The digital age is filled with enough evolving digital marketing strategies and tactics to make your head spin. If you’re in marketing, then you already know. But in this ever-changing online world, some tactics remain strong, and social media management has consistently proven its worth.
It’s not an easy job, but with 4.89 billion social media users worldwide in 2023 and a project 5.85 billion users by 2027, it’s a role that isn’t going anywhere.
As a social media manager myself, I look forward to sharing real-time examples, best practices, and future trends throughout this article to help you stay ahead in the competitive SaaS landscape with every post you publish.
What Is Social Media Management?
Sprout Social defines social media management as "the ongoing process of creating and scheduling content designed to grow and nurture an audience across social media platforms."
Social media management is a fine-tuned art aimed at maintaining a consistent presence online while engaging and interacting with a business’s target audience across various social media platforms. These can include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter (X), and others.
To be successful in social media marketing, you’ll need to master these five areas:
- Content Planning - Understanding the value of a social media marketing plan and an organized calendar is paramount. This helps you track what’s coming up in the pipeline, when it’s going live, and who needs to be involved to ensure its success.
- Content Creation - The act of creating strategic media for social media users to consume from your social media profiles, whether in the format of images, graphics, video, or text. It can be useful to save templates for any recurring types of content you want to post.
- Content Scheduling - The act of taking the media you’ve created and scheduling posts to automatically publish at strategic times based on your audience’s activity on the platform.
- Engagement / Community Management - Includes responding to comments and messages on your own social media account, and genuinely commenting on and liking content on your target audience’s accounts. More on this later.
- Performance Monitoring - Using social media analytics to track the results of your current social media campaigns so you can base future posting and strategy decisions on real data.
- Social Media Manager: To be frank, a social media manager’s role can often feel like walking on a tightrope while balancing equal parts creativity and strategy in each hand and a whole bucket of patience on top of your head.
They’re responsible for overseeing the creation and curation of social media content, along with scheduling that content, engaging with target audiences, and analyzing post success.
- Content Creators: Exactly how it sounds — the creators of all social media posts that will get published to a business’s social media account. These can include in-house creators, or may be outsourced as part of your influencer marketing program. What matters is that you get high-quality, relevant content for your audience.
- Data Analysts: Commonly taken on on by the social media manager themselves, this role is meant to analyze data across published content to provide direction for future content.
Why Is Social Media Management So Important?
Understanding the importance of social media management is pivotal for any brand looking to make a name for themselves and grow relationships with their customers organically.
Below I’ve paired four key reasons why it should be a central pillar of your overall marketing strategy with relevant examples for further proof:
Whether you’re working primarily on LinkedIn, Facebook, or another platform, building brand awareness is generally the first step to having your page take off.
A well-managed social media presence won't just increase your brand's visibility among new social networks, it’ll also build trust among your existing network and help you stay top of mind when potential customers are ready for your solutions.
For example, Adobe uses user-generated content (UGC) as an effective awareness building approach on Instagram by primarily featuring content from their product users. There are three main awareness benefits to this social media strategy:
- Brand loyalty increases among anyone who gets their content shared on the page
- Overall brand awareness increases if and when the creator excitedly shares their feature with anyone in their network
- Product awareness increases when Adobe’s audience sees what can be designed and edited in their Suite of tools.
SaaS products often involve complex concepts, and social media provides the perfect platform for breaking down those concepts into much simpler bite-sized ‘info snacks.’
Using the visuals, videos, and informative graphics that can be posted to any platform, you have the ability to engage your current and potential customers alike.
Take Zoom for example. They use their LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook to drive customer engagement through creative marketing campaigns that provides value to their users.
Just look at the comment section of their Icebreaker partnership with the F1 Red Bull team, which has over 120 comments, compared to their average of 5 per post.
One of the great things about social media platforms, aside from being free of course, is they provide data about your audience. While it’s more in depth if you were to invest in paid social, even the organic analytics will tell you the age, genre, and location of your followers.
This information can be used to refine your digital marketing strategy and product development to hyper focus on the people most likely to buy from you.
Whether it’s issues as small as unforeseen changes that affect your daily customers or full-blown crises needing a serious PR response, social media management is an effective tool for spreading the word, sharing updates, and responding to your audience in a timely manner.
