Please describe your job! What does a Social Media Manager do?

I am the Social Media Manager at NHS Blood & Transplant, where I am responsible for the community management of a social following of over 1m users.

I’d describe my role as ‘saving lives one Like at a time’ by creating small moments that make a large life-saving difference.

We take pride in playing our part to make the most of absolutely every donation – from blood and organs to tissues and stem cells.

The donors who make our work possible do so selflessly, giving life and changing life for the better. It is because of them, and the people in need of donations, that we strive to be the best in all we do.


Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?

I sit within the Communications Directorate and report into the Head of Digital.

Our social team is a team of one. I work really closely with our amazing Media and PR team, but this role is particularly awesome because it touches every single part of the business.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

You need to see the big picture. Social is all about connecting with your audience and building relationships.

Relationship building and community management are essential to meet our organisational goals and, over time, those relationships can lead to wider opportunities.  

A strong understanding of analytics is a must-have to make sense of the massive amounts of data coming your way.

To build on the relationships previously mentioned, you should also look at ways to engage and retain your existing audience and analytics provides me with the ability to test, test, test; deriving valuable insights to help deliver the right content mix.

Their, they’re, there! You must enjoy writing. This role carries a strong element of storytelling and requires a passion for the pen. If your stories aren’t emotive and magnetic, people aren’t going to be motivated to take action. 

Lastly, while many may not consider this a skill, this role requires a strong element of compassion and passion.

I deal with bereaved families and other individuals that require a delicate approach; a genuine passion to make a difference is vital to make a connection.

Tell us about a typical working day…

People think all I do is mess around on Twitter or Facebook all day, but there’s a lot of strategy involved.

I usually start at about 6:30am with one-eye open and check our social feeds from my phone until I’m awake enough to actually get out of bed and have a nice hot cuppa.

I pull performance reports for the week to date and take a look at trending topics for the day and pat myself on the back for finding a way to integrate “House of Cards” into our social content.

Then I run through our social media inbox for great user case studies that may have come in and then go in to Google Analytics to pull reports from my custom social dashboards. 

I also browse through my own social accounts to see if my network of friends has shared anything that I may have missed and then I link in with our Media and PR team to see if they have any interesting stories.

What do you love about your job? What sucks?

I love being able to see the impact that my work has on people’s lives, but hate that some don’t make it through their journey.

It’s the hardest thing to connect with an individual and not be able to see them get the call they were waiting for, but that just reminds me why my work is so important.

I also really love working on our National Campaigns like #MissingType and #TimetoSign.

When I first started here about two years ago, our social channels were fairly small and it’s been wonderful to see them flourish and blossom into this incredible community filled with inspiration and celebration. I feel a genuine connection with our social community.

We’ve also won a few awards for our #MissingType campaign with our agency Engine – it’s great to see our collaborative efforts recognised by industry experts. 

It’s just wonderful to be part of a movement that changes behaviours and gets people thinking about others and how they can make a difference.

Nothing sucks. I know it sounds crazy, but I couldn’t ask for a better role.  

As an American that relocated to the UK a few years ago, this is definitely the best role I’ve ever held. I work with amazing people that do amazing things. What’s not to love?


What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?

Our goals are focused around building user loyalty and ultimately encouraging users to become blood and organ donors.

We focus heavily on storytelling, myth busting, stats and an element of education and awareness to help influence our goals. We understand that it’s a tough decision to make, but we want to be part of the journey.

I also think it’s very important to make sure social and your websites are connected. It’s all about a connected user-journey.

To measure success, there are several factors involved:

  • Content related metrics: I consistently measure the returning visits to our content pages. This is easily setup in Google Analytics.
  • Sentiment analysis: This really helps me understand how people perceive our brand and gives me great insight as to where my content needs improvement.
  • Conversions: This one is pretty self-explanatory. I track conversions via social and attach UTM links to specific bits of content with call-to-actions. This is also a great way to identify key content themes that drive conversions.
  • Reach and engagement: These are standard across the board. It is one thing to reach your target audience and another thing to get that audience engaged with your message. 

What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?

I love Brandwatch in conjunction with Hootsuite. I also use SproutSocial, it provides really easy-to-read reports and the platform also has monitoring tools and rich analytics that help me visualize important metrics.

Google Analytics custom social dashboards are also quite amazing if you can spare a few minutes to set them up. I also use the Twitter and Facebook native analytics tools. 

How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?

I started off in the publishing space at a time when magazines were being forced to go digital or risk going bankrupt and I never looked back.

I spent several years working in India in the big data marketing space for a great insights and analytics provider – LatentView Analytics. 

Then I worked in marketing and communications (digital and offline) for the Credit Bureau of India Limited, re-launching their brand identity and building awareness around credit scores across India.

This is a really dynamic and exciting industry that welcomes new technologies daily and I’m looking to use the skills I’ve learned over the years to continue utilising the digital space as a way to save lives.

I really want to grow this space and find new innovative ways to use social media for social good.

Which brands do you think are doing digital well? 

Well, NHS Blood & Transplant (@givebloodnhs and @nhsorgandonor) is of course one of my faves!  

Also, I really love Innocent; the brand is fresh and cheeky but never too salesy. It always seem to pop on my feed with something that makes me think “Why didn’t I think of that!”

I think Cancer Research and Greenpeace also do an amazing job. They have a very upfront and honest approach to making a difference. 

Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry? 

Find a business area you love! All digital isn’t created equally and I would suggest focusing on acquiring the skills necessary for your specific area of interest.

I’d look at shadowing opportunities with different people in the industry and attending a few meet-ups or joining LinkedIn groups to get a feel for the space and make sure it’s what’s you really want to get into.

If you decide that this industry is where you want to be, never stop learning! This space is big and constantly evolving – there’s a load to learn. The benefit of a digital career is that the industry is here to stay.

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