What is social media marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your brand, to connect with your target audience, to increase traffic to your website, and to boost sales and revenue. It’s also a great way for brands to monitor conversations and competition.

Effective social media marketing requires that you create strong content on your social media profiles, engage and communicate well with your followers, keep a close eye on your results, and run social media advertisements and campaigns. You must also decide which content is right for which platform and adapt your voice to fit the varying audiences of major social media platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube.

There are a lot of tools to schedule, monitor, and track social media activity, some popular examples are Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Later. You can also use channel native tools like Facebook’s Creator Studio to schedule content and review metrics.

The core pillars of social media marketing are strategy, planning, publishing, listening, engaging, reviewing analytics, and advertising, with key metrics including growth in followers, engagement, and click through rates.

What Do You Mean by Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the use of social media websites, apps, and social networks to market a company’s products and services and increase its brand reputation. Social media marketing provides companies with a way to find new customers, engage with existing customers, and promote their culture, mission, or voice. Also associated with terms like “digital marketing” and “e-marketing,” social media marketing has purpose-built data analytics tools that allow Marketers to track how successful their efforts are.

Social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube allow Marketers to employ a broad array of tactics and strategies to promote content and engage their target audiences.

Many social networks ask that users provide detailed demographic, geographical, and personal information, giving Marketers a huge amount of insight into what messages are most likely to resonate with their target users. Because Internet audiences can be more cleanly segmented than other traditional marketing channels, companies know for a fact that they’re focusing their resources on the right audiences.

Campaigns can be crafted to appeal to current and prospective customers, employees, bloggers, influencers, the media, the general public, and other stakeholders (such as third-party reviewers or trade groups). Metrics used to measure the success of a social media marketing campaign include website reports (such as Google analytics), customer response rates, return-on-investment, and reach.

What Is Media Strategy?

Media strategy describes the usage of the right media mix to achieve desired and optimum outcomes from an advertising campaign. Media strategy plays a crucial role in advertising campaigns. The objective of media strategy is not just to gain customers for a product or service, but also requires placing the right message in front of the right people at the right time. And it’s also crucial that the message is persuasive and relevant to the specific people seeing it.

There are two questions that need to be asked during any effective media strategy planning campaign.

  • Where to advertise? All advertising budgets have limits, so it’s crucial to figure out where to display an advertisement to reach current and prospective consumers. Depending on your target demographic, you might choose to advertise on social media, websites, TV, blogs or out in public.
  • When to advertise? You need to make sure your timing makes sense, again keeping in mind the needs and tendencies of your target audience. Some campaigns simply make more sense at different times of the year, and others may be tied to a specific holiday or a seasonal product.

What Is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising is an extremely direct way for companies to use advertising to reach the exact audience they want, and it is a must if you’re looking to reach a new, targeted audience—fast.

With organic reach becoming more and more difficult to achieve, it’s possible that the idea of making viral content without a little boost from paid advertising might be gone forever.

All the major social networks offer advertising options. When choosing where to place your ads, it’s crucial to know which networks are most popular with your target audience. Which platform is your target audience giving the most time and attention?

Interested in reaching teens? Advertise on TikTok. If you want to reach an older generation, look to Facebook. Try looking at which social networks perform well organically for your brand. Where does your content naturally strike a chord with fans? This is an obvious choice for your first social ad campaigns.

What Is Social Media Content Creation and Distribution?

Social media content creation and distribution is the process of creating, sharing, posting, and promoting content across different social media platforms. This content may be created exclusively for social, or it could also be content that has been re-formatted and used on social.

When you’re creating and distributing social media content, you should know where and how you’re going to publish and promote your content before you begin any steps in the creative process. Otherwise, you risk wasting your time.

Creating content isn’t necessarily a fast process, either. In fact, 60 percent of Marketers create one piece of content each day. When you consider how much content is distributed – 952 posts are published on Instagram each second, 8,726 tweets are posted to Twitter each second, and Google answers 3.8 million search queries per minute – it’s increasingly important that content be strong and properly distributed to get the attention of a distracted audience.

