I was recently promoted from PR Executive to Social Media Manager. I’m absolutely loving my new role. But it’s also been a surprisingly steep learning curve. Why?
Well, it turns out there’s a big difference between using social media as part of your broader PR strategy and being completely immersed in it eight hours a day, five days a week. And at night. And on weekends. Social media never sleeps – it is truly a 24/7 job.
I’ve been in the role now for about six weeks. I’m learning how to take time out and switch off – without actually switching off. It’s Friday night (and my iPhone’s quiet) so I thought I’d share my experiences and insights so far.
1. Social media is turning me into a data hound
I am not naturally a numbers person. I’m a writer and the fact that I am not strong in mathematics has never mattered before. That old PR chestnut, how do you effectively measure reputation, has always saved me from having to dive deeply into data.
But social media requires it. The platforms and tools on offer provide comprehensive data that can be measured, analysed and used to maximise engagement. So I am learning to think in numbers. My new mantra: You can do maths. And you will do maths.
2. Social media uses all my professional skills
This is the aspect I am most enjoying. When creating content I feel like a journalist again. You need to be a news hound and create content that is fresh, compelling and relevant. As curator of our social media channels, I feel like an editor sourcing news and information from the full range of sources across the organisation.
My PR background gives me a focus on relationships and reputation, both of which are at the heart of social media. Even my 10 years experience in the hospitality industry (prior to moving into PR) serves me well in regards to the customer service aspect of social.
I’ve discovered good customer service basics – always be polite, respond in a timely manner and be as helpful as possible – work equally well in the social space.
3. Social media allows me to be more creative than ever
You have to think creatively in social. I’ve always loved photography but now I’m getting the opportunity to really explore that passion. I’ve become obsessed with Instagram. Images are so popular on the social web so I’m always on the lookout now for photo opportunities and interesting shots.
I can have fun with social content rather than being corporate. After years of writing media releases, reports and speeches, which now seem rather stiff and dull, social content is just so much fun.
4. Social media is making me think faster
I think faster. I talk faster. I probably even walk faster! The social web moves at rocket speed and when you’re immersed in that world, everything else in life seems to have suddenly slowed down. Except weekends – strangely, they still end very quickly. One negative I’ve noticed is that I find myself interrupting in conversations more than ever, and talking way too much, which I really need to watch.
5. Social media is making me more organised
I used to have an impromptu approach to social media. But having an editorial calendar and scheduling content means I’m now planning more than ever. Hootsuite is my new best friend. I used to think scheduling tweets wasn’t very authentic but now I see it differently. Scheduling content tweets in the morning and having conversations in real-time throughout the day seems to provide a workable balance. The editorial calendar for Facebook is booked up for the month ahead.
But there is always flexibility and content gets tweaked and moved around. It’s dynamic and fluid and ever-changing – just like the social web itself.
Do you work in social media? What do you love about it?