The Ultimate Guide To Working With A Social Media Strategist

Introduction

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.

Chapter 1

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 was 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.
Source: https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics#:~:text=Summary%3A%20Social%20Media%20Statistics, Here%27s%20a%20summary&text=3.5%20billion%20social%20media%20users%20worldwide

Chapter 2

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.

Chapter 3

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

BONUS: A BELAY Social Media Strategist will also be responsible for all of the tasks of a social media assistant, too!

Social media strategists may have a bachelor’s degree or even a graduate-level degree in communications though often, experience proves paramount.

Virtual Assistant

A Virtual Assistant can implement an existing social media strategy and manage engagement.

Tasks

  • Assist in sending eBlasts
  • Help prepare eNewsletters
  • Proof and edit prepared content
  • Research and add stock photos as needed
  • Maintain editorial content
  • Monitor activity across platforms and respond to comments and messages
  • Establish regular LinkedIn posts by sharing articles, blog posts and more

Similarly, virtual assistants may have a bachelor’s degree though again, experience proves paramount.

Chapter 4

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

BONUS: A BELAY Social Media Strategist will also be responsible for all of the tasks of a social media assistant, too!

Social media strategists may have a bachelor’s degree or even a graduate-level degree in communications though often, experience proves paramount.

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

Similarly, social media assistants may have a bachelor’s degree though again, experience proves paramount.

Chapter 5

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 post 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 implementing when appropriate
Weekly:
  • Gather resources for the content calendar from a variety of sources from web searches for industry news to interacting with clients to get their updates, to mining content straight from other social profiles to reshare on BELAY 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 weeks 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

Chapter 6

Case Study: Maggie Smith

As the owner of Pintuck & Purl, a purveyor of fabrics, yarns, sewing and serging machines, Maggie Smith strives to re-capture a past where style, grace and creativity were the norms. She hopes to inspire others to take pride in handiwork and knows that the true creators of fashion are those who make it for themselves. Those folks are out there and she wants to be a resource for them. Maggie feels that working with your hands brings a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of independence, and the satisfaction of knowing what you make is uniquely yours.

She’s designed an environment to keep clients inspired, classes to sharpen their skills, a community to engage in, and offers the high-quality materials and tools customers need to create something amazing.

The Challenge

When Maggie started the store over five years ago, her social media strategy consisted of a post here, and a post there when she could find the time.

Then, she hired a friend to do the same. They would take photos when they needed to post but with no real strategy. But the help was short-lived.

Because when COVID hit, and her friend had to stay home with her kids – it was back to grassroots social media.

But it wasn’t all bad news.

Maggie’s store was growing, and fast.

“We just kind of blew up as far as sales and customers,” Maggie says. “And social media was still kind of lacking – customers in-store, online orders and phone orders, it was just too much.

“And so we were sporadically posting. Literally, it would be like, ‘Oh, we have a class tomorrow. We should post about it today.’ So we were always kind of catching up. Then someone mentioned BELAY.

“I knew we needed to put our energy somewhere else. I was happy to pay someone who had more experience doing [it].”

But while Maggie was confident she needed help, she was initially hesitant about BELAY’s matching process.

“I was like, ‘What if we don’t get along?’” Maggie admits. “[It was] a big concern of mine because obviously, I’m not part of the matching process.”

But Maggie was paired with BELAY Social Media Strategist Jessica Vaughn, and every concern melted away.

“Right off the bat, I was like, ‘I’d be friends with her. This is fine. We’re good!

The Solution

“It was a lot of communication in the beginning, but [Jessica] was an extremely quick study and really delved into our brand and figured out what kind of look we wanted, even though she doesn’t sew or knit.

“[But] I didn’t need a sewing guru; I needed a social media specialist. We have people that are specialists with our products.

“So [Jessica] was pretty amazing.”

And it all came down to Jessica’s innate curiosity and drive to learn.

“I asked a lot of questions,” Jessica shares. “‘What does this machine do vs. that machine? How is this yarn different from that yarn? Oh, that’s a really pretty fabric. Is it this one? Or is it this one because the color looks a little different? How would you use it once you get it?’

“I asked a lot of questions to immerse myself in not only the brand but the work and the products themselves. That comes easily because I’m a learner. I want to absorb and I want to learn something that I don’t know.”

It also helped that Maggie filled any gaps with trust.

“Maggie trusted me way sooner than I expected her to trust me,” Jessica says. “And I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. It communicated that I was getting something right. And that she knew that she could trust her brand to me earlier than I expected her to. That meant a lot.”

And that trust yielded some seriously extraordinary results for Maggie, including ads for BERNINA, a global maker of sewing, embroidery and quilting machines of which Pintuck & Purl’s a successful retailer.

