Guest post: Five habits of successful social media managers

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At @SproutSocial, we work with businesses to help them develop, maintain and track their social media presence. We’ve heard from our customers that managing their Twitter account can sometimes feel like a juggling act: creating engaging content, staying up to date on industry trends and measuring performance against their business goals — all while using a catchy online personality and 140-character count — is no small feat. However, we’ve found that by adopting a few key habits, social media managers can tackle it all — and win.

1. Create your Twitter strategy with a bigger strategy in mind.
Social media is no longer just a micro-segment of marketing. You should think through your company’s overall business objectives, fiscal plans and goals before developing your own Twitter strategy. Align your plans with the rest of the company’s, and demonstrate how your strategy will complement and enhance those efforts. Once your plan is developed, track, report on and merchandise results to prove ongoing value and return on investment for the company.

2. Don’t wear yourself out.
Many social media managers live and breathe their role all day, and all night. Some run ragged in an attempt to match pace with this “always on” medium, which can result in sloppy Tweets and a disjointed content strategy. Avoid mistakes by setting limits, asking for help and empowering fellow team members to pitch in. A collaborative effort will keep content fresh, customers happy and yourself sane. Additionally, be open with your audience and let them know how quickly they can expect a response on social (during the week and off-hours).

3. Collaborate with teammates.
The proliferation of personal brands and individual social prowess means your colleagues may bring an “I can do what you do” mentality to the table. Don’t fight it. Instead, develop relationships that encourage partnerships. For example, set up quarterly meetings with the leads of each department to review overall strategy, present recent results and discuss ways your teams can work together. Collaborating with others at your organization will only help strengthen your company’s Twitter voice.

4. Consider a Twitter management tool.
When you lead the social media charge, its important to be aware of tools that can make your job easier. Make sure that any management tool has sufficient publishing, engagement and analytics capabilities to make it simple and scalable for you to reach your customers — both existing and potential — and engage with them in an authentic way. The best management features make it easy for small teams to communicate efficiently, which will save you time and energy.

5. Easily manage Twitter on the go.
A strong social presence is all about building an ongoing relationship with your customers no matter where you work. That relationship doesn’t end when the office lights shut off, you’re at an event or working remotely. To manage the process even when you’re away from your desk, schedule Tweets ahead of time and employ a powerful mobile app — preferably one designed specifically for your iOS or Android devices — so you can see and engage with customer questions and comments in real time.

When it comes to day-to-day social management, it’s best to set expectations with your followers, your internal constituents and — most of all — yourself.