Social Media Strategist


Social Media marketing, strategy and professional development blog for Jon-Stephen Stansel, a social media strategist living in Austin, Texas.

Five Tips for New Social Media Managers

Just starting out in social media marketing? Here's some advice on how to make the best start.

-By Jon-Stephen Stansel

Find your community

Only other social media managers understand the life of a social media manager. You need a like-minded group that you can talk to, ask questions to, and provide support when the trolls get to be overwhelming. Find other social media managers in your field on Twitter and interact with them. Participate in a Twitter chat, ask questions of those you think are doing well, and give back to the community when you can. I also recommend joining a professional organization and attending conferences when you can. A strong community of support is vital.

Get your personal accounts in order

Like it or not, social media managers are judged by their personal social media accounts as well as the ones they manage professionally. I’ve often said to never trust a social media manager whose personal Twitter account is set to private. Use your accounts to show your skill and interest in the field. Tweet out articles on social media marketing that you find interesting. Provide your thoughts. But also, be human. I like to say I keep my accounts “professionally authentic.” Sure I Tweet about social media strategy, but I also Tweet about the books I read, meals I eat, and films I enjoy. Don’t just promote yourself as a social media professional, show who you are as a person.

Learn how to say no

This is a HUGE chunk of a social media manager’s job. We are constantly asked to post content that doesn’t fit the brand, create new accounts that aren’t needed, or use hashtags that really have no purpose. In general, we want to be helpful and accommodate requests but sometimes the best help you can offer is to say no. Learn how to say no politely and make your reasons for doing so clear. You will be doing it often.

Know how EVERYTHING works

I often say social media marketing is easy to do, but hard to do well. There is a common misconception that anyone can be a social media manager. We all have social media accounts after all, right? I compare it to being a driver verses being a mechanic. Sure we all know how to drive our cars, pump gas, change the oil, or fix a flat, but do you know how to replace muffler or replace the brake pads? Being social media manager is lot like that. You need to know how social media works inside and out. Know the Facebook algorithm, be wizard with analytics, best sizes for videos and images, best and worst times to post for your audience. Make it your job to know ALL THE THINGS!

Be honest about analytics

Social media analytics are easy to misinterpret. A high number might sound impressive in a meeting, but in reality might not mean that much. Be clear and transparent about what the numbers mean. Set realistic goals and expectations. Never promise that something will “go viral,” especially when it most likely won’t. Use the numbers to show how you are reaching your company’s goals, making progress, and using the analytics to improve your content. Don’t worry if the numbers don’t live up to the unrealistic goals set by upper management. Be honest, explain the figures clearly and earn their trust. You'll be glad you did.

That's just a start. There's always something new to learn and improve when working in social media. What advice do you have or wish you had been given when you started?