“I was tasked to come up with an ad campaign to reflect the brand and to communicate the sales,” Jessica says. “We got a lot of really meaningful information from those ads. [It was] a huge, successful BERNINA ad campaign.”

Loyal customers and new customers alike have become aware of Pintuck & Purl’s new-and-improved social media presence.

“I’m not a follower-chaser, but I want to see consistent growth,” Jessica says. “What matters more to me is meaningful engagement, meaningful content, and consistently growing impressions and reach – and we’ve had that.

“We’ve also had over 2,200 video views, which is a big deal because we’re doing videos now [because] when we first started, there was no video content. Now, it’s getting her brand out there in a really new, positive way.”

So with not only her social media presence growing and evolving, Maggie also started to see a windfall of sales from Jessica’s efforts.

“Jessica has had the ability to create sales,” Maggie shares. “We were able to launch this ‘12-Days of Christmas’ sale that we would’ve never done otherwise for sales generation.

“I could go through [my sales] and be like, ‘These are definitely sales from social media. These are sales definitely from coordinated marketing that Jessica has helped us do. The ‘Make It With Maggie’ [campaign] – we’ve sold four or five machines on that. The ‘Fall In Love With Your Serger’ [campaign] – we’ve sold three $6,000 sergers over the past week.

“It’s great to have more engagement and more customers, but really when it comes down to it, the bottom line is, ‘Is it going to actually help my bottom line?’ And [the SMS service] absolutely is paying for itself. It’s kind of an investment, and I’m willing to do it if it’s going to help us grow in the long run. And it definitely has, for sure.

"I'm not a follower-chaser, but I want to see consistent growth."

Instagram Analytics

Post Reach
Nov. 2020: 13,698   –   Jan. 8 – Feb. 8: 69,553
% Growth: 408%

Post Impressions
Nov. 2020: 15,503   –   Jan. 8 – Feb. 8: 74,451
% Growth: 380%

Overall Engagement
Nov. 2020: 1032   –   Jan. 8 – Feb. 8: 4429
% Growth: 329%

Followers
Nov. 12: 2908   –   Feb. 8: 3203
% Growth overall: 10.1%
– Starting net follower growth, 30-day average: 0.6%
– Current net follower growth, 30-day average: 4.9%

Profile Visits (number of unique users intentionally visiting their grid)
Nov. 2020: 531   –   Jan. 8 – Feb. 8: 1489
% Growth: 180.4%

They also had one post on Jan. 16 go micro-viral with over 11.2k views, which is a jump over their previous best reach by over 4.3x.

The Results

Always music to our ears, Maggie’s BELAY partnership has given her back her most precious commodity: time.

“It’s just given us the ability to focus on the things that we need to focus on to grow the store,” Maggie adds. “I don’t know if I could work any other way. It’s been honestly so helpful as far as being able to focus on bigger things that need my attention.”

Jessica couldn’t agree more.

“This has just been a dream engagement for me,” Jessica adds. “It really has. I can’t say enough about how glad I am that I got matched with Maggie and Pintuck & Purl.

Chapter 7

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?

Chapter 8

5 Signs You Need 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.

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.

5. You’re not reaching your targets.

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

Chapter 9

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.

Development, Implementation and Management Of Social Media Strategies

Developing and Managing A Monthly Content Calendar

Managing, Creating and Publishing Original, High-Quality Content

Doing Audience and Buyer Persona Research

Defining The Most Important Social Media KPIs, Such As Distinguishing ‘Vanity Metrics’ From Actionable Metrics

Building An Online Community

Running A Competitive Analysis

Monitoring Brand Mentions

Measuring The Success Of Social Media Campaigns

Early Adoption Of Social Media and Technology

Collaborating With Copywriters, Designers, Marketing, and Sales, Product, and Development Teams

Tracking and Analyzing Results To Provide Effective Solutions For Content Optimization

Facilitating Client-Company Communication, Such As Responding To Queries, Getting Reviews, and Organizing Chats and Q&A Sessions

Prepare Weekly and Monthly Reports

Communicating With Industry Professionals Via Social Media To Create A Strong Network

Mining Curated Content and Monitoring Current Social Media Trends

Designing, Managing and Organizing Brand Assets, Photography and Graphics

Creating Paid Ad Placements

Increasing Followers and Engagement

Leveraging Social Media To Promote Marketing Initiatives and Strategies

Handling All Commenting and Direct Messaging Across All Social Channels

Leveraging Measurement Tools To Provide Progress Reports and Mine Insights

Finding Ways To Improve On Metrics By Honing In On Content That Resonates

Engaging With Influencers and Initiating Conversations With Industry Leaders On Social

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!

BELAY is the way to stop being overwhelmed.

Feel like you can’t take a vacation?

Find yourself being busy instead of productive?

Losing hours of your day to email?

Feeling like your days are out of control?