ContentCal had the privilege to wrack the wise and experienced brain of social media manager Fi Shailes on all things social media management. With over 11 years of experience in marketing, and 3 years in digital marketing, you’re in for a real treat today.
Tell us about yourself and your role in your company.
I work full time managing the digital marketing for a financial services firm, but also work part-time as a digital freelancer (www.digital-drum.com). In both worlds I manage a great number of social channels. I’ve got an excellent track record in building followings, optimising individual profiles and generating leads through LinkedIn, squeezing every last drop out of promotable content, and (perhaps most crucially) increasing the amount of website traffic referrals via social media.
What kind of work do you do on social media for your company and what makes your content stand out?
I use my expertise to help people in strengthening multiple social channels for companies or individuals, then assist them in maintaining their accounts. Company profile pages often aren’t optimised, and many don’t make the most of their content either. You’d be surprised how often organisations miss the most basic of social media tricks such as using hashtags on Twitter.
I ensure ultimate optimisation for each and post in terms of fitting a strong message within the character limit, checking the posts to ensure they are correct (such as whether the link is working), that hashtags and/or handles are being used, that posts are set to go live at optimum times of day, that appropriate visuals are attached, and that the tone of voice is right for the audience and brand.
What does a typical week look like for you?
In my freelancing life, every week is different. There’s usually some ‘business as usual tasks’, but also some ad hoc requirements for clients such as scheduling extra content or setting up a paid campaign on Facebook, or carrying out maintenance on an Adwords campaign. Each day, I also spend some time maintaining my own social channels to create awareness of my freelancing business, and the blogs I write and host on Digital Drum.
What was your favourite social media campaign that you’ve worked on to date, and what did you like about it?
In general, I favour the social media campaigns where I get to promote gated content such as reports, white papers, downloadable guides, etc. The ‘weightier’ pieces are like bait on a hook for attracting new prospects and people to remarket to. This content often has more ‘pull’ as it offers more value to the audience.
It’s also exciting to set targeted paid / sponsored ad campaigns live, where analytics are available shortly after launching. This enables me to keep making necessary tweaks for maximum effectiveness.
Is there anything you’d like to see businesses doing more/less on social media?
I would really love to see fewer inspirational quotes being thrust into my newsfeeds. Personally, I don’t think that spewing famous or celebrity quotes on social media really conveys that you’re a good business, or an expert in your field. I think businesses should be recycling their own wisdom, and highlighting the value in their own content for the reader.
In your opinion, what are the most important things to consider when planning a social media campaign?
I would begin by establishing what the message is, who the audience is, and what the call to action should be. Looking at these three aspects will give you a clear indication on whether your concept needs more work, or even if it’s worth dropping all together. You should always try to put yourself in the shoes of the intended audience.
For you, what’s the most exciting development in social media right now?
I actually can’t think of any at this present time, but I have noticed lots of little refinements being made all the time on social media platforms. Some are good, such as Instagram’s update to allow for multiple pictures on one post, while some are bad, such as LinkedIn’s recent revamp (which was a nightmare for account admins like myself). I do wonder, however, whether we’re going to hit a wall soon; where competing platforms will run out of new innovations and end up copying each other more than they do already.
What are the top metrics you use for measuring social media performance?
I think it’s good to look at how a post or specific campaign is performing overall by analysing all the available metrics. Looked at individually, most metrics need to be taken with a pinch of salt as some are a little superficial and don’t really tell the digital marketing anything especially valuable.
For example, LinkedIn can be very misleading in indicating that a post has had ‘1,577 views’. It doesn’t actually mean that you’ve had 1,577 people read your content, or even engage with it; it’s only conveying the total amount of impressions.
I think the most important metric is most likely to be the one that can tell you how many people have either a) taken action from a CTA linked from the post or campaign, or b) clicked through to your website.
What are your top tips for businesses getting started in social media?
Get someone to manage it who knows how to make the most out of each channel, understands the nuances between platforms, and has the time to spend on it – daily. Social media can also be managed best with the aid of tools, for example, to centralise and schedule your status updates. Don’t be afraid to experiment with free trials and see what works for your business.
Furthermore, expect to build a following with referrals to your website gradually. It’s worth setting up accounts and working on them as early as you can, enabling you to build up a decent-sized audience before you’ve even started to promote your content. If you’re lucky, some of them will be interested in what you have to say…that’s the dream anyway.
If you have the money, you can no-doubt accelerate the growth of your follower base, and the level of engagement. However, I’m yet to work with a client who has that luxury.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Fi Shailes for this little insight into the mind of a top social media manager. These tips are great advice for brands who are either just starting out on social media, or those looking to maximise the success of their campaigns or content.
So we hope you’ve been taking notes…
Feeling more prepared than ever after reading this Q&A? Let us know which tip from Fi Shailes you think is the most valuable by sending us a tweet using the handle ContentCal_io