21 Jan A Day in the Life
Just what is it that we do here at On Fire Marketing? Well, for me personally, my job consists of various activities, including writing the odd blog post to provide a bit of easy reading for you – yes, you, reading this now. From a purely egotistical perspective, I’ll share the details of a day in the life of Will Greenwood (no, not the World Cup-winning rugby player), and from a business perspective, I’ll share some of the processes we go through here at On Fire to give you an insight into how we help our clients.
(Not so) bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
I begin my day by waking up at around 6am at my house in Manchester. My irritating yet effective iPhone alarm pierces my eardrums and signals it’s time for me to drag my semi-lifeless body out of bed, and start moving around. I head towards the kitchen to make my coffee, and while it’s brewing I make my bed, take out my clothes, and prepare my work bag. Once brewed, I sit down with my strong, black coffee (or “coal tar”, as Dave has referred to it before), and proceed to my iMac to see what’s going on in the world of social media.
Work and everyday life often crosses over at many a path for me, and seeing what’s trending on Twitter is not only a good place for me to get my news, but also a good place to see possible content for clients. Twitter can also be a, let’s say, “frustrating” place at times, so being able to filter out all the negativity and find the good stuff is a fairly decent challenge to begin the workday with. I’ll often open up my personal email to send myself any useful links that can be used for the various clients we work with – this can include tweets, news stories (from carefully checked, reputable websites, of course!), and Instagram & Facebook posts. Social media doesn’t sleep, so whilst you’re catching the Zs, the buzz is happening all around you, and a whole new day of news awaits your tired eyes to look upon it. It’s incredibly important for marketers to be on top of current trends, and being the first to share something can be massively beneficial for your various social channels – people won’t interact with you if you’re telling them something that happened last week, and there’s a danger it’ll come across as amateurish.
999 – what’s your emergency?
The next step is to see if anything negative has happened overnight. This can include bad reviews of products, publicly-viewable customer complaints, distasteful comments on posts, and even petty squabbles between fans/followers. I’m not one for drama, and I tend to distance myself from it wherever possible, but it can be entertaining at times to watch the way other social media managers respond to customers online. Pay attention to what other brands are doing online – there can be valuable lessons to learn, and it can really assist you in ensuring you don’t make the same mistakes they have. Social media is unforgiving, and we’ve seen many times where companies have been ‘called out’ online, and that electronic footprint stays there forever. Everyone makes mistakes, but minimising them is something we simply must do.
The Media Machine
Once I’ve put out any possible fires and done any necessary damage control, I’ll check on my clients’ social channels to see how yesterday’s content went down. This can be both a humbling and pleasurable experience, as some posts may not have performed as well as you’d expected them to, some may have performed exactly as you expected, and some may exceed your expectations completely. As social media marketers, we have to carefully analyse where we went wrong, and why the content didn’t work. It’s easy to blame algorithms, and mumble under your breath about how “Facebook/Instagram has changed” and “it’s so unfair”, but it’s up to us to change with the times and adapt to how the various platforms are evolving. One thing’s for sure – social media will not change for you, so you simply have to change to suit social media. Marketing on all levels is constantly moving in different directions, but social media marketing in particular can be very unpredictable, and move so quickly that it’s not enough to just take a ‘part-time’ approach to things – you have to fully immerse yourself, which can often mean plugging yourself into the machine, and maybe not getting as much sleep as you might need.
Speaking of sleep, I could, in theory, get up an hour later and do all these things once I get to the office, but for me, I know how I am – unless I’m prepared, I’ll fall apart if there’s a rush. Everyone is different, so I’m certainly not preaching that this is “how you must approach social media management” – it’s what works for me, simple as that. Once I’ve done my morning prep and consumed my own bodyweight in caffeine, it’s time to head to the tram (also known as “inner-city transportation” or “light rail” to those outside the North-West), and make my way to the office in Oldham.
My day begins
Managing clients’ various profiles involves a certain level of customer service skill. For me personally, I’ve been lucky (I use that term very loosely) to have a good few years’ experience in face-to-face customer service, as well as dealing with customers on the phone, so replying to customers on social channels seems like a doddle. Different clients and brands require different tones of voice, and switching from one to another is a skill in and of itself. For one of our clients in particular, a very happy-go-lucky yet knowledgeable approach is required, whereas at the other end of the spectrum, we deal with a client whose tone of voice is very matter-of-fact and requires less of a personal touch. Of course, these skills come in handy when dealing with your clients directly, and we’re lucky at On Fire to deal with some really fantastic people from all different walks of life. Emailing back and forth takes up a fair percentage of my morning workload. Add to that the daily 10:30am PopMaster session, along with a few dad jokes from Dave, the resident comedian/teacher/boss, and the mornings tend to fly by. I’m sure I’m not just speaking for myself there, as Dave has multiple clients to juggle, and goes through the same woes that I do (The Great Hootsuite Outage of 2020 was this year’s first example). I think he probably deals with these things better than I do, and that’s why he’s (partially!) the boss.
Content is King – proper usage is Queen
Gathering content for daily postings is a large part of my job. This can involve me speaking to marketing departments and graphic artists about what we think is needed for the days and weeks ahead, what kind of promotion we need to do to get the word out there about a certain product, and seeing what the audience themselves have come up with. ‘UGC’, also known as ‘UCC’ is user-generated content/user-created content. People really love to see their efforts being shared online by a brand, and not only does it make your life easier as a social media manager to have a plethora of UGC, it does wonders for your brand and its relationship with consumers. However, it’s not enough to just throw a photo of some food onto Facebook and caption it with “here’s some food”, you need to get creative with how you use the content. Statistics show that social media users respond to open questions – get your fans talking to you, get them talking amongst themselves, and watch the reach and interaction numbers start to fly. Speaking for myself (and probably anyone who’s passionate about social media), this can be a very rewarding and satisfying thing to see.
Keep an eye on your channels
I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping an eye on page interactions. While you’ve been making a cup of tea, or Dave has been drawing diagrams of fourteenth-century crop rotation on the whiteboard (yes, this actually happened), a person or people may have posted something on one of your pages that requires your attention, and social media doesn’t care if you’re taking a 5-minute break. Drama can be borne out of a throwaway comment on a photo, and soon that seed will grow into a giant redwood which needs you to come along with a chainsaw and control it before it wrecks the whole town. Another distraction – and I am positive this goes for the majority of social media managers – is your own personal social media. You’ve just checked your client’s inbox, answered any queries, checked to see if your scheduled posts have gone out, and…ooh, look! A video of a panda on a see-saw! This is a very easy trap to fall into, so be careful. We’re all human, and social media is immersive, but your channels are your priority – not funny GIFs and the discussion about “what are the best serial killer documentaries on Netflix?” happening on your cousin’s page.
Is it time for something to eat now?
As the workday comes to an end, final checks are made to ensure everything’s been done for every client, you’ve replied to every email, and everything is right with the social media world. It might be time to go home and have some food. I pack up my laptop and make my way to the tram (we’ve been through this in the sixth paragraph). Five minutes after I’ve left the office, I check my personal email, my personal social media, and…oooh, look! Someone’s just directed a naughty word at someone else on my client’s post! The machine has reversed on me, and I need to stop walking, lean up against a wall, and pour cold water on the situation. The hustle never ends.
And this is a day in the life of an On Fire social media manager…