But I’m a writer! Who cares about what a social media manager is!
I heard of the social media manager title years ago, but never considered I would or could be one. I figured it was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management (things that didn’t exist when I did my bachelor of journalism). But then my LinkedIn job suggestions started getting…obvious. Here’s a splash of what I see whenever I check in to see what’s new and who’s hiring.
Social Media Coordinator
An Open Letter to _______’s Future Marketer
Client Success Coach
Social Media Manager
Marketing and Events Coordinator
Brand Publishing Specialist
Keep in mind these are the jobs posted in the past seven days in my area, which LinkedIn thought I’d be a good match for. If you’re a writer but have collected different skills, experience, connections, etc. you may have a different snapshot. But do you see what I’m talking about?
Two reactions come to mind I must choose between.
Wow, this social network doesn’t know me at all
When did I become a social media manager?
So I begin wondering, what’s a social media manager and is it different from what I’m doing now?
Well I’ll cut to the chase, all 10 of these postings are about the same. The type of work, the skills involved, the experience required, everything. No matter if it’s administrator level, coordinator level, or management level. Now that’s confusing!
This tells me a few things. First, I need to understand all the ways people think of the skills I have—calling myself a writer without attaching any of the other keywords strips out nine of these jobs. Wow. Yet all require the exact same skills. OK…
Wondering what a social media manager is? Want to be one? Here’s what’s in the social media manager’s toolkit.
Fluent in social—all social (paying attention to social trends, dos and don’ts, what’s hot and what’s not)
Strong writing skills (with a specialization in content marketing/copy writing)
A people-first approach to everything (a service mindset, which not only has you listening to your customers and industry chatter but being engaged in your community)
Graphically inclined (not a pro, but you need the basics of design and video production)
Comfortable with social selling (and understanding how this is done)
Competent at SEO and analytics (yes you will have to run campaigns and reports)
Confident public speaker (yes you will have to use Instastories and Facebook Live—you may even have to speak on a panel…in person)
An understanding of human behaviour (you don’t have to have a psych degree but you do need to understand what works and what doesn’t, what people want and what they don’t)
Reasonable budgeting skills (show me the money! Er…show your clients how you’re spending their money!)
Adaptable (this industry is like a river—moving fast and constant, you have to keep up with the changes and adapt as necessary)
Curious and savvy (in order to succeed as a social media manager, you need to know what works—but if you’re ahead of the curve you’ll be able to move your clients’ business strategies forward faster and won’t be distracted by fleeting trends or vanity metrics)
Strong grasp of marketing (specifically strategy and digital, email, and funnel marketing)
If this seems like three jobs in one, you’re right. And if it seems like a lot of different skill sets wrapped up into one, you’re right again. But this seems to be where the industry is at these days and if you want to compete, you need at least a cursory knowledge of these tools.
Keep in mind the typical day-to-day tasks a social media manager executes each day are a little less overwhelming: writing and scheduling posts, running ads, replying to fans, and creating graphics.
See? Not so bad. However, the only way this works is with a strong foundation—a strong social marketing strategy. This is where the real value of a social media manager comes in. If you have good instincts and can build a great strategy for your client, you are going to see great results. So stay at it and invest in yourself!
Are you looking to level-up your business on social? Need a social media manager? Let’s chat! Respond in the form below or message me on social. Let me know what problems you’re looking to solve and I’ll be happy to send you a quote.
Are you like me? Just discovering you’re really a social media manager (and that’s why you’re so tired)? I’d love to commiserate with you!
Have you ever wondering what makes something go viral? Is there a secret? What do viral-video makers know that you don’t? Learn the what and how of going viral and a few tips for what you can do to make your content more contagious.
It was my niece’s first birthday and her mother threw a party, inviting the whole family to join in on the celebration. Everyone was excited to share in the festivities but the morning before the party, people began cancelling saying they weren’t feeling well.
But this was my niece’s first birthday! A big O-N-E!
With much pressure on, the family came together to save the party. Those who were feeling sort of better were encouraged to show up anyway and give my niece the party she deserved.
So they came.
And it was a lovely time. Good food, good conversations, good feelings all around.
Later that evening…
I haven’t vomited from being ill since I was a child. But vomit I did, from midnight till 8 a.m. the next morning. Who was the culprit? No real idea, since there were a few people at the party who weren’t feeling 100 per cent and we spent the day switching children, changing seats, and grabbing snacks from the same bowls.
And I learned I wasn’t the only one—most of the other non-sick party-goers spent the next day beside the toilet.
