Becoming a Social Media Manager

In today’s world of social media, there are new emerging jobs that we are seeing pop up all over.  Two job titles that are in high demand are Social Media Manager and Community Manager.  But what is the difference? This blog post is going to discuss what qualities companies look for in their social media manager and next week, in part two of this series, I will conclude with what qualities a community manager should have.

Now you may think these job titles are interchangeable and in some offices and businesses they are; however, in larger businesses both of these job roles are crucial to the success of the business.  Every business should have a social media manager and if they do not because they are not on social media than that is a whole separate issue from this blog post.  If a company does not have a community manager chances are the social media manger is doing both jobs.  I am a social media manager at the agency I work at; however, I would never say I am a community manager.

Think about it this way, in B2B businesses it could be sufficient to have one social media manager because businesses are not always asking questions and interacting with their clients as heavily on social media.  However, in B2C it is often better to have both jobs positions because the community around the business wants to be heard and responded too and the social media manager has other responsibilities at the business aside from responding to consumers.

A day in the life of a social media manager would look something like:

  1. Post daily updates on the company or brand’s social media pages.
  2. Look for company or brand mentions on all social channels.
  3. Monitor the company’s social media referrals through an analytics platform such as Google Analytics.
  4. Track conversion both through social media and also with the help of analytics software.

Essentially the social media manager is doing what you would think a basic social media position would entail without heavily engaging and responding to consumer feedback.

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Stay tuned for: Becoming a Community Manager

The Journey in the Tourney

MashableLet me first say, that one of my favorite times of the year is March Madness. As a basketball player myself, it is hard to not love the heated competitions, the fierce rivalries and the Cinderella stories that always appear sometime in March.  I have filled out my bracket (for no money or winnings of course because gambling is an NCAA violation) but just for fun.  I like watching the automated scores come in and give me points for my correct guesses and I tend to sigh and shrug it off when my pick was wrong.  I am not like many of my friends who get so obsessed about their bracket that they fill out 10 different versions to account for upsets.  I just simply enjoy the competition.

This year I will be the first to admit, I have no clear favorite because on any given day anyone could beat their competition.  I have a lot of wildcards making it farther than expected because from what I have seen they have the potential to beat their higher seeded competition.  I always cheer for the upset especially a few years ago when Butler made it all the way to the finals.  Though let me be clear, I wanted Duke to win the championship that year.

As a player I am a fan of the game, I love the game and I believe in the game; however, I am also a fan of good coaching.  I believe a strong coach/leader has the potential to lead a team deep into the tournament.  This is why I am a fan of both UNC and Duke, the coaching.  Coach K and Roy Williams are two of my favorite coaches because they honor the game and pride themselves in the student-athlete, unlike my native team Syracuse which sees players leave on a yearly basis early to play in the pros because they can not keep their grades up.

One of the coaches that is growing on me is Brad Stevens from Butler.  Not only is he young but he is one of the best advocates for student-athletes and continues to turn boys to men and groom not only All-American nominees but Academic All-American candidates.March Madness

But this is March Madness, throw out all previous wins, records and stats, all that matters is how you perform on the national stage.  In today’s world we tend to forget that college athletes are just that college athletes, we hold them to the standards we hold our professional athletes too and thus expect them to keep us informed on a personal level.  What I am referring to is the use of social media in athletics.  In the pros it is expected that athletes (especially high profile athletes) and clubs have a social media account or accounts and actually have the accounts updated regularly.  Because college basketball is so popular, we hold the college basketball clubs to a higher standard than other sports in college.  It is not necessarily that we as fans expect the athletes to make their social networks public but we expect there to be a team social platform that is updated with the latest news and ongoings of the team.  Which brings me back to March Madness, this year’s Round of 64 teams is unique in all senses.

According to Mashable, only 29 of the 64 teams in the tournament have both a Facebook and Twitter for the individual team.  This stat takes out any school athletic fan pages and athletic twitter accounts that are not team specific.  Teams owe it to their fans to give them a place that keeps them informed. Having a team specific account allows the social media to be both an aggregate of players tweets and posts that have to do with the team; as well as, official tweets from the team’s camp.  People do not want to be fans of full athletics pages and being getting updates of other sports they are uninterested in.  Official tweet and posts for a team can be anything that gives the fans some insights.

In my opinion there is no reason to not have an official Twitter and Facebook page for your team at the Division 1 level, even an Instagram, when you have team managers who are receiving a scholarship to be part of the team (for the most part).  Let them update the Twitter page at least once a day during the season and a few times a week during the “off-season”.  Post major happenings for the team on Facebook and generate a conversation.  The people following and liking the page are already fans of the team and just want to feel more connected to the team.

social mediaI think the team that is doing the best in regards to social media is Duke by a landslide.  They are using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. They post content on a regular basis and are keeping their fans (which are some of the most loyal fans in the country) informed of what they are doing.  The teams social media is overall managed by the team’s recruiting and communications coordinator Dave Bradley. Especially during tournament time, it is all about giving the fans information and something that can look at and get excited about.

