If anyone tells you that social marketing or social media management is simply posting to Facebook or Twitter each day, ask them how many cats they have on their couch–they are as crazy as the cat lady!

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The hardest thing about what we do is trying to explain to people that throwing two tweets and a Facebook post up each day is NOT social marketing.  As a matter of fact, I would say that is how more people waste time and money in their businesses.  Just because someone says you “should be on Facebook and Twitter for your business” doesn't mean you should.  You might need to be facilitating a discussion group for users of your product only on LinkedIn, or just engaging people in conversations through photos on Instagram.  It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. You may only need a blog and a Google+ page or you may need to be everywhere.

As a measure of success, I would hope at the end of the year, you are not simply asking “Did we have two tweets on Twitter and a post on Facebook each day?”

After a friend of mine, Ruby, sent me a message with another social media management company's information, showing some of the work they did, people they represented and even their pricing, Misty, one of our ROCKSTAR social marketing managers, and I had the following discussion.  I thought it would help many explore what is involved in social marketing and community management.

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Gina & Misty hanging in Vegas talking social marketing!

Me: So many people fall into the trap of hiring someone who knows nothing about business or marketing, to manage their social media platforms just because the person knows how to load photos on their own Facebook profile.  Then there are those “experts” out there saying they can manage your social marketing for a couple hundred dollars a month.  How can a company pay anyone, who is worth anything, to do work for these poor clients?

Misty: Who knows, they could be hiring college students to just copy and paste things off of their website or old brochures.  Posting is one thing, growing the account and helping them convert community growth into sales is something else.

Me:  We get asked a lot, “Shouldn't we manage our own social marketing or do it in-house?  I always say, “ABSOLUTELY! If you have the headcount to hire someone or the bandwidth to do the daily activities yourself.”  You should also work out every day and do your own bookkeeping and taxes if you can, but I know the reality is we don't always have the time and I'd be in jail if I did our taxes myself.  We need to focus on our core business and hire help when we can.  Misty, you spend hours each day working on the accounts you manage.  What the heck to you do all day?
Misty: Of course I drink lots of coffee, but aside from that, I respond to the comments that come in or that came in during the night, on blogs, tweets, LinkedIn group discussions, Facebook Posts, Google Plus Pages, etc. I scan the lists that I have created for each client to read what influencers are talking about and then I jump in the conversations.  I answer a question, congratulate them on an accomplishment they mentioned, I like or favorite posts by them.  Letting them know we are listening is more important than putting up another tweet most of the time. I also write and edit posts and tweets that go into the editorial calendars.
Me: Using our search tools is critical to discover people and conversations going on that might lead to a priceless connection.  Mindy is the queen of this! For clients like Hyatt, she will hear someone talking about driving into the city for a play and then jump in with a fun comment about it.  That leads to her being able to invite that person to make a weekend out of it and stay the night with us (well, with Hyatt…not really US!  HA)
Misty:  I spend time each day looking for those key influencers, bloggers, people who are active on social media and could either do business with our clients, or influence others to do the same.  I don't want a large community of fans or followers who would never be a good connection for our clients.
Me: It's not about just reading and promote the content on our clients' sites.  Why do you go outside of the content on the client's website?
Misty: I find articles, posts and tweets that compliment our content and ensures our clients are seen as valuable resources and companies who share other great information that the community would benefit from.  Some of our clients don't produce content of their own, so where other “social media management” companies wait for content to use, we create it or go out and find it to share!
Me: How do you know if you are being affective?
Misty: I set growth goals associated with each profile and account for my clients.  While we all know that having 10,000 Twitter followers is not an indication of success.  If your community is not growing with the right people, you are tweeting into the wind!
Me:  Throwing your pearls before swine, so to speak!  I always say, if your Twitter account is filled with nothing but naked spammers, that is not a healthy Twitter community.  Who are you going to talk to now?
Misty: Another way to monitor and measure success is to study the analytics.  Sure I want to share with our clients the post performance and click-through rates, but I also want to study what works, what isn't as effective and tweak my daily activities as needed to get better results each month.  If we don't have more people talking about or with our clients, then I need to adjust my approach.  One example is a goal I had set for myself for 3 of the clients I manage.  It was to increase their Klout scores by 10 points.  I worked hard to connect and engage with influencers to get them sharing our content.  Our reporting shows what content was shared by top influencers in our community, the time of day that I was able to reach more of them and more.  With this information, I was able to strategically post, connect and ultimately, hit that goal.  I don't even know if the clients were aware of the significance in this activity.
Me: We were excited!  I know your goal for one of them was to beat my own Klout score, so it challenged me to up my game so you couldn't beat me, but you did!  HA!  You're a ROCKSTAR!
Me: I know our ultimate goal is to help our clients reach their overall company goals and our regular communication with them helps us stay focused and on target with these.  We also design specific campaigns that might include a contest, promoted Facebook posts, ads and special hashtags to hit a goal for a new product roll out, grand opening, or event that we are promoting.  Cathy, another SocialKNX rockstar works hard to get the local communities involved with our realtor clients. She is always lining up sponsorship opportunities and getting on all of the local community pages with partnerships.
Misty:  It really is so much more than throwing a few tweets and Facebook posts up.
Me: Thanks for sharing what you do each day… besides drink coffee!  You and all of our SocialKNX rockstars do an amazing job and I LOVE working with you!
We'd love to hear from YOU.  What else are you spending time doing each day to get results using social media in your marketing or customer service efforts?  We'd love to know.
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