Social Media Marketing Best Practices From 25 Experts Who Have Been There and Done That.

08/28/2017 07:16 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2017

I am a huge fan of learning from others and my latest mission is to learn more from the best social media managers around the globe.

I didn’t have any easy way to reach out to talented, social media managers for an interview, so I started looking at active FB Groups. I soon found an active community of social media professionals on the Social Media Managers FB Group who discuss every aspect of being a social media manager. I reached out to one of the admins, Sean Webster, about this article and he gave me the thumbs up to post on the group.

The response to my request was beyond amazing and I had a tough time selecting the best responses! I started with asking for 5-7 participants, but after I received over 100 requests, I chose the top 26!

https://unsplash.com/search/photos/social-media?photo=DfMMzzi3rmg

If you were ever looking to learn more about social media management, or better yet, looking to hire someone to help you with your social media, look no further than experts below.

Since I am an active content creator, many of my interview questions are based around content creation and discovery. I am also helping build sharetivity, and this will knowledge will help me build out a better content discovery product for social media managers.

Enjoy!

<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/smwebster84/" target="_blank">Sean Webster</a>, Creative Marketing Specia
Sean Webster, Creative Marketing Specialist at Inbound Marketing Agents

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

Finding content that resonates with your target audience. Honestly, I just do a ton of research on Google. I answer questions like this:

  • Who are the authority figures, thoughts leaders, or in brands in your market?
  • What books, magazines, newspapers does your ideal customer read?
  • Google: TOP __________→ (blogs, books, magazine, thought leaders, brands, website, etc)
  • What events do they attend? Google: TOP _________ events?
  • What websites do they frequent? Where do they live? What tools do they use? What’s SPECIFICALLY UNIQUE about this group?

By answering questions like the above questions, I can get a better idea of what my target audience is looking for and what they would engage with.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/reesyfloydthompson/" target="_blank">Reesy Floyd-Thompson</a>, Founder of

Q: How do you measure success with your clients / leadership? Do you have certain KPI’s you measure together?

Success with clients is based on setting clear expectations from the beginning. When clients expect social media to be magic, the makes our job so much harder. There is a reason you often hear marketers say it starts with why. When I ask why and I hear "I want more likes."

I ask "Why." They say it’s because they want more visibility. Why? Because people will want my product or service. Why? Because I need to retire. OK, let's start there. That's the exact answer. For me, the client connection is paramount to everything else. When I'm trusted to use my skills to help bring a spouse home, that's personal for me.

The performance indicators change depending on the goal of a campaign, but I always start a snapshot of where we start and where we are at the end of first round. I run campaigns in phases to warm up cold traffic with amazing content before asking anyone to invest.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurenevdavis" target="_blank">Lauren Davis</a>, Owner at <a rel="nofollo

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

How I come up with my content is pretty old school. I have a notepad list on my phone. Whenever I find myself answering a question for a client that where I think to myself "This is something I answer every day," I write it down and save it for a blog or post. Chances are if my clients all have the same questions, it is a necessary social media post.

When coming up with content for my clients, I do something similar. I do comprehensive strategy meetings with them and ask them to highlight some of the questions they field constantly.

From there we create posts, videos, blog posts, pins, and more. For everyday content, it varies from client to client. For instance, for my tattoo shop client, beautiful artistic content is being created all the time.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurablackhurst/" target="_blank">Laura Blackhurst</a>, <a rel="nofollow"

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

I believe that the most outstanding content in existence is never 'discovered,' but actually 'created.' Therefore, I'd like to turn this question on its head a little (if I may!) and suggest that the hardest part about discovering content is creating that content from scratch.

This naturally can be a huge drain on resource/money, often requiring professionals in different fields to create compelling graphics, photography, copy, and video.

