Social Media Managers in 2021

Social media is vital, adapting, and, most importantly, an unimpeded industry. These three characteristics converge to captivate and retain an important audience. There are obvious challenges associated with creating this platform, crafting a business model to support the system, and producing engaging content. Beyond these, the remaining important question is “who and how will you manage social media?”.

Quick History Lesson

By 1856, Western Union Telegraphy Company had a hold on the United States(McGillem, 2020) and this distribution of information became the new normal. This was the very beginning of nationwide news. Expectations rose. It was only a matter of time before the other sectors followed the news industry. The stage was set for the eventual rise of social media.

The Start of Social Media

As we consider how long humans have roamed the earth, a context emerges for just how significant of a disruption the relatively recent arrival of social media has become. Coupled with the internet, this tool connects far more than the original six degrees of people almost instantaneously. There are perks and pitfalls of worldwide connection. Social media lives within one of the most dynamic markets in our history and is especially subject to the almost daily changes it has helped enable.

Facebook would not have emerged and adapted into the company it is today without its predecessors and competitors. Similarly, Reels on Instagram is now competing with TikTok as new ideas are generated then adapted to best suit the environment. “Video can be another way to boost organic reach”(Riley, 2020). Since the platforms are changing, so should the way social media managers behave.

What Social Media Managers need to ask to stay current:

  1. Who is your audience? What platforms are they using?

Since the rise of Facebook in 2004, websites have been crafted and adapted to hit the unused markets and territory on the web. Take example “Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare and Pinterest [as they] began popping up to fill specific social networking niches.”(Hendricks, 2019). Understanding the audience and why they are on that platform is critical when strategizing about how to communicate with them effectively. Among the variability of platforms and audience niches, social media managers have to spend more time researching to better understand exactly who is reached by each platform and what works most effectively for them. Additionally, the special challenges faced within each niche should be understood so effective solutions can be generated.

2. How do you communicate with them effectively?

One thing that has not changed for social media managers is the need for copywriting. From crafting the perfect post to replying to harsh tweets, allowing your audience to understand you and the points you are getting across is vital to a harmonious community. It starts with establishing a great story that can retain audiences and hold their attention(Lua, 2019). While this need for copy has not changed, the content within the copy has to be further streamlined. A delicate balance of informative, exciting, and rapid information is ideal. Spending more time polishing before presenting helps maintain a solid brand image and can keep help avoid social media hate and the cancel culture.

3. How do you form that community aspect?

Organizations are now expected to maintain rapport with the community they engage in. When social media initially arrived, organizations didn’t have dedicated staff to manage this tool. Now just being present and having a presence is not enough for success. To differentiate yourself requires more time, commitment, and knowledge. The benefits are more than monetary. The social change potential and the numbers of real connections/meaningful interactions within these tight-knit groups provide important added value. “Companies that adhere to the principle of “people not just pixels”(Goodwin, 2020)will rise above the mediocre accounts as the market becomes oversaturated. The importance of community doesn’t arrive by just sending out tweets, but by understanding the products and services the company offers. It is being able to “ask the right questions to facilitate engagement and answer questions about the product, company, or industry.”(Lua, 2019)

What is needed to be successful?

Adapt. Different platforms, different standards, different expectations, and differences in the willingness of the users at the current time. Adapting goes hand and hand with trend upkeep. Finding new developments, understanding their importance, and being able to execute to full potential is important. By seeing the content available now and what is coming next, social media managers need to be multifaceted and savy in their communications methods. As TikTok and other video platforms rise, text-only falls.

Include. Ensure your posts/brand image represents well and is accepted/non-offensive to potential viewers. Originally, Facebook was for the educational market only. Now the platform has a much broader appeal. The ability to pivot is important.

Content will always be the most important factor for success. Cutting through the noise of all the other users and creating great content that shines is key. Two statements that define success are “less is more” and “quality over quantity”.

Social media has changed a tremendous amount in the last two years and will continue to evolve as new technologies and systems arrive. As social media managers, it is your role to keep up with the updates and provide a valuable and holistic experience for users of your organization’s pages.

References:

Lua, A. (2020, June 30). Social Media Manager: 10 Important Skills and Traits. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://buffer.com/resources/social-media-manager-job-description/

Hendricks, D. (2019, November 25). The Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/the-complete-history-of-social-media-infographic.html

Read, A. (2020, June 30). The Unabridged History of Social Media. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://buffer.com/resources/history-of-social-media/

Riley, B. (2020, March 12). Social media changes in 2020: How to stay prepared. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-changes/

McGillem, C. (2020, March 02). Development of the telegraph industry. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/technology/telegraph/Development-of-the-telegraph-industry

Pursuing a master's in Mass Communications at the University of Florida. Telling my stories through videos and medium articles. Join me on my adventures.