“I am a Social Media Manager. A job that, unlike many other new professions, is known, although it has various myths that should be debunked”. Elena Marchisa has been employed for four years in Engineering’s Knowage Labs and has been dealing with social media for seven years. “When I started working in the communication sector of a medium-size manufacturing company – says Elena – my employer understood my inclination, perhaps a natural one, for social media and entrusted me with its management. I can say that I have never looked back”.
A degree in strategic studies and political sciences and a master’s degree in Social Media Management, Elena stresses that her work is certainly not trivial. “Many believe that this is a profession which anyone can access, regardless of the knowledge they have, but it is not quite so. It is necessary not only to master the language and the various social platforms, but it is increasingly necessary to know how to perform data analysis such as sentiment analysis, trending topics and brand reputation, in order to gain a qualitative and quantitative knowledge of one’s audience and to develop increasingly high-performance contents”.
Social Media Managers too depend on data then?
“When handling social media, it is essential to collect and analyze data, including by interfacing with the internal development team which can set up specific services for this purpose. My course of study, positioned halfway between humanities and sciences, has helped me to better manage the analysis activity. Statistics, mathematics and computer science exams have sustained and supported my more creative part: both parts are useful for creating captivating contents. A Social Media Manager, if you get my drift, is not one who always has a smartphone in his/her hand, but is rather a mix between an analyst able to make the most of the platforms he/she uses and a copywriter capable of writing in order to draw users closer, transmitting emotions and passions”.
What do we put in this professional’s toolbox?
“For sure, social platforms (all the most important ones); then automation and programming services, such as, for example, Buffer or Hootsuite; content publishing software and video editing programs. Finally, professional tools such as Knowage for example, which, unlike the insights offered by the various social networks, enables a more thorough analysis of what is occurring”.
What is a typical day for a person who manages a company’s social media?
“In some respects, it is a 24h job, because even when you are not working, you tend to have a look at the notifications which arrive on your smartphone, at least to see whether there is any reaction to a published content which must be managed. However, in reality, we have defined working hours exactly as other professions do. During the day, in addition to preparing the contents to be published and their programming, there is always a moment of discussion with the management in order to define strategies and priorities. In fact, during recent years we have gone beyond the concept of a communication plan because we need to be much more flexible and ready to change our tack, including on the basis of new requirements and events. The first thing I do in the morning is to answer any comments or questions from the community which must be constantly looked after”.
What is your relationship with the corporate structure?
“I think the Social Media Manager figure is central, pivotal in fact, because not only must we deal with everyone, but in some way, we also favor that interaction between different business sectors which is required to define a single communication strategy”.
What are the challenges for those who wish to start this profession?
“You need to be versatile and able to perform different activities, especially if you are alone in managing social media and not part of large teams. You must always study and keep up to date, given that there is no reference doctrine or tradition. The work is constantly evolving and you need to be prepared to follow it”.
A book to read and some experts to follow?
“One of the most interesting books I have recently read is by Piero Angela, Il mio lungo viaggio (My long journey), because it gives you a sincere insight into the world of communication and popularization in Italy, written by a man able to present complex topics in an accessible way for anyone. Another interesting read is Growth hacking. Fai crescere la tua impresa online (Grow your online business) by Federico Simonetti and Luca Barboni, which explains how new marketing is increasingly data-driven. On the subject of social media there are many valid professionals who can be followed, but of these I would mention Riccardo Scandellari among the Italians, and Neil Patel among the international personalities”.