A day in the life of a... Social Media and Online Communications Manager
Published: 13 May 2013 By Chris Lake
Charlotte Howells is Social Media and Online Communications Manager at the Met Office. Here she walks us through a typical day in her working life.
Please describe your job. What does a Social Media and Online Communications Manager do?
My role involves creating and updating our social media strategy and plan as well as managing social media updates and our social communities. I’m also involved in the creation of content, as having interesting content to share is vital to our social media presence.
Increasingly, social media is being rolled out to other areas of the organisation, so guidelines and training are also a growing part of my job.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I sit within the communications team and report to the Head of News and Social Media. Social media is embedded within the news team which means I’m always at the forefront of the latest developments with the weather.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
I think you need to be creative enough to come up with a constant stream of engaging content, but also analytical enough to measure what is and isn’t working well for you.
You also need to be able to wear a number of hats – from social media planner and strategist, to community manager and content creator.
Communication skills are key, both online and in real life.
It’s also important to understand how social media ties in with other digital activity such as SEO, mobile apps and web development.
Tell us about a typical working day…
I normally start the day checking up on our social media accounts and looking at our monitoring tool to see what people have been saying about us overnight. It’s also important I know what the weather is doing so I attend a briefing along with the press officers on the forecast for the coming day.
Then the rest of my day might be taking up with planning future content, creating reports, managing our communities and working to help further embed social across the organisation.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Our key goal is to be at the centre of conversations about weather and climate. Part of this means reaching people with weather information when it matters – during times of severe weather. We measure our reach, engagement and the number of people social media is driving back to our website.
Generally we find the levels of engagement and referrals are the most effective indicators of success, as it shows people are actively involved with the content we’re posting.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
I am addicted to reporting so I spend a lot of time on Brandwatch, Social Bakers and SociaBro as well as our web and social media channel analytics.
We use Hootsuite to manage our social media accounts as it means we can assign tweets and messages across the office to resolve any issues that crop up.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I genuinely enjoy digital marketing and social media so it’s exciting I get to work in this area every day. Social media in particular is constantly changing so there’s always something new to learn and fresh ways to share content and engage people online.
At the Met Office we are obviously very dependent on the weather, so when there’s severe weather this quite rightly comes before everything else. This can make planning a little difficult as a fun weather quiz we might have had planned has to make way for communicating weather warnings.
How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?
I’ve always been borderline obsessed with everything to do with the internet, so I started writing my own blogs for fun while I was at University, which led to writing and editing blogs for Shiny Media. The skills I learnt from blogging – like search engine optimisation, online copywriting and social media management – were in demand, so I moved into digital communications.
I definitely want to stay in digital, although how it evolves will probably determine what I do next – a few years ago my job title didn’t even exist!
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?
You have to want to live and breathe digital to keep up with all the changing channels and trends, but that also means things are always shifting so there’s always new ways to get involved. Find an area you’re interested in and focus on becoming knowledgeable in that area.
Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
If I could, I’d do everything online, so I’m keen on any company that brings stuff I used to have to do offline onto the internet, especially if they’ve paid attention to usability and made the process seamless. Hailo, Airbnb, Black Circles and Pepper Plate are some of my current favourites.
In social media, it might be a cliché but I really think Innocent is doing a great job – they share engaging, on-brand content and they respond. I’m also a fan of Cadbury’s Google+ profile and Roxy impresses me on Pinterest.
If you would like a Day In The Life profile then by all means throw your hat into the ring by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to put your job title in the subject line. PS - I have had plenty of requests from agency folk, so I especially want to hear from brands / client-side people!