Content distribution channels are the channels you use to promote and share your content. The channels you use to distribute your content will vary based on your audience and resources, but they can be broken down into three specific distribution channels: owned (your own website, social media accounts, or blog); earned (mentions, shares, and reviews); and paid (PPC, social ads, and influencers).

What Is Community Management?

Community management is essentially about relationships and how your brand capitalizes on opportunities to interact with your community in online spaces.

Community management is often used interchangeably with social media management and although it is certainly an integral part of any social media strategy, managing your community becomes increasingly important as your customer base grows larger.

Your community consists of your current customers, target audiences, and all the people who interact with your brand directly and indirectly online. This community can be spread out all over the Internet: on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, forums, and the comment sections of articles. If you plan to build a long-term business with a strong brand, community management is an increasingly worthwhile investment.

What Is Social Media Reporting?

Social media reporting is simply the collection of data and stats. Which data and stats you should include likely depends on your specific social media strategies and goals.

  • Followers are the number of people who want to connect with your brand. The benefits of looking at followers are knowing more about the reach of your content.
  • Clicks let you know that the content you’re sharing is of interest to your users.
  • Retweets tell you that the content you’re sharing is interesting enough that your users want to share it with their followers.
  • Favorites can be a little bit less reliable than the other types of data and stats. It’s hard to know exactly what someone is thinking when they favorite, ranging from showing appreciation to bookmarking content for later.

What Are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?

The benefits of social media marketing are numerous, ranging from boosting sales and revenue, improving brand reputation, retaining and building a customer base, and learning more about your target audience.

Social media marketing is quickly becoming one of the most important parts of marketing strategy, with companies around the globe finding new ways social media can contribute to success and growth in all areas of their businesses. According to Hubspot, 92 percent of all Marketers felt that their social media marketing efforts have created more exposure for their companies, while 80 percent of Marketers said their social media marketing efforts increased traffic.

Other benefits include:

  • Content is easily customized and distributed
  • You will gain more influence and prominence within your industry as you grow your follower count
  • Traffic to your website and social media accounts will increase
  • You’ll unearth better audience insights
  • You’ll have the opportunity to provide superior customer service
  • Your SEO rankings could soar

What Are the Most Popular Social Media Platforms?

social media platforms

Facebook is the most popular social media platform, after becoming the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts and currently sitting at more than 2.6 billion monthly active users.

As of the second quarter of 2019, Facebook had a combined total of 244 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada, and in 2018, 67.5 percent of Americans used Facebook regularly. According to numbers compiled by Statista, 90.9 percent of American mobile users accessed the Facebook mobile app, followed by 64.92 percent for Instagram and 57 percent for Facebook Messenger. The next most popular social media apps were Twitter (43.62 percent), Pinterest (35.81 percent), Reddit (25.63 percent), Snapchat (24.62 percent), and WhatsApp (13.69 percent).

Facebook isn’t just the undisputed leader in terms of overall number of users, but it also has the most engaged users. Another Statista study found that Facebook users on average spend 769.16 minutes on the platform, better than runner-up TikTok (498.09 minutes), Messenger for Google (335.51 minutes), and WhatsApp (292.4 minutes).

YouTube and WhatsApp are the second-most popular social media platforms, each with 2 billion monthly users. Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users, WeChat has 1.2 billion users, and sixth-ranked photo-sharing app Instagram had over 1 billion monthly active accounts.

The next three most popular social networks are all based in China. Fast-rising TikTok has 800 million monthly users, QQ has 694 million users, and microblogging site Sina Weibo has 550 million users.

Pinterest was the fastest independently launched site to reach 10 million unique monthly visitors. It now sits at 367 million users.

Which Social Media Platform Is Growing Fastest?

TikTok is the social media platform that is growing fastest in 2020, followed by Snapchat and Reddit.

TikTok launched in September 2016 and by mid-2018 it had already reached half a billion users. In other words: TikTok gained on average about 20 million new users per month over this period.

Snapchat reported earlier in 2020 that it posted an increase of 11 million daily active users to 229 million, which represents a 20 percent jump in active users year-over-year.

And at the end of 2019, Reddit announced its user base grew 30 percent over the past year to reach 430 million monthly active users, as of the end of October. Its users also contributed 199 million posts, 1.7 billion comments, and 32 billion upvotes, the company says.

