What Does a Social Marketing Manager REALLY Do?

When it comes to Marketing, every decade has had its ‘hot’ careers.  During the 1980s, catalog marketing and direct mail houses were the place to be.  In the 1990s, web design firms and ad agencies were overloaded with job applicants.  And from 2000 to 2009, any career related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) seemingly turned to gold the minute it was touched.  Predictably, as we move through 2010 yet another new marketing career has emerged: the Social Marketing Manager.

Unfortunately, as with all uber-trendy marketing careers that came before it, everyone is claiming some level of ‘expertise’ in social marketing . . . whether or not they actually get paid to do it.  And because of this, the level of mis-information about the social marketing career is at an all-time high.  But fortunately for me, I happen to  know a REAL full-time Social Marketing Manager—one who works for a highly visible, global organization with a good reputation and a great product.  Her name is Carrie Yutzy, and she works for LegalZoom.com (@LegalZoom on Twitter, if you’d like to follow them).  And the good news is, she has graciously agreed to shed a little light on what being a full-time Social Marketing Manager is really all about.

If you’re interested in becoming a Social Marketing Manager, or looking to hire a full-time social marketer at your organization, I hope this article helps you in some way.  And if it does, a Retweet or Facebook share (i.e. “blogger currency”) using the buttons above would be much appreciated.

So . . . Where Do Social Marketers Come From?

Like 80% of  marketing people on the planet, Carrie will be the first to admit her college degree did not completely line up with her existing role.  That said, her experience prior to social marketing has primarily been in areas where web initiatives and marketing initiatives inevitably collide—in the technical marketing trenches.  Prior to her current role at LegalZoom, Carrie spent most of her career ‘bridging the gap’ between techies and marketers, which turned out to be the perfect mix of skills for a Social Marketing role.  “My specialty was in strategizing ways to increase traffic and sales, then figuring out what technology or processes best supports those goals,” noted Carrie.  “So I learned about a lot of different areas—User Interface, User Experience, SEO, Content Development, Marketing, Copywriting, and so on.”  The Reality? Social marketers are not specialists.  They are technology-savvy web marketers with a strong background in communication.

What Traits Makes a Great Social Marketer?

When I asked Carrie to give me three mandatory traits of a great Social Marketing Manager, she actually provided four.  The first was a love of Marketing (versus the love of a marketing paycheck) and the second was the desire to be social.  The third, as Carrie astutely put it, is “the ability to adapt, learn, and take notes—because there’s always a way to do it better.” And the fourth? A great relationship with both spelling and grammar.  The Reality? Social marketing, like marketing in general, is about more than being creative, putting things on sale, and choosing colors that look good together.

What Does a Day in the Life of a Social Manager Look Like?

The first thing on Carrie’s list each morning is monitoring of LegalZoom’s social channels . . . or to put it another way, “what people have said to or about our company since last time I checked.”  What happens after that varies,  but can include developing editorial calendars , brainstorming blog and newsletter content, planning future campaigns, writing ad copy, preparing reports, tracking customer feedback, and agonizing over social campaign performance (and yes, most days it is agonizing).  When her day-to-day schedule provides a small window of quiet time, Carrie chooses to spend it thinking about LegalZoom’s overall social strategy, specifically “what we want out of it, how to get there, why things are or aren’t working, what value consumers are expecting from their connections with us, and how those connections drive sales.”  The Reality? Full-time social marketers are busy people who do more than just build followers, set up Facebook accounts, and Tweet all day in their pajamas.

What Types of Administrative Tasks Do Social Marketers Handle?

Like any other marketing job, there are a ton of administrative duties a Social Marketing Manager must attend to.  One of the most common administrative tasks is reporting, and Carrie generates a ton of them. “We watch the obvious numbers like Fans, Followers, Clicks, Comments, Traffic, and so on,” noted Carrie. “But I’m also constantly monitoring what people are saying about LegalZoom on the web, and get a unique look at how people feel about the brand—including what they think of the set decoration in our commercials.”  Each week Carrie also sends out a social media roundup, and includes some of the comments she find floating around the web—both good and bad.  Although there is no statistical significance to these comments (since most are one-off remarks) it helps upper management see customers on an individual level, and offers ideas of how LegalZoom can improve the experience and better serve them. The Reality? In the world of social marketing, data and analytics are everything.  And becoming a Social Marketing Manager does NOT preclude you from being your own administrative assistant.

What Are the Goals of a Social Marketer?

Although most companies are still trying to figure out what types of revenue goals to assign their social marketing departments, most professional social marketers acknowledge that driving revenue is only one part of the goal. “Corporate social marketing is also about asking the right questions to create valuable conversations and gain insight,” Carrie points out.  “It’s giving the brand a voice and a personality. It’s building trust. It’s constantly learning new stuff to stay on top of what’s going on in the field. And it’s being open to suggestion and criticism.  Every campaign has different objectives—some are revenue-based, and some are not.”  The Reality? Finding new customers and getting them to buy things is a small piece of the social marketing puzzle. Social marketing is also an exercise in branding, customer communication, and market research.

Wrapping it Up

Do we all agree that telling people we get paid to hang out on Facebook and Twitter would be cool?  Sure.  But the job of a Social Marketing Manager is about much more than reading news, chatting with friends, and uploading funny videos to YouTube.  “Social marketers get paid to promote and enhance the company brand,” Carrie points out. “We just use non-traditional channels to get there.”  And in the spirit of saving the best for last, I present Carrie’s most valuable piece of advice for aspiring social marketers: “People tend to forget that the social web is never turned off, which can be overwhelming for any marketer.  If you don’t truly enjoy it, and have fun doing it, you WILL be miserable.”

Well put, Carrie!

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