Before joining Hootsuite, I was a full time social media manager for a number of national television stations. Businesses had already widely embraced social media, and yet I was continually asked questions that made me need to take few deep, patient breaths before answering. My fellow social media managers know them well.
These questions are rarely malicious. They merely come from a lack of understanding, something everyone is capable of improving. Here are four questions you should avoid asking your social media manager, and what you can do instead to better understand and collaborate with them.
Can you post about this right now please?
Your social media manager (hopefully) isn’t just sitting around all day posting about whatever pops into their head. What they choose to post, how they interact with followers, what they Retweet or share, the number of posts sent out each day—there is a strategic method to this madness. Everything is done with a purpose. Asking them to post something immediately and out of the blue shows a lack of understanding about the strategy and skill that they bring to the job.
For social media managers: Make sure the people in your organization know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Present your social media strategy to as many people and departments as possible to increase the visibility of your work and role in the business.
For everyone else: Loop in your social team earlier on in your project or campaign, so they can incorporate it into their overall social strategy and work on crafting high-quality social content for it. You’ll reap the benefits of social media far better that way then you will by asking for one-off posts.
Can you make this go viral?
Let’s talk about what happens when a piece of your content goes ‘viral.’ There will be a sudden spike in the number of people who read, watch, or share it, and you’ll see a nice albeit temporary boost in page views. (Yay!) Then something else will come along and inevitably push your content back down the ladder of internet irrelevancy. (Wah.)
Is aiming for this ephemeral attention the best use of time and resources? Probably not, which is why your social media manager focuses on other goals—ways that social media can help achieve overall business and marketing goals.
For social media managers: Create and share analytics reports on a regular basis that clearly show how social media positively impacts the business in ways that going viral can’t achieve.
For everyone else: Learn about the type of goals on social media that are worth chasing more than going viral. Chat with your social media manager about how they measure their success and how social media can better help your business achieve what going viral is really all about: awareness.
Why aren’t we on [insert new flashy social network here]?
I know how tempting it is to be seen as one of the first brands on a new social network. Many businesses who embraced Facebook and Twitter early on have ended up growing massive followings as a result, but the world of social media has matured to a point where new social networks rarely stick around to compete with these behemoths.
Establishing a successful presence on a social network requires a lot of planning and strategy, along with an investment of time and resources. Choosing to direct these things towards a social network that may disappear as quickly as it emerged may not be the smartest decision for the business.
For social media managers: If you see a new trend or social network emerging, use it as an opportunity to create a dialogue and proactively communicate your thoughts about it. It’s a great way for you to demonstrate your expertise.
For everyone else: If there’s a new name in the game, your social media manager has probably already heard of it. So a better question to ask them (instead of insinuating they’re not doing something they should be) is simply: “What are your thoughts on this? Have you seen many businesses using it? Is there an opportunity here for us?” It’s a lot more respectful and can lead to a much more productive conversation.
What’s the ROI of social media?
I know what you’re thinking. “If we’re expected to invest this much time and money into social media, shouldn’t we be allowed to see a return on that investment?” You totally should. And a social media manager should definitely be able to demonstrate how the business is being positively affected by social media. The problem with this question isn’t that social ROI doesn’t exist—it’s just not that simple. This blanket statement doesn’t take into account the most important part of a solid social media strategy, which is the alignment of social media activity to overarching business goals.
If one of your primary goals is increased web traffic, for example, then the value of social media can be measured by looking at the links posted on social and the number of clicks they receive, and by analyzing social referral traffic through tools such as Google Analytics.
While asking your social media manager to explain the ROI of social media as a whole isn’t a useless thing to ask, you’ll most likely get a much longer answer than you were expecting.
For social media managers: Report regularly on how social media is impacting the business. Create and share analytics reports both on a per-campaign and monthly basis. Learn more about measuring and communicating the ROI of social media and share your knowledge whenever possible.
For everyone else: Instead of asking what the ROI of social media as a whole is, ask your social media manager what their most recent success on social media has been, or how social made a positive impact on a recent campaign. Have a look at their monthly analytics reports to get a better idea of their goals and progress.
One question that your social media manager isn’t likely to mind is: “why do you use Hootsuite?” You’ll hear about how it makes their lives easier by allowing them to schedule, publish, and engage with customers across multiple social networks—all from one centralized dashboard. Learn more and get started for free.