When it does come to discovering content (whether ready-to-use or simply inspiration for content themes or campaigns), the most tricky area to be mindful of is staying abreast of copyright issues as well as plagiarism; ensuring thorough research is conducted in advance.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachaelcpowell/" target="_blank">Rachael Powell</a>, Vice President of So
Rachael Powell, Vice President of Social Strategy at Elasticity

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

Smart social strategy development requires a unique combination of art and science. I always start with as much data as possible and then marry that with what I know about the platforms, trends in pop culture and the constant evolution of how people communicate online.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmalevene/" target="_blank">Carma Levene</a>, Founder at <a rel="nofoll

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

I use Feedly, Flipboard, Google Alerts, Buzzsumo and Social Media monitoring tools like Sprout Social to search for keywords and hashtags. I don't think discovering content is the hardest part about Social, though it can be time-consuming.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/amaramahmood" target="_blank">Amara Mahmood</a>, Social Media Manager at
Amara Mahmood, Social Media Manager at Crazy Couponing

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

The biggest misconception about social media management is that you don't need any education for it. No, you don't need a college degree to be a social media manager, but you do have to get some education. It doesn't need to be formal. Social media education includes marketing, customer service, content creation, copywriting, analytics and so much more!

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/neelam-mani-55094a74/" target="_blank">Neelam Mani</a>, Founder at <a rel

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

The strategic aspect. There is a big misconception that social media is purely posting pretty pictures or videos to garner likes. Social media, as with any other marketing channel within a business, needs to have defined goals, and therefore a defined strategy to reach those goals.

A social media strategy is more than just posting content. The strategy needs to be aligned with the wider business goals, reach the right audience for the business and resonate with the target market being reached. The strategy is developed and understood through research and experience. A social media strategy is always evolving to react to the constant changes in the space and to make sure that your company stays relevant and one step ahead of your competitors.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/bmelgarejo" target="_blank">Boris Melgarejo</a><strong>, </strong>Social
Boris Melgarejo, Social Media Strategist at The Bloom Equation

Q: What’s the hardest part about creating original content?

The hardest part of creating original content is not knowing who your target market is. We can create a multitude of original content, but it's a waste of time and resources. However, it will not look good on your ROI and to your monthly report. Original content is a combination of analyzing your social media insights, intuition, and creativity. I mention creativity a lot because social media works in close collaboration with marketing.

The online scene is a constant battle for attention that's why I need to make sure that our content will grab our visitors within 5 seconds and be able to finish watching or reading our post.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/deirdrefentem/" target="_blank">Deirdre Fentem</a><strong>, </strong>Owne

Q: What’s the hardest part about creating original content?

How hard content is can depend on the client, their brand *and* how much time they put into the intake process. I know as much about my client's business as they take the time to tell me in the beginning. If they rush the in-take process the harder it is for me to drill down into who you are and what you offer and why your client should choose you over someone else.

I use everything available to me. Client blogs and testimonials to an article from approved resources that support my client's mission to videos, personal photos to memes.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbibaehne/" target="_blank">Bobbi Baehne</a>, President at<a rel="nofol

Q: How do you measure success with your clients / leadership? Do you have certain KPI’s you measure together?

Measurements of success vary with each client based on their goals and their business model. For many of our small business clients, they are seeking a steadily growing audience and engagement. They want that local presence that makes it easy to be recommended by happy existing clients and to build relationships that ultimately leads to increase referrals and sales in their local market.

For clients that have online businesses, while we continue to measure grown in following and engagement, we are also continuously monitoring traffic that is driven to their website both organically and through advertising campaigns. Together we monitor the type of content that is getting the most engagement and adjust strategy to meet the response of their audience. Because we have a website division in our firm, we also continually consult on not only traffic to lead pages or general websites, but how to improve conversion to increase desired results.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/jade-shebelski-14bb96118/" target="_blank">Jade Shebelski</a>, Principal

Q: If you could snap a finger and fix something about social media in general, what would you fix?

