Top image: Why companies need to give social media managers a seat at the table

Zarnaz Arlia, Chief Marketing Officer, Emplifi

Community Corner: Why companies need to give social media managers a seat at the table (and how to do it)

The role of the social media manager is evolving. In most marketing organizations, the social media manager’s role easily spans marketing, social selling, and customer support. But, despite the important role the social media manager plays, many feel unheard and unsupported.

The topic of giving social media managers a seat at the table isn’t a new one, but it’s a recurring and urgent one. That’s why, in celebration of World Social Media Day, I wanted to share a piece I wrote for Forbes, which delves into the topic and provides tips for leaders on how best to empower and enable their social teams. Happy World Social Media Day, and happy reading!


Brands know that social media marketing can drive sales, develop customer relationships and build brand awareness. But did you know that your social media manager might have a better perspective on how your customers think than many other people in the company?

Increasingly, social media is permeating more aspects of business. Social media managers are now responsible for engaging directly with a brand’s customers, maintaining a brand’s message and reputation, collecting valuable customer insights in real time, and providing customer support. Social media management is no longer a role for interns looking to get entry-level experience. It’s grown into a career that touches all areas of the business. Building a successful social media strategy starts with recognizing and supporting your social media manager’s growing role.

Growth Of The Role

With more than 4 billion people projected to use social media in 2025 and platforms like TikTok transforming the landscape, organizations are investing more resources into the medium. In fact, brands spent an estimated $132 billion on social media advertising in 2020, a figure that’s expected to increase. To meet the growth of social media, companies are hiring social media managers in droves. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the role of social media manager is expected to grow at least 10% from 2020 to 2030. As more people turn to social media for news, content and engagement with brands, the role’s objectives and responsibilities have expanded exponentially.

Not only is the position now a necessity for businesses of any size, social media managers today are intimately involved across business functions, including:

  • Marketing. Social media managers are responsible for driving sales through the pipeline, building brand awareness, and increasing web traffic from platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. They implement a brand’s marketing strategy and ensure its messaging is delivered accurately on these channels.

  • Listening. More and more customers and loyal brand advocates are taking to social media to express both concerns and praise. As a result, social media managers are also keeping track of new conversations on social media to inform the brand’s content strategy or respond to pertinent news in real time.

  • Commerce. Social commerce is the intersection of social media and eCommerce, and it’s one of the major trends shaping the future of shopping. Shopping directly on social media is expected to double in the United States by 2025 and reach $99 billion. The trend is driven by younger shoppers, particularly Gen Z, which is projected to overtake millennial spending power by 2031.

As social commerce becomes the norm, social media managers are an integral part of a company’s e-commerce strategy. Brands need to ensure social media and commerce teams collaborate to provide a seamless purchasing experience and keep the social store up to date with inventory and sales information.

Customer experience is a key differentiator between brands, and today, customers expect timely and excellent care on social media. In fact, 1 in 3 social media users prefer receiving customer care on social media to phone or email.

Ignoring customer care on social media when so many customers prefer to connect on social can have serious impacts on customer retention. Almost 20% of consumers in the U.S. and United Kingdom would abandon a purchase after just one poor customer experience. Social media and customer service teams need to work together to inform each other on a customer’s journey pre-, during, and post-sale.

How To Support Your Social Media Managers

Having a social media manager on your team means you’re in great shape to manage your brand’s online presence. It’s crucial to give your manager the support and tools needed to effectively perform these new roles.

  • Empower them to respond quickly and efficiently. To maintain brand reputation and customer loyalty, social media managers need to see and respond to mentions, comments and messages as soon as possible. Provide a management tool that empowers them to identify critically important engagements that require immediate responses. Additionally, managers need visibility of social media profiles to keep a pulse on trending topics and create an agile social media marketing strategy.

  • Enable access to data measurement and valuable insights. With access to insights on social media engagement, your social media manager can make important strategic decisions based on real-time consumer insights. Search for a management tool that includes social listening tools, market benchmarks, sentiment analytics, and more. Knowing what customers are engaging with on social media can inform marketing strategy and product development.

  • Integrate social media management and customer care. When customers ask a question on social media, managers need access to critical customer information, including purchase history, previous interactions with the customer service team, product information, and company policies relevant to the customer’s question. Ensure that your social media and customer care teams have access to a customer’s entire journey to avoid gaps in service or force the customer to repeat the issue again and again.

The social media manager has gone from “nice to have” to a critical role supporting multiple teams throughout a company. As social media becomes a central medium for marketing, commerce, and customer care, brands must recognize the changing responsibilities of the role and respond accordingly. Enhancing collaboration across these teams empowers social media managers to ensure customers receive the same messaging and service regardless of where they engage.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Forbes.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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