Who has been there with your brand’s audience through every industry trend, product release, and flame war? Who has read their nearly every comment and even replied back to quite a few of them? The most dedicated super fan? Possibly, but I’m looking at your social media manager. People in roles like “Community Manager” and “Social Media Manager,” though slightly different, are both up close and personal with your audience. They deal directly with your customers and potential customers every day.
Think back to any festival or conference you’ve attended. That person at the booth, interacting directly with anyone and everyone that walks by? That person is like your social media manager. They interact with the audience in the digital space by direct contact – and there are ways in which they come to know customers better than anyone else working for the brand.
What does being “on the floor” with a crowd teach someone? There are a few things. They know which influencers talk about your brand, and exactly how they talk about it. They know what really gets an emotional reaction out of your audience – that goes for both positive and negative reactions. They may even know which industry conversations to insert your brand into faster than your PR team does.
Of course, it’s easy to see how knowing these things can be useful to anyone in the business of brand reputation. Seeing customers and potential customers in detail has obvious benefits. However, the thing that makes their understanding unique is that it is both detailed and intuitive – social media doesn’t wait, and social media managers often develop a 6th sense for interacting directly with your audience. This makes them quick to spot gaps in communication efforts that deal very directly with your audience members.
Developing pitch ideas for a potential client? Check in with your social media managers from similar industry spaces, they may know what similar audiences on social are talking about the most.
As you develop plans for upcoming projects, think first about these four things your management-level social media person may know better than the rest:
What influencers say about you
The social media manager knows who’s who in your industry – and exactly what they’re saying about you. They will know the top influencers in your industry space, the minutiae of how these influencers talk about your brand, and may also have experience speaking with them directly through social. Now, doesn’t that sound useful for your influencer marketing campaign? Tap your social media manager to see if there is anyone you should be working with that you haven’t thought of yet and the best way to work with them.
How your audience reacts to content, by type
In today’s age of content marketing, brands are increasingly becoming their own content platforms. For anyone shepherding a brand’s social, it’s imperative that they too become content creators and curators. Whether they are crafting social copy, creating images, or choosing links to share, your social media manager needs a strong sense of what your audience wants. They need to predict how content will be received, by format and by platform. That’s why they’re constantly examining their channel’s engagement data at a highly granular level. Building out a content plan for next quarter & looking for direction on what to include? You and your social media manager can help each other out. They’ll be able to give you useful insight into how your audience reacts to content, and you’ll be able to give them better material to share over the coming quarter. As they say, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”
What makes your audience tick
Who has been there for your followers through every little bump in your industry niche? Their friends? Maybe. But alas, I’m talking your social media manager. They have seen what things – no matter how big or small – delight or enrage your audience. They have a deep understanding of what makes your average follower tick. In other words, they can intuit the reaction to branded content. Need to predict how something from your brand emotionally effected your followers? With the state of sentiment analysis being what it is, your social media manager is your best bet for getting a clearer picture.
The applications for this knowledge are very broad. The social media manager can be a final check to make sure a piece of messaging accounts for the nuance’s of your audience’s identity. Even outside of communications, their insight can help the brand. After a healthy diet of constantly monitoring and handling customer concerns, they will have a general but solid sense of what is pleasing or bugging your customers. Customer service teams, sales teams, business development teams, and even product teams can benefit from knowing what the buzz is surrounding your product or service.
How to get your brand in the conversation
Social media doesn’t wait. Whoever is managing your brand’s social has to know when to jump on a popular industry trend or shared link, and they have to know “now.” They may often feel like they had to know “yesterday.” As a result, these professionals gain a quick sense for how to insert your brand into a conversation. They can see an industry article on social media and know almost immediately if and how to tie the brand in. Could your PR team benefit from an open line of communication between them and your social media manager? Absolutely. You can count on them to sniff out any rising trends or issues you can take advantage of.
Get the most out of having a social media or community manager. Their understanding of your audience provides them a perspective unique to them. When it comes to the points listed above, they often know best and they can know very quickly. Again, that’s because their understanding comes from intuition – an intuition they needed to develop to effectively be “the face” of your brand in the digital space. However, know that their perspective is also founded in data. They’ve spent their time meticulously examining engagement numbers to learn about their channels, which is how they can develop this intuition over time.
As you build your PR and marketing plans, consider including your social managers in the process (if you aren’t already). You may be surprised by the sharp advice just a quick review could provide.