You've probably heard the acronym SMM thrown around quite a bit over the last few years. It stands for Social Media Management. But what exactly is it? Depending who you ask, you'll get a very different answer.
- If you query a starter SMM (Social Media Manager), you'll likely hear that they will be posting on your behalf and talking to your customers, so that you don't have to.
- Asking a mainstay SMM, you'll get a much more detailed answer (more on that in a few).
- When asking a business owner, you'll probably hear more about posting, and definitely attention to social ads.
I'm a mainstay. I've been in the field of SMM since before social media was an industry (MSN Messenger, anyone?), and my company has come to develop social media strategies for hundreds of brands. If you're looking for SMM, you should be asking about these 10 areas:
- Posting: Who will post the content, how will it be approved (if there is a need), how often will the content go out, what platforms will be used, and how will multimedia be handled? These are the questions you should ask right out of the gate. A good SMM knows what networks hold the most potential for your business. There should never be a delay in these answers. The great thing about a quality SMM is, if they truly know their stuff, they're quite adept to a fast paced environment. This means quick answers.
- Ads Administration: Social Media has become a pay-to-play environment. While there are still ways to grow organically, having a proper ads budget is a necessity. In regards to Facebook, ask the SMM what level they are at. Certain levels give certain perks. For example, we are Gold Level, White Label Beta members of the Facebook Ads community. This means we have access to features and pricing that many don't. It's important to understand what level your SMM is at because ad environments can be extremely complex, and it's easy to spend all of your budget with next to no results.
- Network Growth: How will your SMM grow your network? If the campaign is working, there should be new customers following, connecting, and liking your brand daily. At Sync, we guarantee 8% Network Growth monthly. That's on the low end. Your SMM should be able to lay out the tactics that will be used as a part of the Network Growth strategy, and give you realistic projections after the first 3-months of contract as to what you can come to expect for the rest of the year.
- PR: A piece of SMM that many forget about is PR. Depending on who you speak to, PR as it applies to the online world can cover various areas. For our purposes, we'll keep it simple and say PR covers reviews. Popular sites that require PR include Yelp, Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and many others. Your industry will often have unique PR review sites. In the restaurant biz, Zomato is an important site to pay attention to. How often will your SMM check reviews, how will they respond, and how will this affect your business?
- Branding: This is an area that a lot of SMM's have little experience with. Us seasoned folk understand the importance of tying your online and offline brand together; continuity is key, and the only way to achieve that continuity is through proven communication methods.
- Interaction: There are those amongst us who get up at 6am and go to sleep by 9pm. Then there are those that wake up at noon and go to bed at 2am. Lastly, there are those people who have night jobs or are simply night owls. Of those three types of customers, which do you not want? Your answer is obvious. You want all 3! That's why you need a team that can interact at all hours no matter the circumstance. Questions to ask regarding interaction; between what times will you interact with people, how quickly can I expect responses, and will you dig through social media to find those talking about the brand? High levels of interaction make you more relevant, and as a result you end up being seen by more people.
- Tech Support: Bugs and issues happen. When you are confronted with a tech support issue, how will it be handled? A quality SMM will provide answers, and when they don't have them, they'll find them. This is where relationships with the big networks come in handy. Find out if your SMM has worked directly with Facebook, Twitter, and other networks. Having relationships with these companies goes a long way to fixing the problems that inevitably come up.
- Market Consultation: An SMM should be able to provide you with market consultation. This is the science of discovering whether there is an actual market for your next idea. The best example of this is in the nightlife industry. The nightclubs we work with query us about acts they're thinking of bringing in before they sign the contract. We can tell them how many people in their geographical location interact with that act, how popular the act is, and whether the market will sustain the cost.
- Loyalty: This is a two-way street. If you're paying the offered rate by an SMM, then you should get an industry exclusivity for your geographical target. If you're on a discounted price, exclusivity should not be an expectation. Just keep that in mind before you sign on the dotted line and agree to the price.
- Reporting: What kind of statistical data will be offered to you, and how often? It's important to know what work has been done, and what the results were. The fantastic aspect of SMM is that there is definable ROI if done right. You should know exactly where you stand.
So, there you have it. 10 aspects of SMM you should be discussing with whomever you sit down and talk to about representing your business. If you do need help in the area of SMM, don't hesitate to reach out.