It all happened so fast. One moment we were minding our own business, living life like normal, and the next we were swept up into a wave of vomit-filled illness by no fault of our own except for attending the party and enjoying ourselves.
What happened? Our party went viral.
What does “going viral” mean?
Sans vomiting, going viral in Internet terms is seen as a good thing. It’s what happens when a piece of content (article, photo, video, etc.) is shared, copied, and otherwise spread across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
How many shares does it take before something is considered viral?
I’m sorry to say, there isn’t an exact number. Viral status is achieved when the proportion of people seeing the content and then sharing it increases over what’s usual.
I know, could it be more vague?
Think of viral sharing like a secret. If you share a secret with someone, and that person shares it with someone else and then another, and another, then pretty soon everyone knows your secret. But if the person keeps your secret, that’s where the sharing ends. It’s safe, and no one knows about it.
The simple math of virality
Viral content is relative. When you share a piece of content on social media, how many shares is normal? If you see your shares go up from normal on a couple posts, you can consider those viral. However, if your shares go up and stay up—then it’s the new normal. Not viral anymore.
When you level up on going viral this is where stuff happens. On day one a piece of content is shared and you receive your regular likes, shares, and website visits, plus a few extras. This (according to ShareProgress) is called “first generation.” From there, a few of these first generation people share your content on their social channels and some of their friends check it out. They’re called “second generation.” By the second generation there should be more likes, shares, and website visits. Now it’s on the second generation of visitors to share your content. If a few more than the first round do this, then the third generation of visitors should be seeing your content. If this continues then you’ll see exponential likes, shares, and website visits. This is where things get crazy.
In the simple viral example, you’ll have a bump of activity and then things will go back to normal. In the next level of going viral, the momentum grows and keeps growing and, if you’re prepared for it, sends your life in a new direction.
How do I make something go viral?
Yeah, sorry. I don’t know how. Actually, I don’t think anyone does. No matter how many terms I Google, all I come up with is “there’s no formula, there’s no secret.”
But here are a few things you can do to help your content be ready for going viral.
People are more likely to share something if…
they have a strong reaction to it
they have a positive emotional response to it
they feel inspired by it
they are surprised by it
they find it practical and useful
they think it will help someone
Where to go from here
Before you write an article don’t think about what will or won’t make it go viral, instead think about what will help and inspire your audience. Think about what they’d like to read/watch/hear and then create it. Be genuine, be real, and be positive.
Positive uplifting content always gets shared. Remember, there’s a lot of unhappy people in the world, and while there are different reasons for being unhappy, content that is uplifting and inspirational helps people get out of their rut…even if it’s only for a few seconds.
I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to help someone out of their rut today.
If you need help coming up with content ideas or don’t know who you’re audience is, that’s where I come in. Drop me a line and let’s start a conversation. I’m here to help!
From quitting to becoming a successful wedding photographer, JenniMarie’s story will encourage you to keep going after your dreams, even if it seems like it will never work out. Today’s case study is how a marketing tweak re-launched JenniMarie’s business.
A recent-ish transplant to the Fraser Valley (British Columbia, Canada, where I live), Jennifer was stumped on how to find clients in her new city/country/life. For the better part of a decade she had worked as a successful wedding photographer and yet none of the client-finding tactics she had always used worked in this new land. What was going on?
Five months passed without booking a wedding. This was five months longer than she had ever gone between bookings. “I kept getting overlooked, I was feeling like a failure,” she said.
Feeling frustrated, insecure, and defeated, Jennifer began announcing to friends and family that she was quitting photography.
So how did we get here?
I asked Jennifer why she didn’t end up quitting. She said she realized she was at rock bottom and then thought…what can I do? It was here she began wondering about getting back on the horse; giving her business one last hail Mary.
Because she had this idea. It was an idea for a wedding-planning magazine. She hadn’t thought about it in any depth but it was something she had toyed with in her mind for a while. What if she put the remaining money in her business account towards the magazine? If it worked, wonderful! If not, then she would quit.
When Jennifer approached me about reframing her business I didn’t know any of her struggle
On the surface, Jennifer exuded confidence and direction. In fact, I was surprised she was asking for help as I never saw her as someone who needed anything. With my curiosity engaged (and my ego flattered beyond comprehension), we set up a coffee meeting and I gave her homework.
At our meeting I wanted to discuss these six points.
Budget (what do you need to make?)
Content calendar (blog/email)
Email blitz (freebie? Lead magnet? Coupon?)
Before our meeting she sent me a five-page brain dump. It. Was. Amazing. Sure, her ideas were scattered and pointing in 10 different directions, but I could see a thread and was excited to follow it and see where it led.
