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The four biggest social media lies y’all keep on believing.

Ladies and gees, can you believe that it’s been almost 5 years since people started thinking ‘hey, that BookFace could be a pretty good way for our brand to reach people…’ and the very first Social Media Managers were crowned??  (Oh, how I wish there were crowns.)

And while that might seem like a really long time for what’s essentially, really new technology, ridiculously, it’s a job that today’s marketing managers didn’t even consider when they were sleeping in the back row of a university auditorium studying intently away at uni.  Heck, I’m in a job that did not exist when I stepped gingerly into my very first ‘real’ marketing job.  MIND BLOWN, eh?

Like any good five year old, truthfully the grown ups don’t always completely understand what they’re talking about.  I mean, you’ve probably seen us right?  Sitting in the corner, with seventeen Apple devices (I call bullsh*t on anyone who calls themselves a social media manager and doesn’t at least have the MacBook, iPad, iPhone trifecta…), muttering about reach and engagement and virality, (not to be confused with virility) but do you actually, legitimately, know what we do?

There’s urban myths aplenty in the social world, and in tonight’s episode of Myth Busters, we’re going in deep, sports fans.  So hold onto your hats while we count down the top four…


‘Social Media Manager?  Manager?  That’s a fancy title for someone who just plays around on Facebook all day!’

Yep.  That’s it.  That’s me.  Just sitting here, drinking my latte, scrolling through the newsfeed.


If you, heck anyone, in 2014 thinks that description pretty much sums up my whole real, entire job, then you need to go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Here’s a tip.  Scrolling through Facey makes up approximately 0.2% of my job.  With the other 99.8% of my day I (deep breath please), plan content, shoot content, get content approved, help someone track down a pair of shoes that haven’t been in production since ooooh 1997, consult with the brand managers to help plan their upcoming seasonal plans, provide input into various campaign strategies, calm an unhappy customer, flag several counterfeit sites with the brand protection team, write copy, manage my budget, promote content, analyse the performance of last week’s campaigns, rejig all of my scheduled content to slightly better times based on last week’s performance and somehow, sometimes, I find five minutes to shove a sandwich in my face at my desk while banging away on the keyboard.

Also, throw all expectations of that whole 9-5 nonsense out the window.  Unless you’ve got the emergency ‘Turn Internet Off’ switch handy – after hours, weekends, public holidays, 2am in the freaking morning – all fair game for those fine social media ‘fans’.  And no, it doesn’t matter that it’s 5am on a Sunday.  WHY HAVEN’T YOU RESPONDED TO US ALREADY?

Also, don’t forget that if you’re a global company, you’ll basically have consumers awake, and capable of starting the next social media crisis pretty much around the clock. International Date Line for the win!


‘Oh, it’s just social media.  We’ll just get the intern to do it…’

Solid plan.  You know, if your 2014 goal is to end up on one of those ‘Biggest Corporate Eff Ups of the Year’ news round ups…

Social media management is not for junior burgers.  And let’s all sing that song again, all together now, just to make sure we all really get it.  (everyone!) Social media management is not for junior burgers.

Firstly, diddya realise that it’s actually a pretty strategic marketing function?  It’s not just Googling memes, folks.  (Despite what some radio stations would have us believe…)  You need to be able to look at analytics, (that’s actual real numbers, kids), and make educated and informed decisions about what’s working, what’s next, and what to ditch.  Oh, and you’ll need to be ok with making these decisions on the fly, because that social media game, she moves fast.  Show me an intern/work experience kid who can do that, and I’ll hire them.  On the spot.

Secondly, your social media manger is going to put statements out into the public domain on behalf of the company.  That’s right.  They’re kind of like the PR Manager.  Actually, scrap that, they’re actually like the PR Manager.  In the world of screen shots and blogs and embedded links, anything posted on your Facebook page, any tweet you send out, can, and will, be used against you in the court of online media.  Heck, a journo may not even call the aforementioned PR chick to get a comment.  They’ll just trawl the feed, find something you’ve posted that suits their point of view, and hey presto – comment from the company.

Scared yet?  You should be.  We’ve seen enough brand social media disasters, sparked and/or handled poorly by an inexperienced 20-something.  Don’t be one of them.  Whatever level of experience you require for your marketing management team, just assume that your head of social should have the same.


‘Social Media is free, right?’

Oh jeebus.  Really?  Still?

Nothing in this world is free.  Except chicks, apparently, according to Dire Straights.  (What?  My Dad was obsessed in the 80’s.  I was practically raised on that Brother’s in Arms album.  On vinyl.)

Great content isn’t, as I banged on a couple of paragraphs ago, something that can be found in a quick Google image search.  Content generation shouldn’t involve  Photography, videography, copywriting…these things all cost moolah, unless you have your very own army of minions living in the basement.  (Or you’re indulging in a little bit o’ right-click-download-image-and-repost action.  DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT ONE. #AllTheRage)  Oh, and you’ll need at least one person to manage all these things, and some agencies to actually do the ‘doing’ part of the content creation part.  Last time I checked, they don’t work for free.

Yes.  Technically it is free to start a social media account.  But all the stuff that comes next?  Show me the money, honey.  You’ll want a bit of cash to generate fans (despite Kevin Costner’s insistence, if you build it, they won’t just ‘come’).  And then after you’ve been heart broken watching that amazing piece of content only reach 2,000 peeps, even though you’ve got 250,000 fans connected to the page – you’ll want a budget to start promoting your content, because heaven knows Zuckerberg and Dick Costello won’t let you broadcast to them all for free.  I mean, they’ve got kids who need to go to an Ivy League college, people.


‘Can you make this go viral for me?’

Yep.  Just let me finish feeding my unicorn, and then I have a meeting with a leprechaun, but after my 2’oclock in Narnia, I should be good to get that trending for you.


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