I’m clearly biased, but would venture to say that social media managers are grossly under-appreciated. Yeah, we spend the majority of the day on the internet, but we do it strategically. We carefully curate and plan messaging that plays a huge role in integrated, sophisticated marketing campaigns. We’re a public relations gatekeeper, moderating thousands of comments a day, responding to questions and ensuring we never deviate from approved key messaging, even when it involves some sneaky politician-level avoidance. Most of all, we’re the forgotten sentient beings on the other side of the screen.
Here are 5 secrets from a full-time social media manager.
1. You bet your bottom dollar we hide your offensive comments
You wanna bring racist, sexist, homophobic, fatphobic, offensive garbage to my comment section? Think again, pal. I will hide your comments and then I’ll monitor the post to make sure you haven’t noticed. I regret nothing.
2. There’s a reason we read your message but respond a day later… or don’t respond at all
As much as we prepare for whatever questions we think we might be asked about a project or campaign, you always inevitably surprise us with something so bizarre, we couldn’t have possibly seen it coming. If we don’t have any approved messaging to go by, we draft responses and get them approved, leaving you hanging until we’re sure we have a solid response. Honestly, it’s safer to risk you getting annoyed with us than to risk saying something that isn’t true or isn’t public knowledge. And sometimes, we just flat out ignore you. If it’s obvious you’re just looking to pick a fight or say something controversial for effect, you’re getting ignored.
3. Sometimes, your words hurt and make us angry
It certainly seems like the general public has forgotten that real human beings have to wade through all of the comments on a brand’s page. Please stop skimming a headline then spreading misinformation in the comment section. Please stop calling other people racist slurs. Please stop calling a brand stupid because you disagree with a marketing approach (that probably happens to be working; it got your attention, didn’t it?). We definitely learn to grow thick skin as social media managers, but even we have limits.
4. We see some nasty things on the internet
I can’t even begin to tell you how many inappropriate things show up in brand inboxes. Being a woman on the internet is far worse, but managing a brand inbox is no joke. Child abuse? Seen it. Animal abuse? Seen it. Car accidents? Seen it. Lots of blood coming from everywhere? Seen it. Racist propaganda? Seen it. Stop sending brands unrelated and/or violent videos! At the very least, warn the poor person who has to open that message.
5. We definitely do get tired of being on social media
Yeah, we usually know all of the trending topics, and we’ve definitely seen that meme you just discovered like 4 weeks ago, but despite how it looks, we do take lots of breaks from social media. We get paid to moderate communities and develop content, but we also spend a lot of time creating strategies for said content, analyzing data to inform our strategies, and honestly just reenergizing from all of the offensive comments we read in a day. Sometimes that even means we disappear from our personal accounts for weeks at a time. It’s for our health.
Have any of these secrets surprised you? Angered you? If you’re a social media manager, what would you add?