Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What is a Social Media Manager?

It's the standard American conversation starter, besides discussing the weather: "What do you do?" When I tell people I'm a Social Media Manager, they nod appreciatively. Then, more often than not, they furrow their brows and ask something along the lines of: "So what exactly do you do all day?" The standard short answer is that I manage Facebook Pages and other social media accounts for businesses. But of course it's a lot more than just that. When I have time, the long answer sounds something like this.
  • The social media world is complicated and what might be right for one business may not be for another. Drawing from my considerable knowledge of social media best practices, I develop a unique, individually tailored social media strategy for each of my clients, using an understanding of their goals for being on social media, target demographics and brand identity.
  • Just like people have Facebook Profiles, businesses can have Facebook Pages. They contain a bio of the company, including its history and anything else that it might put on its website. And just like a person can with a Profile, the company can put out status updates, including photos and links. Instead of friends, Business Pages have fans. When people "like" a Page, its status updates appear in their news feed, just like their friends' status updates. I help companies create their Pages, and I put out content on their behalf, and respond to comments on their updates and posts on their wall. Acting as the Page, I "like" other Pages, and interact with their content and post messages on their walls. Pages can also advertise on Facebook, so I create and manage those ads as well.
  • On Twitter, I create and manage accounts for my clients, including developing and posting content, and following and interacting with other accounts, especially "influencers" and "thought leaders" in the client's field. I also track and respond to mentions of the client's name and relevant keywords and, if they have a physical location, respond to check-ins and reviews on sites like Yelp and Foursquare that get pushed to Twitter. Twitter has its own advertising as well, which I manage on behalf of my clients to promote their accounts. 
  • Because a Google+ presence has such a great SEO benefit, I use Google+ to share similar content to Facebook and interact with other accounts by "circling" them and interacting with their content.
  • If the client has video content to share, I create a YouTube account for them and use it to post videos, respond to comments, and interact with other YouTube accounts, including commenting on their content and adding their videos to the primary account's playlists.
  • Reputation management in the social media world means monitoring review sites like Yelp and Citysearch, as well as location listings like Google+ Local. Since listings on these types of sites can be generated automatically or by customers, I search for new listings in addition to monitoring to existing listings, and respond to reviews as needed. 
  • Pinterest is an excellent way to share clients' images and curate image collections, especially for clients with a visually compelling or physical product for sale.
  • I help clients set up a LinkedIn listing for their businesses, and in some cases manage their personal LinkedIn accounts, posting information relevant to their industry and helping them manage their network of connections.
  • In addition to managing the most popular social media accounts on my clients' behalf, I also closely monitor trends in the industry to determine if new social media products might be right for them.
  • As they're so fond of saying over the loudspeaker at my gym, "what gets measured gets improved!" I use a variety of analytic tools to track the progress of the work I'm doing and use those insights to refine my social media strategy.

As one of my mentors, Robert Caruso, is fond of saying, social media is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires advanced training, careful planning, incredible endurance and constant adjustment to conditions on the day. Considering all of the above elements as well as the flexibility to adapt to consumer interactions and changes in the field, the answer then to "What do you do all day?" is: work - hard.

This is me - working while on vacation in the Caribbean

Friday, May 3, 2013

What's in a name? Name Your Facebook Page Carefully

Business owners and Facebook Page administrators must choose their facebook page names wisely, or risk difficulty down the road. Facebook's Page Name Guidelines provide some direction for establishing a page name, including using proper grammar and avoiding superfluous descriptions. But often, and by the time page administrators realize their page needs to be renamed, it's too late. It used to be entirely impossible to change a page's name once it reached 100 fans. Facebook now allows page admins to submit a name change request form, but can only do so once.
What's in a name? Page names are the most visible representation of a brand on facebook. In addition to providing a physical title to the page, the name of a facebook page also impacts its visibility in the News Feed. It also reflects the ease with which a page can be tagged in posts by other people and pages.
So why would a page name need to be changed? The most common potential problem, besides the always annoying typo, is illustrated by event pages with sponsor names (think Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.) Fun Fact: The Fiesta Bowl has changed names, and sponsors, three times since it became the first bowl game to acquire a title sponsor in 1986. Events like the Fiesta Bowl are usually the pages most likely to include ‘superfluous descriptions’ like sponsor names, locations and dates.
For large events like the Fiesta Bowl, which has more than 13,700 fans, it may be easier to get through facebook's page name change process due to their visibility. On the other hand, for smaller events with less than a national presence, it can prove extremely difficult, if not impossible. 
Page admins should get involved in their organization's sponsor contract drafting process. This is to ensure that sponsor mentions happen only in the account's posts and in the ‘About’ section. Loyal sponsors like Tostitos may stick around for 18+ years. But if their contract ends, the admin may have a tough time renaming the page. Since page names can only be changed once, if a sponsor change takes place again, the page will become obsolete and the event will have to start with a brand new Page. 
When many admins try to change the name of their pages, they are unable to do so. In the official Pages Terms, Facebook provides a vague description of its page name policy, but does not outline it in detail. The process of approving name changes is left to the discretion of Facebook staff. As noted by hundreds of users in Facebook's community forums, that can be hit or miss.
While the Pages Terms naming section is vague, some further clarifications are provided in the Page Name Guidelines and noted again when an admin first initiates a name change request:
From there, the admin must select the type of page: a business or company, a person or public figure, an organization, a website or blog, an event, or other. The page type selected brings up a handy list of "things to keep in mind," giving the admin some further guidance on things to avoid this time when creating their new page name, such as specific dates, locations, corporate sponsors, taglines and other descriptions. Admins who find their page request declined may be in violation of these requirements. 
The final step in the process, which Facebook claims will help "expedite the process" is to "upload documentation that clearly shows the name and address of your business", such as a utility or phone bill. For pages without official documentation, this step can be the final insurmountable barrier.
Given the inherent difficulties in the complicated process of changing the name of a Facebook page, business owners and page administrators should study the Page Name Guidelines, choose their page name wisely and be willing to stick with it - or be stuck with it - forever.
This article is a repost of my article on