Reading Time: 11 minutes

By now, we all know our businesses have to have a social media presence. That’s a non-negotiable in today’s world.

And, at least initially, it was easy enough to manage it on our own. A Tweet here, a follow there, and some icons in the footer of our websites and emails. Set-it-and-forget-it, right?

Well, maybe once upon a time.

Because now? Social media moves at the speed of life – sometimes at the speed of light if the headlines are compelling enough – so more and more businesses are hiring full-time strategists to handle the 24/7 influx of activity, engagements and opportunities.

If you’re a small-to-medium business, the thought of hiring someone to manage your social presence seems lofty at best, and decadently impossible at worst.

But here, we break it all down for you.

Social Media By-The-Numbers

Consider the findings of a 2019 study on the state of small business marketing:

  • The most common platform for building brand awareness is social media marketing, which consistently outranked all other mediums.
  • The foremost opportunity for gaining new customers is social media marketing.
  • 73% of respondents reported they would increase spending on social media.
  • 3.5 billion social media users worldwide.
  • Facebook is the most popular social media platform.
  • 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users.
  • Users spend an average of 3 hours per day on social networks and messaging.
  • 73% of marketers believe that social media marketing has been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.
  • 54% of social browsers use social media to research products.
  • 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.
  • 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations on social media.
  • 500 million daily active Instagram stories are uploaded worldwide.
  • 91% of all social media users access social channels via mobile devices.

Why Businesses Need A Social Media Strategist

A recent study discovered one mission-critical factor when it came to maximizing social media’s potential to grow their audience and business.

“… while social media continues to be a challenge for many small businesses, it can also help small businesses grow their audience and push customers to their site—but only when executed well.”

“But only when executed well.”

So while SMB owners worry that they can’t afford to have someone dedicated solely to social media, they really can’t afford not to. Why?

Because when you think about how social media has – at least in part – leveled the exposure playing field, its opportunities are endless for SMBs to increase brand awareness and new customer gains, and all without paying-to-play like in the traditional advertising and marketing media days of yore.

Social Media Strategist vs. Virtual Assistant

“Why can’t my Virtual Assistant just handle my social media?”

Great question! Technically, they can. And maybe for what you and your business need, that could be perfect. But maybe your needs exceed the bandwidth, expertise or experience of a Virtual Assistant.

So here’s a side-by-side comparison of two of our contractor services – social media strategists and virtual assistants – so you can decide which one is right for your business – and realize why you probably need one, like yesterday!

Social Media Strategist

A Social Media Strategist is responsible for the overall strategy of your social media from a big picture perspective.

Tasks

  • Identifying your audience on social media
  • Determining what types of things you should post
  • Determining how frequently to post and on what channels
  • Defining your sales funnel and KPIs
  • Creating marketing emails/campaigns for your products or services
  • Developing your ads strategy
  • Doing keyword research

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can implement an existing social media strategy and manage engagement.

Tasks

  • Assisting in sending eBlasts
  • Helping prepare eNewsletters
  • Proofing and editing prepared content
  • Researching and adding stock photos as needed
  • Maintaining editorial content
  • Monitoring activity across platforms and responding to comments and messages
  • Establishing regular LinkedIn posts by sharing articles, blog posts and more

Social Media Strategist vs. Social Media Assistant

“Got it,” you say. “But then why not hire a social media assistant or manager? Aren’t they the same thing?

Another great question.

So let’s break this down. They all involve ‘social media.’ So we can nail that down. We know what they work on. But who does what?

See, a strategist can pull double duty as an assistant and manager but the assistant and manager are likely not strategists.

Clear as mud, right? Stick with us here.

Fear not – we can do this! Below, we compare both strategists and assistants side-by-side, too!

Social Media Strategist

A Social Media Strategist is responsible for the overall strategy of your social media from a big picture perspective.

Tasks

  • Identifying your audience on social media
  • Determining what types of things you should post
  • Determining how frequently to post and on what channels
  • Defining your sales funnel and KPIs
  • Creating marketing emails/campaigns for your products or services
  • Developing your ads strategy
  • Doing keyword research

Social Media Assistant

A Social Media Assistant or Manager is responsible for the execution of the strategist’s plan.

