As someone who spent their middle school years practicing HTML coding to perfect their MySpace profile page and their high school and college years scouring Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for content, growing up to become a social media manager seems like an occupation that would come naturally to me. Though many people today have adapted to the language of social media, there are stark differences in using social media for personal purposes and using it for the sake of social media marketing.
It’s so easy to type up a status update or a tweet and send it out when you’re working on your own account. As a matter of fact, one thing to understand about social media is that when you’re using it for personal purposes, it’s just that: personal and for entertainment. When you’re using it for marketing, you’re actively working. This is where the line between business and your own personal life become blurred.
Copywriting is both an art and a science. From a marketing perspective, the content that you produce needs to be well-written and interesting while speaking to the audience that you’re targeting. This also means that whatever brand you’re writing for must be written in the brand voice, something that is carefully developed. When you’re writing in the name of a brand, your intention is to take on the identity of that brand while you’re using their social media accounts. When you’re posting personally, there isn’t any careful curation involved since you’re writing in your free time for your own accounts. People don’t typically have brand voices, as their names are not brands themselves.
Let’s talk analytics for a second. A big part of social media managing is analytics; you are regularly checking to see how your brand’s social media presence has grown over any length of time. Growth can be determined by looking at the follower growth, engagement, and even social reach (which isn’t an exact science, but still an interesting statistic to see how influential a post is depending on who interacts with your content). When you use social media personally, you don’t need to check the analytics (unless you’re very interested in data).
These are a very important part of social media, as they are used to log any post made on a particular social media outlet. This means that, by searching a hashtag, you will have access to every post that was made under it. Hashtags are used across multiple social media platforms, but originated on Twitter. Hashtags can be used for a variety of reasons ranging from sharing memes to mobilizing social movements to starting a marketing campaign. In the world of social media marketing, hashtags provide a plethora of benefits to the brand you’re representing. Some examples include: boosting brand awareness, increasing your follower count, engagement, and social reach, and it directly links you to your audience. Personally, hashtags can be used for the same things. The main difference here is that rather than trying to start a movement under a particular hashtag, you’re going to be contributing to a pre-existing hashtag.
When you post on your personal accounts, everything is very in the moment. You aren’t thinking about when the perfect time to post is, you just want to share something and move on with your life. When it comes to social media marketing, it’s a totally different story. Depending on the social media platform and your audience, there is always an ideal posting time that should attract the most attention. Some people use programs that will determine the best time to post.
When you post personally, just like with posting times, the number of posts per day don’t matter. You can post something once a week or you can post multiple things within an hour—there’s no formula for that. Social media marketing requires you to post frequently and consistently, since you need to remain in contact with your audience in order to grow your business.
Social media is something that many of us grew up around; it’s a language that many people today are confident in. Social media for marketing, however, is a different animal. When you boil it down to the basics, posting personally is anything you want it to be. You aren’t managing a twitter or a facebook for anybody but yourself. When you’re using social media for marketing purposes, everything is carefully curated and intentional in hopes of growing your brand.