I wish we could go back to social media actually being social. Social media is an excellent marketing tool, however we have lost the social aspect of it. Nowadays it is so many influencers working with brands trying to sell me something instead of sharing something with me.

The personal aspect and engagement of social media are gone. I would love to snap my fingers and have people stop talking AT me and instead have the motivation to start conversing WITH me.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsayjoyhiggins/" target="_blank">Lindsay Joy Higgins</a>, Founder at <

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

The most misunderstood aspect of a social media agency that my business faces is dealing with the misconception that anyone can do your social media for you whether they have marketing experience or not. Yes, we post on your Facebook page, but we're a strategic marketing agency.

We understand consumer psychology and what kinds of posts will get people to go to your website or recommend your business to their friends. We know how to attract new business with custom advertising on Facebook. When you have a professional, you'll reach your goals a lot faster, giving you a faster return on investment, than hiring a paper boy to do your marketing for you.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://ca.linkedin.com/in/brittanyerinhardy" target="_blank">Brittany Hardy</a>, Owner at <a rel="no

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

It's tough to pinpoint only one thing that is misunderstood but if I had to pick one, it would be the misunderstanding that you can be a business on social media and posting will equal sales. People neglect that social should be just that, Social!

If a brand isn't showcasing their personality and bringing value with their content, there will be very little in the way of sales. A close second would be how to interpret a 'return' on a companies social media investment.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/christophermwick/" target="_blank">Christopher Wick</a>, Social Media Con
Christopher Wick, Social Media Consultant at SMM International

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

FATAL misunderstanding: a good social media consultant should be the 'creative marketing type' of person. Wrong! Why? Most marketing campaigns fail because of the lack of business knowledge - NOT creativity. Before I started my social media agency -- I hardly even used social media myself! I was a businessman who consulted others -- not a marketer. Even today, I don't consider myself overly creative -- I'm strategic.

So, how did I end up here? How is this experience valuable for my clients as business owners? Early in my business consulting practice, I discovered that MOST marketing campaigns were failing to deliver tangible business results. The #1 request of people seeking business consultants was one thing: Help me get more customers.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicastettler" target="_blank">Jessica Stettler</a>, Social Media Speci
Jessica Stettler, Social Media Specialist at Envoy Air, an American Airlines Group Company

Q: If you could snap a finger and fix something about social media in general, what would you fix?

I'd fix the "pay-to-play" model so that reach is directly correlated to the quality of content posted. Accounts with a high-quality score, determined by the level of engagement and relevancy of content, would receive larger reach per dollar. This solution enables marketers to reach their followers without the platform having to bear the cost.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/laceywon/" target="_blank">Lacey Won</a>, Social Media Manager at <a rel=
Lacey Won, Social Media Manager at Hunker.

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

I think the biggest misunderstanding is that being a Social Media Manager is easy because all we do is "post on (insert channel here)." Because most people only see the end product, which is the post itself, it's not always known that there's an enormous amount of creative, strategic, and analytical thinking behind specific posts as well as the overarching story we tell, which we also tailor to the platform itself.

Each post is carefully written, curated, and created, but it also has to align with the company or brand's story on a higher, more strategic level. Many people also don't realize how data-driven this job is. The ability to analyze a variety of different metrics and understand how creative decisions can affect these numbers is crucial to being a SMM.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://%20https//www.linkedin.com/in/mollyredmond/" target="_blank">Molly Redmond,</a> Social Media
Molly Redmond, Social Media Specialist at Pearson UK

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

There's *so much* out there. Sometimes if you're curating external content, it's tricky to find content that represents your brand and its values.

Another thing I find difficult if some tools lack the ability to appeal to niche audiences. For example, as a UK based company, a lot of the tools out there will suggest me content that's more suited for US audiences, and I'll struggle to sift through and find decent UK content.

