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Social Media Manager Salary

Social Media SalarySo you are stepping into the mainstream marketing world and realizing that your business needs to get serious about social media. The industry itself is so new that there really isn’t a professional background or pay grade to follow in your hiring practices. You would be surprised to learn what professionals in jobs already available are making.

Location has always influenced salary ranges for any positions as costs of living vary in different regions of the country. The other thing that makes salary ranges for social media managers fluctuate is the size and type of company that they go to work for.

New York, New York

It’s no surprise that this city has positions that offer the most for social media management and strategist positions. Jobs range from 46K to over 70K; however, the range brings with it some misleading elements. For instance, will this person only be responsible for managing the company brand on social media accounts, or do positions tend to encompass other branding and marketing related tasks?

California

There are multiple cities in California that have high wages for social media management and strategist related positions. At the low end of the scale for copywriting type positions, entry level people can expect anywhere from 22K to 32K. Beyond that, management and executive positions enjoy ranges of 70K to over 100K.

Boston, Massachusetts

Here is the first city in the list where top salaries of social media executives dip below 100K. Salary ranges for mid-level jobs are in the same ranges as the other top cities before Boston; however, at the low end, the range is much higher from 22-50K.

Washington D.C.

In line with Boston (perhaps related to its proximity and size) is D.C. Salary ranges are similar here to the salaries in Boston. Social media specialists and strategists can expect to make around 42K-56K. Executive positions are also in the high 90s.

citySalaries in other comparable major cities around the U.S. are pretty much in line or close to the major cities named above. There are some key differences in pay rates, though, that are directly related to the types of duties these professionals are expected to have responsibility for.

For instance, if you are walking into a mid-sized company in the Midwest and doing some basic social media presence development and management, don’t expect to clear 50K. In fact, positions where responsibilities are limited to only writing copy or managing accounts tend to pay a lot less than their manager or executive level counterparts.

It isn’t all that uncommon to see businesses meshing social media strategist and oversight in executive positions with people already in traditional marketing roles. In these instances, professionals are taking on a lot more responsibility than just managing the company’s brand online or in a social space. They are also taking on more traditional marketing roles.

too-many-hatsAnother characteristic of many job descriptions that I look at — as well as feedback I get from colleagues — is that no two social media positions seem to be alike. For instance, one company may want to focus on a few social media networks and that’s it.

Conversely, another company may want a social media professional to generate content for and manage a blog on top of managing multiple social networks. Still others may want their people to take on added responsibility outside of only managing social media networks.

Takeaways

If you are actively involved in the social media and web marketing community, none of this is news to you. If you are interested in pursuing a position in a social media related field, it helps to understand that these positions are still finding their footing in the professional world.

Marketing directors and business owners and others looking for folks with these skills are still working on defining the duties that these jobs encompass.

 

What are your salary expectations for social media management? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Why Your Business Needs To Start Social Media Brand Monitoring TODAY

You’ve heard the horror stories.

Applebee’s, McDonalds, and Amy’s Baking Company are among a long line of brands with firsthand experience in these catastrophic tales.

We’re talking about social media users unleashing their frustration and fury on businesses that have done them—or humanity as a whole—wrong. Although we’d like to think it isn’t true (considering we should learn from the mistakes of others), rarely a week goes by without a big name brand trending on a “hot topics” list for all the wrong reasons.

While there’s an upside to social media in that it generates powerful publicity, there’s also a downside to social media in that it generates powerful publicity. From a lack of service to insensitive faux pas, customers are quick to share their experiences online and others are quick to spread the word. The good news is social media brand monitoring can help you nip potential problems in the bud while capitalizing on opportunities. There’s more to this activity than that, though.

Why should your business invest in brand monitoring ASAP?

Reason 1: Market Research

Market research is critical at almost every phase of campaign planning. Thankfully, social media channels have opened doors to information about target audiences and competitors that were otherwise closed without a large investment in traditional research methods. Now you can investigate and analyze a variety of metrics, characteristics, and other marketing factors with a few relevant keywords and a click on a search button.

Looking to crowdsource product development ideas? You’d be surprised how many people are tweeting what they wish a product like yours can do. Looking for opportunities with enough traction in the social graph to demand attention? Your social media using customers—and in many cases detractors—often see areas for growth or change that you’re completely oblivious to even on a good day. Looking to build relationships with brand advocates? They’d be the ones already touting your awesomeness. Hoping to connect with influencers? Well, you get the picture.

The bottom line: monitor. Monitor. Monitor.