Over the next month or two we worked on building a marketing strategy. She had all the pieces for her business to thrive but it looked like what was missing was for all the pieces to point back at her as the Fraser Valley Wedding Photographer. In order to reframe her business for her new context we took a few pieces of her existing strategy and pointed them all in the same direction.
I challenged Jennifer to make some important, yet difficult, changes.
First, I wanted her to not only brand herself as a wedding photographer (rather than a general photographer) but I wanted her to stop all non-wedding related posting, including on her website, blog, and public social channels
Second, I wanted her to create cornerstone content—this was a departure from her usual approach, which was more in the moment. These posts were meant to represent the core of who she is and what her business is about. Not easy!
Third, I wanted her to rewrite her about page. She wasn’t doing anything wrong, in fact her about page matched all the other photographer about pages I read while doing my market research. However, I noticed all these sites focused on the photographer rather than the client. What if, I challenged, we reverse the focus and see what happens?
Jennifer said these suggestions were a huge mental shift—the cornerstone content idea caused a light bulb moment for her. She found posting only about weddings was the hardest adjustment as she did so many other wonderful and interesting things, but once she began down the path she saw so much good come out of it she knew she had to keep going.
Other adjustments? She went back and stripped down her Instagram portfolio to wedding-only photos and tried to stop fixating on vanity metrics. “Instead, I focused on having the right followers and the right content,” she said.
This was a smart move because focusing on what you can control is the best way to move forward. Concentrating on how many followers you have or how many shares your content receives isn’t something you can control so it doesn’t help anything to focus on it.
Reworking the About Page
Like I said before, there was nothing “wrong” with Jennifer’s about page. But she let me rework it anyway. After I knew her ideal bride I took Jennifer’s brain dump, interviewed recently engaged women in my area, and gathered up a bunch of keywords to use. I love what we came up with.
Jennifer said she realized the things she’s proud of may not be what potential clients care about.
She saw results of this tweak right away. One of the main comments she gets from potential brides is how she knew Jennifer was the right photographer for her because she described her so perfectly on her about page.
What About the Magazine?
“It revolutionized my business.”
The big idea behind the magazine was creative collaborations. Jennifer wanted to work with local vendors and venues and produce beautiful wedding scenes brides could see themselves in.
Over the course of a few months she worked at shooting all the images for her magazine. It helped her in three main ways:
Provided updated portfolio with Fraser Valley weddings on display
Helped her create cornerstone content for her website (it also went in the magazine and her onboarding email series)
Connected her with the wedding scene in the Fraser Valley
With the magazine now acting as an opt-in for potential clients, she is seeing the fruit of her labours. She also learned some important lessons along the way about weddings in the Fraser Valley and ways she can improve her magazine the next time around.
So What Happened?
Jennifer launched her magazine in December…to crickets. But she persevered. She kept working her launch and marketing strategy and kept her self-talk positive. January and February came and she experienced positive feedback to her magazine and inquiries coming in at record pace.
But no bookings.
Still, she kept working the plan.
March came, and summer bookings started. April came, and she started booking for 2018 weddings. June arrived now Jennifer actually believes she could go full time on wedding photography.
“I did the math and see that it’s possible,” she said.
Now that’s a transformation!
Most important takeaways
Jennifer said the biggest thing she’s learned is that everyone needs help along the way. She had wanted to do everything on her own, but was at rock bottom and so reached out to people she could trust.
She also had to embrace strategies that she figured she didn’t need, such as planning ahead, hashtag strategies, and content marketing.
Watching Jennifer’s business explode I’m overjoyed to have had the opportunity to help in this small way. I love when marketing theory becomes reality and you can see the power of a well-crafted idea take on a life of its own. I’m also thrilled to see such a talent be discovered by so many people who will benefit from working with her.
Today I’ll show you the basic outline for building an Instagram strategy. At least enough to get you started. If you want a custom strategy built for you, let’s talk. It’s one of my favourite client services right now.
Everyone’s saying you need to build an Instagram strategy but it seem like no one is saying how, right?
I get it. The thing is, it’s hard as well as personal. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all photo-creating money-making Instagram strategy you can copy and paste into your marketing plan. I mean, people may tell you that and may even try and sell you that but I’m telling you, it’s something you have to build and customize to your specific brand.
BTW marketing plans, social media strategies, and branding are whole other discussions I hope we’ll talk about one day
But first things first, WHY should you use Instagram?
At this moment one third of Internet users have an Instagram account so there’s an excellent chance your target audience is here. This is an opportunity to showcase and promote your services and brand to people who may not yet know about you and all you have to offer.
