What does a social media strategist's day-to-day look like and what does it take to perform this job?
In a world where 67% of consumers use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for their issues - even the queen hired a social media strategist - companies have figured out that the social media strategist is a key role for the company's health.
Social media strategists are some of the most sought after digital marketers today.
A social media strategist acts as a bridge between a company and the social media community, and she/he needs to wear a lot of hats.
This role cuts across several departments, from marketing to product development and sales.
To understand the importance of a social media strategist, you have to understand what they do and how they do it.
That's why today, I'm going to define:
- the job of social media strategist
- tips on the role and responsibilities of a social media strategist
- the difference between a strategist and a social media manager
- how to become a social media strategist
- social media strategist salary expectation.
Let's dive in ⇣
What does it mean to be a social media strategist
What does a social media strategist do:
1.1. Develop, implement and manage social media strategies and plans
1.2. Define the most important social media KPIs
1.3. Build an online community
1.4. Run a competitive analysis
1.5. Monitor brand mentions
1.6. Measure the success of every social media campaign
1.7. Manage and oversee the social media content
1.8. Be an early adopter of social media trends and technology
1.9. Work in a multidisciplinary team
1.10. Track and analyze SEO in order to provide effective solutions for content optimization
1.11. Network with industry professionals and influencers
1.12. Hire and train others in the team
1.13. Provide constructive feedback
Depending on the company's size, a social media strategist should have creative skills as well as analytic skills such as data measuring, planning, project execution, copywriting, graphic design, video production, and customer care.
If they work in a big organization, the strategist may focus on planning, strategizing and executing social media campaign
However, when working for a small business, they could be a one-man or one-woman show where they serve as a super-hero, planning and executing everything to do with social media on behalf of the organization.
Here's a list of roles and responsibilities of a social media strategist:
One of the key roles is to identify potential customer demographics, where they act on social media, how they communicate, and what makes them tick.
They analyze social trends and develop strategy plans to reach out to the right audiences.
When a plan is fully developed, they need to implement and manage it through social media campaigns.
How can they track a campaign’s success?
Social media strategists should have an in-depth understanding of how social media works and the metrics that prove a campaign’s success.
Typically, people look at factors such as shares, likes, comments, and clicks.
The social media strategists cannot afford to dwell on the basic metrics. Other KPIs such as web traffic, program signs ups, impressions, brand mentions, sales, followers, and leads are also significant in establishing the success of a campaign.
While defining the social media KPIs, social media strategist should focus on the organization's goals. Using likes as a KPI would be misleading if the organization purposed to improve sales or increase sign-ups for a program.
Engagement for a social media strategist is not about the number of comments or likes.
It's about building a community. Numbers don't matter that much (even though they do), but influence does.
The social media strategist is supposed to build a community that is responsive and loyal to their brand. Different strategists employ different tactics when it comes to engagement.
Humor, storytelling, and polls are some of the most popular tactics. Regardless of the tactics used, a strategist should connect with audiences and establish a lasting relationship that surpasses sales and leads.
In a fast-moving world, where the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds, businesses are definitely scrambling for audiences' attention.
The social media strategists need to understand what are the key differentiators compared with top competitors and how to translate the benefits to customers.
Their analytical skills come in handy when analyzing the competitive landscape and the strategies.
For instance, if a competitor is using offers to attract leads and a huge following, the social media strategist needs to be aware of this. They need to monitor competitors and ensure they're at the same level with or above them in terms of strategy.
A social media strategist's roles cut across customer care and PR in the digital space.
They monitor brand mentions in a bid to ensure they're creating a buzz among social media users. This role is intertwined with managing the brand's image by ensuring negative myths are quelled before they spread.
After all, social media can be very toxic, and a campaign can end up eliciting very negative reactions.
Social media strategists also take time to interact with audiences by responding to their queries regarding the brand or simply responding to comments on social media pages.
Social media marketing requires continuous effort.
A good following and influence do not guarantee leads and sales in the future unless the social media strategist maintains or improves statistics.
They, therefore, need to measure every campaign individually to ensure the performance improves continually. Monthly tracking of KPIs is also necessary to ensure changes don’t go unnoticed.
If they detect a significant drop or stagnation, they have to conduct a cause-effect analysis and if need be, change tactic to stay on top.
Their analysis should be both internal and external, taking note of changes in social media algorithms and shifting trends among users.
