If you are a Social Media Manager, you would know that it takes a considerable amount of time to do the various, small-small activities. Needless to say, that it is super easy to find yourself distracted and waste a lot of time in the process, all thanks to BuzzFeed, Upworthy, and Unilad.
If you are like me, then you spend part or almost all your day hopping from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and on and on, checking analytics, strategizing and performing one out of your million tasks.
Back in 2014, Snap Chat was closing three years, and still failing to explain to marketers that it was not a sexting application.
News stories had predictions about Pinterest beating Facebook and Twitter in the race to paid advertisements.
Live Video Play, Face Swapping, and Auto-play, etc. were all on the horizon, lurking to unleash a different mix into the Social Media we once knew, and truly so. Social Media has evolved at a much faster rate in the last 2 years, than in the last 10 years before that.
As you can see from the image above,
With evolution, comes adaptability and us, Social Media Managers need to keep update with all the new skills this job keeps demanding. So, I want to talk about my key predictions for Social Media Management for the future and the most important skills the future SMM needs to have,
The 9 Key Characteristics of Future Social Media Hero’s
What are the ideal ingredients of a Social Media Manager in 2017? If we were making a list for 2014, it would still be a fairly short list. But, Social Media has evolved frantically with the rise of new technology and wider audience, certain top skills can be seen common in the most successful marketers, and they are:
If you compare all the top brands on Social Media, you will notice that they all have one thing in common – it’s their community. A good Social Media Manager must be able to manage a community, administer it, create connections and also grow the community by connecting the brand to its audience.
If you haven’t realized how important Social Media is for your customer service, then you are surely doing something wrong. According to research, more than 72% customers who complain to a brand on Twitter, expect a response in the next hour. Not to forget the Facebook Business Pages, which have constantly seen an up in Customer Interaction, thanks to the privacy quotient.
The end all and be all of Social Media. Content curation is the savior, especially for businesses that do not have the time and resources to create original content for their social media. It is an important skill to have for an SMM as you need to know what to share and what not to share, and when to share what you share.
Relationship building is different from Community Management for reasons, because here you need to not only connect with your audience but also with your key influencers. This is a crucial skill, but unfortunately so, this is the most lacking skill for most managers. Proper Relationship building can give you access to, more credibility, larger audience; user generated content, social influence and of course, new leads and customers.
If you are thinking 2016 has been a massive year for Video, then just wait for 2017. 70% companies state that video is the most important part of their marketing strategy, and 2 out of 3 companies state that video will continue to dominate their marketing spend in the coming years. You need more reason to get this skill into you DNA? Facebook Live Videos are going to kill it in 2017, go ahead get the camera.
22% of customers would unfollow a brand on Social Media if the content were too repetitive and boring. Thanks to lt and BuzzSumo for getting this data together. Social Media Managing needs to be top of the line in the coming years. With the rise of Social Platforms like WhatsApp and Hike, Google Allo and Facebook Messenger, people are becoming wary of the same type of content constantly flooding their news feed from different brands. The scene will soon get saturated to the point where people will stop reacting to the same things over and over again. We need to get more original.
I am not simply talking about having a routine or a publishing schedule. With more features being unleashed in Social Networks than ever, managers need to stay ahead of the curve to make the most of the new features. This calls in for a little more than just having a content calendar. Better organization skills can entail having time every day to research and curate ideas for content that is out of the box.
Gone are the days when Social Platforms merely used to be a mode of contact between brands and customers. Selling on Social platforms goes way beyond the conventional means of traditional selling. For one, you cannot be a pushy salesman on Facebook, but again you do not want to miss out on a likely customer by being too slow. To be better able to sell in the social realm, you need to quickly find customer pain points and demonstrate how your product or service can give them relief.
Yes! You read that right. The key here is to be tech savvy to the point that you can spot key market shifts and adapt to changes quickly. With new Social platforms coming up, as a Social Media Manager, you do not need to become a pro in all platforms. But, if your audience is adopting a new network, so should you be able to learn the ins and outs of a social network and develop a Social Media Plan accordingly.
Search Engine Optimization:
As Social and SEO get interconnected, SEO is going to be in the top 5 skills for Social Media Managers by next year. With more and more Social content finding its way into the search engine results, Social Media Managers should take the hint and learn basic things like Keyword Research and Link Building.
And lastly, as a Social Media Manager you should allocate time every day to:
- Review the day’s content
- Provide social media insights for major campaigns
- Read industry news
- Indulge in Live Q&A with CEO on Facebook
- Resolve customer queries
- Curate content for staff to share throughout the day
- Schedule the content for the coming days
- Go home and pass out browsing funny memes on Facebook.
