Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we are elbow deep in the holiday season. It’s the time of year were you reconnect with friends and family you might not see all that often. Reconnecting with these people can occasionally end up in some awkward moments. One of those moments comes when you try to explain your job as a social media or community manager to those people who just don’t quite “get” it.
Here is a list, complied from the real life experiences of myself and some of my friends, of what we hear the most. Print out the attached PDF and post it on the fridge at your next holiday party.
So, you have a social media manager or community manager in the family.Pour yourself another eggnog and read this list before you start to talk about what exactly that means.

Top 10 Things NOT to say to your social media or community manager, and why.

Hey – I use Facebook! I’d be so good at your job! While it is true that being a social media or community manager, using Facebook is a part of the job, it is only that. One part of the job. You need to know how to use all the social media sites (and blogging) and how best to utilize them for your community.

I just don’t get the point of “The Tweeter” First of all, don’t call it “The Tweeter”. Calling it that is either ignorance or obnoxiousness, and sometimes both. Twitter is an important part of the social media tool kit. It is a great way to get involved with your community, both talking with and listening to them.

What do you do all day? Short answer: a lot. A day in the life of a social media manager can include a variety of things. From creating and curating content to designing a Facebook contest to searching out what people are saying about the company/brand across the Internet. All that while addressing customer concerns, replying to what people are saying while keeping up with the brand voice and maintaining a positive brand reputation.

You actually use that stuff for business? Social media is an opportune place to get involved in the community with your customers. It is a place to listen to your customers and to know them better. Joining the communities of social media helps to keep your business top of mind and gives you an opportunity to get involved with them in a one on one basis.

Oh – you could do mine free for me, right? Because we’re friends. No. Social media management is a service, you pay for someone to manage a social media account in the same way you would pay an accountant to do your taxes or a lawyer to read your contracts. Would you ask your cousin the accountant or your sister the lawyer to manage your business’s workload for free?

So, what are you going to do when social media goes away? Things may change and evolve over time, but there will always be a need for businesses to engage with the online communities. While the channels may change, the need will still be there. We evolve with the times.

Can’t I have an intern/my son/my granddaughter etc do that for me? No. The person behind your social media accounts is another ‘face’ of your company. The things they say and do online will reflect back on your company in a positive or negative light. As Scott Stratten says “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and one tweet to screw it all up.”

You mean like, people pay you to tweet for them? Yes, but consider this… those tweets have a lot of thought behind them. Is it in the brand voice? Does it stick to the social media plan? If it’s curated from another source – is that source a reliable one? Are the facts correct? Is the spelling and grammar correct? Those are just a few thoughts behind every post on any social media site.

Who in the world would pay for that? Isn’t it free? While having the basic set of social media accounts is free, there are charges to some of the tools. You also have to consider the cost of your time. Social media is alive and active 24/7/365. It’s not just 9-5. Do you have time to respond to every Tweet or Facebook post? Can you afford the time it takes to not just write your own blog, but reply to every comment as well?

Aw… that’s cute. But what’s your real job? This is a real job! You might not understand what I do, but that’s ok – we’re still cool. Let’s go have some coco.

Thanks to my friends at the Social Media Club-Milwaukee, Social Solutions Collective and authors for contributing to the list!