Reason 2: Avoid a PR Crisis

social media brand reputationYou can ignore it all you like, but people are talking about you, your business, your products, your services, and your employees. Whether it’s positive, neutral, or negative conversation depends on their experience with your brand. If it’s an experience they’d soon rather forget, you better hope they don’t use social media to voice their opinion to the world.

A proactive approach to issues management is crucial if you plan to maintain a favorable reputation and dodge negative chatter. Social media brand monitoring tools let you pick up and respond to potential disputes before they become embarrassingly out of control PR nightmares that influence the future of your business. If you haven’t already, it’s time to take the blinders off and earplugs out and start listening to what people are saying about you. When you’re able to turn complaints into positive publicity and show you’re 100% invested in customer satisfaction, you may just have a chance at nailing this social media thing.

Reason 3: Gain Insight for Strategic Decision Making

You’re leveraging social media for a reason. Whatever that goal may be, you’d serve your business well to monitor social sites so you can facilitate and plan the execution of a strategy that combines the right mix of tactics for your brand. Find out where conversations are taking place, which topics are driving conversation, and how people feel about those topics. These insights give you an opportunity to make strategic decisions that will ultimately boost the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Reason 4: Track Your Branding Successsocial media brand monitoring success

How do you know if your messaging is correct, that you’re driving brand perception in the right direction, and that your brand positioning efforts are working? Hopefully, you know the answer by now: social media brand monitoring. Mentions, sentiment, influence, and other key performance indicators can all be tracked through listening tools.

Reason 5: Become Part of Relevant Conversations

If people are talking about you, isn’t that reason enough to join the conversation? Use this opportunity to improve customer relations or obtain high quality feedback from people who are already invested in you or the things you can offer them.

 

Are you actively participating in social media brand monitoring? If you’re a solopreneur, you may even consider it a social media chore. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic so join the conversation below.

What Does Your Social Media Branding Strategy Look Like?

Social Media Branding StrategyFor many businesses, their online branding starts and ends with their website. While someone may have slapped the logo and a suitable background or cover image onto the company’s social properties, they’ve done little else to communicate their message to the world effectively.

If you believe you’ve unintentionally made this blunder and your social environment really isn’t representative of your brand at all, then follow along as we explain how to fix this common problem while building a solid social media branding strategy.

Congruency and Consistency

Okay, so your strategy may begin with the visual aspect of your online presence—it’s important to remember, however, that it’s not the be all and end all of your branding efforts. Being congruent and consistent simply means ensuring the message, look, and feel of your brand carries through from your website to any social profiles, blogs, and forums you own.

Before you set out to evaluate your existing social assets, consider what kind of impression you’re hoping to make. If your brand is a luxury brand, then ask yourself whether that’s something your audience can pick up within the first few seconds of clicking onto your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages. If it’s not, then you have some work to do. If it is, then you’re about half way to success.

#Tip: Pay attention to branding elements such as style, imagery, tone, and colors. Hire a professional designer to create captivating images and creative cover art if you don’t have any that are worthy of your networking sites.

Experience

Branding isn’t just about logos, colors, and certain font types. It’s about experience too. Since social media takes the experience between brand and consumer to a completely new level, you need to define that interaction so you can shape and control the way you’re perceived.

Think about the social media train wrecks we’ve seen in the past few years and how those negative experiences went viral faster than the account manager could hit the delete key. Now, think about your business decisions and the potential for them to find their way onto social channels. Will your community love you for your actions, or will they raise up an army of haters and smash your brand to smithereens?

#Tip: Set guidelines for your interactions with customers and develop a reputation management strategy. Be nice, be community conscious, and behave in a way that creates a positive experience. It’s not easy when you’re dealing with a complaint or negative comment left on your social feeds, but the way you react is going to be the tell-tale sign that lets people know what kind of person (and subsequently brand) you are.

Voice

social media brand voiceOne area where companies seem to lose it is in voice development. It’s far too easy to let your own voice overpower the qualities you want seen and heard in your business brand. While they may be very much the same, it’s still crucial to identify what your interactions should sound like. Developing your company’s voice is as simple as asking, “How will I speak to my audience?” When you have the answer, make sure your comments match those qualities.

Are you actively implementing a social media branding strategy or are you letting your community define you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic so join the conversation below.

Animate Your Google Plus Profile Banner

Google Plus LogoNo, if you animate your Google Plus profile banner, it won’t drive more traffic to your site or have any kind of business impact. However, if you are active on G+ and want a unique way to showcase your brand, it can definitely help you stand out from the crowd. The whole process is pretty simple and involves the use of software that can easily be found for free online.

This method involves using video clips. I’m sure there are other ways to do it, but I got a nice result from this method, so I like to share it.

Step 1: Your video clip.

