Updated: May 15
As social media managers, our job goes far beyond posting pretty photos and videos on social media. While social media has been around for a while, I still find myself explaining the importance of strategic social media management to potential clients. Until recently.
One of the only upsides to the pandemic has been increased awareness of the effectiveness of good social media for business. The pandemic forced us to communicate to our customers solely through the use of digital media. If a business had a poor presence online they quickly realized their message wasn't reaching their audience. These businesses were slow to pivot and took the hardest hit during the pandemic.
Lucky for us, this increased interest in effective social media management has boosted business for social media managers. With increased business, we need to check in with our processes and ensure we have the right tools in place so we can continue to provide a top-tier service for each of our clients. More importantly, tools that will save us time and protect our mental health.
Some of you may be saying, "Well, duh!"... But I can't tell you how many times I've talked to social media professionals and small business owners and they aren't using a scheduling platform. If you're not planning and scheduling out your content it's easy to miss important dates and ultimately there is no strategy behind what you're doing. How can you really track what's working and not working when you're shooting from the hip every day?
Second, scheduling content is a HUGE timesaver. Without scheduling, there is no such thing as being able to take a vacation without your accounts suffering. It's so important to protect your mental health and take a day off here and there. Social media can be a toxic environment. If you don't take yourself away for a little bit every once and a while you'll find that it will take a toll both on your mental and physical health.
Here is a list of our favorite social media scheduling platforms:
Deciding on what services you offer, platforms you're posting to, budget, and a few other factors will help you choose the right platform for you. Many social media networks also have their own scheduling in place so you may choose to use the free scheduling that comes with each network, or a hybrid of some kind. For example, we use a combination of Sprout Social and Facebook Creator Studio for our clients.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is ask for help. As your workload grows, it's important to make a list of tasks or projects for which you could recruit some help. If it's a large list, you may need to hire some part-time or even full-time help. While it may cost you a little bit of money to bring someone on your team, it's well worth it for the sake of your mental health.
If you're not quite ready to make the commitment of adding someone new to the team, there are plenty of freelance professionals out there that can help you with a project here and there. We've recently discovered UpWork and it has been a breath of fresh air! While I have heard of some people having some negative experiences, we have been lucky to have nothing but great experiences using UpWork so far. We've found freelancers on UpWork that have helped us with small projects like designing infographics and video editing for TikTok and Reel content.
Not comfortable working with someone online? Or, maybe you prefer to support local freelancers? We love that too! For larger client projects, we prefer to outsource local photographers and videographers. Client content days are a HUGE commitment and recruiting some help can not only help free up some of your time but can also help you focus on the content strategy side a bit more.
Creating templates for yourself rather than starting every project from scratch is another huge timesaver and it ensures your providing a consistently great service. It may be some extra work at the beginning but in the long run well worth it. Creating your own templates for things like content calendars, social strategies, reports, etc. will ensure you never miss any important information when that time of the month or quarter comes around. Not to mention another big timesaver because you won't be starting from scratch each time.
There are also many great templates online you can purchase from other social media professionals. Pinterest and Google are both great resources to use to find the right template for your business. We personally create all our own templates, so unfortunately I don't have any good recommendations. However, I would recommend spending time researching and learning about the many different templates available so you select the right one for your business. You may even have to purchase a few before you find the one that works for you!
We've created out templates using mostly Google apps including Google Slides, Sheets, Docs, and of course Google Drive. It's super easy to share these files with clients, download PDF versions, and collaborate with your team on them so there are no outdated versions circulating around. Plus, if you're already using Gmail for your email these apps are free.
Task & Project Management
If you're not a list person, there's no better time like the present to start becoming a list person!
There are SO many moving parts when it comes to managing social media, especially multiple client accounts. Creating tasks for myself and setting reminders is the only way I can guarantee nothing falls through the cracks. Not to mention the peace of mind knowing that I'm not forgetting something. Before the days of detailed task lists, I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night frantically remembering something that needed to be done by the next day or start running through the list of things I needed to do in my head.
Creating a task list may seem obvious to you, but I'm not talking about a simple to-do list. Get super micro with your task list, including small items like "spend 15 minutes responding to Instagram comments at 10 am" and block out time for emails, breaks, etc. Using a combination of your calendar and a task management software is what I swear by! I personally use Google Calendar (yes, I know I love my Google apps!) and Asana. Monday.com is another great task and project management software we really liked. It's great for managing multiple clients and employees, but it does cost a little extra so it's totally up to you if that extra monthly fee is worth it for you or not.
If you're still manually sending invoices via word docs and email, this is your sign to transition your biz to an accounting platform. We're talking automated invoicing, automated invoice reminders for clients, automatic payments, tracking expenses, profit/loss reports, and much more. Long gone are the days of waiting by the mailbox for a check from your client or frequently sending those uncomfortably "where's my money?!" emails!
The more automated your processes, the better. This allows you to focus on your business and alleviate some of the added stress that comes with manual invoicing and accounting. Double bonus, some of these platforms also come with easy-to-download documents you'll need for your yearly taxes making tax season a breeze!
Here are a few account platforms we recommend:
There are dozens of accounting options out there, so like any online platform, it's important to do your own research and make a list of things you'll need before diving in.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Are you currently keeping track of clients, prospects, partners, and any other business relationships on spreadsheets as well? Well, kudos to you for keeping track of it somewhere! However, you'll quickly discover that as that list grows a CRM is most definitely a necessity.
Shout out to my husband for drilling the importance of a CRM in my head (Hi babe!). While this one honestly took me a bit to really utilize despite his help setting it up, once I got into a routine with it I quickly discovered how essential it was for keeping track of all the relationships I've made over the years. More importantly, it also helped us fine-tune our sales process so fewer prospects were falling through the cracks.
CRM's help you keep track of client communication from the inquiry down to the agreed contract length. No more expired contracts sneaking up on you or follow-ups on proposals slipping your mind.
Here are our top CRM's:
Hubspot (this is my husbands favorite)
Honeybook (I personally use this one because I like keeping everything in one spot and it already comes with the platform)
Monday.com has a great CRM if you choose to use that for your task management as well
That about covers everything you'll need to make your job as a Social Media Manager much easier and more efficient. We wish you the best of luck on your journey. There will be many hard and stressful days, but keep pushing! Always remember it's OK to ask for a little help every once in a while. There are plenty of support groups and networks out there for social media professionals we encourage you to seek out and join.