Last year, the NCAA championship saw a record number of tweets during the tournament.

“Last year, March Madness drove over two million social mentions, and 83% of sports fans check social media during games,” he added. “By definition, sports is a social activity, and the second-screen’s role in sports is becoming obvious.” – Bob Morgan, CEO and Founder of SportStream

TPM (Tweets Per Minute) during the championship game maxed at 30,000.  This is expected to be even higher this tournament and championship as the use of social media by fans has drastically increased especially on Twitter. To stay up to date on the latest March Madness news check out the hashtag #MarchMadness and #FinalFour. And if you are a fan of the upsets and want to stay on top of the bracket busters and upsets happening around the tournament search: #upsetalert.

Social Media for Higher Education

The education world is constantly evolving to meet the changing strategies and technologies in the digital space. Social media adds a new marketing medium for educators, recruiters, and students to use. The digital space is often confused with being an easy marketing tool and strategies are not thought out within the college space. Problems with social media have plagued colleges during the digital era. Educators and college departments have made attempts at grabbing the students attention with whatever platform they currently are on, but a lot of campaigns lack one huge component: the student voice.

Educators often lack the understanding of how students talk, communicate, get engaged with different things. What are the secrets behind student engagement? For the past year I have been working at Rochester Institute of Technology on the social media marketing campaign for our new Student Information System with ITS and the more recently (since July 2012) on the Semester Conversion campaign. The SIS campaign began as my six-month co-op and turned into a part-time job when I returned to classes in the Fall. I became part of the semester conversion campaign during the end of my co-op when I was approached for ideas regarding creating awareness to the student population about the major transition that RIT was entering (the transition from quarters to semesters).

To give some metrics from my campaigns:

  • We had over 1,300 likes for our SIS page when the transition was happening and 259 followers on Twitter (and growing)
  • Both pages have given out prizes including: gift cards and iPads
  • We have over 328 likes on our Facebook page and growing for Semester Conversion and 45 followers on Twitter (and growing as the conversion approaches)
  • The SIS blog has received over 13000 views in under a year, while the Semester Conversion blog has received over 1000 views.
  • We monitored Reddit and watched to make sure that student’s were giving out correct information online and put the correct information out there when there was a problem.

So what did I learn? How should my knowledge help people in higher education trying to reach students with the power of social media?

Here is a short list that I learned that can help other schools trying find their way with Student Engagement Online.

1. Blogs

If I learned one thing, it was the power of blogging. If you are going to have a social media campaign, you better have a blog and use it. If you are unsure about blogging, the proof comes from my campaign, 13000 views, retweets on Facebook and Twitter. A blog can be the ultimate bank for canned responses in higher education. A blog allows you to give the correct information and then post it on Facebook and Twitter to create a dialogue with your users.

2. Create Content that Students Want to Read

RIT

Social Media is not about just giving information and promoting yourself. You want to engage your users to ask questions and give you feedback, especially if you are targeting a student population. They already get spammed by college emails that are sent out to the massive population. Students want to feel connected to something more than an auto-reply. I tried to create content that was original, yet informative at the same time. When you stop feeding students facts and give them something that makes them want to “like” a post and say that is cute, it can be the difference between maintaining the like and the student “un-liking” your page especially for a specific campaign. It can also be the difference between the student remember the information in the post and just glancing over it.

3. Never Delete

The only reason to ever delete any feedback or comments is if they are spammed links. If you delete something off of social media it can create an even bigger fall-out. Positive or negative feedback all deserves a response. There is a fine line between ignoring someone because they are being annoying and asking useless questions and addressing serious concerns or negative feedback. The new SIS system at RIT received a lot of negative press and we had to address student, staff and faculty concerns. We had “trollers” (excessive posters) and we found that when you monitor what you say to them, answer the necessary questions and do not give them any reason to post further, they will start to go away or in our case other students will start to call them out on their trolling and unnecessary commenting.

4. Not Everything Is Going to Be Liked By Everyone

It is extremely important to stand by what you post, if you make a mistake than you can correct yourself; however, you should not delete the mistake.

I know for me on Twitter, I just recently made a mistake regarding when final grades were due. Unfortunately, I confused a staff member and they tweeted back to me. Before this campaign I would have deleted the original tweet and tweeted out the correct information. However, I personally apologized for the error and tweeted the correct date.

5. Never Assume

Assuming can lead to negative comments by students. When you make a mistake, students will find it and they will call you out on it.

The same mistake I made on Twitter, came from assuming. I did not check the academic calendar because after 7 previous finals weeks and grades, I assumed that grades were due by Sunday night at midnight as it had always been or as I had always received my .

