone on?

“One of the tools that I'm always using is Canva. It’s the best for creating graphics. Google, Hootsuite and Hubspot all have templates for a content calendar. That’s a great place to start. You also want to get a post scheduler. There are a lot of free options out there. Sprout Social is my favorite, and for smaller businesses, Buffer is a great option.

“For tracking analytics, Facebook has great native analytics that you can use. If you have a website, I would also suggest Google Analytics because it will give you a deeper insight into your audience. You can learn how they're getting to your website and what pages they're traveling through to get there. 

“I also love using a hashtag generator called DisplayPurposes, which can show you the top performing large- and small-keyword hashtags.”

How do you know when you’re ready to bring on a social media manager in your business?

“If the thought of being on social media makes you overwhelmed and anxious, then don't make yourself do it. Let someone who enjoys doing that work do it. If you're already working full time and you're putting 40, 60 or 88 hours into your workweek, know that social media management is a full-time job.

“You also probably need a social media manager if you feel kind of clueless on what kind of content needs to be posted. Hiring someone who can guide, direct and give you specific asks for what content is needed each week can be a helpful start.”

How do you quantify or qualify wins for your social media?

“From the beginning, I identify my top-five KPIs that we, as a team, need to be following. That is going to be a direct reflection of your wins. 

“Then, if you're starting from scratch, your audience growth is going to be a big one. Engagement is always important because you're on these platforms with an intent to engage to build relationships. 

“I also like to track the percentage of traffic to the website from social media. That shows what people are the most interested in and what content of yours is relevant. Shares are also a big thing to note. If you're posting really valuable content, then people are sharing it. They're saving it to come back and refer to later. 

“If you start getting leads from social then bingo, it's working. If you're getting people to reach out to you and contact you on Facebook messenger, that is major.

“Every month you can find something to celebrate within social media. If you're tracking growth, five to 10 percent of new followers a month is a good target. And that is something to be celebrated. 

“Once you grow, are consistently posting and are comfortable with the content you're posting, then you can feel more comfortable putting in some ad spend behind your best performing posts. 

“And that's when you're going to see the big numbers.”

Is there anything else that you would want a business owner to know?

“Yes! I wish that a business owner would know what a social media manager is and, more than what they are, what they are not. They are not blog writers. They are not email marketers. They are not going to build your website. 

“They are going to focus on your social media. 

“Many people that think social media managers are your one-stop digital marketing shop. While some social managers do have those capabilities, that is not what a social media manager is. It is a full-time job. 

“If you have the ability to bring on copywriters, a partner marketing specialist or an email marketing specialist, do that because those skill sets overlap a bit, but they are not the same thing. Having all of those positions on your team is the secret to a smoothly operating machine.”

Common social media vocabulary terms to know: 

KPI: According to HubSpot, a key performance indicator measures how your company is performing at achieving a certain goal or objective. KPIs can be things like customer acquisition cost, return on investment, marketing qualified leads, follower growth, website visitors, referral and organic traffic, customer retention, and conversion rate.

Content Calendar: A content calendar is a template that can be used to chart out your social media posts by category and platform. There are great template options on Google and Hubspot.

Engagement: Social media engagement is measured by likes, shares, mentions, clicks, retweets, subscribers and comments.

Reach: Your reach on social media is an estimated number of users who have interacted or have seen your post.

Share: When a user “shares” – or reposts – your posts, this will help you target which content your audience engages with the most.

Ready to learn more about working with a social media manager? We’ve got a full breakdown to help you.