10 things you should never say to a social media manager

It’s inevitable: Someone at a holiday party this year isn’t going to understand your job. Head off irritating questions by referring him to this list.


Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we are elbow deep in the holiday season. It’s the time of year when you reconnect with friends and family you might not see that often.

Reconnecting with them can occasionally end up in some awkward moments. One of those moments comes when you try to explain your job as a social media or community manager.

Here is a list, compiled from the real-life experiences of me and some of my friends, of what we hear most. Print it out and post it on the fridge at your next holiday party.

Do you have a social media or community manager in the family? Pour yourself another eggnog and read this list before you start to talk about what exactly that means.

1. “Hey, I use Facebook. I would be so good at your job!”

While it is true that using Facebook is part of the job, that’s only one part of the job. You need to know how to use all social media sites (and blogs), and how best to use them for your community.

2. “I just don’t get the point of ‘The Tweeter.'”

First of all, don’t call it “The Tweeter.” Calling it that is either ignorant or obnoxious, and sometimes both. Twitter is an important part of the social media tool kit. It is a great way to get involved with your community members, both by talking with and listening to them.

3. “What do you do all day?”

Short answer: a lot.

A day in the life of a social media manager can include a variety of things, from creating and curating content, to designing a Facebook contest, to searching what people are saying about a company online. I do all that while I address customer concerns, reply to what people are saying, keep up with the brand voice, and maintain a positive brand reputation.

4. “You actually use that stuff for business?”

Social media is an opportune place to get involved in the community with your customers. It is a place to listen to your customers and get to know them better. Joining social media communities helps keep your business top of mind, and gives you an opportunity to get involved with customers one-on-one.

5. “Oh, you could do mine for free because we’re friends, right?”

No. Social media management is a service. You pay for someone to manage a social media account in the same way you would pay an accountant to do your taxes or a lawyer to read your contracts. Would you ask your cousin the accountant or your sister the lawyer to manage your business’ workload for free?

6. “What are you going to do when social media goes away?”

Things may change and evolve over time, but there will always be a need for businesses to engage with online communities. While the channels may change, the need will still be there. We’ll evolve with the times.

7. “Can’t I have an intern/my son/my granddaughter, etc. do that for me?”

No. The person behind your social media accounts is another face of your company. The things he or she says and does online will reflect on your company. As Scott Stratten says, “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and one tweet to screw it all up.”

8. “Do you mean people pay you to tweet for them?”

Yes, but consider this: Those tweets have a lot of thought behind them. Is the tweet in the brand voice? Does it stick to the social media plan? If it’s curated from another source, is that source reliable? Are the facts correct? Is the spelling and grammar correct?

Those are just a few thoughts behind every post on any social media site.

9. “Who in the world would pay for that? Isn’t it free?”

While the basic set of social media accounts is free, there are charges for some of the tools. You also have to consider the cost of your time. Social media is alive and active 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s not just nine to five. Do you have time to respond to every tweet or Facebook post? Can you afford the time it takes to not just write your blog, but reply to every comment?

10. “Aw, that’s cute. But what’s your real job?”

This is a real job! You might not understand what I do, but that’s OK. We’re still cool. Let’s go have some cocoa.

Carrie Keenan is the social media developer and community manager at Thill Logistics, Inc. A version of this article originally appeared on the Thill Logistics, Inc. corporate blog.

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