Working in social media is about creating engagement. If you are creating a buzz and creating awareness than you are doing your job as a campaign manager in higher education. Most campaigns that will be run in higher education will be awareness campaigns, you want students to learn or get to know something know something. My two campaigns created the awareness that the Student Information System was changing and that RIT was converting to semesters for the 2013-14 academic year. We did not have any students complain that they did not know that the SIS was changing nor say that we were unaware we were converting to semesters. The semester conversion campaign was more about getting the information out while the SIS campaign was about making sure that students were informed and understood how to use the system.

In higher education the powers of a university often forget how to utilize your students. Releasing power is often hard but why not let students talk to students or come up with ideas about how to create awareness when it effects them.

I urge anyone to comment or contact me regarding their experience with using students to do work in higher education or create engagement through a social media campaign.

2012 Social Media: A Year in Review

social trendsAs we ring in 2013, it is a perfect time to look at the social media trends of 2012.

2012 brought a lot of changes to the social media world.  It seemed every week there was a new trend or a new piece of news that would change the internet world, at least for a short while.

Who could have seen MySpace making its’ comeback this year?

How about a site called Pheed which was hot for a millisecond launching and being used by celebrities like Miley Cyrus?  In my opinion that site looked like a combination of Google+, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace.  If you did missed Pheed, you did not miss much.  A site that combined hashtags and channels that offered its users a way to make money off of their content. Sounds to good to be true? Check out the platform and judge for yourself, I was under impressed and you will not find me on that platform.

Google+ is really trying to make its way as a go to social site; however, with Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook all doing similar things, Google+ needs to find its hook.  Fortunately for Google, Google+ may have the upper hand when it comes to SEO (although unreported by the newly released Panda/Penguin Google algorithm). Having a Google+ page can drastically increase your personal SEO or your company’s SEO.

The biggest changes in Social Media in 2012 overall include the shift from text based content to visualization of content.  As Pinterest and Instagram’s popularity grew; more and more photo sharing was happening across the internet.  The rise of infographics made sharing information and content interesting and easier to read.  The picture sharing craze launched another sensation that is currently being ridden out in the SnapChat app.  A app that allows users to send other users pictures for only a period of time (typically three seconds).

Another major shift in social media was the constant need of mobile apps.  With a large percentage of social media happening online social media companies needed to be made for all mobile devices.  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have jumped on the Tablet craze as well; however, still awaiting the iPad app are users of Instagram and SnapChat.

In 2012, more than ever businesses and marketers were trying to find their way into social media scene, this trend will continue long into the future.  A place that was once reserved for the consumer and common person has been taken over by ads and marketing tactics and strategies. The balance between understanding their customers opinions and getting the ROI they desired was a struggle for some big names.  In my opinion social media will always be less about gaining profit and more about consumer engagement and customer service.

In 2012 some companies hit it big including:

  • Red Bull
  • Kellogg’s
  • P&G
  • Capital One
  • Netflix (The company, unfortunately received the negative press on Christmas Eve the server crash.)
  • State Farm
  • Disney

In my opinion, the top Social Media trend is a tie between Instagram and Pinterest.  I believe that Pinterest is a better platform for businesses because it allows companies to re-pin articles that pertain to their company’s culture.  You can pin articles that are your own or other’s.  Companies can also show off their products and place dollar values on the pinned picture; however, this tactic does not have a high purchase rate. From a personal standpoint Pinterest is a place to show off who you are, what you like and what you aspire to be (some people plan weddings while others pin food).

As far as Instagram goes I can honestly say that I just joined about a month ago.  Not only did I just get on the Instagram social trend but this Christmas I actually just joined the smart phone community.  It was a long time coming and much needed; however I am glad I just joined.  Being in a tech school a smartphone is widely used and not having one I had to find ways to make due But I made it through 2 and a half years of college without one.  When I see younger children with iPhones it kind of makes me sick because it shows how far our technology has come but how entitled kids in my eyes feel.  I will forever be grateful for getting a smartphone being in the online marketing world; but I will never feel as if i am entitled to one.  

Back to Instagram, I feel that it is a great place to show off what you are doing, if you see something funny, if you see something cute or if you have a funny conversation.  But posting on Instagram multiple times a day can be excessive.  I believe that Instagram is a place for perfect, unique, inspiring or interesting moments that you want your friends to know about.

It still amazes me even being in social media and online marketing the transformation the online world has undergone in a years time. We now have new terms and old terms with new meanings some of these include:

  • Tweeting
  • Pinning
  • Likes
  • Posted
  • Micro-blogging
  • bitly
  • Hashtag
  • Check-in
  • Vlogging
  • Timeline
  • Coverphoto
  • Webinar

It is a whole new language to learn and what I was learning in school last year has changed and even some of it is obsolete. I would not be shocked if the rules of social media, the trends of marketing, and the tools for SEO have all changed by this time next year. If you had to think of what would happen next in #2013…what would happen? #cannotwaittosee