Choose a video clip that is less than two minutes long. It can be pretty much any aspect ratio. Most video files, by default, are in the 1440 by 1080 range. You can resize this later.

Step 2: Extract still images (frames) from the video using software. 

I used a free download of Irfanview. Open your video in Irfanview after you have downloaded and installed it on your computer.

Choose Options -> extract all frames.  It helps to create a folder before you do this to keep your images organized. Otherwise, Irfanview will just store them in your TEMP folder.

ifran-screenshot

Step 3: Cropping your images to fit into your Google Plus Profile.

You will have to crop your images so that they fit nicely into the profile banner on G+. Cropping every single image would be a nightmare, so you can do this in Irfanview, as well.

Open the first of your images (001) in IrfanView. Left-click on the image and drag to define a nice rectangular box that outlines the area you want to use. The info bar at the top of the window should show you the current selected dimensions. You need a 5:1 ratio or 980 by 196px (whatever you use, write it down so you can use it in later steps).

Step 4: Get X,Y coordinates. 

You will also need the X,Y coordinates for later cropping of your images. To do that, just click at the top left corner of the rectangle you created and hold there. Up at the top of the screen in Irfanview, you will see the XY coordinates of your mouse pointer. Write these down.

You can now get rid of the current window you are working with.

ifran-screenshot2

Step 5: Now it’s time to do some batching. 

Use the batch function under the file menu. Choose batch->conversion/rename.  Make sure you check the “Use advanced Options for Bulk Resize” box and click “Advanced.”  The first step is to set up the correct region to crop your image. Remember that you will need just one image for your banner, and it needs to be big (940×180). Use the XY coordinates that you just wrote down, and also enter in your height and width dimensions from earlier.

ifran-view

Step 6: Select your images.  

In the batch window, navigate to the images that you want to use (the ones you extracted from your video) and select them all. Tip: hold down the ctrl or command key to select a whole range of them. Click the “add” button near the bottom of the window. Make sure your output folder is selected on the left, then click “start batch.”

The cropped images that are all the right size for your G+ profile should now be in the folder that you selected for output.

Step 7: Making your GIF.

Now that you have all of the images to make your GIF, you have to combine them all. If you have a piece of software you like to use, go right ahead. If you don’t, you can use Photoscape. It’s free and easy to use, and if this is the only thing you plan to use it for, you can delete it right after you’re done.

You can find it here (I used the CNET download link).

Install the program, then run it. Click on the “Animated GIF” icon on the right side of the screen.

In the left pane of the program, you will see your computer’s file structure. Find the images that you have recently cropped. Once you get to them, you will see them all appear in the pane below the file structure. Select one of them, then hit Ctrl-A (Command-A for Mac). Drag all of them into the main work area.

Play with the rate of animation until you are comfortable with how the GIF looks. Note that the number of seconds you set is the amount of time each image is shown to make the whole thing look like a video, but be a GIF. For the video I used, 0.8 seconds seemed to be a good speed. Typically, the bigger the number, the slower the video.

Also set your canvas size, as it may have changed by default when you imported images. I had to revert mine back to 980 px by 196 px.

Once you are satisfied, click the save button. You now just have to follow the steps for uploading your image to Google Plus. You might have to play with it a couple times to get the right look.

 

What tips do you have to make your G+ profile strand out from the crowd? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

6 Straightforward Tips for Building a Social Media Management Company

building a social media management companyIs the entrepreneur in you ready to take your knowledge, experience, and passion for social media to the next level by starting a social media management company?

If you’re eager to take the next steps, but launching your business and building your initial client base seems like a daunting task, then you’ll want to pay attention to these six straightforward tips for starting a business while maximizing your effectiveness.

Tip 1: Create a Product or Service Offering In Line With Your Skills

As social media evolves, so do the roles and skills required to create, implement, manage, and maintain campaigns. Therefore, you need to identify your competencies and figure out what you’re going to include as part of your service offering. Will you provide online audits and needs analysis? Strategy development and implementation? Educational training? Monitoring and reporting? Social media policy creation? Whether it’s one or all, make sure you develop a framework for your approach to product and service development, as well as define your unique value proposition.

Tip 2: Optimize Your Online Properties for Your Brand

Before you launch your social media management company, you’ll want to ensure your business website, social media profiles, and blog are optimized for search and that your branding is infused throughout these properties. A solid brand that’s recognizable and consistent is going to go a long way in helping you establish credibility.

Tip 3: Leverage Your Experience and Credibility

If you haven’t built your own online communities and you’re not an active social media player, the chances are a potential client won’t trust you enough to hire you. Think of your profiles as your online portfolio, and then use them to demonstrate your effectiveness at growing a loyal following of fans who engage with your insightful content and participate in the conversations you generate.

