What is Social Media Management & How does it Work?

  • Last update: 25/10/2023

Benjamin Poirrier

Digital Marketing Expert

White smartphone displaying social media management icons

Social Media Management (SMM) builds up an online presence on digital channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn.

There are two main ways to handle social media management: organically (for free) and by running ad campaigns (with budget spending). We will explain both methods in detail in this article.

Social Media Management Definition

Social media management is the process of monitoring, engaging, and responding to social media conversations across different social media channels. It involves creating content, managing social conversations, and understanding how social platforms can be best leveraged for brand and business growth.

Social media management helps organizations stay up-to-date with trends in social conversation, build relationships with customers, generate leads, and increase brand awareness. By keeping a careful eye on social conversations, businesses can identify opportunities to engage with their target audience or address negative feedback quickly.

Social media management enables brands to understand the preferences of their consumers better than ever before – allowing them to craft tailored messages that are most likely to resonate. Ultimately, social media management provides an invaluable toolkit for delivering effective communication that builds relationships and drives success.

Social media management activities include:

  • Developing social media strategies and plans
  • Researching social media trends and analytics
  • Creating social media content, such as posts, images, and videos
  • Monitoring social conversations for customer service inquiries or other engagements
  • Analyzing social conversations to gain insights about customers
  • Utilizing social advertising platforms to drive awareness of products or services
  • Engaging with influencers in your target market

Social media management is essential for any business looking to make the most of its presence on social platforms.

Social Media Management Purpose

The main goals of social media management are to:

  • promote brands, products, and services
  • inform online users
  • interact with online users and engage them
  • reach new leads and convert them into paying customers
  • maintain brand reputation and build trust
  • answer online users’ needs

It is essential to ask this question before launching any social media management activities: what is the business objective?

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Many companies wonder why they do not get more clients while they invest in social media. Most of them fail because they skip this step: defining a clear target.

Each digital objective has a unique strategy. Do not expect hundreds of clients to knock at your door if you only publish organic posts on Facebook. This is not a realistic way to convert consumers.

Why? Because, as a business, you need to pay to get online visibility. Organic publishing does not work anymore.

Instead, take time to define what you want to achieve. Are you looking for:

  • brand awareness (broad reach or niche market)?
  • leads contact (via phone call, email, or messaging)?
  • building trust (for a new business or established company)?
  • opportunities to inform audiences (with a simple chatbot or video tutorials)?

Depending on the purpose, the digital plan will be different. Creating a fan page may not be the most suitable way to reach your targets. Think twice before launching your campaign or get help from SMM experts.

Social Media Management Benefits

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Companies run digital campaigns to reach their business objectives. There are multiple benefits of social media management:

  • it costs less than traditional publications (ex: newspapers or television)
  • it offers precise audience targeting (user profile, age, gender, interest, behaviors)
  • it has excellent reach volume potential (depending on the social platform)
  • it proposes various ways to interact with online users (shares, games, promotions)
  • it provides lots of insightful data (social organic and ad analytics)

Social management benefits are not the same if the company runs an organic or paid ads campaign.

Organically, social posts’ reach is low, especially for new or small businesses compared with big brands. Most social platforms are “pay to win.” To get the most benefits from your social media management, make sure you are clear with your business objective.

Free posts on a business fan page are useful if the purpose is to have a digital presence on a social platform that targets the right audience.

To illustrate: Facebook posts work well for fashion, cosmetics, or retail industries. Instagram is better for travel, food, design, or photography, and the audience is younger than on Facebook. If you are looking for a B2B channel, consider LinkedIn.

Many factors impact your social media management strategy. The location is a perfect example. LinkedIn in Vietnam does not work the same as LinkedIn in the U.S.A. In Vietnam, people mostly use LinkedIn as a recruiting platform. In the U.S.A., people are more looking for professional networking and lead generation for sales.

If your company wants online sales, managing a fan page is not enough to achieve this target. You need to consider investing in ads. See below how to get started with your paid campaign.

Social Media Management Tools

It can be overwhelming to operate a social media management campaign. Automated software comes here in handy. Here are the most popular and efficient tools to manage your organic social media platforms:

They are useful for auto-scheduling posts based on engagement expectations from your account. They also save time for businesses publishing more than 5+ posts a day.

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Overall, social media management tools are helpful when the business scales up. They are time-savers and propose advanced scheduling features.