Instagram is an ideal tool to build a visual identity, telling your brand story through beautiful images, intriguing captions, and appropriate hashtags. When executed well, Instagram can help you develop a deeper connection with your audience.
General Posting Strategy
As a brand (and yes, if you sell something, you’re a brand), it’s important to follow a posting strategy to help your audience know how to think about you. Why should they follow you? How will you engage, inspire, or motivate them? What are some ways you can deepen your relationship with your audience through the images you post?
Think about these questions and jot down some answers.
The best way to create a strategy is by focusing on one area of your brand; choosing a niche. When choosing a niche ask these types of questions: What can you do better than your competitors? What will your audience find interesting, inspiring, or motivational? What is important for your audience to know? Find these answers and you’ll have your niche.
Once you’ve brainstormed a few ideas try writing a paragraph about your brand.
Here’s my (current) write up as an example: For years, I’ve made a living off professional writing—marketing, blogging, tourism, journalism, and now helping others share their story. How did I do this? By becoming an expert at taking a pile of unorganized ideas and shifting and shaping them into powerful communication tools.
I recommend thinking this through before asking a social media marketing strategist to help you create an Instagram strategy. You know your brand and goals best and by getting clear on your goals and who you serve ahead of time, your chances of creating a laser-focused strategy are that much more likely.
Once you have your paragraph, think about what your Instagram posts should feature to showcase who you are and what you do. In my example, I aim to promote things I’m working on (freelance or personal), things I love (new discoveries, funny stories, interesting ideas, books I’m reading), and exclusive tips (for the freelance writer).
When thinking about what types of photos you’ll post keep in mind every post should drive people to your business and that your Instagram content is a reflection of your brand and core beliefs—your feed tells a larger story of who you are and what you stand for.
Jot down a few photo ideas before moving on. Don’t worry, these are still brainstorms for now.
Still stuck? Here are a few questions to help you.
What drives your business?
What are your biggest takeaways?
How will what you share enrich your followers’ lives?
HOW should your posts look, sound, and feel?
At all times your Instagram posts should speak to your audience, appealing to their interests. Your posts should engage them using thoughtful language intended to interest, inspire, or motivate them to take the next step with you. If you are promoting an event or contest take care to craft your caption in a way your audience will respond best—focus on the benefits instead of the promotion.
WHERE should you focus?
Your Instagram posts should focus on what your users will find interesting, inspiring, and motivational. What makes you or your business/services special and unique? What is there to discover? What would your audience be interested in seeing?
WHEN should you post?
Posting consistency is more important than how often you post. However, Monday and Thursday are higher use days for Instagram in general so these are good days to aim for. Once you have your strategy in place use a free tool like Iconosquare or Websta to analyze your followers and learn what days and times they’re more likely to use Instagram and adjust your posting schedule as necessary.
WHAT should your posts consist of?
All posts should contain a photo, a caption, and hashtags.
Your photos must be high quality, with good framing, and interesting content. Photos should be planned and edited with third-party apps
Captions should tell your audience a story. At every step, take the opportunity to draw your audience in and point back to your strategy.
A good practice is to create a list of 10-20 hashtag relating to your business, brand, and products and reference several from the list each time you post
Using hashtags is a critical part of your posting strategy. By finding and using the most relevant hashtags for your updates, your posts will be exposed to users in your target audience who don’t yet follow you. You should mix brand-specific hashtags with more general hashtags. Instagram uses hashtags to organize and categorize content so by not using or misusing hashtags your posts could go unnoticed.
The best way to gain followers on Instagram is by having a great profile. Here are the elements.
Description. Your profile description should reflect your niche and give the user enough information to be motivated to follow you
Portfolio. When a new user visits your Instagram account s/he will often view your photo portfolio before choosing to follow you. You want to make sure your portfolio is not only filled with beautiful images but reflect your niche. If the user visits your portfolio and your portfolio is off topic or contains weak/poor images, it could prevent new followers
Photos. Your photos should reflect your brand’s online voice and emotion related to it
Before taking a photo ask the question, “what do I do better than anyone else?” Find or take photos supporting your answer.
Before posting a photo ask the following questions:
Does this photo showcase my talent?
Is this photo interesting?
Is this photo on-brand?
Is this photo beautiful?
If the answer is yes, post away! If you’re not sure, don’t post the photo.
Posting quality images is more important than posting often. Beautiful images increase your brand value in the user’s eye while weak/poor images decrease your brand’s value in the user’s eye.
Once you’re clear on your target audience, and have your profile description, portfolio, and photos in line then you can begin following other users.