Slack’s 2-22-22 outage is just one example of how being honest, transparent and as accessible as possible can help diffuse angry customers. Along with providing regular, transparent updates on their status page, they took to Twitter as a social media channel for communicating with users in an authentic yet apologetic manner.
Tools Of The Trade
Social Media Management Tools
A social media management system helps social media marketers plan, schedule, auto-publish, and analyze their content across various platforms.
Though platforms like Facebook and Instagram have free built-in systems where you can schedule and analyze your content, I personally have been working with a third-party system called Later Media for over three years now, and it would take a lot for me to give it up as it’s been invaluable for helping me stick to strategy.
Here are some other picks from our best social media management software guide, and how they’ve ranked each based on what they’re best for:
- HubSpot - Best social media management software for community building
- HootSuite - Best for social media marketing agencies
- Zoho Social - Best social media management software for remote teams
- Sprout Social - Best for identifying emerging social media trends
- Loomly - Best social media management software for audience targeting
BONUS from my personal experience — Later Media: Best for Instagram, aesthetic content planning, inspiration, and industry research. I will say, however, that Later is not ideal for the content approval process as clients cannot leave notes on posts within the platform.
When you’re choosing a system that’s best for your business, the main things you’ll want to look for are:
- Does it integrate with the social media platforms you use?
- Does it allow you to use features based on current posting trends?
- Does it offer features that will make your life easier?
- Does it offer a free trial for you to try before you buy?
- Does the pricing fit in my budget?
The last one is important because everyone values different features and operates differently. Ensuring you find the best, least frustrating system, will require you to try it first.
In my opinion, third-party analytics tools for social media management aren’t necessary for everyone.
If you’re specifically focused on organic social media, the social platforms you’re active on offers the data for free, and if you’re using a social media management system, chances are, it also offers this information to you. Just in case, though, we have a list of the best social media analytics software, should you want to peruse it. Here's a sneak peek of a few tools we recommend:
- Keyhole - Best for real-time tracking and analysis
- Brand24 - Best for social listening
- Brandwatch - Best for market research
Similar to above, many of the social media management systems, like Sprout Social and Buffer, have built-in features that allow you to keep track of your engagement and respond from that site.
These tools are nice if you prefer working from desktop, but they only really save you time if you never plan to log into your own social media accounts.
One thing to note is, because platforms like Instagram favour accounts that spend the most time on their app, I always recommend doing as much as you can from the source.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are social listening tools that can help you keep track of conversations and activities across various social media channels, including brand mentions, hashtags, and keywords. These include:
- Hootsuite - Best tool for ecommerce
- Buffer - Best tool for small businesses
- Brandwatch - Best tool for large enterprises
Best Practices In Social Media Management
Easily the most important part of social media management, is nailing the content marketing strategy.
You’ll hear lots of ‘gurus’ mention it, so let’s break down what exactly a strategy entails and why it’s so important.
There are four main components that go into a content strategy:
- Research and analysis of a business’s current situation: This should be a general overview of the current situation a brand is in before implementing a new strategy. It includes the types of content being posted, current audience being attracted, and any other tactics like SEO, keywords, or social media advertising or marketing that could be improved.
- Target audience details: You might also hear the term “avatars” to refer to customers you’d like to attract. These are fictional characters drawn up to represent the ideal customer of the brand. Within their profiles, you’ll want to include specific demographics, psychographics, geographic, and behavioural details.
- Content-specific goals and objectives: In this part of a content strategy you’ll want to outline what you want your content to achieve. What social media-specific business goals will you compare your analytics against? Good examples of this would be “increasing our engagement rate by x% by the end of next quarter.” A bad example would be “get to x number of followers”
- Plans for the future distribution of your content: This section is all about how, where, and when your content will be published. Strategically pick platforms to distribute your content on, research the best days and times to post on those platforms for optimal reach, select your hashtags, and layout your weekly content flow. E.g. Monday = educational infographic, Wednesday = Reel featuring your team members, and Thursday = customer testimonial.
Developing a comprehensive content strategy that aligns with your brand and target audience is no easy feat, which is why you should never underestimate the Importance of a content marketing calendar.
Whether you build yours in Excel, Trello, or within your own favourite social media management system, a comprehensive content calendar can help you stay organized, streamline your marketing messaging, and ensure you don’t stray from your goals.
