What does a Social Media Analyst really do all day?

Get a job!

When I first started my career as a coporate Social Media Analyst I had to explain my job to almost everyone I met. It was difficult convicing them that I wasn’t paid to play around on Facebook and Twitter all day, since most folks at that time were familiar with the mediums only as a recreational tool. I remember having a difficult time explaining to my mother just what it was I was going to do all day. I also remember feeling compelled to explain to my office mates that, if they saw me on Facebook or surfing the Internet I was, in fact, working.

Social media sites are fun places to hang out (over 600 million on Facebook seem to think so anyway) and most people use them to stay in touch with friends from school, family and to play games like Farmville. It might, for some, seem fanciful to make a career out of what, for most, is nothing but a pastime.

The truth is that careers in social media are becoming mainstream. Look around Facebook and you’ll notice that companies like R+L Carriers and Ford (to name a couple) are embracing social media as legitimate marketing tool. Ford experimented with social media by launching their new Ford Explorer exclusively on their Facebook page. R+L Carriers uses its social media presence to create relationships with followers by posting shipping tips, industry news and articles to help the businesses that use their services thrive.

You might be wondering where Social Media Analysts come from and what they do all day.

Where does a Social Media Analyst come from?

Social Media Analysts typically come from a marketing background with a heavy reliance on web based technologies. Some come from Internet or IT positions, some from traditional marketing positions and some from web design. A communications or journalism background is typical too. Most have a mix of traditional marketing and Internet technology skills with a strong writing or communications skill set.

What is a typical day like?

The first thing most analysts will do each morning is check all social media channels to see if there are any mentions of their company or brand.  Social media never sleeps and since conversations on social media require an immediate response, an analyst will follow up first thing, or reach out to department heads to develop a response. There is a real time sensitivity to this activity, so timeliness is priority.

After initial conversations are addressed, social media managers may spend time brainstorming or writing blog or web site content, planning and strategizing future campaigns, meeting with department heads to ensure strategies are on-track with marketing and customer service, and tracking campaigns and reporting. A portion of their day will be spent reading trend reports and business articles to stay in touch with the latest technologies and social media marketing theories.

Reporting is a huge part of any marketing campaign and social media is no exception. Of course analysts will track basic stats like followers, click-throughs, fans, comments and traffic, but we also monitor conversations happening around the brand both on and off our pages and carefully structure responses that are in line with the company’s strategy. Often, analysts will meet regularly with multiple departments to educate staff about the focus of the social media channel and the ways in which they can contribute and support the efforts.

The take away? Social Media Analysts do more than tweet and post to Facebook. They are responsible for a multitude of company functions and must create relationships within the company to support their efforts.

Is this simply a new fangled marketing position?

A social media analyst is position is part marketing, yes, but it’s also much more. Social Media positions include elements of customer service, product knowledge, company culture and employee relations, and a typical day might involve all these elements at once. These various responsibilities require good communication skills and the ability to gather information from multiple areas within the company.

At the end of the day…

A Social Media analyst position is about promoting a company’s brand and company culture through new technologies and non traditional platforms while interacting with current and potential customers in a real time environment. It’s more than just posting to Facebook and Twitter.  It is a fast paced and challenging career that continues to evolve, and since the internet is never turned off, it can often be all consuming.  So rest assured Mom, I do have a real job – honest!

About Sue Reynolds
Sue Reynolds is the founder and owner of Carmine Media, a web and social media consultancy. She is the manager of social media and web design at R+L Carriers, where she works with businesses and non profits to build their web presence and nurture brand loyalty.

31 Responses to What does a Social Media Analyst really do all day?

  1. Pingback: Social Media Analyst- A Brand New Job on the Market | Digital Navigation

  2. Tanya Storm says:

    Thank you for this post! I sent it to my Mom, to help her “Get it” and I am sending it to my company’s President and Head of Marketing to help them understand exactly what they hired me to do! (We are an established company, but are just now venturing into Social Media – which is why they hired me.) I will be following your posts from now on – great info!

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Tanya,
      I’m always thrilled when I hear one of my posts has helped someone with their work. What does your company do? I’d love to hear how you’re leveraging social media to accomplish your goals.

      If you haven’t already, you’re welcome to subscribe to my blog via email using the email subscription button. I also hope you’ll join me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/carminemedia or on Twitter @suereynolds. I’d love to hear your suggestions and input there.

      Thanks for the comment!
      Sue

      • Tanya Storm says:

        We are a software company serving the heavy equipment (construction, agriculture, lift truck) industry. We have no social media presence yet – they have recently hired me to create one. I am in the research/plan phase right now. Our goal with social media is to build a community where our customers can learn about topics relevant to them, and where we can better serve them by ensuring we are meeting their needs and that they are using our software to it’s fullest potential!

