A Day in the Life of a Social Media Specialist
7:30 AM. I’m lying in bed with my iPhone, rubbing my eyes and checking e-mails and push notifications like crazy. There’s nothing that can’t wait – no urgent e-mails from a client, no aggressive tweets from an angry customer and no questions on Facebook that require an immediate answer. That’s good, that means I can get dressed and head towards the office.
On the way out, I pick up my HyperJuice in case my phone runs out of battery on the journey.
I get to the office at 8:45, and I immediately log in to my computer and boot up Google Chrome. It takes a good 45 minutes to catch up with all of the non-emergency interactions that have racked up since I left the office the previous evening.
First, I check Facebook, scanning each of my pages for new notifications. We make it a rule to always write back (in fact, we have a mural on our wall to remind us), and so everything other than a ‘like’ gets a response. People with questions or complaints are prompted to send a message to the page with further information so that we can follow up with them.
Up next, it’s time for Twitter.
We use TweetDeck, but Hootsuite is just as good and most third-party Twitter dashboards have similar functionality. I monitor RTs, @mentions, and DMs for each of our client accounts, and I set up bespoke search terms for relevant phrases.
For my own company, for example, I look for people tweeting ‘need creative agency’ or ‘want creative agency’.
I also monitor certain hashtags, like #JournoRequest and #PRRequest, that are used by other professionals and which occasionally generate opportunities. The #JournoRequest hashtag in particular is worth monitoring – I once secured radio spots for two different clients in the same week, simply by responding to journalists’ tweets.
With Twitter and Facebook up-to-date, and with all queries and comments responded to, I can start to check my e-mails.
At any one time, I’m usually in the middle of creating content calendars, providing social recommendations, generating reports and requesting graphics, and that’s just for current clients. I also spend a lot of time conducting audits for potential clients and working on pitches that are designed to help us win business. I also read the Rabbitgram, a daily e-mail from a London agency that gathers together the day’s top social media stories.
Then, I’m ready to work.
I work off an action list – put simply, it’s a Word document that lists my daily tasks so I make sure that everything gets done on time. Broadly speaking, I use it as a multi-client content calendar, ensuring that we remember to tweet when we’re supposed to tweet or to release a YouTube video on a specific day. Further information about what specific post should go out and where it should go out to is included in the client-specific content calendars.
I like to post updates manually, because that way I know exactly when the post goes out and I’m ready to deal with the response.
Pre-set posts cause a problem, because if you’re away from the computer at the time, you can come back to find that it’s been overtaken by negativity or that it’s received much more interaction than you were expecting. If you publish the post by hand, you can be ready for the response – this is particularly important when working on larger clients with a more established following.
We usually duplicate the majority of our content across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, although as we post the updates by hand, we can ensure that we optimise it for each different social network. Too many people make the mistake of automatically duplicating updates from Facebook to Twitter – unless your entire update is under 140 characters, it will display badly on Twitter, losing link previews, attached images, and truncating the status to make it fit.
Of course, we run network-specific campaigns, too – for example, we might launch a competition on Facebook, provide a discount code through Google+, and live-tweet from an event on Twitter, often on the same day. It’s important to use a certain level of unique content on each of your social media sites, because if you don’t then people have no reason to follow you on more than one of them.
I also work closely with an SEO, PPC, and Google Analytics expert, who helps me to monitor the impact of our social campaigns.
Using conversion tracking, we can see what our clients’ followings are doing when they visit the website. This helps us to optimise and to develop our social media strategy on an on-going basis – if LinkedIn is driving a lot of traffic, or if the visitors that are coming through are converting at a much higher rate than visitors from Twitter, we know to spend less time on Twitter and more time on LinkedIn.
Using analytics has additional benefits – on one e-commerce client, we found that a huge number of people were buying a specific product after clicking on links to it from Facebook. We weren’t doing any activity around it at the time, which meant that people were sharing the page amongst themselves. Because of this, we knew to include a major focus on the product in our content calendar.
We also work with social advertisements, like promoted posts on Facebook, text ads on Facebook and LinkedIn, and video adverts on LinkedIn and YouTube. Using analytics, we can track not only which adverts are driving cheap traffic to the website, but also which adverts are most effective at turning visitors in to paying customers. We recently worked on a huge advertising campaign which included display ads, Google ads and LinkedIn ads – while LinkedIn adverts had the highest CPC (cost per click), they also converted visitors at a much higher rate, meaning that although the clicks were more expensive, the conversions were much, much cheaper.
When it comes to monitoring, it’s easiest to get on top of things in the morning and to spend five minutes of every hour to check again.
At 5:15 PM, when I’m getting ready to shut down and head home, I have one last run through TweetDeck and Facebook to pick up on anything that I missed. Afterwards, I’m on my own.
Social media is a 24/7 job, and so it pays to keep an eye on things in the evenings and weekends, too.
I’m on Facebook most of the time anyway, and so monitoring Facebook pages isn’t a problem. For Twitter, I get push notifications to my phone and use TweetDeck at home for certain clients when a rapid response is not only a priority but a necessity. In these circumstances, we agree upon a crisis protocol in advance so that there’s no need to get sign-off from a client at 10 o’clock on a Saturday evening.
Of course, social media isn’t just a job to me – it’s a way of life.
I’m active on more social networks than I can count, but the ones that I use on a regular basis include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Foursquare, Snapchat, and Soundcloud. I also run two blogs (DaneCobain.com and SocialBookshelves.com), and my computer is generally running and online from the second I wake up until the moment I fall asleep.
When I tell people what I do, they tend to think that I get paid to sit around on Facebook all day. While that’s true to some extent, I’m doing much more than browsing through statuses or cyber-stalking old friends and ex-girlfriends. When I’m not running ads and competitions, I’m writing proposals, strategy documents, and presentations, forging relationships with bloggers or writing articles for people like Ari. Let’s hope I didn’t disappoint him!
Armed with a Master in Public Administration and 12+ years of experience as a corporate webmaster, newspaper reporter, government manager, and digital marketing college professor, Ari Herzog is a connector and storyteller at the intersection of digital media and community relations.
He blogs at ariherzog.com and occasionally writes about himself in third person.
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