A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager

by savanna in General 04/04/2016

For many businesses, social media now represents the ‘coal-face’ of engagement with consumers – and sometimes even with other businesses. A company’s social media presence can often be the responsibility of the marketing team, either in-house or through an external agency, but forward-thinking organisations understand that a winning social media strategy will also consider customer service, sales, employee relations and even recruitment.

Social media: a crucial business tool

The role of social media manager can often involve being a conduit (and gate-keeper) between the various functions of a business and the outside world. So managing social media day-to-day will require a level-headed, ‘always-on’ approach that allows you to respond quickly and intelligently to internal requests and external conversations. You will need to be a strategist, PR manager, customer service rep, data analystand creative all wrapped into one multi-tasking machine!

Alexei Lee, head of social media and promotion at digital marketing agency Strategy Digital, offers a glimpse into the average day of a social media manager.

First things first

9:00 a.m. – Social media is active 24/7 even if companies are not. To get the best results, this may mean scheduling content to be published outside of business hours when customers may be more active online.

Social media dashboards like Hootsuite allow us to schedule this content and monitor out of hours customer enquiries, amongst many other things. First task (after a strong coffee) I do in the morning will be to double-check the previous evening’s social media posts have gone live correctly (software is a real help, but a critical eye and common sense should be used as it isn’t infallible).

Then I review and respond to any resulting engagement, as well as checking for customer enquiries. For bigger more active businesses this may even be done as it happens, with the SMM being ‘on call’ in the evening (the Hootsuite mobile app is great for this).

Next on the list is to run through the content feeds we have in our dashboard (Twitter lists are a good way to monitor topics and cut out the online ‘noise’). I check news headlines and trending topics for the day to see if there are any stories and events relevant to clients. Relevant news and links are quickly re-purposed into tweets and posts, then scheduled to go out at the appropriate times.

Coming in each morning and having a degree of unpredictability about what the day might hold, and the events and issues that might crop up makes the job exciting, and perfect for using initiative as well as providing opportunity to be creative.

10:00 a.m. – Check, action and respond to e-mails. These can include requests from various departments to update content and insert ad hoc posts into our calendar (or on the day) usually in reaction to current events, either external or internal to the business.

I may also be liaising with external teams such as agencies that the client works with. For instance we might receive a request from the PR team to publicise a new event or press release. There will likely be a sign-off process in place for any new updates, so time is of the essence to get new posts written, reviewed and approved by the relevant people, then posted.

It isn’t unusual for a Twitter conversation with a customer or any other brand influencer to continue throughout the day, social media being the reactive medium it is.

Continue the conversation

11:00 a.m. – First, a quick check back to Hootsuite to review and respond to the latest engagement. This could either be new comments or the latest reply from an ongoing conversation. Conversations can often span the day, or even several days, especially on Twitter and usually there will be several happening at once, so it’s important to track these in an organised way.

Then it’s time to review activity from the last 7 days. We check several analytics tools to assess which posts have been most effective and analyse why this might be in order to feed this insight into our future content strategy. Test, learn, optimise – that is the key to effective social media content!

We also check who has recently begun following us and keep an eye out for opportunities to engage (for instance, if an influential Twitter user or even a new customer has connected).

12:00 p.m. – Social media doesn’t stop for lunch, so for me lunch is often accompanied with the phone out and another quick scan of my favourite news sources and dip into my own personal profiles for some light (possibly Buzzfeed-related) relief.

Let’s get creative

1:00 p.m. – Time to meet with the creative and editorial teams. As well as the reactive, real-time engagement each day, I have to consider what content needs to be developed and published throughout the year in order to reflect calendar events, key launches, campaigns and landmarks, as well as meeting the objectives of the over-arching social media strategy. Working to this content plan means coordinating the creative process with designers, developers and writers to ensure content is produced and published according to schedule.

2.00 p.m. – Finding and engaging with relevant online influencers plays a vital role in increasing reach and credibility for the business, so a sweep for relevant influencers is done on a daily basis. Analytics tools like Buzzsumo can help fast-track this research and pinpoint the right people to connect with according to their interests, conversation topics and online behaviour.

After which, another quick sweep of our Hootsuite streams to check for recent mentions and comments that need a response.

3:00 p.m. – Social advertising such as sponsored tweets and Facebook posts are now an integral part of many social media campaigns. We may have several ad campaigns running simultaneously, performance is reviewed on a daily basis, with ad content and targeting optimised according to results.

On checking we notice two posts on Facebook that are gaining particularly good organic engagement and reach, so these are added to our ad campaign in order to boost them further.

Review the results

4:00 p.m. – Reporting to clients on the achievements secured through social media activity, such as new followers and fans, and details of the online behaviour and demographics for these is the bread and butter of all social media agencies as it helps demonstrate the value of the work being done.

Reports will also show how this activity directly impacts the bottom line such as referral traffic. This is done through a combination of bespoke measurement tools to show the impact of activity and qualitative descriptions for the analysis.

5:00 p.m. – One last check of the Hootsuite streams before I go, plus making sure all of the posts have been scheduled according to plan.


By Alexei Lee

Alexei Lee is Head of Social and Promotion at Strategy Digital. He has over a decade of experience in creating social media strategies and delivering digital campaigns for global FMCG brands, fashion retailers, box office hits, book publishers, record labels, charities and web start-ups amongst many others.