So, You Want to Be a Social Media Manager

two people in a discussion with mobile phones

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You see ads for the position of Social Media Manager. You use social media every day.  Maybe you’re no designer or marketing expert, but could you be an SM Manager?

What are the job responsibilities? Of course, that varies based on the employer, but here’s a quick list of some common parts of the job.

  • Work with content creators, possibly a content manager, public relations and marketing teams. If this is a small organization, you might be a one or two-person “department” and some knowledge of photography, videography, image editing skills is a real plus.
  • Develop a social media strategy
  • Manage all social media tactics to leverage content, drive community engagement and ultimately increase key KPIs.
  • Probably you will manage the social media budget
  • You will capture quantitative metrics and provide analysis and insights using SM management and analytical tools (Salesforce, Hootsuite etc.) for listening, scheduling, engaging, and reporting.
  • Manage the social media content calendar
  • For that job interview and when in the position you will need to stay up to date
    on your industry, especially the social media trends of competitors.

Do you need a college degree? Depends on the employer. Some may accept previous SM experience in a company – not personal social media experiences, though that certainly will help you. There are very few people in social media with degrees in social media because there are very few social media degrees though there are related fields such as marketing.

You certainly need experience managing social media or relevant, digital marketing experience across social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Is Social Media Hurting My Web Design Business?

That headline caught my attention (which is the purpose of a headline) because my business is both web design and social media.

“Social media is an interesting thing. As web design professionals, it can be a great opportunity to share your work and get in front of prospects who might otherwise never find you online. But for as much good as social media can do to propel your marketing efforts, it has the potential to be just as harmful to your business.”

But it turns out that the author is referring to how my social media presence could hurt my chances of getting a new job or client.

70% of hiring organizations research candidates using social media, and 57% of hiring managers have chosen not to pursue a candidate because of what they found on social media. So, I guess I need to watch what I say on social media. maybe I should avoid social media altogether. No[e, that’s not a good idea because 47% of organizations won’t contact a candidate if they have no online presence.

So, it’s a mixed message. Use social media the wrong way, and prospective clients will rule you out, but don’t use social media at all and they will also rule you out.

 

Who Is Abandoning Facebook?

access application browser connection

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  • A new survey of more than 3,400 U.S. Facebook users finds that 44 percent of users ages 18 to 29 have deleted the app from their phones in the past year.
  • Overall, 26 percent have deleted the app.
  • 42 percent have taken a break of several weeks or more.

But what the survey does not measure may be just as significant.

  1. How many of those who left have switched to Facebook’s Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger as their preferred communication channel?  All of those Facebook-owned alternatives are popular, especially outside the U.S.
  2. How many who left decided to come back to Facebook after some time off?  Facebook makes it a bit difficult to just delete an account Sort of like trying to drop your cable provider or a credit card.

Source: Facebook exodus…

Social Media 2020

four people using smartphones behind glass wall

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Social media in general had a tough year in 2018. Criticisms of fake news, private data being sold and made public by hackers and other issues gave it a bad reputation in the general public. Even the media that uses, perhaps even relies on, social media was critical. But social media is not going away.

Hootsuite made some predictions for 2020 social media (jumping right over this year)  that are pretty safe bets to make. For example, based on their annual global study of internet, social, and mobile adoption across 239 countries, social media usage will continue to grow.  I agree.

In 2017, one million new people joined social networks every day. Nearly a quarter of a billion new users came online for the first time in 2017. Where is the fastest growth? No surprise that it is places like Africa. Five years ago it would have been the emerging Chinese market, but that country has been pretty much conquered. Though Google, Facebook and others would still like a bigger piece of the share.)

Product discovery becomes more visual and social, according to GlobalWebIndex, because about half of internet users follow brands they like or brands they are thinking of buying something from on social media.

Again, the fast-growth markets are in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. In  the Philippines, Kenya and Morocco, social media beats the big search engines as a way to research purchasing and so it is a good bet that by 2020 search’s grip on product research will be even less. I have to believe that search engine companies are looking hard at that trend. And we know that Google never got social right. We saw the end of Google+ in 2018.

Have you done searches in the past year using voice via Siri, Alexa et al? Visual and voice search are also growing and Baidu expects half of searches by 2020 are going to be through images or speech by 2020. Baidu has the second largest search engine in the world but (like the leader’s company) this Chinese multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence, is also involved in lots of other tech, such as autonomous vehicles.

Pinterest – which I find myself using less and less – has Lens which uses machine learning for brand and product discovery and could really help broaden their reach.

On the commercial user side of things, I don’t think we have really seen much innovation in areas like customer service and support using messaging apps and chatbots. That may be a 2020 trend.

Some would say that social video is at a saturation point. I agree. So if it is to grow there needs to be some evolution. We know that watching videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram is commonplace. How much of your time doing that is for social or pleasure and how much is coming from commercial and promotion?  I suspect the latter uses will increase. I read that for some late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live video replay on YouTube or their own sites now accounts for 20% or more of their advertising income. It’s no wonder that Jimmy Fallon urges you after every clip to subscribe to their channel.

With all this growth, there are still trends that point to possible declines. The video saturation may not cause evolution but instead just mean that people are tired of all this video hitting them and stop watching.