Without content, audiences cannot engage with brands. Moreover, no one wants to view sales pitches and adverts on their social media feed every day.
Social media strategists are therefore tasked with creating solid content strategies and ensuring the company's networks are richly nourished with content as per audience demands and social trends.
The strategist may create the content or work closely with the content creators to come up with ideas.
They need to be trendsetters. The digital world is fast-paced, and an ignoring change can lead to extreme losses.
Therefore a social media strategist needs to be among the first to implement or try out new tools even when their success rate is not proven.
Even when an SM strategist is a solo rider in an organization, it’s essential to consult with other experts.
A strategist works with copywriters and designers, and collaborates with marketing, sales and product development teams.
A lot goes into strategizing and executing campaigns and when one ingredient is left out or overused, a lot could go wrong.
Social media strategists need to be excellent team players as well as keep an open mind. They should be able to handle criticism and accept ideas from other team members to excel in their approaches.
Social media strategists may not be SEO specialists, but they need to ensure their content (both images and text) are optimized for search engines and the social media platforms they’re using.
In addition, they have to constantly track their SEO performance to ensure they’re on the right track.
As mentioned above, the digital landscape changes faster than the direction of fire on a windy day.
Networking is, therefore, necessary if a social media strategist wants to keep up with trends and standards.
They also need to have several influencers' contacts on speed dial. Influencers can easily change the fate of a campaign gone bad or a campaign that refuses to take off.
In a nutshell, the social media strategists' network is almost equivalent to their career success.
When a social media strategist has been in the industry for long enough, they’re well positioned to recruit new team members.
They know what skills are needed and the kind of personality that would coincide with an organization’s brand.
They can also offer training to new members and ensure a brand’s identity on social media lives on even when they delegate duties.
Just as they expect feedback through comments, social media strategists should also give feedback to their colleagues and managers.
Every member of the organization needs to be aware of what’s happening online, just as they’re aware of offline activities.
To kickstart a career as a social media strategist, you first need to acquaint yourself with various social media platforms.
With a good understanding of how each platform works, the user demographics, and the kind of content published on the site, you're one step closer to being a social media strategist.
This is, however, the starting point, to land good jobs in the field, you can try out the following strategies:
- attend conferences organized by influencers and digital marketers and create a rich network
- join twitter chats and participate actively to get a gist of what it's like to manage a brand on a personal level
- join social media groups and observe what people post, how other users respond and the things that attract the most attention. You may also market small businesses in such groups as you work your way up the career ladder.
- read and subscribe to blogs that analyze digital marketing trends
- be an early adopter of social media trends and tools. This will boost your confidence and help you establish yourself as a trendsetter
- network with influencers. Such people will help you establish your personal brand as well as give you information on where to be and how to land gigs or jobs
- enjoy being on social media and develop a passion for the job. If you can't enjoy responding to audiences and crunching data, then you'll definitely not enjoy working as a social media strategist.
Even though the two terms may be used interchangeably, there are remarkable differences.
A strategist has a broader scope of responsibilities. They focus on the day to day social media activities, but they also think long term.
Their strategies are meant to cut across several departments in an organization, including marketing, customer service, PR, sales, advertising, and legal.
In a nutshell, strategists work on bridging the gap between offline and online activities in an organization.
Social media managers, on the other hand, may strategize campaigns, but their focus is on execution.
They monitor engagements on a daily basis and oversee the success of individual campaigns. Social media managers are likely to be found in digital marketing firms while strategists are likely to work in organizations as in-house experts or as account managers in marketing agencies.
In reality, the two professions may overlap depending on an organization’s size, resources, and structure.
Here's a list of tools you can use in your day to day activity as a social media strategist:
Schedule content and collaborate with other teams:
Measure your campaigns' performance and analyze your competitors' social media actions:
Track the SEO results
Monitor the brand's mentions:
Based on Glassdoor data, here’s how it looks for the other similar job titles and their salaries across the United States:
- Social Media Community Manager – $54K/yr
- Social Media Coordinator – $49K/yr
- Social Media Specialist – $49K/yr
- Social Media Analyst – $56K/yr
- Digital Strategist – $67K/yr
A social media strategist may earn anything between $40,000 and $70,000 per year, depending on where they work and the job's requirements.
Hope that these ideas help you understand how to perform once you decide to take this career's path and what roles & responsibilities you should follow for this position.
Am I missing something? Share your ideas in comments ⇣