Work in social they said

Lessons learnt from social media management: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Work in social they said

If you had told us 10 years ago that social media would someday be a full-time job, we would have laughed. However, there’s no denying the ever-evolving nature of today’s digital landscape - which essentially means, if you’re not on the ‘gram or implementing a social media strategy for your business, then be prepared to be left behind.

And while we love creating content, learning about what the heck Instagram Reels were and seeing our clients win, social media management is not all about cat memes and FBI level stalking… although those are quite fun. It’s constant analysis of data, keeping up with ever-evolving digital trends and dealing with the not-so-nice trolls and nasty DM’s that come with this space.

Working in social? Here’s what we’ve learnt…

You have a minor breakdown every time a new platform is released

Social media managers the world over breathed a collective sigh when Snapchat started to fade away…only to be swiftly replaced by TikTok. Those not born in the 2000’s quickly scrambled to create accounts, follow all the viral trends, learn the dances and desperately research whether our clients should have an account too. Every time a new social platform gets announced, we stress. Haven’t we got enough already?!

Your own personal social media account will either look a barren wasteland or will be so heavily curated it will start competing with some of your top clients
Fact: you will never be able to post on your own Instagram account without questioning your image composition, caption, hashtag set, how it fits in with the rest of your feed or the timing of your post. That’s if you even get to post it at all. Working in social media will either send you down a dark path of obsession or leave you so puffed out that you couldn’t possibly do more!

Alcohol fixes everything

When Business Manager won’t play nice, just pour a stiff gin and come back tomorrow. It’s the social media equivalent of turning it off and on again.

Everyone thinks you have Mark Zuckerberg on speed dial

If only! Sadly, there is no direct line to God (or Facebook or Instagram), we’re as disconnected as the rest of the world when it comes to getting help from a real human at one of these companies.

Timing is everything

Turns out there is a perfect time to post on your social media. Sometimes it’s when you least expect it, too (we don’t know who is still up at 11.20pm on a Tuesday, but clearly someone is!). We’ll never tell our secrets at figuring this out though, you’ll have to hire us first…

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

"Relying too heavily on social media alone is a dangerous game for a brand…”

Put simply, relying too heavily on one platform is a dangerous game. As we’ve seen recently with many accounts (both business and personal), Instagram can and does shut accounts in a heartbeat, without any warning or reason (insert panic here). Ensuring you spread your effort, risk and potential across multiple platforms will stand you in good stead if the worst were to happen. If we can recommend anything, please curate and nurture a healthy email list. This together with your website will be your most reliable and valuable real estate. Because don’t forget, with social media, you’re playing in someone else’s backyard.

Have a unique brand personality

We cannot stress the importance of this one enough. Every woman, her dog and job are on social media now. How will your account stand out from the crowd and cut through the noise? Be different, take risks with your content and be rewarded.

You can spend almost an entire day on emoji selection for a post.

“Should I use the dancing girl in the red dress or the man at the disco?” and other frequently asked questions in the Dark Horse office… In all seriousness, emoji selection is paramount.

You can lead a horse to water…

Placing a small fortune behind a large paid Facebook advertising campaign will only be successful if you’re sending people to the right place. A perfectly functioning website and seamless user experience is crucial to converting sales. Put it this way, you wouldn’t lead someone to a shop that was closed and expect sales, right? Fix up all the other bits before you start your campaign. 

Things to leave alone: religion, politics and bandwagons.

If you’ve never had a conversation about Black Lives Matter as a brand, make sure the conversation is real and continued. No one likes performative activism.

Always do your best to secure an alcohol brand, a beautician and something edible.

Because the one thing that soothes the soul of a social media manager the most is booze, botox and bread. 

Exposure doesn’t pay the bills.

The world doesn’t work like this anymore. Thanks for offering to tag me on your platform for the hours of hard work I spent curating this content, but that’s not paying my mortgage or feeding my family, so I might pass. 

Influencer management is a whooooole new world and a big fat can of worms.

If there’s anything we’ve learnt here, be very clear with your expectations and always have an agreement in place. And definitely don’t rely solely on influencers, have your fingers in all the pies. Apple pies if possible (please refer back to point 11.).

First Friday is a thing.

Basically, we never need an excuse to imbibe, Thursday afternoon drinkies are good for creativity and the soul. This day is called first Friday… the day before second Friday.

You can work from anywhere in the world, on a beach, on the moon, in quarantine.

As long as we have the Internet, we’re good to go. Not saying we planned this or anything but having the freedom and flexibility to work anywhere in the world, at any time, is priceless.

Respond to your DMs. Always.

Your first line of customer service is your DMs. Read them, acknowledge them and respond to them as soon as possible. Just because they’re not forward facing doesn’t mean they aren’t PR…one disgruntled customer can create quite the shit storm.

If at all possible, take the conversation offline.

Don’t argue with customers or followers in your comments section. Diffuse any tension by taking the conversation offline ASAP. Most times people just want to feel heard and validated and you can remedy issues quickly and effectively. Plus, no one wants to see good old-fashioned fisticuffs in public…awkward!

Your weekly screentime notification will become a rude awakening.

HOW MANY HOURS ON INSTAGRAM?! If only those hours were a tax deduction.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure

Data and insights are everything when it comes to social media. Regularly analysing your statistics are crucial for forward planning, how will you know what’s working if you’re not constantly reviewing. We regularly nerd out when its reporting time for our clients… give us all the analytics!

Social media has the power to change the world.

If the past year has taught us anything, we couldn’t live without connectivity. Well, we could, but it would be bloody hard. Every lockdown announcement about COVID? Social media. Connecting with family and friends you haven’t seen because of a global pandemic? Social media. Live streaming events you would normally be at in person? Social media. It has the power to change the world for the better, and we couldn’t imagine our lives without it.

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