If you want to know what it’s like to be a social media manager, just as Maren Guse, Assistant Director of Digital and Social Media at Syracuse University (SU). She’s one of the brains behind the operation that keeps SU tweeting, posting, and sharing.
Guse is responsible for content across SU’s main flagship social accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, among others. I had the chance to sit down with her and pick her brain about what it means to be a social media manager to her.
“What I do is oversee the accounts on social media under the flagship accounts, so everything that is branded “Syracuse University.” What we do is provide content on those channels and then develop conversations around that content that relates back to our brand.”
Yes, SU is a brand. After all, they have an image to uphold, and social media can either be a blessing or a curse for any brand. When done right, social media with the help of an effective social media manager can have large and positive impact on a brand.
The first thing that I learned from Maren is that in order to do your job well you need to understand both your brand and your audience(s). Most of the time you will have multiple audiences, and that is important to recognize too.
What do I mean by multiple audiences? Well, for instance, Maren monitors and interacts on multiple social channels, like the ones I mentioned above. They don’t all have the same audience, so Maren needs to recognize those unique audiences and tailor content on each platform to best fit the needs of the users. Facebook has a more alumni based audience, where Twitter is made up of mostly current and prospective students. See what I mean?
Maren explained her job as a social media manager well,
“It means to develop conversations with people and foster dialogue around a brand, but also to get the University into those conversations.”
Sometimes it is starting conversations, other times its joining in on conversations, and other times it just means listening. All of these are important, and all of them require planning. Any effective social media manager knows that you can’t just sit down in front of a computer and start tweeting. Maren explains that content calendars help plan day-to-day content, and regular meeting help create long-term plans too.
Yes, it is social media, which means it can be unexpected at time. That’s where listening becomes important, and then thinking on your feet comes into play.
Maren also spoke about using tools to help you collaborate and manage. Tools like Google Docs and Tweetdeck are Maren’s go-to, but anything that helps a social media manager listen and interact across multiple channels, and to collaborate with their staff will do.
The biggest take-away from my conversation with Maren was to always be listening, always be adaptive, and always be human. By being human, a brand can make connections, create a community, and build meaningful relationships.
Are you a community manager, do you aspire to be? How do your experiences compare? Comment below or tweet me @JaredMandel