Tip 4: Know What You’re Worth

Since you’re just starting out, your hunger to nab a new client could overrule the economic aspects of running your own social media management company. Make certain you do your research beforehand so that you charge market-related prices for the types of services you’ll be offering.

Tip 5: Be Prepared To Overcome Objections

Be Prepared To Overcome Objections

The reality is this: most Internet users know how social media sites work. It’s become second nature to them, and younger generations are becoming smarter and smarter at using these platforms. Unfortunately, the widespread adoption of social media has sprung an “anyone can do it” mentality. Therefore, you need to be ready to overcome objections when potential clients underestimate the level of skill required for this job. You need to be ready to explain that you don’t simply tweet or play on Facebook all day. You need to be ready to justify your prices.

Tip 6: Promote, Network, and Get Involved

How do you grow your client base? Ask your current clients, connections, or social media communities for referrals; develop an inbound marketing strategy along with high quality lead generating content; network in business forums; advertise; and tap into your offline network. Building a social media management company is no different to building any other type of company. You have to figure out what works for you, allocate your resources wisely, and pursue the avenues that will yield maximum ROI.

There are thousands upon thousands of social media managers out there, so anyone who tells you it’s going to be easy is lying. However, your social profiles are where your work can speak for itself, and it’s likely to do a better job than you are.

Have these tips helped? If you’ve already established a social media management company, feel free to share your advice and stories with us in the comment section. We’d love to hear about your trials and triumphs.

Writing a Social Media Strategy? 12 Things You Shouldn’t Forget

Are you ready to start writing a social media strategy that enhances relationships and expands your brand?

Not sure where to start or what to include? Follow along as we outline the elements of a winning strategy designed around four fundamental pillars of social media success: listening, engaging, building, and learning.

1. Your Value Proposition

Social media value proposition

Your unique value proposition should explain why people would want to interact with you and share your brand’s content.

When it comes to social media, too many businesses forget about their unique value proposition. We’re not talking about the exclusive benefits consumers gain as a result of purchasing and using your product or service offerings. We’re talking about the unique benefits they gain from participating in your social feeds and sharing your content. It’s the single reason they want to engage with you rather than your competitors.

How do you begin to articulate a unique value proposition as part of your social media strategy? Get rid of the business-centric mindset and start thinking about your customers. In other words, stop asking how you can leverage social media to sell your products. Start asking why prospects would want to interact with you and share your brand’s content with their online communities. What value can you offer? Which problems can you solve?

2. Your Brand’s Social Media Environment

Mapping out the online environment in which your brand operates is a crucial part of writing a social media strategy that minimizes input and maximizes output. Besides defining who your ideal community members are, you need to understand where they interact online and who their connections are. After all, you can’t cover every social space, so you need to identify where your business will have the greatest impact.

People you may want to target in the social realm include clients, prospects, employees, competitors, industry bloggers, media entities, influencers, and brand advocates. Clearly explain who your audience is because your team’s understanding of them is going to shape the targeted social media messages they create.

3. Your Approach to Listening

Listening to conversations allows you to gain insight into your stakeholders, remain on top of industry trends, find out which topics you need to address, determine which networks you should focus on, and appropriately allocate resources for maximum ROI. In this part of your strategy, you’ll need to indicate potential social media monitoring tools your business will use in order to achieve these goals, as well as explain what you’ll be looking for as you listen to relevant conversations.

For example, a business will typically tap into conversations to determine: who is generating conversation about the brand, industry, competitors, or topic areas; what people are saying; which subjects or topics are of interest; whether conversation is positive or negative; where these conversations are happening; where engagement levels are highest; who the biggest influencers are in each online community; which networks hold the most potential for the business; where the most opportunities lie; where the greatest threats lie; what competitors are doing in each social sphere; and what type of content will resonate with the brand’s audience. This is the critical information a business can use to focus on areas that make the most sense for the brand.

4. Your Analysis of the Findings

Analyze social media conversations

Analyze social media conversations to identify opportunities.

Once you gather data, you should analyze it to identify things like share of voice, trends, gaps, sentiment, opportunities, and more. Here, you need to understand whether your core messages are forming part of the conversation, whether you’re reaching the right people, whether mentions of your brand are in your favor, which trends you can capitalize on, and how your brand performs compared to its competitors.

5. Your Goals and Objectives

In this section, you should think about your higher-level business goals and then determine what your social media goals and objectives should look like. For example, if your business goal is to increase sales, then your social media goal might be to generate leads. If your social media goal is to generate leads, then your SMART objective would be to generate X leads (result) within X months (timeframe).

