“So how’s work going?”
If you asked me this question while I was a social media manager, you’d get a different answer almost every day. On a good day, I felt unstoppable. I loved what I did and the brands I did it for. Other days, it felt like I was stuck running as fast as I possibly could inside a hamster wheel.
It’s a tough job that not everybody understands or appreciates. Is your work actually making a difference? Is this really what you should be doing with your life? Will your uncle ever understand that you don’t “make the internet” for a living? Instead of going through an existential crisis every time you fire up your computer like I did, here are three ways you can rekindle your love for social media and stay focused on what matters.
1. Prove that social is impacting the business
I worked as a social media manager in the television industry, which meant that no matter how “successful” our channels were doing on social—no matter how many Retweets we got or how many new followers we gained—if the ratings weren’t high, our marketing efforts weren’t succeeding.
Directly attributing a spike in ratings to our efforts on social media, however, was an impossible task. Vanity metrics and anecdotal observations were all I had to report on. Even though I knew that the number of Likes a post received didn’t actually mean much on its own, I didn’t have the kind of data that could help me paint the bigger picture. As a result, I became increasingly frustrated and started to feel like my job didn’t matter.
But it did matter, and the work you’re putting in on social media matters too. The key is figuring out how to connect that work to real business objectives, properly analyze the data, and articulate the results in a compelling way. Here’s how.
Connect social media to real business objectives
To prove that social media is having a real impact on your business, you need to set goals that are based on real business challenges and objectives. For example:
- Increase web traffic
- Generate new leads
- Drive contest entries
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Product research and development
- Competitive intelligence
If I knew then what I know now, I would have been able to outline the areas of the business that I knew social media could have a measurable impact on outside of ratings. I would have teamed up with our research team to better measure social media’s impact on web traffic and gotten involved earlier in the creation of contests that we ran with partners.
For step-by-step instructions on how you can clearly measure social media’s ability to achieve these objectives (and many more), check out our free Social Media Data Cookbook.
2. Make a commitment to better content
Is any feeling more discouraging than putting time and effort into creating content, posting it, and then watching it get little to no attention or engagement? Continuously posting things on social media that people don’t seem to care about is a surefire way to start losing the passion you once had for the job. What’s worse is that you’re also contributing to the copious amount of noise out there, which only makes it harder for the good stuff to be found.
Figure out what your audience really wants
One of the simplest ways to fix this is to look at what your target audience likes and shares on social media themselves and then aim to create that type of content. Alternatively, you could look at a competitor on social media and see what type of content is working the best for them. Do an audit of this content and notice any patterns that emerge. Identify these common threads and group them together in “content buckets.”
For example, you may notice that you’ve been busy posting funny photos but your audience actually responds better to how-to posts and contests. Create a new strategy based on these content buckets, put it into action for at least a month, measure the results, and continue adjusting your strategy accordingly.
What purpose are you serving on social?
It may also be time to do an even larger evaluation of what your business is using social media for. People may not be responding well to your product shots because they have customer service inquiries that are going unanswered. They might not want to Retweet your post about being excited for the weekend because they’re evaluating potential vendors and you aren’t offering them any useful information. The type of content you’ve been posting might be entirely disconnected from the way your target audience actually uses social media.
Along with looking at the type of content your audience shares, pay attention to how they interact with brands on social media (including yours). Are the majority of the interactions customer service inquiries, for example? Or is it mostly light-hearted jokes and casual conversation? The way your audience interacts with you is the biggest indicator of what they’d like to see from you on social.
3. Take control over the haters
Being a social media manager requires more of an emotional investment than people may assume. It’s a role that often has you working from morning until midnight, crafting a unique brand voice, building a loyal community, and developing one-on-one relationships. In one day, you’ll go from making people happy by giving them prizes and attention to lending frustrated people an ear to voice their concerns.
Sometimes that emotional investment doesn’t pay off. Sometimes people flood you with complaints about something beyond your control. They become emboldened by the anonymity of the internet and forget that there’s at least one real human being behind every brand account on social media, and they type terrible things they would never say to your face.
Don’t take things personally
Absorbing this type of negative energy isn’t sustainable, and I’m willing to bet it’s one of the leading causes of burnout for social media managers. Not taking things personally is the best defense you can possibly put into action. It’s easier said than done, but try to remember that people aren’t actually mad at you. (I had a coworker who was constantly reminding me of this and I’ll forever be indebted to him for it.)
Have a plan in place for negativity
It doesn’t take much for one comment to snowball into a full-blown crisis on social media, so having a plan in place for how to deal with escalating negativity will help ensure you feel safe and empowered as a social media manager. Create a crisis management plan that covers both how to identify and handle the type of comments that can spiral out of control.
Nothing combats negativity better than positivity. By choosing to only interact with people who are being positive on social media, you’ll be robbing the haters of the one thing they’re after—attention. This isn’t to say you should ignore people who have valid criticisms or feedback about your brand, but learn to separate genuinely upset customers from trolls. Then, focus on what makes you feel good; sharing content from your real fans and interacting with the loyal followers you have fun with every day.
Having the right tools can make a huge difference. Hootsuite can help you stay organized, connect with a wider audience, and measure what matters. Try it for free today and rekindle your love for social media.