The overall growth across different platforms is striking too. The percentage of American adults who use social media increased from 5 percent in 2005 to 79 percent in 2019. Even on a global stage the speed of diffusion is striking: Facebook surged from covering around 1.5 percent of the world population in 2008, to around 30 percent in 2018.

What Is A Social Media Specialist?

A Social Media Specialist creates, plans and posts social media content across all social media platforms with the goal of boosting brand awareness, growing a customer base, increasing customer engagement, and eventually increasing sales and company revenue.

A Social Media Specialist might also oversee strategy, community management, data analysis, and copywriting, while constantly monitoring site metrics to ensure the social media strategy is meeting its objectives. A good Social Media Specialist knows how to create compelling content specific to each social media platform that will resonate with a company’s target audience.

What Are Social Media Specialist Job Responsibilities?

Social Media Specialist responsibilities could vary depending on the job and the size and configuration of the overall digital marketing team, but the standard Social Media Specialist job description on most job boards will likely list all or most of the following job responsibilities:

  • Develop, implement and manage our social media strategy after conducting competitive research, platform determination, messaging and audience identification
  • Plan, create, publish and share new content (including original text, images, video and code) on a daily basis that builds meaningful customer connections, increases brand awareness and encourages community members to engage with the brand
  • Collaborate with sales and marketing teams to develop social media campaigns
  • Stay up to date with the latest social media best practices and technologies
  • Set up and optimize company pages within each platform to increase the visibility of company’s social content
  • Monitor SEO and customer engagement and suggest content optimization
  • Moderate user-generated content in line with the moderation policy
  • Collaborate with sales, web design, web development, digital marketing, customer relations and product development teams
  • Create editorial calendars and syndication schedules
  • Capture and analyze the appropriate social data/metrics, insights and social media best practices to measure the success of every social media campaign, then use that information to refine future campaigns
  • Work with copywriters and designers to ensure content is informative and appealing
  • Bolster your network by interacting with industry professionals and influencers via social media

Social Media Education

A Social Media Specialist can come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, with some possessing a degree in marketing, others instead getting the job after completing a bootcamp or certificate course, and others becoming social media professionals after first building major audiences with their own social media accounts.

A Social Media Specialist job description will usually call for a degree, although not necessarily a marketing degree – degrees in subjects like communications, public relations and even journalism could be viewed positively as well. Even those with a traditional degree will need a portfolio of strong work and a proven social media presence.

And a traditional four-year college degree might not be the right career path for those who feel certain that social media marketing is their specific area of interest. Bootcamps or certification courses are more focused on the specific skills you would need to thrive now and in the future as a Social Media Specialist, and they can get you up and running in your new career far faster.

Characteristics of a Successful Social Media Specialist

Social media professionals tend to have a lot in common. These are the nine characteristics every successful Social Media Specialist seems to share:

1. They Love Social Media

Social Media Specialists spend an inordinate amount of time reading, browsing, scrolling, posting, responding, and interacting on social media. They live their lives on social media and rarely step away from their feeds.

An effective Social Media Specialist genuinely loves jumping in on online discussions, growing communities, and interacting with others on the job.

From there, the best digital marketing pros become experts in their field, standing out from the pack by writing thought-provoking blog posts, speaking at events and conferences, and networking with other influencers and thought-leaders.

That raises their profile and in turn makes them more valuable to prospective digital marketing employers who see the extent of their influence and social media experience.

2. They Understand How to Communicate With Different Audiences

There’s no getting around it: succeeding as a social media pro requires top-notch communication skills. Social Media Specialist job duties will require that you know how to communicate clearly and courteously when replying to comments from customers or community members. Social media pros have to know how to be warm, friendly and helpful while staying true to the brand voice that’s been established.

An effective Social Media Specialist is almost like a public relations expert, and will know the brand’s audience inside and out – while also understanding how that demographic will change depending on the specific social media channels being used. Ensuring customers and users only have a positive experience is one of the biggest Social Media Specialist job responsibilities.

3. They Know How to Write

Again, writing and communication skills are another must for any social media job.

