When I created this blog, the ultimate objective was to share my expertise, experiences and perspectives on marketing. So far I have done with news and updates on marketing and branding topics but I haven’t really talked about my personal and professional experiences much. You haven’t seen any of my thought process or my daily routine that goes on behind-the-scenes of this computer screen.
Well, that’s about to change with this post. Today I’m going to share my daily routine and life as a freelancer while I work on social media and content marketing projects.
My day starts with waking up (well actually laying in bed) to a smartphone or iPad in my hand to read up on the latest marketing tweets and updates on Facebook. It’s important to be knowledgeable about emerging trends and technology because as a social media manager, I have to be able to adapt to any changes and as we know, Marketing is always evolving in a quick pace. This helps me develop new and improved creative strategies for my clients.
After reading around 4 or 5 articles, I’m up, showered and ready only to open my laptop to answer emails, reply to social media messages and comments. Then I take a long commute to my full-time job at the Asian Institute of Technology where I manage the marketing side for AIT Extension, a capacity development and training institute.
Morning to 4:30 pm
I won’t talk much about job at AIT Extension because it’s mostly developing content, replying to emails and designing marketing collateral such as brochures. From time to time, I’ll check up on my freelance projects but I keep that at a very minimum. I’ll answer some queries of clients and schedule some posts but that’s about it. When I sign on clients, I let them know about my full-time job and that I can only work on their projects in evenings and weekends. As long as their work is complete, they are OK with it.
Evening to Night
This is probably some of my most hectic time where I’m multitasking to the max. I spend a few (about 1-3) hours to curate and search for content. Once I have it, the difficult part beings – the writing, which really depends from project to project. For some clients I’m writing blogs as short as 700 words, while for others I’m writing 8-10 page eBooks. I pace myself for these projects to avoid overwork and losing the creative process because I’ve noticed if I work too long writing one piece, I start rambling.
Once I feel I’ve written enough for the day, I spend another hour organizing and designing content. Then finally I schedule Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts, which doesn’t take that long thanks to tools such as Buffer and hootsuite.
Now it’s important to note that in between I am also checking constantly for messages from customers on social media because I manage social media for restaurants mostly and it is extremely important to get back to them as soon as possible.
On weekends I try to keep as little work as possible because I need to balance it with time with my wife, friends and parents. I focus on finishing it up early morning and sometimes late at night if there are no plans to go out. I also schedule meetings with clients in the morning or early afternoon to update and regroup on what is going on.
Here’s a basic breakdown of my daily tasks on social media. As you can see, most of my day is spent curating content and doing research – whether for my knowledge or my clients. Design also takes some of my time and I wish I could remove that so once I am more established, I plan on outsourcing the design work to a professional graphic designer. Posting and engaging, relatively takes a lot less time, if you’re organized. I also plan on spending more time on analytics to better understand and improve my social media strategies.
What it Requires to be a Social Media Manager
If you’re thinking of becoming a social media or content marketing professional, there are some important skills and things to understand. Here are some from my experience:
- Have patience – I tell this to my clients and anyone else I meet. Although social media is fast paced compared to other marketing channels, it isn’t a quick way to build your brand. It takes time to achieve results even if you do everything right. Social is not a sprint, it’s a marathon of reaching, engaging and retaining loyal fans and customers.
- Be creative – this is an obvious one but creativity comes in many shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to mean you have to create something that no one else has ever seen (although that would be great if you do) but the idea is to develop content that relates to your target market. My post on Target’s use of Instagram is a good example but you can also see 6 more simple but effective social media campaigns.
- Network till you become an influencer – social media has made it so easy for us to get content shared but it is also as easy for it to be ignored. It’s important to network (online and offline) with industry leaders and influencers so they can get to know you and/or your business. Keep engaging with them in a genuine way (not hard-selling or being pushy) to get them to notice you so that when you share some good, interesting content or product updates, they might share it with their followers. This goes back to being patient because all that hard work may or may not pan out so it’s equally important to be committed and always enthusiastic.
- Quality over quantity – always strive for quality of over quantity. You could have 10,000 fans or followers but if only 10 engage with you, it’s really no use is it? Instead focus on building quality in everything you do. If you have 1,000 dedicated and engaging fans out of 2,000, I’d say you’re doing way better than most. Same goes with content – it’s better to share 5 awesome tweets per day or 3-4 engaging Facebook posts than twice the ones that are mediocre.
- Listen and be objective – social media management isn’t all about technical know-how. In fact it has to more with your social skills – hence that is why it is called social media. As a manager you have to be objective and unbiased within your community. Listen continuously and carefully to comments and feedback from your followers and reply with the utmost courtesy and professionalism. I speak this from personal experiences where I have let my emotions come into play and it still haunts me. However, this doesn’t mean you sound like a robot. It’s good to have a sense of humor as well. It’s a challenging job and requires a balance of the right skill sets but once you master them, it can be quite rewarding.
The life of a social media marketer, manager or consultant is not as easy or enjoyable as it seems, although most people would think why the heck not when you’re on social media all day!? If you do spend all day going through social media, then yes chances are that you aren’t getting much done. I sometimes falter to this as well where I’m sucked into a never-ending cycle of reading, engaging and browsing through my newsfeed. The trick is to set schedules and be highly organized by using tools and schedulers to plan out your posts.