Search Instagram and find as many people in your target audience using keywords. Aim to follow 100 or 200 people to begin. Many will follow back out of courtesy but even if users don’t follow back you have gathered a pool of users to draw photo ideas from. Try to find new people to follow every time you log on to Instagram.
Like and Comment
Another way to gain followers is by liking and commenting on photos. A good strategy is to like and/or comment on three to five photos every time you log on to Instagram. Try to be encouraging, positive, and upbeat.
Also remember to respond to your followers comments on your photos. A quick “thanks” goes a long way. Remember to @ tag the follower you’re posting to.
Reposting other users’ images is a great way to showcase your brand without having to come up with all your own content (or your own social media manager!). Not only do you highlight and support Instagrammers but you add beautiful images to your portfolio extending your brand.
You can use repost apps, take screenshots and repost yourself, or save the image on your computer and manually add it to your mobile device before posting. Just be sure to give credit to the user you’re reposting (@ tagging) and add relevant hashtags.
Adding popular hashtags to every post will expand your reach and expose your images and profile to new users.
Adding brand-specific hashtags to every post and encouraging followers to use it in their posts helps you create community and cultivate loyalty. When your followers use your hashtag it exposes your brand to their audience, with the added bonus of the user’s advocacy.
Cross promoting your Instagram posts on your other social media profiles like Facebook or Twitter exposes your followers there to your Instagram feed. You can also use your Instagram feed to encourage users to find you on your other profiles, provided you are using beautiful images with an interesting caption to relay the message.
There is a learning curve to Instagram, but by following a posting and follower strategy will get you a long way. As well, learning a few basics about photography, utilizing third-party apps and filters, and reposting will help you create an engaging portfolio as long as you stick to your niche and showcase the best of your brand.
Questions about building your Instagram strategy? Looking for a custom Instagram strategy? Fill in the form and let’s get a conversation started!
When you’re a hungry freelance writer or getting started in the industry it’s difficult to know where to look for work. Things like job boards, Craigslist, and cold emailing queries are what people trend towards but these are (in general) low paying, competitive, and an exhausting hustle. Your chances of landing solid clients are low so your pitch rate has to be high.
If you’re wondering how established freelance writers generate leads they’ll tell you most of their work comes through warm leads (existing relationships) and referrals. Even if you’re just starting out these options are available to you too, the trick is letting people know you’re available so they think of you when an opportunity comes up.
The best way to let people know you’re available is by saying you’re available. It’s easy to look at your social media profiles as places where friends and family connect with you, so there’s no reason to talk about your business (don’t they already know what you do?) but what better place to find referrals than your friends and family list?
And don’t assume they’re aware of what you do or even understand it. Do you know the details of your entire network? I don’t. Take assumption out of the picture and optimize your social profiles for your freelance writing business. Lay it out for them so it’s easy for them to think of you when they hear about someone looking for a writer.
Another reason to optimize your social media profiles is because your reach is wide on social. A potential client is more likely to run across you on Twitter or LinkedIn before ever seeing your website. You want to ensure you tell any potential clients who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.
Five tips for optimizing your social media profiles
Choose a professional/standout profile picture and cover photo
Your profile photo should be high quality, square, reflect your brand, stand out in news feeds, and be a picture of you.
Your cover photo (on applicable platforms) should be high quality and represent the core values of your brand.
The more consistent your images are across platforms, the better.
Make it easy for people to know who you are/what you do
If you want to capture leads from your social profiles then use your full name or business name. Nothing cute here. A great social media bio explains who you are and what you do, shares your personality, and targets your niche audience with keywords. Think of it as an amped-up elevator pitch.
Link to your website
Some gurus teach linking to your professional Facebook page and if that’s where you prefer doing business I won’t stop you. But don’t leave the URL section blank. Think about it this way, where do you want your prospective clients to go? Send them there. I want them to go to my website so I can showcase the best of my work on a property I own and control.
Include keywords about your services
If someone is searching on Twitter for someone like you, what will they search for? Make sure those words show up in your profile in a non-spammy way. Avoid buzz words, use terms your ideal client would use, be concise, and mention the benefits of what you do.
Be clear on your location/contact info
If you work from home you may not want your address listed for the world to see, but how about your city or region? Adding your location helps potential clients discover you. And what about your contact details? Make it easy for people to get in touch, but only share what you’re comfortable with. Adding a phone number may be too much, but what about your work email address? If you want people to contact you with work, tell them how to reach you.
Now get out there and be social!
This post is an excerpt from the five-day marketing challenge. Want to get your marketing efforts organized? Take the challenge!
Grab these 125+ hashtags for writers and up your social media game