Whatever you do, make certain you develop social media goals that build up to ultimate business goals, and that you’re realistic about both your timeframe and expected results.

6. Your Metrics and Benchmarks

After you’ve established your goals, you’ll need to determine how you’ll measure your success. You’ll also need to provide a baseline for what that currently looks like in order to track your progress.

Be sure to identify metrics that tie in with your social media goals. For example, if your goal is to generate leads, you’ll need to track the number of leads you’re receiving through your social media campaign.

7. Your Approach to Finding and Engaging Influencers

Influencers are powerful people within your social environment—they can change perception and cause others to take action. Therefore, it’s important to explain how you’ll identify influential voices, which tools you’ll potentially use to pull relevant data from different networks, and your approach to building relationships with these individuals.

8. Your Content Development Strategy

Based on your research, you should provide details of your social media content development strategy. This includes the types of content you’ll create and distribute. Naturally, you should aim to develop high quality, engaging content that matches your social media value proposition and supports the social media goals you’ve set.

9. Your Social Media Platform and Tool Selection

Here, you’ll need to discuss the specifics of the networks you’ll leverage, how you’ll brand your profiles, and any social media buttons or content syndication tools you’ll use.

10. Your Methods for Monitoring, Measuring, and Reviewing Results

Monitoring social media resultsUnderstanding what you’ll measure (your metrics as defined in step 6), how often you’ll check results, as well as how you’ll monitor, record, and evaluate the data is crucial for effective implementation of your strategy. Make certain you choose tools based on their relevancy for the type of data you’ll need to pull from results. Also, make sure the individual using these tools has the necessary expertise.

11. The Roles and Responsibilities of Individuals Involved In Strategy Implementation

Who will create content? Who will curate content? Who will establish your social profiles? Who will update your social profiles? Who will publish to your blog and social feeds? Who will facilitate and engage in conversations? Who will monitor conversations? Who will analyze those conversations? Who will keep track of your success and make recommendations? Who will manage your strategy and communicate or coordinate between various departments within your organization?

Simply list the social media activities that form part of your strategy and then identify the individual’s responsible for them.

12. Your Budget

Every strategy has a price. Even when you don’t see a monetary value attached to something, there’s always time involved. As you know, time is money, which means you need budget wisely.

Be sure to outline the portion of your marketing budget that’s dedicated to your social media strategy so you can make sensible spending decisions when you develop your tactical plan.

In Conclusion

Whether you like it or not, social media users are shaping your brand with or without you. If you don’t start controlling perceptions by participating in online conversations, building a community of supporters, and developing relationships with key influencers, there’s a risk that feelings toward your business will be neutral or negative. Writing a social media strategy that blows your competition out of the water is the first step in this process.

Are you writing a social media strategy? Did this post help? Perhaps you have something to add. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below. 

Free Social Media Monitoring Tools You Should Check Out Today

Listening.

It’s a simple skill. It’s the key to good communication, and it’s a building block for any strong relationship. Knowing how important communication, relationship building, and conserving financial resources is to you and your business, we’ve created a list of free social media monitoring tools designed to tap into relevant conversations and help you mine valuable data about your brand, industry, target market, influencers, competitors, and more.

If you’re wondering why sites like HootSuite and Viralheat aren’t on our list, it’s because we’ve already touted their awesomeness in a previous post on free social media management tools. So without further ado, here are additional tools we’d highly recommend you add to your marketing arsenal.

Pluggio

Social Media Monitoring - Pluggio

Although Pluggio was initially built around Twitter, this web-based social media monitoring, content curation, and management service offers Facebook and LinkedIn integration, Twitter growth data, a bookmarklet, and Bit.ly stats. The free plan allows one team member to manage up to five social profiles, schedule or drip-feed ten posts at a time, monitor ten RSS feeds, and grow a following using five Friend Finder Search Agents. If you opt for the free plan, you’ll also gain access to forum support for those times when you need a little extra help.

Overall, Pluggio is the perfect complement to any social media management software you’re currently using.

SocialMention

Social Media Monitoring - SocialMention

SocialMention is a popular listening tool that searches across the web to find real-time mentions of your brand, products, services, or chosen keywords and then aggregates information into a single stream for your convenience.

Besides digging up and analyzing data from the usual suspects, SocialMention also searches through blogs, comments, bookmarks, images, Q&A sites, news, events, video, and audio sites to provide feedback on sentiment, strength, passion, and reach. Ultimately, it’s a fantastic tool for monitoring and measuring what others are saying or feeling about your brand and targeted topics. If you leverage the tool properly, you can easily filter out questions you can answer to build authority, and address comments where sentiment is negative.

