Jewel Marketing
Taiwan Content Marketing

Social Media Management: Seven Tips For A Great Start

By Jason Patterson

Founder of Jewel Content Marketing Agency
The old social media manager is out, and now you're suiting up for the big race. Well, congratulations. 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 right away.

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 numbers.

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 or troll accounts that are out there (you may occasionally have to deal with blowback from what they do).

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.

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