More than 1 billion people log on to some form of social media each day. The data they input, upload and share can help identify specific information about an individual just as easily as it can determine a hot-button issue people are discussing in real time.
Businesses are striving to harness the reach and popularity of social media to learn more about consumer likes and dislikes and how to better position themselves to capture and keep customers. A small shop in a rural town, for instance, can now use social media to identify and provide service to a customer on a different continent, something that would not have been possible 15 years ago.
Many companies have taken to platforms like Facebook and Instagram to humanize their interaction with customers, sharing information about their products through photos and videos while cementing brand recognition and loyalty by acknowledging specific users.
According to Forbes, as of August 2014, a survey of businesses found that 80% believe social media had increased online traffic to their websites. The magazine also reported that social media has helped reduce marketing costs while providing relevant feedback that companies can use when evaluating services, advertising and promotional campaigns.
Mostly Free, But Not Entirely
Best of all, social media is, by and large, free for anyone to use.
What isn’t free, however, is the cost of having someone oversee and implement a successful social media strategy. This involves generating or curating content, monitoring sites and comments and keeping abreast of shifting trends or the newest technologies.
Because a successful social media strategy requires constant monitoring and updating, someone needs to be in charge of keeping a company’s social media presence fresh.
Maintaining one or more social media accounts can be time consuming, which is why more companies today are hiring social media managers – either in-house or through an agency – to stay on top of the most popular platforms and formulate a plan to maximize benefits of social media efforts.
Managing social media can be a full-time endeavor that requires someone with the knowledge and ability to take advantage of current trends while anticipating the evolution of the online experience
A social media manager can bring some of these benefits to a business:
- Refine a strategy – This can involve timing of posts, efforts to support a marketing campaign or initiatives and deciding which platforms work best for each goal and objective.
- Knowledge of the market – Because social media changes so quickly as new platforms emerge and others plummet in popularity, a manager will keep track of what works best and produces the optimum results, along with which audiences to target.
- Increase traffic – Assembling a large, qualified following on social media platforms doesn’t happen overnight. A social media manager can direct efforts that produce results that boost traffic over time.
- Keep it running – Making the best of social media’s potential requires constant attention that includes frequent and regular posting of content, monitoring sites for comments and interaction with consumers and tracking trends the business can tap into.
Finding the right person, though, isn’t as easy as just picking the youngest, hippest recruit. A social media manager must be able to execute a plan while staying true to a specific company’s corporate identity and vision.
At the same time, that individual has to be able to handle the potential crush of new traffic flooding the company website and other online platforms while ensuring that any increased demand for specific products or services is fulfilled.