Mention

Social Media Monitoring - Mention

Although a free plan will always limit your abilities, Mention is a fantastic, feature-rich tool that allows you to keep tabs on social media activity and listen in to real-time conversations that are valuable to your business. It often picks up things that similar tools like Google Alerts will miss, so you might want to think about using it as a replacement.

With the free plan you can monitor up to 250 mentions, create two alerts with multiple keywords, and receive daily web alerts. Mention will also let you see real-time social alerts, choose two languages, and archive data for a month. The good news is you can use their Pro plan for a 31-day trial period before it reverts to the free plan.

SocialPointer

Social Media Monitoring - SocialPointer

While this real-time social media monitoring tool is still in its beta phase, there’s no doubt it packs a punch for individuals and businesses looking to monitor online social conversations. The platform enables users to create groups of keywords and then track and monitor the web for relevant chatter and social mentions.

Besides aggregating content on your dashboard, SoicialPointer offers filtering functionality, tagging capabilities, and email alerts. Overall, it’s a great tool for finding and engaging potential clients, monitoring competitor campaigns, managing your brand’s reputation, gaining real-time user feedback, and more. It even provides stats based on your groups and each keyword within them. In fact, comparing your targeted phrases has never been easier.

Buzz Equity

Social Media Monitoring - BuzzEquity

Similar to SocialMention, Buzz Equity is a free social media monitoring tool that helps users understand what people think and feel about a particular brand. It also shows the level of awareness around a brand and uses analysis and ranking algorithms to provide insight into reach, strength, intensity, sentiment, and passion.

Users have the opportunity to drill down into search results and uncover information and conversations based on time, location, source, and language filters. As a bonus for businesses operating within the Chinese and Japanese markets, it searches social properties based in East Asia too.

Are there any free social media monitoring tools you prefer? Share them with us in the comment section below and let us know why you love them so much.

An Inbound Marketing Guide for Social Media

inbound-for-social-mediaA common denominator among all social media networks that have gained traction in recent years is that millions of people are using them to communicate. A great deal of the public now uses these networks to not only talk to one another, but to get their news and entertainment. Social networks also play a key role for inbound marketing. They act as a net that captures the attention of people who may be interested in the content a company is offering.

It’s also clear that each social media platform brings different strengths to the table. Each one has its own opportunity to leverage certain kinds of content. For example, Instagram is great for images. YouTube is great for video. Facebook is wildly popular and flexible and Twitter is great for short, fast-paced dissemination of news-related content. Continue reading our inbound marketing guide for social media to learn more.

inbound-marketingThe Importance of Social to Inbound

Before we get into positioning content on different platforms, it’s important to realize why social media is crucial to the inbound marketing puzzle. The main reason social media is so vital to inbound marketing is because it is one of the cheapest means of advertising your content.

The reality is that you can produce exceptional writing, video, images and any variations of these content forms, but if you have no way to tell people about them, chances are they will never get seen. Let’s think about this for a moment: if there were no social media and no search, how would you get Internet users to see your content? You would have to advertise it online or offline in some fashion.

With social media, you can build a unique and personal network in which to push information to. What’s better is that these platforms are completely free less the cost of paying a knowledgeable person to manage it all.

The Data Behind Social Media

Everyone is talking about using social media, and many companies know they should be doing it, but we have to look for hard data when we are forking over cash for these initiatives. HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound marketing report has a ton of great stats on how marketers are making a difference with social media and inbound marketing.

For example, it was reported that social media contributed 14% of marketers’ total pipeline in 2013. It was also reported that 82% of companies that blogged daily acquired a customer through their blog. The chart extracted from HubSpot’s report shows that marketers surveyed are allocating much of their marketing budget toward social media and SEO.

social-media-inbound-marketing

Positioning Your Content

Depending on what kind of content you are pushing out, there are specific ways you should position it on the various social platforms.  Some networks allow for more engagement opportunities and still others are more or less effective for certain kinds of content.

Blog Posts

Links to blog posts relevant to your target market are great to share on virtually all networks that you are active on. They are also great to share in emails and even as URLs in print ads. On social media, this content can serve as the reason that someone goes to your site.

You want to be sure that the content you share is relevant to the market you’re sharing it with. For example, you can use circles in Google Plus or the inline audience selector on Facebook to share content with segmented lists of people.

imagesImages

Images are great to share on sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Infographics are image-based pieces of content that combine interesting information with attractive graphics. Be careful not to give too much away when sharing these. Start out by sharing a smaller version of the graphic along with a link to the original one so that people have to visit your site in order to read it.

