5 Habits Of Successful Social Media Managers

Social media managers live minute-by-minute in a world that often seems like a circus juggling act. Not only must they maintain engagement, they’re required to stay up on trends, manage multiple networks, connect business goals, and, by the way, have bubbly online personalities to boot. Something’s got to give, right? Wrong.

Econsultancy reports that in 2013, 62 percent of companies will increase investment in social media, and 38 percent will increase investment in social media management systems. This is good news for the industry, but as a manager, if you still feel overwhelmed: Stop, breathe and reboot. Consider these five habits of successful social managers and adopt them as your own. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Learn the latest tools, but don’t act impulsively: When you lead the social media charge, you likely keep your finger on the pulse of new and shiny tools. However, there is a big difference between understanding the marketplace and knowing when to leap into the latest platform. To manage expectations — and your time — create a checklist to evaluate new platforms. A brief internal Q&A session, along with a gut check on viability, will weed out the wannabes and reveal the rising networks that matter most.
  2. Set a social strategy and stick the landing: Social media is no longer just a micro-segment of marketing. Think beyond the basics and take into account your company’s general business objectives, fiscal plans, and sales goals, then align your strategy to that agenda. Don’t set a strategy in January, check the box, and abandon it by Valentine’s Day. Track, report on, and merchandize results to prove ongoing value and return for the company.
  3. Play nice in the (company) sandbox: The proliferation of personal brands and individual social prowess means that your colleagues may bring an “I can do what you do” mentality to the table. Don’t fight it. Social now permeates an entire organization, from communications and customer service to IT and sales. Create strategic alliances and set the tone for compelling social behavior. Your opportunity is to strengthen the online voice of your company.
  4. Brand evangelism runs 24/7/365; your body does not: Many social media managers live and breathe their role all day — and all night. Unless you’re hawking a nightclub or an insomnia medication, you’re missing the mark. Social managers run themselves ragged in an attempt to match and pace this “always-on” medium; the result is sloppy posts, irrelevant content, and a disjointed experience. Know when to ask for help and train fellow team members to pitch in when necessary. A collaborative effort will keep content fresh, customers happy, and yourself sane.
  5. Know when it’s time to throw in the towel: Just as you stay in tune with the latest and greatest, you must also regularly assess and consider a break up with secondary networks that don’t give your brand the lovin’ you deserve (communities like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are here to stay, so it’s unlikely that those relationships should ever be doomed). Take a look at historical data, downward trends, and other factors that influenced the change in performance. After an assessment, either double down on your efforts or create a plan to remove a secondary network from your social plan.

Social media management can be sexy, seductive, and professionally satisfying. It can also be daunting, daring, and downright brutal. To stay on top of your game, focus on these five habits and you will undoubtedly reach new levels of social success. If all that fails, you’re probably well-suited to join the circus.

Andrew Caravella is vice president of marketing at Sprout Social, a leading social media management and engagement platform. Follow him at @andrewcaravella.

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