The job of a social media manager, in 6 important charts

social media manager - knowing how to knowIt should come as no surprise that social media moves fast. There are a lot of networks to keep up with, and policies, best practices and toolsets are changing every day.

While reading a number of blogs every single day should be part of every social media managers routine, the industry is just too big to know everything all the time. That’s why, in my opinion, the most important skill of a social media manager is knowing how to know.

I may not have experience with every social media tool out there – but I have enough experience that I can learn how to use any social media tool in a matter of minutes.

You have a question about the state of the industry? I may not have the answer offhand, but I know which blogs to find it in, and I’m a master at structuring a Google search just right to find whatever I need pretty quickly.

There’s a lot to know – but there’s also a lot of information out there. The best thing you can do to position yourself as a social media expert is knowing how to sort through it all quickly.

social media conference chartSpeaking of boatloads of information – if you’ve ever been to a social media conference you know they’re packed with people and companies with a lot of insight and experience to offer.

They’re also immensely humbling. I always leave social media conferences grateful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained, but then there’s always this nagging feeling of “How did I not know that before?” Basically, the feeling that crucial tidbits of tools, best practices and information somehow slipped through the cracks.

Why am I telling you this? So that if you’ve ever experienced the same, you know you’re not alone! Just try to enjoy the knowledge-gathering experience and networking with your fellow social media managers. When you get back home, you can do your best to integrate what you’ve learned into your social media routine.

social media managers - ven diagramWhat would a charts post be without a nice, middle school-style Venn diagram?

Seriously, though. It never fails to amaze me how many people make accusations without actually reading the article or clicking through to the link associated with the post. Sometimes their comments are contradicted directly in the headlines.

NPR’s social media managers captured this point of frustration perfectly on April Fool’s Day this year, when they posted an article titled “Why doesn’t America read anymore?” The comments beneath the post were indignant, about the death of books, the loss of a generation and the depravity of e-readers.

But, if you clicked through to actually read the article, you were taken to a page wishing you a “Happy April Fool’s Day,” explaining, “We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read.”

first two years as a social media manager  This one explains itself. A tongue-in-cheek testament to how our skills improve over time, and how our work can actually change the way we think for the better. Read how Twitter is making you a better writer.

social media commentsPeople like to be mean on social media. It’s an unfortunate reality of our field. Being on social media gives them a sense of anonymity they can’t replicate in other walks of life – and many take advantage of the opportunity simply to hurt other people.

When I first started out, one person tweeted that my campaign was stupid, and sarcastically remarked, “I hope you’re paying this person a lot.” Ouch.

I’ve read a lot of tweets and social media comments over the years – there’s a reason I remember this one. Not only did it hurt, but I was young and new to the industry.

Now? I barely notice these comments, but am sure to forward the harshest ones to my colleagues for a good laugh. Because really, it’s just severely insecure people lashing out in the only way they know how.

If this has happened to you – don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Your skin will thicken over time – and as the end of the day (i.e. happy hour) nears.

Oh, and speaking of happy hours…

Risk of accidentally tweeting

“Beer” by Edward Boatman for the Noun Project, used under CC BY/modified from original

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