Small companies are better off managing their social accounts manually. Platforms like Facebook offer valuable options for free, which cover most of the business’s needs.

For paid ads, there is no need to invest in additional tools. Social platforms are glad to offer them for free so businesses can spend their ad campaign budget easily.

Here are the most common ad campaign tools available for all online users having a digital platform and a credit card. Note these (and others like the growing TikTok for business) work the same:

Each social platform has its advertising solutions. Use them to run your social media campaigns. To get started with digital ads, read the guidelines below.

Should You Hire an Agency for Social Media Management?

Before outsourcing your social media management, answer the following questions:

  • do you have time to manage social media in-house?
  • do you have the resources to operate social media in-house?
  • do you have the skills to handle social media in-house?
  • do you have the budget to finance social media in-house?

If you answer those four questions with “yes,” then you do not need to hire an agency. Your company should keep this task internally. No agency knows better your business than you.

If you answer one or more of those questions with “no,” you should consider outsourcing. Professional agencies can save you lots of time and they guarantee campaign quality at an affordable cost.

From a return-on-investment point of view, it makes sense to work with an agency to run ads that convert rather than publish organic content that will not generate sales.

Social Media Management Costs

The costs of social media management depend on whether this task is done in-house or outsourced.

There is virtually no cost to publish on social platforms when doing it organically in-house. Setting up a fan page is free. Maintaining an organic presence has zero cost. But this is time and resource-consuming.

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The business needs at least:

  • a marketer to build the campaign
  • a copywriter to produce the content
  • a designer to craft the visual creatives

One person can handle those three tasks, depending on the competencies and expected quality. Alternatively, such responsibilities can be outsourced to a professional digital marketing agency. In both cases, there will be human resource costs: in-house staff or agency fees.

Social ad campaigns come at a cost. First, media spending is the budget you are willing to spend on the social ad platform to run your campaign. There is an agency fee for managing your ad account depending on the media budget (usually 10% to 20%).

There is a right balance between investing time and resources in social media management versus the benefits they provide.

A good practice is to run an organic social media campaign in-house while outsourcing the media ad campaigns to experts. You want to optimize your media budget and avoid wasting money because you are not familiar with the platform.

Working with Social Media Influencers

Businesses looking for buzz for their brand, products, and services may consider partnering with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or social media influencers. It is a substantial boost for awareness and authoritativeness.

However, this digital option is expensive and must be well-prepared. Before getting started, the company must define campaign goals and make sure the initial investment is worth it.

The second important step is to segment the target audience. Which people do you want to interact with to reach your business objectives? They are usually the final clients, but not always. Toys are a classic example: brands need to impress children, but buyers will be the parents.

Then, it is time to choose the right influencer. To make it clear, here are the differences between key opinion leaders and social media influencers:

  • KOLs are mostly celebrities, while influencers can be anyone
  • KOLs target specific followers, while influencers have an unspecified audience
  • KOLs usually have another job, while influencers are native to social media management

Both are experts in their areas and working with them guarantees the following benefits:

  • get respect from the audience and followers
  • get expertise from partners knowing what they talk about
  • get a positive brand, products, and services endorsement
  • get active answers and engagement from people

KOLs and social media influencers base their engagement on trust and word-of-mouth. People want to share their publications because they provide value. It is different from traditional advertising since brands are not claiming that they are the best.

To decide on choosing the perfect partner, check these KOLs or social media influencers’ criteria:

  • relevancy with the audience
  • reach of their social publications
  • engagement of their followers

With this analysis, businesses can check performance expectations and build their digital strategy.

Social Media Management: How to Get Started?

Once a company decides to develop a social media campaign, it must build a digital plan. Organic and paid social platforms have a few similarities and differences. We will cover both in this section.

How to Run an Organic Social Campaign?

Before creating a Facebook page by default because “everyone is on Facebook”, take time to audit your market. Many businesses fail because they rush and skip this crucial step.

Carefully check the following information when doing your social market research:

  • which social platforms are the most suitable for your brand, products, and services?
  • on which social platform is your audience?
  • how does your audience interact on those social platforms?
  • what content is your competition publishing organically?
  • what are the engagement metrics (views, likes, shares, comments) of your competitors?

After that, estimate the volume of your target audience on social. You do not care if there are 3 billion people worldwide using social media worldwide while you could reach only 10,000 expected followers in your region.