Whether you’re a small business or large corporation, posting even the most incredible content won’t get you anywhere unless you have an engagement strategy to pair with it.
After all, if a potential customer messages you and you don’t respond, how will they know you’ll be there for them if they DO make a purchase?
An engagement strategy will make all your marketing efforts worthwhile, and it’s usually made up of two moving parts — on-page and off-page engagement.
On-page engagement is what you’re probably most familiar with! It includes responding to any comments and messages from people on your own business page.
Off-page engagement happens — you guessed it — off of your page! To do this, you’ll start by defining your strategic target audience on the platform you’re working on, heading to their page and engaging with their content.
This can look like posting genuine comments, liking posts that resonate with you, and responding to Stories with a question that starts a more in-depth conversation.
This form of engagement has a lot more strategy and manual work behind it, but I’ve found it highly effective at building a loyal community around brands I work with.
As discussed, there are free analytics tools built right into the social media platforms you’re already using, and you can use them to track and measure your social media goals.
Facebook’s META Business Suite is an example of where you can find detailed metrics from posts on both Facebook and Instagram. Just don’t go in there without laying out your KPIs (key performance indicators) first!
The analytics and insights portal can be an overwhelming place if you don’t know what you’re looking for, so use specific, measurable goals as a roadmap for what to monitor on a regular basis.
Ultimately, you’ll be using this data to refine your strategy and achieve better results over time.
Future Trends In Social Media Management
Automation and AI
Chatbots, automations, and AI, oh my!
Consumers are becoming more impatient. In fact, 90% rate speedy response times as “very important” when they have a customer service question.
In order to keep up with demand, chatbots and AI-driven customer service solutions are becoming increasingly essential. But luckily for businesses, the solutions are also becoming more sophisticated and tailored to social media marketing strategies.
Manychat for example, helps automate the ability for consumers to find and buy recommended items right from the post they discovered it in. For businesses, Manychat claims to “drive more sales and conversions on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger using automation.”
I’m seeing it a lot right now, and definitely think it’s worth a try.
Between Live streaming, Stories, YouTube, and the short-form content we’re used to seeing in Reels and TikTok videos, video is king and will continue to be in the digital marketing platform world.
When aiming to create viral video content, there are a few things to keep in mind now and moving forward:
- Hook people in in the first 5 seconds or they’ll scroll away.
- Only give them the ‘payoff’ to the hook in the last 5 seconds, so they have reason to stick around till the end.
- Make sure the content is relatable to your target audience, because when people relate to something, they’re more likely to engage with it or share it with others.
- Make the concept repeatable. Between the onslaught of content creation and idea generation in the social media industry, the only thing that will help the industry thrive moving forward, is streamlining the work. You’ve probably come across a page that has a handful of videos starting with the same hook — e.g. “Here’s something I bet you didn’t know you could do on Canva.” That’s an example of a repeatable concept that can easily be turned into a series of videos with little to no thought.
HubSpot’s 2023 consumer trends report found that most Gen-Zs prefer to discover new products through short-form videos — whether through social media ads or organic content.
If you consider that they’ll be the up-and-coming working class with money to spend, platforms will need to offer in-app shopping experiences to remain competitive and keep consumers on the platform as long as possible.
Instagram led the pack with this feature a few years ago, and we will only continue to see more platforms jump on the wagon in years to come.
Search Engine Preference
In a 2022 TechCrunch article, the Senior Vice President of Google’s Knowledge & Information sector said, “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram.” - Prabhakar Raghavan.
Gen Z is leading this shift, with 36% choosing social media over a search engine, but people between 25 and 54 are not far behind at 21-22%.
As influencer and affiliate marketing grows in popularity, this will only continue to increase, as buyers will prefer the comfort of buying from people within their social media network who have real experience with the product at hand.
How often should you post on different platforms?
Now Go Forth And Post!
In the SaaS sector competition is fierce and innovation is relentless.
When it comes to social media management, simply remember to follow best practices, and use social listening to your advantage to keep up with emerging trends.
If you’re still curious how to implement social media marketing into your business’s marketing strategy, subscribing to the CMO newsletter is always a great way to stay up to date.
You can also find me on Instagram at @kjsocial, where I offer free tips weekly and always welcome questions in my direct messages.