Now, since you know what sets the stage for the Social Media Warriors of tomorrow, let’s take a deeper look at some of the interesting changes in Social Media, that are set to share the Social Verse. I am going to talk about 5 important things that have happened or are soon to happen; that should be on the priority list of Social Media Managers in 2017.
Virtual Reality to Soon Set Foot into Social Media –
Well VR is already in action on Facebook and YouTube with the 360o photos and videos, but we are sure to see even deeper integrations in future. Facebook is already integrating Oculus Technology in its 360-degree photos and videos, which allow users to look at a scene from different angles by looking right, up, left and down, allowing for a more captivating experience. It would be the perfect time to start learning how to use 360-degree cameras, as they are going to be huge for businesses. Don’t go about telling me you ain’t a photographer. I ain’t But I love what I do, and I am willing to adapt as times change, as my audience is more receptive to this new form of content in their news feeds.
Takeaway: Social Managers who are keen to stay on top of the line, should learn the ins and out of VR technology and how it can be used better to engage the audience in the coming days. Think about 360-degree event coverage, sneak peek inside company tours to adventure destinations and more…
Social Shopping To Take Off Soon –
In the past two years, all major social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram have released in-line buttons. It is not too long before when YouTube may launch a 360-degree virtual shop for sellers wanting to market their products with a personal touch. The options that we presently have on these platforms are enough for customers to make purchases, without leaving the comfort of their news feeds. What is next? Facebook has recently launched a Shop section for Business Pages. Even though integrating storefronts is possible with third-party applications in the Business Pages already, but this is the Social Giants’ first move to shifting e-commerce right into the social space.
Takeaway: If you have not integrated Shop into your business page, then you should do it at the earliest. Try to measure the insights from any movement in your business page to make data-backed decisions to sell products. Not all products are born equal, so you might as well find out which products your community is more interested in. While, you have been promoting the wrong products all this while.
Live Streaming To Get Even More Mainstream –
We already saw an uprise in the consumption of live streaming media, when Twitter-owned Periscope reported 10 million active users at the start of 2015. Then came Hubspot, one of the best moves from Facebook till date. I am sure that you are aware, but for those who don’t know or have magically skipped all the live videos in the news feed since March, this year – Facebook Live allows you to stream real-time videos from your mobile or desktop, without using any third-party application. This has technically changed how the massive 2 Billion user base of Facebook interacts with each other. And that’s not the end of it; Facebook has also introduced tons of Hubspot that give you eye-to-eye insights about the performance of your live videos.
Takeaway: Integrating Live Streaming goes way beyond the means of standard Social Media Management Suits like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer. At least, for now. If you aren’t already taking advantage of live streaming yet, then the time is now. Take a look at this post on Hubspot for Livestreaming ideas.
Priority Customer Service in Social Media –
Social Media and Customer service have always been key players. Why would people like to wait on the phone, when they can get their query resolved on Facebook or Twitter? According to our study of 500 Sri Lankan retailers, we noted that only 60% of them were using Social Media to answer Customer Queries. And out of that, only 17% were using Twitter and the rest 83% were doing on Facebook. The average time for customer response varied from 24 Hours to a Week, which surely has a lot of room for improvement.
Most businesses do not realize the need to have a dedicated Customer Support in Social Media Channels due to the added costs. Even though customer service falls under the skill of a Social Media Manager, it should be taken more as a supervisor.
Interesting Read: 75 Customer Quotes Facts, Stats, and Quotes
Takeaway: Customer Support is a time taking process, needless to say, it is best served ‘right-from-the-oven.’ If your business is yes to extend full customer support in Social Media, it would be a right time now to start and slowly get a dedicated staff to manage incoming queries at the earliest.
Heard of Community by YouTube Yet? –
Well, if you haven’t already heard about YouTube’s latest endeavor to make the channel a bit more social, then you sure are not keeping up with your industry news. Nonetheless, it is not too late to jump into the YouTube bandwagon if you have been skeptical of YouTube as a one-sided media platform. Recently, YouTube announced a new tab next to Channels, that will allow content producers to indulge in lightweight conversations with their audience. This is what the official announcement from YouTube read.
“do things like text, live videos, images, animated GIFs and more, giving [them] easier, lightweight ways to engage with [their] fans more often in between uploads, in real-time.”
So it is self-explanatory right. A community for YouTube is going to be a huge success in the coming days. Not only will it allow content producers to interact with fans more often between uploads and video production, but it will also allow them to get feedback about what type of content their fans would like to see from them in the future.
Takeaway: Having a video streaming channel was a must in 2015, 16, but this move from YouTube is surely going to huge and result in an increase in the -ever-so-exponential- the amount of time people spend on the channel. Hop into the first ever Video Social Network and start building your own YouTube community from now! The time is bright my friend.