With the surplus of information swirling on the Internet, you need to know how to write clear, concise and compelling content that will engage a reader (and, if you’re writing blog posts for a company website, your writing must also incorporate keywords and search terms to leverage SEO tactics).

It is important for businesses on social media to maintain a steady flow of well-written, accurate and timely content. It’s the social media marketing professional’s job to ensure that the brand’s pages stay relevant by publishing share-worthy content.

4. They “Get” Pop Culture

Every effective social media pro needs to have their finger on the pulse of pop culture, sports, politics and everything else that’s going on in the “real world.”

Any trending topic could potentially affect the social content that you’re planning, promoting and programming. In a world where scheduled tweets collide with real-time marketing and real world events, a social media pro has to be completely on top of everything that’s happening to both identify opportunities and also spot any huge reputational risks that could come with an ill-timed tweet or post.

Further, being “in” on discussions that are happening will lead to fun ideas for highly shareable content.

5. They’re Creative Thinkers

Social media platforms give brands the opportunity to showcase what makes them unique. Standing out in a crowded social media landscape means thinking outside the box.

A Social Media Specialist has an eye for fresh and relevant material. Consumers have their own systems of filtering out and unfollowing content and brands that do not hold any relevance for them. This also means having the time management skills to post content while it’s still timely. In an age of instantaneous information, your social media profiles must provide strong material that followers aren’t seeing elsewhere or you’ll fall to the wayside.

6. They Have an Eye for Design

It’s rare that you’ll simply be posting text to social media. Research has found that social media posts with images receive much more engagement and roughly half of consumers want to experience more video content in the future.

Designing and creating eye-catching visual content is becoming an essential part of any social media management job.

7. They’re Analytical

Every great social media strategist keeps numbers top of mind. They define KPIs and monitor whether or not they are meeting their job goals at every step of a social media campaign, sometimes adjusting course if their content isn’t connecting the way it should be.

Every Social Media Specialist needs to understand how to leverage data, not just to improve their content and unearth insights about their customers, but also to prove the social ROI of the work you’ve been doing.

If math isn’t your thing, there are lots of social media marketing tools that can simplify analytics. Using those in combination with Google Analytics should give you a great view of how your campaign is performing.

8. They’re Savvy About Business

Being able to author viral content is great — but understanding how your social media marketing strategy fits within a larger overall business strategy is even better. A social media pro who really sees the big picture and understands his or her role within it would be extremely valuable to any digital marketing team.

Effective social media marketing experts understand which metrics are most relevant to the business and how a social media marketing strategy can help to boost them.

9. They’re Dedicated to Learning

Knowledge is power no matter which industry or profession you’re working in, but in fields as fast-changing as social media and digital marketing, certainly it requires a dedication to lifelong learning to thrive.

You’ll need to constantly stay updated about the latest social media tool updates, algorithm changes, and SEO trends. You should also stay open to upskilling with additional training, an online certification course or a bootcamp. BrainStation’s 2020 Digital Skills Training Survey found that 89 percent of digital marketing professionals said they would benefit from additional training, so adopting that attitude would be a wise thing for any would-be Social Media Specialist to do.

Social Media Jobs

The following job descriptions share some qualities with the Social Media Specialist role:

  • Digital Marketing Manager: Of course, social media marketing is a subset of digital marketing. Depending on the size of a company or digital marketing team, digital marketers typically handle various types of online marketing as part of thier job, spanning SEO, SEM, PPC, and social media. Regardless of their areas of expertise, Digital Marketing Managers create and execute marketing strategies, manage content, and leverage social media to drive traffic and sales.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Manager: SEO Managers are experts on what makes Google tick. They know how to change the language, layout and organization of sites so that algorithms will send them straight to the top of the search engine results page (SERP). SEO Managers help content creators craft a content strategy that will boost visibility on social media and the SERP.
  • Search Engine Marketer: SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) are commonly confused. SEM spans strategies including Pay Per Click marketing (PPC), advertising, and customer relationship management. Search Engine Marketers need to have experience with platforms like Google AdWords and Bing AdWords.
  • Email Marketing Specialist: Another role within digital marketing, Email Marketing Specialists write copy and put together email flyers that they hope customers might actually open and look at. Email is considered one of the best ways to reach committed target audiences, so companies are placing increasing importance on creating compelling copy that won’t be swiped into someone’s junk folder.

