Social media isn’t exactly the new kid on the block anymore, but sometimes people still get confused. Social jobs are just young people having fun at work, right? No.

Social media pros are like professional dancers—what the audience sees looks effortless and light—but that doesn’t mean the work is easy.

Building a loyal brand following on social can be gruelling, and deserves the same recognition as any role within a business. If you’re guilty of saying something (potentially insulting) to a social media manager—read on, and learn what you can say instead.

Bonus: Read the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

6 things you should never ask or say to a social media manager

Listen to real life social media managers share weird questions they get asked at work in this episode of HootCast.

1. Can you post this right now?

Your social media manager isn’t sitting around all day posting about whatever pops into their head. There is a strategic method to the madness.

What they choose to post, how they interact with followers, what they retweet or share, the number of posts sent out each day—everything is done with a purpose.

By asking a social media manager to post something out of the blue, you show a lack of understanding about the strategy and skill they bring to the job.

What to ask instead: Would your calendar allow for this content in two weeks?

2. Can you make this go viral?

Let’s talk about what happens when your content goes viral. You’ll see a big spike in social engagement, and may even experience an increase in website traffic. Then, within a few days, everything will return back to normal activity.

If your content isn’t created to be “evergreen”—that is, provide long-term value for your audience—then it won’t have a great return on investment. That’s why social media managers focus on creating relevant, quality content that meets business goals.

What to ask instead: How do we measure a post’s success?

3. Why aren’t we on [insert new flashy social network]?

It’s tempting to be seen as one of the first brands on a new social network—and if it makes sense for your business, early adoption can have a big payoff.

But the secret to social media success isn’t about being on every network. It’s about creating and sharing quality content consistently with your audience.

Establishing a successful presence on a social network requires a lot of additional planning, strategy, and resources. Investing in a new social network on a whim is not a smart business decision.

What to ask instead: Do the demographics of [insert flashy network] align with our target audience?

4. We should get this celebrity to endorse us on social!

Social media influencers have dedicated and engaged followings—and an endorsement can be a big boost for your brand.

However, influencers are no longer just celebrities. They range from industry experts to content creators to local entrepreneurs. That’s why finding the right influencer isn’t about the most likes or follows, but their relevance to your brand.

A quick, one-off endorsement isn’t how influencer partnerships work—and they’re rarely free. It can take months to finalize a plan that suits both the brand and influencer.

What to say instead: Do we have the budget for an influencer as part of our campaign?

5. Can I pick your brain for my personal account?

There’s a common misconception that running a personal social media account is the same as running a business one. People often don’t realize that business accounts require a completely different set of skills. A social media marketer wears a lot of different hats—content strategist, writer, analyst, and marketer.

Your company’s social account might look fun to the outside observer, but on the inside it’s serious business. Your social team is running campaigns, A/B testing, and reporting on ROI.

Bonus: Read the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

Get the free guide right now!

That’s why it’s not easy to switch gears and think about how to help you repost a funny meme, and it’s likely not a great use of time either.

What to ask instead: Can you recommend any beginner courses on social media?

6. Let’s post something fun for [insert national holiday]!

If there’s one thing social marketers want you to know, it’s that there’s a strategic decision behind every post. The choice to omit something from your company’s feed—like a national holiday—is intentional.

Jumping in on conversations without intention can actually devalue your brand and annoy followers. You need to have trust that your social media manager knows when and how to engage in trending topics. You can’t force relevance.

What to say instead: Don’t even say anything. But don’t forget to buy your social media staff donuts for National Donut Day! Or else you’re a monster.

One question you can ask your social media manager is “Why don’t we use Hootsuite?” Hootsuite makes the lives of social media managers easier by allowing them to schedule, publish, and engage with customers across multiple social networks—all from one centralized dashboard. Try it free today.

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