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4 Things You Should Stop Asking Your Social Media Manager

4 Things You Should Stop Asking Your Social Media Manager image shhh 300x225I have lunch regularly with a small group of awesome social media managers in Silicon Valley. It’s my unofficial support group, much needed in our profession. The hot topic at our last meeting? “Stuff” people ask social media managers. Here are a few of my favorites.

“Can you create some viral content?”

I hear this one the most. My response? Nobody can predict virality, not even the experts. Sure, social media managers can create amazing content that’ll resonate with our audiences but we can’t guarantee virality. No one can, including the guy who created the first Harlem Shake video.

“I can’t believe you get paid to sit on Facebook all day.” Shared by @lea210

I hate to break it to you, but we don’t get to flip through our friends’ baby photos all day. Instead, we use social networks to manage our company’s brand and build relationships with our customers. The latter is not as “fun” but infinitely more beneficial to our companies’ bottom lines.

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“Are you tweeting this?” Shared by @karenlee

Fine, the answer is probably yes most of the time, but we don’t tweet everything. Social media managers are maniacally focused on the communities we manage so we only share content our community members will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. So no, we’re not tweeting pictures of what you ate for lunch, unless we’re social media managers for a food startup.

“Can you get me 1,000 Retweets on that?” Shared by @KokaSexton

No, seriously. Can you get me 1,000 Retweets on this article, Koka? ;)

What have you asked your social media manager lately? Let me know in the comments below. I won’t judge, I promise.

Photo: athena/Flickr  

Comments on this Article: 49

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  1. Remco Heijt says:

    A director of a company I once worked for as an Internet Marketeer one day asked me: “can you put a link to our company website on top of the search results in Google to boost our sales?” The guy hadn’t got a clue of how much work is required to optimize a website, link building, landing pages, content optimization, launch adwords campaigns etc. etc. Just thought it was a 5 minute job to simply put a link of the company website on top of Google’s search results.

  2. Eli Langer says:

    “Is it trending?”

    The answer is probably “No.” We’ll call you when it’s trending. (Also, turn your Tailored Trends off. It’s messing with your head.)

  3. I’ve been asked for a lot of follower and like ultimatums… Especially when I first begin working with a client. A lot of times I feel like they think you are a wizard with a magic wand and you should get massive instant results!

    • Kirstin – I agree 100% with you on this. Its as if we can create numbers that will resonate with them. And it doesn’t really matter b/c if the client has 1,000,000 who don’t do anything is that better than 100 followers who do everything you could ask for in a community?

    • Yes! Quality over quantity matters everytime. If a small company gains 50 followers and a larger one gains 100, the smaller one has a higher percentage!

  4. How often should we be tweeting, facebook posting, G+’ing (made that up), YouTubing, Pinteresting, Instagraming and finally blogging!

    We get asked this all the time and the answer is always: do you have something interesting to say? If not, don’t do any of that.

  5. “Can you get me 1,000 Retweets on that?” – If my boss is expecting me to get a result like this, then I’ll waste his money buying RTs.

    We don’t have a social media manager but we have marketers working for us. I only ask them how things are going and never ask them “how many…?” I understand how difficult their job is and that is why I don’t want to mess with it.

    • We need to work with more people like you ;)

    • Mike says:

      Speaking as a sales and marketing professional, the question I am most often asked is “how can you (double, triple) our online profits, hits and productivity?”. The answer is: unless you have something interesting AND RELEVANT to your targeted demographical audience, I can’t. And shouldn’t. Give the people what they want/need or stay out of their faces!

  6. Ally says:

    “Can I get a schedule of Tweets and Facebook posts w/ images for the entire month?” ………and my answer has to be, “Yes, of course.”

    • Andrew says:

      I don’t see anything wrong with this for Facebook. I used to manage my company’s SM pages and having a road map for 30 days definitely helped ease stress. Of course there will be things you’ll want to post instantly on a give day, but otherwise, it’s nice having a forward schedule.

    • Donald says:

      I agree with Andrew on this one. I handle social (among other things) for our startup, and having a set number and an action plan for this stuff made my job a lot easier.

  7. @MaxR_V says:

    “Can you please buy some likes and views”… Something we all hate to hear and have definitely heard it from someone at some point. It’s contrary to the rewarding feeling of gradually building a real audience of avid followers, aka, our job.

  8. Edana says:

    The article and comments here are priceless. I remember working for a guy who wanted to Tweet EVERYthing (I’ll leave out my bathroom humour comment). I think it often comes down to trying to “standardize” and “process-ize” what still is an personal, communication-driven medium. At the risk of sounding new age, it has to be organic… a.k.a. from the heart. It can’t be purely business/profit-oriented… hence “social” media.

  9. karen ticktin says:

    Connie, Thanks for the laugh. Unfortunately it’s true along with ‘why don’t we have 1MM fans?’

  10. Joie Healy says:

    Hilarious. I was once told by someone they were working on creating a viral video. If anyone could figure out what will go viral I am sure we would have all created them by now.

  11. Connie – mine is a little SEO-oriented. As the competition snipes around, they look for keywords that the client company is not ranking for and “tip off” the client. He then interrupts the next meeting and says, “I noticed we’re not on page 1 for (obscure phrase)! How about that??”. My addition: Stop asking your Online Marketing Manager to rank for random phrases (that were never mentioned before) out of the blue…

  12. E. Fi. says:

    “How many likes does it take for me to be legit?” and the best one ever “can’t you just go to google and use their images for posts?”