Who Does A Social Media Specialist Work With?

Most Social Media Specialists are a part of digital marketing teams. Those digital marketing teams tend to not be very big – our survey found that 64 per cent worked on a team of ten or fewer – though since digital marketing roles are in high demand, that could slowly change.

Beyond their immediate teams, a Social Media Specialist might work with many other departments within a company, including sales, IT, web development, web design, customer service, and product teams.

Reasons to Become a Social Media Specialist

Since many are curious about exploring career paths in digital marketing, these are a few of the best reasons to become a Social Media Specialist:

  • Get paid to do something you love. Chances are, you spend a lot of time on social media already the average person spends more than two hours every day scrolling social. Turning that hobby into a job could be a more natural transition than you think. Friends might be envious when they see that your day-to-day work duties involve monitoring the account of influencers or joining in on fun trending topics.
  • Indulge your creative side. A top Social Media Manager brings together strong storytelling instincts, a keen design eye and a sense of humor to create shareable content that is relevant and resonates on an emotional level. Being able to have a creative job is something that many people find really rewarding.
  • You’re always in the know. Since being an effective social media expert means living and breathing trending topics, you’ll soon be that person at the party who is an expert on pretty much everything. And not only will you have your finger permanently on the pulse, but you’ll also be in a rare position to understand exactly what’s happening within your company. Since your job has you on the frontlines of potential PR disasters and customer service issues, your company will keep you in the loop while others might be left in the dark.
  • You won’t have to wonder how you’re doing. With all of the analytic tools and technology at your fingertips to evaluate the performance of the social media accounts you’re running, you won’t have to be left in the dark about whether you’re meeting your goals and objectives. Seeing real-time engagement through analytics tools can be a great motivator — not to mention provide a feeling of instant gratification.
  • You could go viral. Does the prospect of seeing social media content you created being shared and enjoyed by people all around the world excite you? Each day brings the potential for one of your posts to resonate with millions worldwide. With that comes great responsibility as well, of course, but if being able to reach a massive worldwide audience with something you made is exciting to you, you might be well-suited for a career in social media management.

What Does A Social Media Specialist Do?

A Social Media Specialist is responsible for creating and publishing content on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to grow an audience, build brand awareness, and ultimately, boost sales.

A Social Media Specialist may also oversee site metrics, interact with readers, and be responsible for creative design.

A Social Media Specialist should understand the targeted audience for each social channel, creating persuasive content that strikes a chord with the intended audience, and unique to the typical interactions of each channel.

A Social Media Specialist could also be responsible for devising strategy, community management, creative directing, customer service, copywriting, and analyzing data.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Social Media Marketing Specialist?

responsibilities of a social media marketing specialist

Social Media Marketing Specialists are responsible for planning a brand’s social media strategy. This involves building out a cohesive plan that suits overarching company goals, strategizing tactics to achieve those goals, and generally exploring, testing, and optimizing different social media channels to suit a brand’s audience.

The steps of a Social Media Manager can be broken down into strategizing, engaging, creating, scheduling, listening, measuring, and experimenting.

First, you’ll need to establish a specific goal (such as traffic or registrations), and align your social media tactics to meet that goal. For example, if you’re looking to build awareness amongst young shoppers, you might decide to build an influencer program on Instagram.

From there, you’ll need to engage with your audience on social, build a brand voice and create content that resonates with your audience. Each channel has its own algorithm and tactics for optimization, in this way, scheduling is also a big part of what Social Media Specialists do, ensuring that posts are scheduled regularly and at optimal days and times on specific channels.

As those elements are established, a Social Media Specialist also needs to measure results by tracking metrics and insights on each platform. There are tools that help consolidate these results so that it’s easy to see which channels are most effective and what content elicit the most engagement. With this data, Social Media Specialists are able to experiment with new content and optimize high-performing posts.

