I can already see business owners discussing how wrong of a statement this headline is. The owner is the visionary and their role is paramount to the business. Right?
I am no stranger to being the person behind driving a business. But there was once a question my mother asked me when I was studying business at College – it seemed somewhat of a simple one…
“What is the most important thing to a business?”
My instant answer was money. I have since heard many business coaches say it is cash flow. Do you know what the single most important thing to every business actually is?
Without customers, you don’t have a business. It’s as simple as that.
And if I may, can I ask you one more question – don’t worry, this isn’t a survey I’m conducting.
“What is the biggest technological advance in the last 10 years that has enabled businesses to attract and retain more customers?”
The answer: Social Media.
Now, if we align these two very simple answers with business management practices, we would have a shift towards something that I know some coaches and consultants spend hours trying to convey…
…(Whilst singing along to Irving Berlin)…
“There’s no business like a social business!”
Businesses getting social media right, are winning.
It’s not a mandatory move every business has made, but the vast majority are there already and those who aren’t, are slowly but surely starting to understand the concept of social media.
Very soon it will be normal, if not essential, for businesses to be socially orientated. Almost in the same way companies abide by their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies.
Similarly to being socially responsible to the planet and its stakeholders, it is actually unethical to not be socially orientated towards people. And social media has bridged this gap to where the world is talking and listening, even if you are not part of the conversation.
So consider the following article as an eye opener to how important social media now is to business in general.
And once this has been realised, consider how important your social media manager is to your own enterprise.
Even if this article saves or attracts a single customer, then I’m guessing it would have been a worthwhile read.
The Rise Of The Social Media Manager
Social media has been booming since around the 2002 period and is now ingrained into everyday life. With it, came working roles based in and around the industry.
Businesses started to realise how important social media is to everybody – how it affects everyone’s social life, personal life, academic life and working life.
And if it can affect buying behaviour, then it’s good business to get in on the action.
So a new position in the marketing department was created – the social media manager. Their diverse role and varied skill set represented a position that required a combination of new skills, plus a mixture of existing skills from complementary departments.
This provided a bridge between:
- the old school traditional marketers;
- the modern web designers;
- the PR team;
- the customer service team;
- and the sales team.
On top of that, they are placed right in the line of fire. If this were a simulated army battleground, then the business owner would be the general at the back of the battlefield shouting out orders and the social media manager would be at the front of the first wave of attack.
So, a conclusion can be drawn into the complexities of the social media manager role. But what about their real-life importance and impact?
The Importance Of A Social Media Manager
Think about it for a second.
Businesses are spending huge sums of money on corporate ‘away days’, fancy offices, company cultural shifts, internal communication, boosting employee morale etc etc.
…All because they know that their employees are what drives their business.
Now consider this. Those who represent your business and who engage with your customers (and the public) on their own terms, are the best placed to showcase your business positively.
How many times did you experience a rude waiter at a restaurant and never return?
How often have you legitimately tried to return an item of clothing and been met with force by the sales staff, resulting in never going back?
Have you had a bad experience when calling the bank and found that their call centers are so ridiculously unhelpful that you now do internet banking instead?
The front-line business representatives are the people who deliver customer service. And even when the face-to-face staff go a great job, the customer will still go online to discuss their experiences.
Step in the social media manager to reinforce the positive experience, demonstrate value and care to the customer and nurture the relationship towards repeat business and brand loyalty.
Here is an infographic from Bluewolf based on the new paradigm of “social customer service”.
It becomes obvious that in most businesses, the biggest factor for customer attraction and retention is staff positioning and communication. Two factors that are never more prevalent than in the role of a social media manager.
The Impact Of A Social Media Manager
What scale do you think even a local business who participates in social media operates on?
Anyone on the planet with access to the internet can talk about you and your business. They can influence others and create stories about their experiences. Everyone online can see what people are saying about you and how you act, or react, to both positive and negative comments.
A strong social media manager will drive the business forwards in spaces that can’t be reached by other forms of marketing.
If they fail, the business might never recover.
A social media manager should:
- Facilitate audiences
- Create positive experiences
- Forge new relationships
- Extend business reach and scope via global promotion
- Handle brand reputation
- Be a source of instant information
- Lower barriers to purchase
- Move leads through the purchasing funnel
- Demonstrate that the business is in touch and in tune with their customers
There will be a million other things that a social media should do to assist a business. In fact, it is such a dynamic and fast-paced role that it’s requirements are ever changing.
And rightly so.
Rapid technological advances with new social networks, consumer behavioral changes and other factors from PEST Analysis show that a business can’t now use such rigid practices and policies.
Well, they shouldn’t in a perfect world.
A read an article recently by Meg Rulli about whether or not you should hire a social media intern. As you might imagine, I take the “it’s suicide” line of thinking if they are not micromanaged, put through some ironman style training regime or shadowed closer than their own shadow.
But that’s because I believe that a business is only as good as it’s social media manager.
Is Your Business Only As Good As Your Social Media Manager?
Just like your business, your social media campaigns should be meticulously planned and executed by trained and experienced professionals.
If you’re crystal clear on the reasons why it’s now critical for businesses to be social and aware of the complexities and demands of a social media manager’s role, then it’s reasonable to conclude that a business might only as good as its social media manager – tweet this!
Remember these two quotes:
“Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.” – Seth Godin
“Social media is like a snowball rolling down the hill. It’s picking up speed. Five years from now, it’s going to be the standard.” – Jeff Antaya
It would be great to hear your thoughts.