My favorite tool is Twitter Lists, easy and free - I create groups of experts on various topics and our customers so I can keep up with what they're talking about.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/carriwagner/" target="_blank">Carri Wagner</a>, Director of Social Media
Carri Wagner, Director of Social Media at Carri Wagner Social

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

The hardest part of discovering content is finding information that is interesting, informative, engaging and making something old seem new. Anyone can promote an apple pie recipe, but my job is to make my client's apple pie the one that everyone MUST try.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="http://linkedin.com/in/findtroy" target="_blank">Troy Sanddige</a>, Founder at <a rel="nofollow" href

Q: What is the most misunderstood aspect of your job?

The concept of time when it comes to the reality of results when building and executing a social campaign. There are so many variables that could determine the success or failure of a campaign in addition to so many variables to consider what counts as a step in the right direction or wrong direction.

It's not simply black and white of well if our engagement increases by this much we should get this, whereas our click rate could double, but yet the call to action numbers are the same or even lower. You have to pay to play. Organic is necessary but can only go so far if you're a company that values only certain metrics. Content is king, and whether you pay for ads or not without solid, creative, engaging content, nothing will grow, and that's a fact both in the B2B world and B2C world.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/toddjclausen/" target="_blank">Todd Clausen</a>,  Content Marketing Manag
Todd Clausen, Content Marketing Manager, Tipping Point Communications

Q: What’s the hardest part about creating original content?

There is no unique content. Interesting people, businesses, and stories? Most definitely. But finding truly unique content is rare, more so than people think. Content tends to fit themes and story forms (lists, narratives, photos, videos, etc.) that have repeatedly been used. In today’s world, that content now needs to live across devices and sometimes touch multiple audiences in many different ways.

It has given rise to content marketing departments and positions such as mine where we work with various businesses to develop original content for blogs, websites, social media and even video. Most folks know content is king, but some need assistance in finding those stories that will resonate best with their audiences.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/heathermoos" target="_blank">Heather Lynn</a>, Marketing Consultant, Clut
Heather Lynn, Marketing Consultant, Clutch Marketing + Communications

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

Taking the time to peruse hundreds of sites that aren't sharing the same content everyone else does. It's too easy to share content that everyone else is sharing but finding the right content that your audience will share is great. I use Google Alerts to find a lot of content for me that I can weed out quickly for the main sites sharing it. I also use a daily reader that sends me updates on queries as well. They help so much! Otherwise, I'd spend hours a day searching!

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-tj%E2%80%8B-williams-35b876101/" target="_blank">Thomas Williams</
Thomas Williams, Co-Founder & Director of Business Operations at Xocial Media

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

So finding content isn’t difficult; it’s 2017, everyone and their mother is a content creator now. This challenging part of content creation is creating something that no one else has created before. Original ideas are hard to come by, and they will only become harder. When I need to create something new and original, I think of things that I would want to see on social media. I think of things that make me laugh, things that teach me something, and things that make me wonder curiously about something.

When I think of these things, I have a particular industry in mind. This creative thinking leads to new video ideas (a web tour of a hospital) or photo graphic ideas (this or that images) and so on. Sometimes great ideas will come to mind, and other times the ideas are bad. It just takes lots of time and practice to find something that is useful.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/knappjulie/" target="_blank">Julie Knapp</a>, Owner at <a rel="nofollow"

What’s the hardest part about creating original content?

I always hear from clients that finding or creating content is the constant struggle of owning a social account. But my counter-argument to that is to ask to see their strategy. If you're building a strategy correctly, the content will fall into place. Strategy first, always.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessaturkeltaub/" target="_blank">Vanessa Turkeltaub</a>, Founder at <a

Q: What’s the hardest part about discovering content? What tools do you use?

That hardest part of discovering content is that most of the time you will find it in places that are not the most obvious. Most of what I discover for social media postings are through deep dives of Facebook groups and Instagram keyword searches.

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Lastly, I wanted to give a HUGE thank you to the social media Facebook group for your participation. It’s a great active community.

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