  3. Sue Reynolds says:

    It sounds like they’ve made a wise decision in using social media for their needs. Good luck with your project and of course if you have questions feel free to contact me!
    Sue

  4. Amith Gregory Furtado says:

    Hi,

    I am really interested to start my career in marketing and research. I believe social media analyst is a good place to start. I am thankful to for this valuable information you have shared and this helped me a lot to know about the job and to prepare for the interviews

  5. Jonha says:

    I’m a Social Media Strategist and just wanted to see the difference from what an SM Analyst does and it looks like they do similar things with a few differences and I’d like to thank you for this article. Haha, I love the last part, I do have a real job, I promise! lol

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Hi Jonha, The position is most likely the same or very similar. My company uses the word “analyst” in many of their technical positions; however, social media strategy is really what I do. I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Sue

  6. Evan Frangos says:

    There really isn’t the role of a social media analyst at all. This is a community manager. An analyst measures the results of each social campaign. It is a lot more than simply report also. We find out what worked, and what didn’t but go an extra step to determine, why, and how. We take that boatload of data, and use it to optimize future campaigns, as well as make ROI calculations on each activity.

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Evan – you’re correct. These titles are fluid right now as the industry grows and changes and for me, what started out as an analyst position quickly grew into community management. I’m glad you noticed!

  7. Pingback: Business Strategies: Out with the old, in with the social media? | WorsleyJoe

  8. Hi Sue. Thank you for this post! I recently emailed your sreynolds22@cinci.rr.com account in the hope that you could give me some advice around getting into Social Media Analysis. Please do reply when you ate able!

    Thank you,

    Debra.

  9. atlcharm says:

    I’m interested in transitioning from the banking industry to this field and would like some tips if you have any

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Read everything you can read, make sure your personal profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc) are up to date and full of content that reflects your passion about social media and begin marketing yourself. Good luck!

  10. hi sue, nice article.
    i just wondering about, is social media analyst in 24 hour a day is monitoring for what happen or else? did they have office hour? and did they should work in office or better in home?

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      It can be 24/7, yes. You have to be prepared to handle a crisis and have a plan in place to reach decision-makers in your company if you need help. It’s typically better to work in an office unless you’re doing consulting for multiple businesses – then you can work at home. In that case it is critical that you communicate with the businesses you support regularly.

  11. Arunima says:

    I work as a Social Media Analyst myself and so I could relate to this article very conveniently. Till date, I am having to explain to many about what I really do(that its not just being on Facebook/Twitter all day long). Thank you for such a nice article. It was a good read.Cheers!!!

  12. meg says:

    Hi Sue,

    Great article! I have a Masters in Computer Science and would like to step into the social media world. What in your opinion are the minimum basic qualifications needed to fill shoes of a social media manager?
    Thanks
    Meg

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      A social media manager is a cross functional position – it requires marketing, human resource, customer service, IT, web and SEO knowledge, business acumen and, of course, communication skills. It’s not a typically 9-5 job, but it is very challenging and rewarding. Good luck to you!!

  13. Gabriella M says:

    hi :)
    i have just completed my grad in b.a n kinda confused bout wat to do next…. i have worked for an advertising agency as a media manager….wat r my chances of gettin a job as a media analyst ?

  14. Thanks for this article, but as Evan mentioned it, it seems more like a community manager job description rather than the effective role of a Social Media Analyst. To me, the Social Media Analyst is much more an “Analyst” of the all online brand reputation.

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      You are correct. The roles in social media are still being defined and they often go by different titles depending on the organization. In my case I’m called an Analyst due to the naming conventions in our corporate culture. In another corporation I’d be called a community manager, social media manager or even social media strategist. Thanks for your insights!

  15. It’s a great article. Most of the people don’t know the role and responsibilities of social media analyst and most HR(Human Resource Team) who interviewed the candidate don’t have such knowledge what they hired for? In everybody’s mind, first think came is that we social media analyst are only posting in top social networks there is nothing importance role in this Digital Marketing. I hope from this article they will get full knowledge what exactly we are doing.

  16. krunal patel says:

    Hi Sue,its very nice article about Media Analyst.I did my graduation in science and then did a course in Visual effects and then worked as an artist in a reputed firm.how can i step into this field ???? can you give me any suggestion ?? how do i start and where should i find jobs like this ???

    Thank you

  17. d3nnyxm says:

    Reblogged this on A Piece of Denny's mind and commented:
    Quite an interesting job :))

  18. Erin says:

    Hi Sue-

    My name is Erin Jahn and i’m a Management information systems major at the University of Texas at Austin. As my degree progresses i’ve taken many different types of computer classes, it wasn’t until this last semester in my Social Media Analytics class that i finally had “that feeling” that it was what i wanted to be doing after graduation.

    I”m reaching out to you in hopes of any advice you may have as i begin my career search with the expectation and goal of reaching a job in social media marketing and/or analysis.

    Best,

    Erin

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Thanks for your comment Erin. The best advice I can give you is to start learning as much as you can about social media by reading blogs and by setting up your own accounts for testing purposes. Start your own blog to get the feel of the tools and do some research, then start looking for an internship! Real life experience will be your best teacher. Good luck and let me know what happens! Sue

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