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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Dempster

Stop Social Media Posting and Start Social Media Managing

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Despite how deeply social media has caught on for individuals, small businesses largely struggle with using each platform in the most effective ways. Sure, they have accounts and make posts when they change their hours or offer a holiday-themed product, but that’s just it—they’re posting, not managing. We would argue that they’re missing an opportunity.

To understand this opportunity, we need to look at the difference between managing social media accounts and posting to social media accounts.

Social Media Management vs. Social Media Posting

The difference is in being proactive versus reactive.

Social Media Management is Proactive

Managing social media accounts requires strategy, thinking from the customer's perspective, planning months in advance, analyzing data, testing content, and more.

It means understanding what content will perform on which platform and why. It means putting in the time to review, shift, and adjust as needed.

When you manage your business's social platforms, you are maintaining the brand's online presence. That is something that must be paired with a certain level of expertise.

Social media management could look like…

  • Building content in advance.

This ensures that the brand's messaging fits together across platforms and that the individual posts align with the overall strategy that has been developed.

  • Determining and measuring your goals.

When you manage social media, you have to know what you are trying to achieve. Is it reach? Is it engagement? Is it click-throughs to the website?

  • Being social, on social.

Engage with your target audience by meeting them where they are. Share their posts, like their reshares, and reply to their comments.

When Should You Be Proactively Managing Your Social Media Accounts?
  • When you want to generate brand awareness

  • When you want to educate your audience on your product or service

  • When you want to stay top-of-mind with your current followers

Social Media Posting is Reactive

Posting on social media is as basic as it sounds. Typically, someone at the business will notice some news or a special promotion and make a post about it on their accounts.

For example, picture a bakery that makes Valentines Day cookies and posts a picture of them that day, along with their price and a line about visiting the store.

This way of posting is reactionary. Posts aren’t planned ahead, they happen when someone on the team says, “Hey, we should post about this!”

This isn't an effective long term strategy for social media. Because of how the algorithms work, posting a reactionary post like this could risk not reaching your desired audience. Algorithms like to show users content they engage with, so if you’re only posting every now and again, it may not show them your content right away. It might choose to show users your post a few days later (when the themed cookies are no longer relevant).

They may also miss opportunities to share the post in the best way; for example, a Valentine's Day cookie post on february 14th would work best as a story rather than a post. Ideally, management would be planning posts leading up to february 14th to ensure the audience knows about it beforehand.

When Should You Be Reactively Posting to Your Social Media Accounts?
  • When you’re satisfied with your current level of brand awareness

  • When you have internal staff that consistently take pictures to post

  • When you don’t have timely news to share and just want a minimal presence on social media

Key Differences Between Management vs Posting

Objectives and Goals

Social media management involves setting objectives for your efforts; you want to achieve certain goals that you strategize in advance. With posting, you’re not following a plan to achieve an objective.

Level of Responsibility and Time Commitment

Managing social accounts takes a higher level of responsibility than just posting. You’re not only adhering to brand guidelines for tone and visuals, you’re also ensuring posts go out at the best times. For example, when planning ahead, you need to be aware of certain holidays and world events that could be misaligned with the post you have scheduled. When you’re making these posts reactively, it’s easier to catch any potential issues because the holiday or world event is naturally top-of-mind that day. For example, you're less likely to accidentally put out a tone-deaf post about the men in your department on International Women's Day if you make the post on the day itself. But if you're scheduling ahead, you need to be aware of the causes being celebrated each day you schedule a post for.

Additionally, the time commitment for social media management is higher than with posting, because you’ll be planning ahead and gathering content consistently (based on the planning), making strategic decisions, and analyzing data.

Adding to the time commitment, social media management utilizes different tactics on different platforms, such as Facebook events, Instagram stories, or live-event Tweets; this takes additional planning. It also involves identifying how a piece of content can be used in many different ways. For example, when gathering content you may be looking for video clips, photos, before and afters, or time lapses, all for one concept.

Scope and Activities Involved

As you can imagine by now, the scope for managing social media is larger than for posting. For managing, you’ll need to create a strategy, set KPIs, analyze data, ensure brand consistency, prepare visual assets ahead of time, optimize profiles, engage with followers, identify industry needs, and stay up-to-date on trends.

For posting, you may want to set reminders to draft a new post a few times a month so you don’t forget. You’ll also need to ensure you get appropriate and timely photos (for example, take a picture of the cookie display when it's full, not after you’ve sold a quarter of them). It helps to identify one person on your team to take these photos and make it easy for them to share the files.

How to Decide Which Method to Use

Deciding on social media management versus social media posting depends on the time and budget you’re willing to commit. Always think of the big picture. Consider if a thorough social media presence is something that will help your business reach its overall goals or if other marketing activities would do it better. If you can commit the appropriate time and money for social media management services or learn to do it yourself, keep in mind that the pay-off takes time but will benefit your company in the long run.

If you decide to go with social media posting, make sure you’re putting effort into other marketing activities to accomplish your overall goals.

Written by Danielle Dempster and Alexanne Oke.

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