Some Social Media Specialists will also be responsible for paid strategies and will need to be adept at using tools such as Facebook Ads Manager or other paid options on channels like LinkedIn or Quora, for example.

What Does a Social Media Specialist Do All Day?

Social Media Specialists spend their days planning and executing social media strategy, creating and publishing content to a variety of platforms, and interacting with their communities and audiences.

A Social Media Specialist also needs to measure results by tracking metrics and insights on each platform. There are tools that help consolidate these results so that it’s easy to see which channels are most effective and what content elicit the most engagement.

The goal is to gradually achieve superior customer engagement and intimacy, website traffic, and revenue by strategically exploiting all aspects of the social media marketing roadmap.

Social Media Specialists should have a solid understanding of how each social media channel works and how to optimize content so that it is engaging on those channels. You are responsible for joining relevant conversations on behalf of the brand and “soft selling” the product by providing support to current and prospective customers.

What Is the Role of a Social Media Specialist?

A Social Media Specialist is responsible for directly interacting with network users and virtual communities through their company’s social media accounts to build brand awareness, which in turn, generates results and sales.

Generally, their work involves getting people excited about a topic that is associated with a brand through the creation and distribution of engaging content that people identify with. Often, the Social Media Specialist collaborates closely with the marketing department to improve the company’s online presence across multiple social media platforms.

To succeed as a Social Media Specialist, you must be fluent in social media with hands-on skills and knowledge of multiple social media platforms and awareness of current trends. You should have excellent communication skills including writing, editing, SEO, storytelling and presentation ability with a strong sense of who the segment audience is and how to give them content that will appeal to them.

It’s also important to have competence with networking tools, such as Hootsuite and others, that makes it possible to manage several social media accounts from a single dashboard.

What Is the Difference Between a Social Media Strategist and a Social Media Specialist?

The difference between Social Media Strategists and Social Media Specialists is that in larger companies with more developed social media teams, Social Media Specialists have more of a focus on day-to-day operations than Social Media Strategists, although they may assist with social audits and strategy as well.

Social Media Specialists are mostly concerned with implementation. They write social copy, communicate with the public through comments, and always keep an eye on what’s trending. They also need to have an awareness of key influencers in their industry to spread their brand message and make valuable connections.

Social Media Specialists also track and analyze social media KPIs and check up on ROI. And don’t forget: they also publish and promote content on social media, usually by scheduling it in advance with the help of an editorial calendar.

While Social Media Specialists usually have social strategy as an important part of their role, Social Media Strategists make it their top priority.

Generally speaking, they plan an organization’s strategy around marketing, advertising and finding new leads. They also likely are involved with performing audits to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategy.

What Tools Do Social Media Specialists Use?

The tools that Social Media Specialists and Managers use can help you with everything from scheduling to automatically sharing old content, creating social media images, analyzing performance, and more.

A big part of managing social media is scheduling content. There is a competitive market of scheduling tools but here are a few popular ones:

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Later
  • FB Creator Studio
  • Sprout Social

These platforms also provide analytics so you can track success. Hootsuite in particular also offers social listening tools to help you monitor the online conversations about your brand and competitors.

Many tools are part of the race to provide the most fulsome digital marketing suite of features. For example, SEMrush offers primarily content marketing tools, but also offers a social scheduling and tracking platform.

There are many other competitors that offer a few unique features that might best suit your particular niche. For example, SocialPilot offers content suggestions, Later is optimized specifically for Instagram, and Sendible integrates with Canva so you can produce content in the same spot you’re scheduling it.

What Are Social Media Management Tools?

Social media management tools enable you to automate, analyze, and look deeper into your social media accounts. These apps can publish the same updates on all your social accounts, schedule future updates, and help you find the most appropriate and effective content to post and times to post it.

Social media is time-consuming for all of us — including small businesses. Running your social media accounts shouldn’t be a hands-on job. Scheduling future posts and updates, so you can batch all your social media work into one or two blocks a week, is absolutely essential. And it’s one of the key features most social media management tools have.

Buffer is one of the longest-running social media tools aimed primarily at scheduling posts. It supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and Pro users can schedule Pinterest updates too.