Tasks

  • Posting content daily
  • Curating or writing the content to share on your page
  • Creating graphics
  • Finding content to share on your page
  • Repurposing content you previously wrote
  • Keeping up on engagement, such as responding to all comments and DMs

Social Media Strategist: A Day In The Life

A Social Media Strategist can focus on a personal brand or a corporate brand. Which is right for you?

Easy! Just check out the side-by-side for each below.

Personal Brand SMS

Example Represents 40 Hours A Month

Every 1 – 2 Days:

  • Create and schedule posts
  • Source images and/ or videos to accompany posts
  • Monitor and respond to post comments and messages from client’s followers. Alert client if there’s a comment that requires their input.

Weekly:

  • Plan and manage content calendar
  • Coordinate with client and/or marketing team to ensure content aligns with company campaigns and brand messaging
  • Stay abreast of changes, trends and regulations for each social media platform (Social Media Examiner is a great resource)
  • Research trending and most relevant hashtags
  • Identify accounts to follow and engage

Monthly:

  • Assess and report performance results
  • Reevaluate strategy and adjust if necessary for optimal performance
  • Work with copywriter to plan articles and blog posts
  • Create and manage ads and boosted posts

Quarterly:

  • Coordinate photo-shoots around content needs
  • Develop and manage giveaways and promotions

Meetings:

  • Attend monthly meeting to discuss content calendar
  • Communicate with client throughout the week via clients preferred channel (email, IM, etc.)

Corporate Brand SMS

Example Represents 80 Hours A Month

Daily:

  • Monitor posts at their scheduled time to ensure they posted correctly, and address/ troubleshoot any technology glitches immediately
  • Monitor engagement on these posts, including responding to any comments when necessary in a timely manner
  • Monitor social channels for brand mentions and messages and respond when appropriate
  • Share interesting content that aligns with brand messaging or content that has mentioned the brand
  • Grow following by seeking out and interacting/ creating relationships with key users
  • Keep on top of current social media trends and implement when appropriate

Weekly:

  • Gather resources for the content calendar from a variety of sources
  • Research industry news
  • Interact with clients to get their updates
  • Mining content from other social profiles to reshare on company channels
  • Work with the graphic design team or design corresponding graphics to material that was sourced, and edit any photography to match the brand
  • Schedule posts and corresponding links and request final approval
  • Plan out upcoming week’s content calendar including any events to promote, holidays or other reminders
  • Analyze posts from the previous week to incorporate content that resonated
  • Analyze hashtag performance and adjust hashtag mix to drive engagement

Monthly:

  • Assess and report performance results
  • Reevaluate strategy and adjust if necessary for optimal performance
  • Work with copywriter to plan articles and blog posts

Quarterly:

  • Develop quarterly and/or yearly strategy based on goals

Meetings:

  • Attend bi-weekly meeting with the internal marketing team to keep on top of events and important dates that are upcoming and names to watch out for
  • Schedule weekly 1:1 with team member who owns social media
    Attend other meetings as needed

As Needed:

  • Update social media bios or logos when appropriate
  • Create/ Update brand templates, or work with the graphic design team to create templates

Case Study: Tricia Sciortino

It’s been said that time is money.

But BELAY CEO Tricia Sciortino knew better because unlike money, time is finite — and she had none to spare.

Because after assuming the role of CEO in January 2020, the demands on Tricia’s time increased exponentially, and still with only 24 hours available to get everything done.

Something had to give.

So Tricia hired Robyn Ware to be her Social Media Strategist, realizing that her social media presence was a non-negotiable.

“Working with Robyn has allowed me to get completely out of the weeds when it comes to managing my social channels,” Tricia says. “There is now an ROI on the time I spend because the content aligns with a strategy that is effectively increasing followers and engagement.”

And beyond the time Tricia has reclaimed to do the things only she can do – and let other people take care of the rest – she now enjoys a ‘next-level’ social media presence.

“Robyn has taken my social channels to the next level by integrating brand colors and focusing on the overall aesthetic of my pages, giving them that ‘wow’ factor,” Tricia adds.Read more here.

Gut-Check Questions

Ask yourself: Do you …

… need help managing Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms?

