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BizReport : Social Marketing : July 26, 2011

EPiServer reveals rise of the social media manager in the UK

Businesses in the UK are on the lookout for experienced writers with tons of patience and a good sense of humor as they realize their need for social media or community managers, according to a new survey from web engagement firm EPiServer.

by Helen Leggatt

episerver.jpgSocial media has firmly embedded itself in a businesses marketing strategy. According to research by EPiServer almost three quarters (73%) of businesses in the UK currently run an online community or are looking to do so within the next 12 months.

Social media may be cost effective, but marketers have come to realize the time and effort needed to run successful social campaigns. To this end, while only 28% of businesses currently employ someone to manage and monitor social media activity that figure could rise to 69% within the next 12 months as 41% consider getting someone onboard.

"As more businesses start to take social media seriously, more will look towards employing community managers to ensure activities hit the mark," said Maria Wasing, EPiServer's VP of Marketing Europe & Sales Operations. "As this job function grows in importance, businesses will need to adjust to accommodate this person into the fabric of the company."

According to the 250 UK marketing decision makers that took part in the study, their ideal social media manager would be an experienced, enthusiastic and prolific writer with the patience of a saint and a good sense of humor. This would solve their main social media challenges which they cited as being the acquisition of new fans and members (32%), keeping the flow of content going (28%) and dealing with abuse or negativity (27%).

When faced with complaints, criticism or plain abuse on social media platform it's essential it is handled with care and professionalism. Here are eight tips to help you, or your social media manager, keep cool and deal with such situations.

1. First and foremost, create a policy clearly outlining the 'rules' around commenting on your social space, and ensure users know about it. Be clear how use of bad language or posts containing inappropriate content will be dealt with.

2. Keep calm. Don't lash out at negative posts. Step back from the situation and let any red mist disperse before posting a cool and collected response.

3. Reply publicly. Show you are in control of the situation by publicly responding. As well as being open, your reply may address questions that others have but are not comfortable asking.

4. Keep replies concise. Get your point across without creating paragraphs of unwieldy text, which many won't bother to read. Stick to the facts and keep emotions and personal views off limits.

5. Reply promptly. Often silence is taken as avoidance. Even if you can not provide a complete answer to a comment at the time it was made, reassure the poster you are listening and finding them an answer.

6. Reply privately. Some commenters are there to make trouble, and some don't know when to stop. These participants are often best dealt with in private, particularly if an existing public attempt to quell their anger has not been successful and is distracting other users.

7. Monitor a negative thread even after the situation has been resolved; keep in touch with the customer to make certain they are satisfied with the outcome.

8. Ditch the trolls.. or not. It's not hard to spot a spammer or a troll, but do you delete them or humor them? ClickZ has a great article on how to deal with various types of troll.

Tags: commumity manager, in-house marketing, social marketing, social media

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