  13. Colleen says:

    How about. Can I give you my pass word and can you just post for me?

  14. Smokey says:

    I still can’t believe this is a real job… sorry. I have friends from age 20 to 60 that are active on various social media. While I would agree that people take recommendations from friends via their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, etc, etc, about product they have personally used. I don’t know anyone that actively goes to a COMPANIES social media account site to get info.
    I think the social media companies have done a good job of convincing companies that’s what consumers do but I don’t see it happening in that direct a manner.
    I have more to say about “social media managers” and “HR managers” but that’s for another forum/subject…;-)

    • Donald says:

      Smokey, I want to understand where you’re coming from…but I just can’t. We are just way past the point where social isn’t relevant enough to a brand to justify someone spending time cultivating social media.

      If you think that the only jobs that should exist are the ones that lead to ‘DIRECT’ purchases, you simply haven’t managed an internet-relevant company.

      It’s not as simple as just posting paid ads…it’s about driving traffic.

      To drive traffic, you PROBABLY need to spend money on paid ads, but people are actively searching for things perpetually online. The way a product or brand gets found (on a search engine) is bolstered not just by whether they ‘purchased keywords’ but also how catered, relevant, and valuable their content is.

      It takes SKILL to get to the top page of google in ANYTHING. If you don’t think someone should get paid for that, go figure it out yourself. Without a good amount of learning curve, constant education, and a tremendous amount of effort and creativity, you’re simply not going to get there.

  15. Jenny Li says:

    I think I am going to go with the classic:
    “So…what you’re saying is…only a fraction of our 1MM fans actually see our posts the minute we post it? All 1MM DON’T see it?” (insert their gasp of shock here)
    (insert my hands in my face here)
    #EdgerankProblems

  16. Carin says:

    I want 5,000 followers on Facebook. (From a sole proprietor in a niche local business) When I explained the challenge, I didn’t get the account. Thankfully. ;)

  17. Randy says:

    Why is fb engagement only at 20%? Shouldn’t it be higher? That lead to an hour long conversation about engagement and edge rank. The client was then pleased with 20%.

  18. ibobby says:

    “You should do social media and direct mailing.” -From a partner stuck in the stone age

  19. Adriana says:

    “Why can’t we post everything all at once on our Facebook page?” Obviously content should be spaced out so our followers don’t get overwhelmed and annoyed! lol

  20. Darce says:

    I’m dying here! This is a coffee spitter of a post. Awesome. I and my team have heard all of these. Yesterday we got, (in no particular order):

    1- “We don’t really like that picture. Why did you use it?” (uh… ’cause you told us to use it…)

    2- “Don’t you think we should have 1,000,000 Fans by now?” (Seriously, not making that number up. 1,000,000 Fans. They currently have a few thousand FB fans, btw.)

    3- “I just don’t get Twitter. What’s the point?” (uhhhhh.)

    LOVE this article! LOVE it.

    • Lol we may need to do a follow up to this post referencing all these great additions in the comments.

    • Katherine says:

      I’m amazed at how many people still question the value of Twitter. More often than not, I hear this from avid Facebook users. They say Twitter attracts the most intelligent users, so consider the source.

  21. “I don’t understand, I post to my Facebook page everyday about this promotion and no one’s signing up.”

    I hear this so often from small businesses that rely heavily on their brick-and-mortar locations that I’m break out in a stress rash every time now.

  22. Katherine says:

    Good one. Of all these, I think #2 irritates me the most. It’s insulting to the clients who pay for professional advertising services. As if anyone would actually pay me to lol at my friend’s statuses all day. Get a clue.

  23. Kim says:

    I once had a coworker with a superiority complex who demanded I get 100 new fb likes a week. We were a small community tv station and a large amount of our content was for the over 50s community. I tried to explain this and she screamed at me, in front of our manager that we should just delete the fb page because a community radio station (aimed at 13-35s) had over 10, 000 likes and it was embarrassing that we could not compare. Her reasoning was that advertisers would not purchase advertising space on a tv station that had under 500 fb likes. Like that affects tv at all? My manager quietly told me afterwards that she was out of line and that he planned to fire her soon. I actually quit before that happened but as a new PR graduate it made me afraid to apply for social media jobs and I doubted my skills and degree for a long time after that.

  24. Maxx says:

    Funny post! I actually have been considered for a Social Media Marketer post, and would love to hear advice from you, if you have the time! Like do you have a “What not to ask during the interview” and how to answer, if asked type-thing?

  25. Nadia says:

    The one thing i hated most in a previous job, managing the Social Media, was when one of the ‘know it all’ directors would ask me, “How can we get the people to like our page”. This same guy never wanted to approve budgets for e.g. Facebook ads, Google ads etc. At that stage, his FB administrator was posting hectically, but i could never get them to quite understand that posting all those informative posts to an audience that consists mostly of employees and also, overloading your page with over-technical information kind of defies the point of SOCIAL media…..

  26. Cheyserr says:

    I super agree with you. Whenever I tell my friends about my job, they’re like “wow, cool, your job is fun and easy. You’re just like facebook and twitter all day.” But they have no idea how hard and boring it could be sometimes.
    I was reading your article with a big smile on my face.
    Great article.

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