With this analysis, the company has enough insights to identify the best channels for organic publications about the brand, products, and services. It is time to create a business fan page.

This process is straightforward for all social media platforms. On Facebook, you need to choose a fan page administrator. This person must log in to his personal Facebook account and go to the fan page creation section. From this point, it is simple to set up the business account by inputting the requested information.

It is critical to pay attention to filling the business account data correctly. The more accurate they are, the more appreciated by social platforms like Facebook. Here are a few examples of information to fill in when creating a social business fan page:

  • page name
  • profile picture
  • cover picture
  • about information
  • website
  • phone
  • address
  • working hours
  • product and services categories
  • and more.

Businesses need to build up followers on the fan page. The best way to do so is to create valuable content and run paid ads (see the next section to understand how to run paid campaigns).

To create organic posts, you must craft an editorial calendar following the chosen media strategy. Decide how much and how often you want to post to reach your business objectives.

Schedule this editorial calendar by topic. Once the plan is good to go, you need to produce the creatives: visuals (images, carousel, videos) and content (post copy).

Creatives must be specific to the platform. To promote the same brand, products, or services on two different social channels, you want your post to resonate with your audience. Avoid posting the same video on Facebook and TikTok, for instance.

This publishing work is essential for the success of organic social media management. Make sure to work with a professional marketer, copywriter, and graphic designer. Failing at this would result in cheap-looking social publishing that will harm your company image more than do any good.

After social posts become live, online users will interact with them. The business must follow this engagement and answer when needed. The purpose is to keep the audience involved.

Eventually, the brand will monitor social media publishing performance. Platforms made many free tools available for companies (ex: Facebook Audience Insights). You can check many metrics and data such as:

  • impressions
  • clicks
  • engagement
  • audience profile
  • locations
  • hours
  • etc.

Based on this, the business can adapt the strategy based on actual figures.

If a post performs well or is crucial for company sales, it can be “boosted.” It means we can invest some media budget in enhancing its performance beyond organic and put it in front of a broader audience.

The next section will cover this option in more detail.

How to Run a Paid Social Campaign?

The business must have a minimum of organic social presence first to look genuine. From the fan page, the admin can create the Facebook Business Manager.

A payment method is required to run custom ads or boost organic posts. Input valid credit card information that Facebook will verify with a 1 USD transfer. After that, the admin setup is done. Businesses can start running their ad campaigns.

As for organic campaigns, companies must consider the following steps to run paid ads:

  • audit the market and competition
  • define the campaign objective
  • fix a media spending budget
  • segment the target audience
  • craft the creatives (images, carousel, videos, ad copies)
  • launch the ad campaign
  • monitor the ad campaign
  • optimize and reiterate

It is easy (and quick!) to waste a social media spending budget when lacking experience and insight. Social media platforms became “pay to win” years ago. Check tips in the next section to be successful with your paid campaigns.

Keep in mind the very first social media ads may take more time than average to be approved. This is a normal process. Social media platforms carefully review new accounts to make sure they are legit.

Once the ad account is approved, it is time to scale up!

Social Media Management Tips

This section will list professional advice from social media experts about how to run organic publishing and paid ad campaigns.

Hints for social media posts:

  • start with your business goals
  • schedule your posts in advance (1-month calendar recommended)
  • check social platform analytics to identify the best time to post
  • be quick to answer your audience and receive a responsive badge
  • analyze your organic performance and adjust accordingly
  • keep consistency in your post publications
  • make it authentic (sounding like a real person)

Hints for boosting or launching custom ads:

  • deploy creatives that work well to reach your business objectives
  • focus on videos (they perform better than images)
  • have a strong start in your ads (the first words and the first seconds of videos are crucial)
  • segment your audience into groups that are as small as possible
  • compare visuals and content effectiveness with A/B testing
  • include a clear CTA (call to action)
  • include contact info and links

Following those tips will maximize the chances of any business running successful social media campaigns.

Social Media Management – Organic VS Paid

Social media management can be overwhelming and expensive if not done correctly.

Organic social media management is typically time-consuming and does not generate many sales. Paid social media management is overall costly and requires the right expertise.

Prodima supports businesses in managing their social pages for organic publishing and paid campaigns. However, we recommend taking charge of the organic part, while Prodima focuses on running your ads to convert online leads to paying clients.

If you need some advice on social media management or digital strategy, please contact Prodima’s social media consultants.