If it’s a complete solution to all of your social media management needs that you’re after, Hootsuite is the tool for you. The app is compatible with over 35 social networks, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. More network connections are available through the Hootsuite app directory, a user-maintained database of extensions (which can be hit or miss).

Another complete social media management package is Sendible, which shines in the area of lead generation. It has a tool that lets you select which keywords you want to target, optional inclusions and words you want to exclude, and where the posts were made. You can then browse the list of relevant keyword results from your dashboard or have them automatically emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis. You can even choose to just receive the positive or negative alerts.

Social Media Management Tools

social media tools

The social media management tools that are most popular can streamline your workflows, help you save some time and even ensure your content reaches the right audience at the right time, with Hootsuite, Buffer, and Canva leading the way.

Hootsuite is one of the best social media management tools for creating and managing campaigns. Instead of managing all of the platforms manually, you just open Hootsuite and handle them from one dashboard. That social media dashboard can be used for lots of things, including scheduling messages, managing multiple profiles, and tracking conversations.

Buffer is another popular tool. Many Marketers share posts on a set schedule to get better results and drive more traffic to their website. You can add a specific time to share your content in a few clicks.

And since well-designed graphic visuals are a crucial part of social media marketing, many turn to Canva to help create appealing images for their Pinterest and Instagram campaigns. This free tool grants you the freedom to create your own design even if you don’t know the first thing about web design.

Other tools many find handy are organizational platforms like Trello, Google Sheets, or Airtable. Software like Trello can help you plan out future posts in a collaborative environment. Many Managers revert back to Google Sheets to be able to communicate trends and metrics over time. Also, tools like Airtable allow you to view in a calendar or list view and add other team members so you can integrate activity from other teams and track external calendar dates that might align with your content.

What Are Social Listening Tools?

Social listening tools monitor your brand’s social media platforms (and beyond) for customer feedback and any discussions regarding related keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis of this data to allow further insights.

The first part of the social listening process is social monitoring, which keeps track of social media mentions and conversations. The second part is the analysis and actionable responses, which help you better meet the needs of your customers and better understand your competition. Social listening finds root causes for social conversations and implements changes to improve social media strategies for the long run.

HubSpot is one popular social listening tool. It will help you build marketing campaigns, share content like blog posts and landing pages, automatically distribute content to various social channels, and discover the best times to post, all on one tool.

Sprout Social is another common favorite. It’s a comprehensive social media management platform that provides powerful solutions for social listening and analytics, customer care, and employee advocacy.

Hootsuite, meanwhile, allows you to view all your messages, comments, and brand mentions across several social channels in one concise dashboard from which you can respond to them all. You can also track influencers and leads in lists that can be imported and shared with others in your company. Hootsuite offers three different plans so you can find the perfect solutions and strategies to fit your business’s needs.

How Do You Plan A Social Media Campaign?

A successful social media campaign requires forethought and careful planning – in fact, one study found that goal-setting Marketers, Marketers who document their strategy, and Marketers who proactively plan their projects are more than three times as likely to report success. Clearly, knowing how to properly plan an effective social media campaign from scratch is one of a Social Media Marketer’s core skills.

The first step is to audit your current social media presence and assess where you stand – to take a critical look at all of your company’s social channels, cut or consolidate any extraneous or underused accounts (while centralizing ownership, using a tool like LastPass or 1Password to keep track of your passwords), and scan for any imposter accounts impersonating your brand. The auditing step also includes recording a few key metrics to track the performance of each account, taking note of which platforms and accounts seem to be generating the most engagement.

Step two is to determine your goals. The motivation behind a social media campaign can vary; are you trying to increase overall brand awareness, introduce a new product or service, create excitement around a limited-time promotion, reach influencers, or simply to grow your company’s social media following? If your goal is awareness, for instance, that can be evaluated using metrics including likes, shares, and impressions. If that’s your goal, a brand-monitoring tool like Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, or Social Mention could be valuable. If you’re focused on conversions, metrics like bounce rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate will be more important to you.