Video

Sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, Vine and Instagram’s new 15 second video service are all great places to engage people with video. YouTube is a network that can be leveraged the most because you have the ability to embed links, callouts, ads and other things (provided by the network itself) in your videos. People can also subscribe to your channel and get emails when you post new videos.

cassette-tapesAudio

You don’t hear about a lot happening with audio, but it can be an effective form of content for inbound marketing. People love to find useful podcasts, audiobooks and music among other forms of audio for use in all sorts of scenarios. Some companies are even taking advantage of a newfound popularity of audio. An app called Dubbler for iOS and Android is making its rounds and allows users to record 60 second snippets for sharing on popular social media sites.

Social media is the channel through which people are discovering all kinds of useful content. Part of getting people to discover the great writing, video, images or audio that you produce is having a robust social presence made up of your target market.

How do you use social media for inbound marketing? Is there anything that you would add to our inbound marketing guide for social media? Join the conversation by commenting below.

How to Develop a Social Media Content Plan for Your Business

We’ve discussed 95 ways to generate content ideas for your networking platforms, but have you designed a strategic social media content plan to leverage those ideas effectively while keeping your team focused, accountable, and on the road to success?

Tranquil Clouds and Deep Blue SkyIf you have yet to map out a plan, it’s time to get cracking. After all, you need to understand how you’ll create social media content for your business, identify who will be responsible for executing the plan, and figure out how you’ll measure your effectiveness.

With that said, let’s look at how to develop a powerful social media content plan that makes sense for your brand.

1. Write Your Executive Summary

In a few concise paragraphs, describe essential parts of the plan the key stakeholders in your organization need to know about in order to make the right decisions. Besides explaining how the business will benefit from your social marketing efforts, be sure to highlight key goals and objectives, topics you intend to cover, the types of content you want to create and publish, the channels you’ll use to distribute your content, and the resources required to implement your plan effectively.

Tip: This section is the most important part of your document so you’ll want to follow best practices for writing a brief, but killer, executive summary that ‘wows’ the decision makers in your business.

2. Outline Your Goals and KPIs

Social media content plan goals

Your social media content plan goals and objectives should always be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

This is where you explain what success looks like to your brand in the form of goals, objectives, and key performance indicators. Every business will take advantage of social media platforms differently, but most will look toward raising brand awareness, building a loyal community, engaging customers, and converting visitors into buyers.

When mapping out this section of your plan, make certain your goals, objectives, and benchmarks align with your brand’s broader business aims and that you create your social media content accordingly.

3. Define Your Ideal Social Media Audience

Use your company’s buyer personas to identify the individuals for whom you’re creating content. You may need to conduct additional research to understand how they use social media, as well as which platforms they frequent.

Besides data regarding their demographics, education levels, interests, and lifestyles, this section should include details about the information your target audience searches for, the problems they need to solve, the types of content they prefer, and the topics they find engaging.

4. Outline Your Distribution Channels

Hopefully, you’ve identified where your prospects, customers, competitors, influencers, brand advocates, and industry bloggers interact online. While you can’t dominate every platform they use, you’ll ideally have profiles on networks where you can be most effective. In this part of your plan, you need to outline the platforms you’ll potentially use to publish and share social media content.

5. Include Your Key Content Types, Themes, and TopicsTap into conversations

Without a doubt, the types of content you create, the themes you use, and the topics you talk about should all lie within your area of expertise. However, a major part of your social media marketing strategy requires you to tap into conversations. Monitoring and listening to those conversations allows you to pinpoint themes and topics your audience is already discussing. This gives you a great opportunity to develop content that not only shows off your authority within your industry, but also touches on the interests of your community.

6. Identify Your Editorial Team’s Roles and Responsibilities

The size of your editorial team depends on your social media marketing needs, as well as the size of your business. While SMBs may have one or two people assigned to their social media content marketing efforts, larger companies will likely have an entire team of individuals working across several departments.

To ensure accountability, successful implementation, and efficient management of the plan, it’s important to identify these people, their roles within the editorial team, and their duties. Roles usually include content creators, editors, social media community managers, content analytics specialists, and content directors.

7. Explain Your Production and Distribution Strategy

Last, but not least, you need to describe how you’ll create and curate relevant and engaging content, repackage it for your chosen platforms, and optimize it for search. You should also explain your distribution or publishing plan. Consider developing a social media editorial calendar designed to assist you with your editorial workflow and improve your effectiveness.

Your turn. Does your business have a social media content plan or are you simply winging it? How do you view this type of plan’s importance to your organization? If you have a comment, question, suggestion, or tip, feel free to pop it in the box below. We love hearing from you!