There is an interesting book I read on YouTube for Business. Read pages 192 – 225 or 7.
And now, since I have given you a fair insight into what is going to change in the coming days, let’s take a look at some of my Social Media Management Hacks, that are sure to increase your productivity as well…
Social Media Management Hacks for Productivity
I am going to list all the things that I use myself. Some may be tools, some maybe nifty little tricks. And they are in no particular order of importance or anything. Here you go:
Increase Tweet Reach with This Nifty Little Trick:
Use a period before tagging anyone with the @symbol at the beginning of a tweet to increase the tweet reach to your followers as well. Without the period, if you tag someone at the beginning of a tweet, your tweet will only be visible to them and their followers. A small but great hack if you want to include more people in your tweet battles.
Social Buzz Club to get more shares:
I see a lot of startups and new businesses struggling to get shares on their content in Social Media, no matter how much time they spend in research and development of content. Apart from leveraging employees, family, friends and supporters to share your content, you can also make use of Social Buzz Club. In this network, you can share your posts and others will share it in their networks. When you share, other content you get points, and these points can be redeemed into posting your content on this platform. It’s a great tool to build a community of people who constantly engage with your content.
Use Crystal Knows to Craft Better Introductory Emails:
Now, this trick is for Gmail. You can use com to find out how to break the ice with your prospective client or lead. What this tool does is, it analyzes public content in your name, to help you better communicate with them. The tool tells you about the personality, style, and communication and gives even deeper insights like – “this person tends to trust people easily.” Or things like “don’t write too much” .. “use emoticons wisely..”
Use IFTTT to Automate Content Sharing:
I use IFTTT to Automate my content sharing across various web platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Weebly, Tumblr and also have the content shared on Facebook and LinkedIn, right when I click the publish button. I have lots of other IFTTT Recipes, and I find it a great tool, which saves me hours of work, that I would need to individually cut and paste links and titles, and images into various platforms individually.
Use The Reply Button To Create Twitter Threads:
I don’t see many people using it, but it’s a fantastic way to share longer content in the form of tweets. The idea is to have the contents ready according to Twitter’s character count, and post your primary tweet, followed by the rest as replies to your own You can create a complex blend of content, by mixing videos, pictures, links, and text into your tweet threads, making them stand out in other people’s feed.
Use Tweetfull To Drive Twitter Engagement and Traffic:
As Tweets only tend to last for 24 minutes, you at least need 12 tweets to cover the entire day. What I do is, I use Tweetfull to auto re-tweet popular content based on keywords and hashtags that you select, which keeps your Twitter account lively all throughout the day. Even if the automation is good, I would suggest keeping the tweets on a lighter note, since you do not want to look like a spam haven.
Rapportive Helps Me Connect with People Who Mail Me:
Rapportive is also a web app for Gmail, like Crystalknows. What Rapportive does is it shows me all the places I can connect with a person, who has emailed For example, if a person emails me, I can directly send them a Connection Request on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter, without leaving my email. This is another great tool for Influencer outreach.
Optimize Your Opengraph Tags:
I learned this from the master – Neil Patel. When Neil started paying more attention to Open graphs, his traffic from Facebook increased by 174%. Don’t get baffled by the term, Integrating Opengraph Tags into your website is a matter of 10 seconds, which I am sure you can spare. The latest version of WordPress SEO by Yoast comes with Opengraph Tags integration as well.
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On a parting note, I would like to remind you about all the things I mentioned in this blog.
Social Media Managers should have skills like Community Management, Content Curation, Customer Service, Creativity, Analytical Decision Making ability, Creative DNA, Social Selling, Relationship Building, Search Engine Optimization, and Organization.
Top things to integrate into your Social Media Action Plan in 2017, if not yet are, Understanding and leveraging Facebook Live, Getting used to VR technology, Selling Your products and services through social storefronts, using Social Media to master Customer Service, and lastly, join the first ever Video Social Platform – Community by YouTube!
All in all, Social Media Management can be a really time-consuming task, and it can be tough to accomplish if you are not doing it as a dedicated job. Irrespective of whether you do Social Media full-time or part-time, you should always take one full day out for Content Curation in a month. This should be the day when you shut off your distractions and solely focus on collecting the best possible content for your audience, be it in the form of Images, Text, Videos, Gifs, or any other media.
Use Google Calendar Alerts to the fullest by marking important dates for dynamic content sharing like Facebook Live Videos, Q&A Interviews with Staff and HOD, Virtual Reality Casts, etc.
I hope you found my study helpful. If you need help managing your Social Media Profiles, you can connect with me on our Facebook Page, or simply drop a comment below and I will get in touch with you. Thanks for reading.