The old social media manager is out, and now you're suiting up for the big race. Well,
The branded social media management arena is an exciting opportunity. But it won't be all mad
dashes and the roar of crowds, you're also an owner now, so you have more prosaic
responsibilities like social maintenance, updates, housekeeping, and planning. And we have
some suggestions for getting started.
1. Check Who Has Social Media Admin Privileges
If the prior social media manager was fired or otherwise shouldn't have admin rights for your
brand accounts anymore, make sure they actually don't. You'd be surprised how often companies
neglect to check this, and you really don't want any revenge posting or sabotage by some
disgruntled former employee happening on your watch. So don't assume, check. You'll really
look like a hero to your boss if you find out an ex-employee wasn't removed.
2. Study The Social Media Data As Far Back As It Goes
Once you have access to your account's historical social media data, copy it or export it
ASAP for as far back as it goes so you don't lose it (older data often gets erased
automatically). There are two reasons to do this.
One, follower growth and engagement on a channel often follow a cyclical pattern, with the
same overall shape for the curve each year, even as the numbers change. It'll go up some
months or seasons, or in proximity to certain events, and dip in others. And having this
curve on hand is important because you don't want to start making unwarranted changes in
response to a dip that happens every year through no fault of your own, and you also don't
want to get a big head in response to the opposite.
The second reason is because you need something to benchmark overall social media
performance against during your tenure. And no, you can't just benchmark against competitors,
because you won't learn much from their numbers (the circumstances dictating their numbers
have nothing to do with you).
So use the data to figure out the follower growth rate, engagement rate, and share rate (and
any applicable paid metrics) under your predecessor. If you beat them, you're probably doing
a good job. And don't just use your predecessor's self-reported numbers. They may have lied
or erred. Calculate them yourself if you can.
3. See What's Working And What Isn't
Study the top performing and worst performing posts on each social channel. Determine what
each have in common. This will be your initial guide to what works and what doesn't work
for your brand. Run more of the former and less of the latter. But don't get too nitpicky
at this point either, or look for freakish correlations (i.e., copy with the word "now"
performs 10% better).
It's easy to get suckered as a newbie into seeing relationships that aren't there. You need
time with your channels to fine tune your data interpretation senses. So stick with the
broadstrokes at first.
And don't be in a rush to publish content. Making things appear next to the logo because you
hit "publish" is cool and all that, but focus on housekeeping tasks first. There may be
certain elements of the content pipeline you're not aware of when you first takeover,
especially if you're a new employee at the company, so don't pressure yourself to publish
Even if you've got social media content on standby scheduled by your predecessor, consider
easing the pace (i.e., if you've been publishing twice a week you might want to reduce it to
once a week) for a while. And if you don't have any scheduled posts on standby, don't worry
if your brand publishes nothing on social for a week or two. Nobody will miss you. Few outside
your own employees will notice. And it might not have much effect on your overall
4. Check Your Social Media Targets
If you take over at a time other than the start of the year, and inherit your predecessor's
targets for follower growth, engagement, etc., you need to figure out if you're on pace to hit
those targets. If you aren't, don't panic just yet. This is one of the reasons why you should
study that aforementioned shape of the yearly curve. But if cyclical social media patterns
can't account for why you're behind, raise it with your supervisor (you really don't want them
figuring it out on their own).
5. Survey All Brand Social Media Accounts
A social media manager must be aware of all accounts that exist with your company's logo,
whether you're responsible for managing them or not (brand accounts not being managed by you
sometimes provide good fodder for reposting). You should also be aware of any zombie
accounts that are out
there (you may occasionally have to deal with blowback from what
And before you ask, it's entirely possible for the existence of such accounts to have escaped
the notice of your predecessor. There are plenty of buffoons and slackers out there running
social media accounts. And even if your predecessor was neither, they might have done a similar
survey when they first took charge of the accounts (possibly years ago) but not after.
6. Update Your Brand's Social Media Profile
Social media channels are always evolving, but a brand's social media profile might only be
updated intermittently. There may be empty fields or unused capabilities on your brand's profile
that your predecessor never bothered filling in or using, or out-of-date elements (such as an
older version of your logo) that should be changed. So deal with it. Your social media profile
is often the first branded property a prospect encounters (especially if you're a lesser-known
brand). You don't want to look like amateurs.
7. Check Out The Social Media Reporting Format
If your company expects weekly, biweekly, or monthly social media reports, check out the report
format your predecessor used, because you need to learn what information your superiors are
accustomed to seeing, and how they're accustomed to seeing it. And it's probably a bad idea to
wait until the day before your first report is due to start this.
Try to create (or re-create) a dummy report during your first few days on the job, using the
source data for your predecessor's last reporting period. You don't want to suddenly discover
that you don't know how to make a certain graph 20 minutes before you're expected to present
that graph to the department.
See you on the podium, champ.