… still do everything manually?

… get very little results from your social media efforts?

… need help responding to online inquiries, getting feedback from clients, and sharing customer success stories?

… lack in brand personality?

… need help producing and scheduling content?

… have no campaign strategy?

… overuse hashtags, not using them at all or worry that you’re not using them correctly?

… not know how to use data to optimize your campaigns?

… have an engagement rate less than 10%?

… not use paid ads and if you do, the average cost per click is more than 10 cents?

Sure, many business owners would likely answer ‘yes’ to those questions and still manage just fine.

But what if a social media strategist could take you from managing ‘fine’ to managing ‘great?’ What if – with very little effort – you could address nearly all of the above pain points to fully leverage social media?

5 Signs You Need A Social Media Strategist

A social media strategist can help you manage all of your unique social media needs – which can be varied, extensive and exhaustive – and build a strong online presence to get you back to what you love most: running and growing your business.

Do any of these ring (too) true?

1. You’re not social-media savvy.

To do something well – not ‘good’ not ‘OK’ but great – you have to understand it. But, admittedly, you don’t, so it’s not top-of-mind.

2. You miss messages. 

Whether it’s a Facebook message about one of your products or a Twitter mention you missed from a week ago, you know it should have been addressed sooner – as in ‘within-five-minutes’ sooner to earn the new ‘very responsive to messages’ Facebook badge.

3. Social media is an afterthought. 

As with most things on your to-do list, those you don’t enjoy or understand are often relegated to the way bottom. However, it’s virtually impossible to gain traction in your social presence without proactive execution of a well thought out strategy.

4. You already work 40+ hours. 

I know – if you’re a business owner, 40 hours probably seems like a light week. Being an owner is time-consuming – and there just aren’t an extra 30 hours a week left to manage social media.

5. You’re not reaching your targets.

You’re just not converting enough people, gaining enough new followers, or advancing your campaigns.

You need help.

25 Things You Can Delegate to a Social Media Assistant Today

Delegation is one of the most effective tools in a leader’s tool kit. Delegation empowers your team and helps you grow your business. Here are 25 tasks you can start delegating immediately with the help of a Social Media Assistant.

  1. Developing, implementing and managing social media strategies
  2. Developing and managing a monthly content calendar
  3. Managing, creating and publishing original, high-quality content
  4. Doing audience and buyer persona research
  5. Defining the most important social media KPIs, such as distinguishing ‘vanity metrics’ from actionable metrics
  6. Building an online community
  7. Running a competitive analysis
  8. Monitoring brand mentions
  9. Measuring the success of social media campaigns
  10. Early adoption of social media and technology
  11. Collaborating with copywriters, designers, marketing, and sales, product, and development teams
  12. Tracking and analyzing results to provide effective solutions for content optimization
  13. Facilitating client-company communication, such as responding to queries, getting reviews, and organizing chats and Q&A sessions
  14. Prepare weekly and monthly reports
  15. Communicating with industry professionals via social media to create a strong network
  16. Mining curated content and monitoring current social media trends
  17. Designing, managing and organizing brand assets, photography and graphics
  18. Creating paid ad placements
  19. Increasing followers and engagement
  20. Leveraging social media to promote marketing initiatives and strategies
  21. Handling all commenting and direct messaging across all social channels
  22. Leveraging measurement tools to provide progress reports and mine insights
  23. Finding ways to improve on metrics by honing in on content that resonates
  24. Engaging with influencers and initiating conversations with industry leaders on social
  25. Establishing and/or reinforcing brand voice and social media identity

A BELAY Social Media Strategist Can Help

You know those menacing red-number notifications and deafening a cacophony of ‘pings,’ ‘dings’ and buzzes from your phone, tablet, computer as prospects and customers alike all engage with your social media?

Our Social Media Strategists can handle that.

Or what about when you see no new notifications and are instead met with the deafening silence on all your social media accounts?

Yup, you guessed it: Our Social Media Strategists can handle that, too.

This new service line will help our clients take their social media presence to the next level by managing their social channels, engaging with their audience, and tackling their scheduling to help them stay ahead of their competition and make lasting connections with their community and target audience.

Ready to reclaim countless hours a week? Contact us today to get started!