Getting results on social media is my bread and butter - and a quirk of my job is that I probably come into contact with more social media managers than just about anyone else! So what are the things I see the most successful social media managers consistently doing?
Of course you can't talk about success without knowing what it is that the social media manager has been tasked with achieving for the business. Which brings me to the first of my 5 habits of highly successful social media managers...
"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there!" - has to be one of my favourite sayings. The polar opposite is the situation you want to be in as a social media manager. You will want to be able to demonstrate your contribution to the business - both for your own job security and for your future promotion prospects. To do that, you want to have clearly defined objectives agreed with the business. Consider for a minute:
Any one of these would be a valid objective you might be asked to achieve - and each of them has a value that the business can readily appreciate (as opposed to simply a growth in your follower count or reach). Knowing which of these you are striving to achieve means you can finesse where you invest your time and A/B test approaches to achieve the maximum results for the business. This is what ensures that - come year-end time - you can justify the investment the business has made in social media and even seek to have additional budget allocated to your projects.
There's a pressure and a danger within business to feel that you have to develop your company's presence on every major new social platform to hit the scene. This is particularly true if you don't have clearly defined objectives to hit. The most savvy social media managers I've encountered know that they achieve their best results when they master and dominate a handful of social media channels, rather than having a patchier presence on - and understanding of - every social site out there.
If you think of your own social media streams and group activities, you can probably think of a handful of people and businesses who consistently appear on your radar, day after day. These are the people who are commanding a disproportionate share of their audience's attention and who are most likely to be deriving real business results from social media. Be like them and focus your efforts on whichever sites are bringing you the most consistent and the most scaleable results.
Social Media is at it's most powerful when it's prompting people to have conversations and take actions. Most businesses view it as a means of broadcasting about their services and latest offers - and whilst paid advertising provides a channel for doing this very effectively, on your social streams it's personality that will win people over and spark conversations.
If you've ever spent any time in sales, you'll know that the very best salespeople aren't those who push the sale the hardest. Rather, it's the salespeople who focus on building trust and rapport with people who tend to bring in the strongest results. The same is true on social media. Have your social media infused with your personality - and the personalities of others in the business - and you'll be well on the way to getting far more compelling business results from social media.
Social media is awash with data - and the most successful managers are often those who take this data and learn from it. They test whether changes to their profile pages increase follow rates. They test ways of getting their profiles seen by more and more of their target audience. They test whether sharing different types of content produces more engagement and therefore opportunities to have conversations with prospects. They test approaches that entice people engaging with you to take the desired next step to fulfilling your business objectives.
Analysing data and learning from it is therefore key, as is constantly testing the way you do things. Complementing that is the potential to be continously learning. Social media marketing really stands out as a professional specialism where it's always possible to be learning. Every week new tools come onto the market. Every month it seems that one of the major social sites changes something about their service that you have to learn about and adapt to. So the most successful social media managers I see are those who are always looking to learn from others and experiment with tools that may give them an edge.
Last but not least, some of the most successful social media managers I've seen are those who astound you with the amount they get done in their working week. They achieve a prominence in their industry that seems almost superhuman, achieving results with just one person that you'd have thought would need three!
These social media managers appreciate that streamlining their processes and finding ways to automate tasks is absolutely critical to maximising results. Note that I'm not talking about automating your social presence, which is certainly *not* what a successful social media manager will be doing! Rather I'm talking about looking at every aspect of what you need to do in (or would like to be squeezing into) your daily routine and then looking at every opportunity to automate and streamline those tasks. This is what frees up your time so that you can focus on the most value-adding elements of the job like adding personality to your posts and engaging with prospects via social media. Less successful peers always run out of time for these things because the routine elements of the job are eating away at too much of their working week.
Running a social media agency, I'm lucky to have the chance to interact with scores of social media managers. These are my top 5 habits that I've seen the most successful have embraced, but I'm sure they're by no means exhaustive. I'd love to hear your own thoughts on things you've seen others in our industry do really well - so please do add your comments below... or tweet me on @tonyrestell.
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