A Guide to Writing an Ideal Social Media Manager Job Description

Hiring a Social Media ManagerYou want a professional—a social media manager who not only knows how to handle the demands of this challenging position, but someone who is also as passionate about your business as you are. A huge part of attracting qualified applicants and eventually hiring the right candidate lies in your ability to write a great job description that is both detailed and accurate.

What should a social media manager job description look like? Follow along as we outline key aspects you should consider when constructing yours.

Job Description – The Basics

If you’re familiar with writing job descriptions or advertisements, you’ll know that your document should include several basic elements.

Title: While this may seem obvious, many employers list their social media job openings incorrectly. Besides using “social media manager” to improve the volume and quality of candidates, you’ll want to use this title because it’s the key term job seekers will use when looking for a position like the one you’re offering.

Education: Indicate whether a degree, diploma, or similar certificate is required.

Employment Type: Is this a part-time, full-time, or casual position?

Experience: Many social platforms, tools, and marketing techniques are relatively new, so you’ll have to be realistic in your expectations. However, you might require additional experience in a relevant area of marketing.

Travel Required: If your company’s social media manager is required to travel, you’ll need to state that here.

Salary: Pay should be market related and in line with the job requirements.

Benefits: Outline any benefits or bonuses you’re offering along with the post.

Location: You’ll need to specify the location this position is applicable to if your business has premises in several cities or countries.

Reporting To: Add the title of the individual your new employee will report to directly.

Position Summary

In addition to being concise, accurate, and written in a style that communicates your employer brand, the summary you write should enable potential candidates to qualify themselves for the position a little better. In the case of a social media manager, you’ll want to provide a very brief overview of the role and the type of person you expect to fill the role.

Example:

The social media manager is responsible for implementing and leading the company’s social media strategy, generating brand awareness and engagement, advocating product and service adoption, and measuring social ROI. The right candidate is a highly motivated, strategic thinker with extensive social media experience and a passion for online community building. The ability to coordinate efforts across various departments to ensure brand consistency is a must. This is a full-time salaried position with benefits and opportunities for growth in a dynamic company.

Key Responsibilities

Social Media Manager ResponsibilitiesAlthough you’ll need to outline the responsibilities of your social media manager according to the needs of your business, typical duties include the following:

  • Develop, refine, and implement the social media strategy. Coordinate with various stakeholders to ensure a company-wide, integrated approach to social programs.
  • Manage the day-to-day activities of social media campaigns. Duties may include: overseeing account creation and design elements; writing editorial content; online advocacy; content curation; designing, creating, and managing social ads and promotions; developing and managing community outreach efforts; identifying and reaching out to influencers; managing the social media editorial calendar; monitoring conversations and responding to users; cultivating leads and sales; and reporting on ROI.
  • Manage the online presence of the company on relevant platforms and seed content as per the social media editorial calendar.
  • Manage the company’s online reputation.

  • Seek out and experiment with innovative methods for social media brand building.

  • Monitor and capitalize on social media trends, tools, new channels, and apps when appropriate.

  • Provide feedback to marketing, public relations, and editorial teams regarding relevant insights gained from social media monitoring.

  • Monitor, measure, and report on the effectiveness of social programs, as well as the impact on overall marketing efforts. Make recommendations for possible revisions to campaigns.

Job Requirements

When it comes to qualifications and experience, there are certain things you can expect to be true of every social media manager.

Skills or Experience ChecklistSkills or Experience:

  • Strong organizational and project management abilities;
  • Sufficient knowledge and understanding of social platforms, tools, and techniques, as well as the skill to leverage these assets effectively;
  • Quick learner with a willingness to experiment;
  • The ability to demonstrate creative and strategic thinking;
  • Excellent communication skills—both written and verbal;
  • A working knowledge of ethical SEO principles and how they relate to social search;
  • Proficient at implementing and managing a content marketing strategy;
  • The ability to cultivate and nurture online communities (usually demonstrated through the candidate’s own profiles or previous social media work);
  • In-depth knowledge of various blogging platforms and content management systems;
  • The ability to identify potential issues and apply customer service and relationship management principles;
  • An understanding of social media metrics and reporting;
  • A team player who is capable of taking the lead when necessary;
  • Marketing, public relations, business development, communications, or sales experience;
  • And a sense of humor is a plus.

Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree, diploma, or equivalent in marketing, communications, public relations, or journalism.

That’s it! Whether you use this as a template or you start from scratch, there’s no reason you can’t develop a social media manager job description that will have the right candidates flooding your inbox for a chance to publicize your brand across social media properties while building long-lasting relationships with key stakeholders.

Have we missed anything? What would you include in a social media manager job description? Join the conversation in the comment section below.