Before you move on to the planning stage, observe your competition. Using the same methods you employed to audit your own social media presence, see what competitors in your space are doing, which platforms they’re focusing on, and the strategies that seem to be working and not working. You’ll also want to look beyond your industry for inspiration. With a sense of what you want – and metrics to clearly gauge whether or not you’ve achieved it – you can begin putting together an editorial calendar. As in all types of publishing, the editorial calendar is a crucial tool for managing content teams of all sizes (popular choices include Trello, Marketing.Ai, and CoSchedule). Whichever platform you use, an editorial calendar will help you ensure you don’t miss opportunities relating to awareness days that always generate a ton of social media interest – International Women’s Day, for instance – and allow you to plot a content mix that makes sense for your brand.

Many Marketers follow the rule of thirds – a social media feed should be fuelled by one-third engagement, one-third curated content, and one-third your own content – while others favor, for instance, a 3-2-5 ratio with three parts your brand voice, two parts a brand representative, and five parts generated by others. It’s an important decision; research has shown that 45 percent of consumers will unfollow a brand if their platform is too heavy on self-promotion. An editorial calendar will also help you with the crucial task of posting content at the optimal times for different platforms, as the best times to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest vary wildly depending on both platform and industry.

As you begin creating content for your social media channels, it’s important to choose the channels you focus on – and to choose the tone of your content carefully. This starts by understanding the audience you’re communicating with. Probe all the available information you have about your existing customer base, including location, age, language, income, and buying habits. You’ve already audited your social media presence, but this is the time to dig deeper. Many social media platforms make it very easy to learn a lot about people already following and engaging with your brand. Once you have an idea of your audience through social media analytics and your own internal data, take all of that information to craft personas of current and prospective customers. These can be layered, specific images of people who represent a segment of your audience, and are an important tool in finding your brand voice and determining which channels deserve more attention.

Knowing more about your audience will also help you determine the right type and mix of content for your campaign. As your campaign progresses, you can use the metrics you’ve already chosen to determine what type of imagery and content will resonate with your audience and continue to focus on what’s working. Once you have your plan, stick to it. Studies have shown that brands that present themselves with consistency are three to four times more likely to achieve brand visibility, and even boost revenue by as much as 23 percent.

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Social Media Specialist?

The skills you need to be a Social Media Specialist include writing ability, a strong knack for visuals, and a talent for community management.

Content marketing and social media are crucial in establishing a brand image. Social Media Specialists are the main voice behind a company’s social channels, and much of the job is about telling that brand’s story. Therefore, strong writing, editing, and storytelling abilities are crucial to setting the right tone across platforms that truly represent the company.

In social media, the visual aspect is also integral to defining a presence. Storytelling isn’t just about words. You must create a cohesive aesthetic presentation across platforms. So a good eye for design and the ability to create eye-catching content is a must. It’s also good to have experience using content creation tools such as Adobe Spark, Giphy, and Canva.

Another major goal of social media is to engage with a community effectively. But it’s not easy to get people to respond. Discovering how a brand’s audience communicates helps to better understand their comments, questions, needs, and concerns.

Other important skills include trend awareness, determining KPIs, and understanding SEO.

What Do You Need to Be a Good Social Media Specialist?

A good Social Media Specialist needs skills like data analysis, a strong writing and storytelling sensibility, an awareness of key trends, and the ability to create effective social media strategies.

A Social Media Specialist is like a marketer, a strategist, a copywriter, a designer, an analyst, and a customer service rep all in one. That requires Social Media Specialists to develop a number of crucial marketing and marketing-adjacent social media skills. An effective social media professional possesses both hard skills – including data analysis and writing – and soft skills, such as staying organized and having a way with people.

Because really, social media is a communication platform — so as a social media professional, it’s important to have good communication skills that can be applied to fit any platform, form of media, or audience.

The best Social Media Specialists and Managers are also excellent writers who enhance their brand’s voice. You should know how to write concise copy that elicits emotion from your intended audience.

Another crucial soft skill in the social media world is creativity. With a growing number of competing voices, it’s not easy to stand out. Outside-the-box thinking is a must.

So there you have it! An in-depth look at how to become a Social Media Specialist. Take the plunge today and you shall be rewarded tomorrow! Start your own journey to becoming a Social Media Specialist or get in touch with The Digital Cauldron for a bit of Social Media Magic!!