We've talked a lot before about how social media is a double-edged sword for podcasters. On the one hand, you can promote your podcast and engage with your audience at little to no cost. On the other hand, the time and energy you spend on social media could be put into creating better content. A podcast social media manager can take care of this for you. But, as we all know, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Let's look at some pros, cons, and best practices, so you can see if you need a social media manager.
What Is a Social Media Manager, and What Do They Do?
Consider for a moment that social media platforms are billion-dollar businesses. As I'm writing this, Facebook has nearly 45,000 employees, and Twitter has about 4600. They make sure their social media platforms hook people's attention and keep it there for as long as possible. They create and use algorithms to deliver any user's feed to seem more interesting, while doling out doses of paid advertising. Social media managers invest in the knowledge necessary to make those algorithms work to their advantage.
Essentially, a social media manager doesn't just post on social media. They know how to use social media, as a tool, to motivate people.
Pros of A Podcast Social Media Manager
- invest the time, energy, and skill to make your podcast's social media accounts an asset to your podcast
- spend time asking questions of your followers to find out what their needs are
- direct them to your podcast, website, and calls to action
- make social media assets, such as audiograms, to promote your work
It's much more than announcing, “hey, check out this podcast.” This person shows your podcast to best advantage. They're listening to your audience, finding out what their needs are, and reporting back to you. They're part sales pro, part diplomat, and part research specialist.
They can also see your podcast objectively, to promote what genuinely makes your podcast unique and special.
Cons of A Podcast Social Media Manager
Social media management is a pretty new science. There's no established criteria for what makes one manager better than another. They could be good at knowing the best time to post new content, and really bad at spelling. It's true that social media's writing style is more informal, and varies widely depending on the intended audience. But, if your manager can't notice the difference between “Let's eat, Grandma,” and “Let's eat Grandma,” it's distracting.
You want your podcast's message to be noticed and understood, so your audience will act on it. You don't want your social media messages to be noticed for the wrong reasons.
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Your podcast's social media manager should understand what your show is about, your goals, and the impact you want. A shared value system is really important here. There's a big difference between, for example, The Guilty Feminist and Not Your Average Feminist.
If your social media manager is the only one who interacts with your audience, you can miss a lot of information. Plus, you lose some of the enjoyment of podcasting.
Compensation of a Podcast Social Media Manager
This isn't exactly a pro or a con. It's a fact that whoever works for you should be compensated. You could pay a freelancer. A quick glance on Fiverr.com shows that options can start anywhere between $20 and $100. If you know another podcaster who enjoys social media, and has a task they can't stand, a skill swap is fair.
It's possible that your podcast might have a diehard fan who volunteers for you. Give them something in return for their time and energy. Write them good recommendations for future jobs, and show them you appreciate them. Yes, having someone else manage your social media accounts for you will save you time and energy. However, you should compensate them, just as you expect to be compensated for your work.
Case Study of Podcast Social Media Management: Fool and Scholar
Recently, I talked with Travis Vengroff, of Fool & Scholar Productions. This company has only two official members, and produces four podcasts. Each has a unique tone, audience, and social media account. Managing all four accounts is time-consuming, so having another person take on the task was more than necessary. Vengroff's experience has been an adventure in and of itself.
He says that the first person was a fan of the show, who “had great responses for people once posts went up, but wasn't able to handle content generation at a professional level. It was actually more work than making the posts by ourselves.” He added, “Their response rate and answers to fans was awesome, and they are in college for social media management.”
Next, they hired a professional. “They had no idea what we created, and made no effort to understand our brands, despite multiple meetings. They could create very professional imagery, but they were unwilling to go the extra mile to make that imagery relevant to our content. As a result, we had ‘vague general horror' posts, that had nothing to do with our shows, because our shows fit the genre.”
Now, Fool and Scholar has an 80%-20% relationship with their podcasts' social media manager. “We work with someone we know, who likes our shows, on a very limited focus of creating new posts. We know what we want, and they have the time and talent to make it come to life. This is currently working well for us. But, I'd reiterate that having a limited scope and knowing the strengths of your potential team member is extremely useful.”
Vengroff continues, “We currently manage 80%+ of the social media stuff still. But, our team member augments our posts with extra content and brings ideas for new posts they'll create. None of our shows have excessive radio silence. 3k, 40k, or 100k followers doesn't mean anything if you never post anything.”
Travis summarized the whole experience with a great lesson: “Post quality, relevant content, or you're devaluing your brand. Make sure the person or company you hire gets your brand.”
Should You Have A Social Media Manager for Your Podcast?
If a good situation presents itself, you should embrace it, but don't expect to catch lightning in a bottle. Hiring a professional will give you quality content, but you risk a lack of relevance and audience engagement. Asking a fan or a friend of the show to do it can mean that you risk the quality of posts. The best professional social media managers will take the time to fully understand your podcast, your goals and your audience. The best fan or friends will deliver the same level of quality they provide to any other job.
Again, the best social media managers are part sales pro, part diplomat, and part research specialist. Your podcast's social media account is part of the content your podcast delivers. Choose them and treat them like you would a collaborator.
Need More Help?
Podcasting is complex, but it doesn't have to be frustrating. Here at The Podcast Host Academy, we have all the courses and downloadable resources for you to understand all aspects of this growing art form. Plus, our Weekly Live Q & A sessions can answer any questions you have. Additionally, if you need help polishing your audio to make it sound professional, try our all-in-one podcast maker, Alitu.