This week’s blog I want to dedicate to my own interaction with social media, as someone who has managed the social media for several organisations. A social media manager? Can’t anyone from our generation do this? Probably you can, but maybe not? It entirely depends on what type of organisation you are doing this for and what their audience is.
I started managing the first social media account when I was 17, a Facebook page. See, I set up the Facebook page for the Kingsday committee of my hometown. They had been looking to promote their event among the younger parents in town and bring awareness to all the activities happening, as well as find new volunteers. So I proposed to my father (who was part of the committee) that they should set up a Facebook page on which they could reach out, and give people more insight into what is happening. Being a bit naive, I assumed that as someone who grew up with social media, this would be a piece of cake to do; just post some pictures, write some short descriptions and create some events. Obviously it was not that easy. The biggest challenge with a new social media page? How to make people aware it exists. If noone follows the page, it doesn’t matter how much you post, but without posts noone is going to follow. Thus you try and reach out: You can either rely on mouth to mouth awarenss, or in Facebook terms, you ask those around you to like the page and to share it on their timelines. You can also coordinate with organisations you work with to share it on their own Facebook. Or you spend money, buying promotions that are aimed at your target audience. So now you have some likes, and people following your page, what now? King’s Day is only one day a year, so what do you post in those 10 months there is not much happening? You can’t just not do anything with your page, because you want to attract people to keep liking the page. So I focussed on posting some old pictures and short histories of the Kingsday in my home town, to keep up engagement. Then around Kings day we would post more relevant information; looking for volunteers, the schedule for the day, pictures of volunteers and games being organised. But also: answering messages and questions, coordinating information, and making sure the language you post in is professional.
But not every social media platform is the same, and they all require their own approach to create engagement. I realised this with the second chance I got to manage a social media account, was for a new Amnesty group I became part off (after I had been rejected for the job position to manage a provincial Amnesty Twitter account, ironically enough). Here I was not just managing and organising the Facebook page, but the Instagram page as well. And as you all realise, Instagram revolves around images, but how do you convey information mainly through an image without it becoming chaotic or too cluttered and distracting? How regularly do you post and create interaction with followers. or for short, how do you beat the social media’s algorithm, which prioritises popular posts over those with less engagement? Especially if you are with an organisation which has a very small promotion budget, these are questions that show up. But even if there is money to promote the social media pressence, how do you select the right target audience, and how often should you promote to make sure you have the best effects? These are some of the specific questions I struggled with while running the Instagram account versus the Facebook account.
As social media has become omnipresent in our lives, it is not suprising that brands and organisations have started to use the medium as well to promote their products, interact with their fans or share informatioin about events they are organising. And people have made their jobs out of this, well paying jobs even. It shows how important it has become for corporations, but also for NGO’s and political organisations and institutes to have a well developed social media pressence in a time where more than half the people get their news from social media. Would you consider a carreer as a social media manager?