Privacy is a huge concern and people are sharing less personal information on major networks. I disconnected many social services from others. I don’t share my contacts as readily. I don’t use Google or facebook or Twitter to sign into other services if I can help it. Companies know this. facebook has disallowed me from automatically sharing posts from other networks on my profile.

I keep hearing that Gen Y and Z will drive increased adoption of technology like VR and AR. But that is not what I see in my students that fall into these generational groups. Like myself, they just don’t see compelling reasons to own and use expensive glasses/goggles or add apps yet.

I think it is a given that AI and mobile will continue to grow and slip into our daily lives in many almost unseen ways.


You can read Hootsuite’s report on Digital in 2018 and make your own plans to join (or rebel against) the rise of social in the year ahead.

Designing For 2019

On one of my demo sites that I use with clients, I do a post each month on what is happening in web design trends. It is hard to keep up as the web evolves. Certainly websites from back in 1989 look VERY different (thankfully!) from today’s sites. The new year always brings predictions of new directions for web design. Some of those predicted trends end up being fads and lasting very briefly.

Here is a look at a few predictions for web design trends for 2019. Which ones will stick?

The blog at bluecompass.com comes from this Iowa-based digital company that works with businesses on web design, development and marketing.

Their predictions have a lot of color, animation and movement.  I have to say that some of this doesn’t work for me. It is overwhelming. One trend is the popularity of long web pages and seemingly “endless” scrolling. They point to the site for magicleap.com/ which I think has too much going on.

color branding by Camden Town Brewery

Color branding is another trend they list. Of course, using colors as prt of your branding is hardly new. It’s about as old as branding had colors available after we got past black and white newspapers, magazines, color TVs and monitors and computer printers. The example above uses multiple colors and animated backgrounds to show the colors coordinated to the beer labels – Belgian White having a yellow label, etc.

Blue Compass’ own UX testing found that rather than horizontal lines, using diagonal line design is not only visually intriguing, but it creates a directional purpose for the user’s eyes to follow down the page or to point to a call-to-action. The example below from TaxiNet illustrates this trend.
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The blog at movableink.com has its own list of trends for 2019. One that I agree on is breaking the grid. That grid is the symmetrical, graph paper kind of balance and design that came from engineering. We like its harmony. It is logical. But it can be boring and restrictive.

Broken grid layouts actually don’t use a grid, or if they do it is to be able to overlap and see where you are breaking the lines. Images, backgrounds and text elements can seem to drift into and across the gutters that we are used to having form the boundaries. This trend is great for people who never liked to color within the lines.

A broken grid on belletrist.com

Not animated but still striking is the use of big, bold lines that can draw attention to a point or a complementary image. With thick lines, the color(s) and intersection points pull the user’s attention – sometimes to and sometimes away from the lines creating a focal point.

Big, bold, thick lines are central to this Mountain Dew and the NBA campaign.

Crisis Response and Social Media Strategy

t-rex in the rearview mirror

Ready for a crisis when it appears?

Often when we think of a social media strategy, we think of marketing. Create a plan, make a content calendar, and build campaigns.  But organizations also need a strategy to respond to a crisis using social media (SM) and ones that emerge in SM.

Many organizations and boards use an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach for dealing with a crisis. But that ERM was probably overseen by an audit committee or some group other than a social media team. In fact, the SM team might not even be in-house. The traditional ERM might have originally considered things like disaster recovery (fire, flood, hurricanes) and had its purview expanded to oversee things like cyber readiness. A well prepared organization’s risk mitigation should also have pre-reviewed  SM responses ready.

Betsy Atkins, writing in Forbes, suggests that you prepare for your ten most likely risks. Having prepared such strategies and taught students to do so, I know that though there may be some industry typical risks that are obvious, you really need a list customized to your organization.

For example, Atkins suggests that for a restaurant, those risks might include a wide range from food poisoning, to a #metoo issue, or a breach of customer info, to an armed attack/active shooter.

She notes that the difference between Starbucks’ speedy response on an alleged racial bias issue contrasts poorly with the poor responses by United Airlines concerning passenger abuse removal scandal followed by a puppy suffocation death.

In a time when customers are more likely to tweet their anger with your organization or post a bad review, you need to respond very quickly and as proactively as possible. I was a MoviePass customer and I saw many complaints on social media about service and all received the same boilerplate “contact us privately” kind of response. I knew they were in trouble. Beyond the person who posted their complaint, there were many more readers of it who had the same issue or would have in the future and they saw that the company was avoiding any public response.

Is there any crossover between the marketing side of SM and the risk management side? There should be. Since I work frequently in higher education, I was interested in an article about how George Washington University is using campus influencers  to market for them. Using students, alums, campus leaders is not unique, though much of what you see online is probably accidental rather than intentional marketing. These participants received a package of GW “swag” and were asked to post about GW at least three times a month using the hashtag #GWAmbassador and attend at least two events at GW (tickets provided) each semester if they live in the D.C. area.

The article was vague on details but said that “officials” would provide these ambassadors with “expectations” about how to promote the given material. I hope those expectations are carefully worded and thorough in their coverage since you have designated these people as ad-hoc members of the marketing team. Are they disclosing that they were given the ticket to the event they are posting about?  If they wear their GW hat and sweatshirt at a gun control rally and post a photo without the official hashtag are they still representing the university at some level?

The campaign sounds okay, and the few examples I saw in Twitter seemed innocent enough. Are they ready to respond to a crisis emerging from it?