Inside the Mind of a Social Media Manager

With Jessica Mahon, Social Media Manager

Social Media Manager is a job that many people aspire to these days but it’s not all fun and games. To work in social you must constantly be ahead of everyone else, handle weekly updates to the tools of your trade and overcome misconceptions about what it is you really do. Social media management isn’t for everybody.

This is why I wanted to interview Jessica Mahon, one of the most talented people I know working in social. Jessica is a Social Media Manager located in the Netherlands. By day she’s bridging the gap between traditional and digital media; by night you can find her (trying to) cycle around the canals of Amsterdam. Read on for a glimpse into her world of professional social media management.

Q. What first attracted you to social media marketing?

It was a mix of enjoying it from a personal point of view and not just seeing what everyone else saw when they’re online but thinking of it in a different way. Fangirling over the way brands did certain things. Noticing that it was more than just a post but like thinking “oh my god what did they do behind that and the process. I came into it when I first started working in my internship and I had extra time to work on my passion projects. So I taught myself from there to think about it from a business point of view and then went onto the agency world. It was completely from my free time and just seeing things in a different way and realising this is actually really interesting. Social media is the perfect gap between marketing and communications with a little bit of advertising in the mix as well.

Q. What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in social media marketing?

Everyone knows social media because we all use it but if you’re really interested in it then know the ins and outs. Become the platforms, know everything about it. Be on top of everything. I think at the very face of it, if you’re interested in it and you have a passion for it you can immerse yourself in it and it changes so fast. There’s a new update every weekend, new formats and all that. Be all over it because one day you’re in, the next day you’re out. We are all digital natives these days so know your shit because that is what is going to set you apart. Everyone uses social media on a personal level but it’s how you look at it from a business perspective that really sets you apart.

Q. What are the main challenges in social media right now?

Top level privacy concerns of course. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the amount of data that they share with certain app forms. They’re now starting to realise the value of their data and with that I think will come boycotts and stuff like that. Ultimately we give our data away anyway and there is no real difference between the data you give to TikTok and what you already have shared with Facebook for the last 10 years. People are more educated now about data and that is the biggest threat, but their attention is still captured by social media, people are still logging in and scrolling. So it’s not a huge concern for advertisers in general but it could become a bigger issue.

Q. Which social media tool do you think is the most slept on?

One thing people don’t look at enough from the paid social media side of things is Facebook’s Ad Library. You can literally see what all of your competitors are advertising and their previous ads as well. This is especially important when it comes to dark ads and dark social, it’s all there and you can see it. You can also breakdown their strategy when you see the different ads and copy versions that they have. I could spend ages searching there and seeing what everyone is up to because I’m naturally nosy and I want to see what the brands are doing. So it’s not just about the organic feed, you can see what they’re doing in secret and get inspiration from that or learn how to diversify off the back of it. It’s my favourite tool but I don’t feel like a lot of people know about it.

Q. What’s your stance on influencer marketing? Is it worth the investment?

100% because at the end of the day people are more likely to trust what a real person says not a brand because in general the perception is that brands and corporations don’t tell the whole truth. Some brands have built up quite a lot of trust with their audiences but for the most part influencers hold a lot of the trust on social media.

I think “influencer” is seen as kind of a dirty word in the sense that they’re morphing into businesses as well. Essentially they are sole traders and that’s why micro influencers and nano influencers are more and more important to brands these days. If you can get someone to sing praises about your brand, you’re winning whether it’s organic or paid. It’s very valuable. I would have a mix within your budget of influencer marketing and paid social. Definitely have influencer marketing in the mix, it’s word of mouth marketing for the modern age.

Q. What advantages do small businesses have over big brands on social media?

The one thing that small businesses have is less of a structure and less approval processes. They can be more flexible which is so important. With social you have to be reactive,  a benefit that doesn’t exist for bigger brands where everything has to be approved at a global level and there’s lots of bureaucracy so own that you work ten times faster than a bigger brand and play them at their own game.