What exactly does a social media manager do?
We caught up with Pippa Bugg, social media manager at Oasis Fashion, to find out just that. Here’s a glimpse into her typical working day.
(By the way, if you’re currently looking for a new role, be sure to have a good gander at the Econsultancy jobs board.)
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Pippa Bugg: I manage the Social Media team at Oasis Fashion. I’m responsible for the social strategy, copywriting, content creation, influencer relationships, and tracking revenue and analytics.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation?
PB: In my experience, social teams tend to be company nomads; I’ve sat within PR, marketing and ecommerce teams. At Oasis, I sit within the ecom team, however, I have a very close relationship with the marketing and PR teams, and work alongside the brand content manager.
I think there’s a case for social media departments to sit within all of these areas, but with the focus of social media leaning towards brand profitability nowadays, I think we’ll see social sat within ecom departments more and more (particularly with Instagram’s latest shoppable update).
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
PB: I think the most important thing you need is a creative eye and a meticulous nature when it comes to content creation. I’d be the first to say that creativity is my strength over crunching numbers; devising social campaigns, creating content, and copywriting are my biggest work passions. However, to be successful in social you need to be a bit of an all-rounder.
As much as I loathe Excel sheets, you have to be able to get your head around tracking data, budget management and most importantly, Google Analytics. You have to be able innovate and change strategy freely when it comes to testing new social features and channels, and with that comes an element of education. Although being ‘online’ is second nature to many of us, it’s still a relatively new concept for brand-veterans and it’s constantly evolving.
We’re all aware it’s a necessity for brands to have a presence online, but you need to be confident in proving why social media is so intrinsic.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
PB: A typical working day normally starts with sharing scheduled Instagram content when I wake up, and if I’m not doing that, scrolling through Instagram regardless…
On a Monday, my working day starts with tracking social data and looking at revenue generated the previous week. It’s hard to break down hour-by-hour how my day looks, but it focuses heavily on content creation, working with our in-house studio, briefing the graphic design team, scheduling content, copywriting, managing influencers, and Whatsapp-ing back-and-forth with the social media assistant (the best way to communicate when face-to-face isn’t possible).
There’s also a lot of meetings, but not the boring kind. Oasis are great for creating campaigns in-house, so everyone gets to input their ideas and create something from scratch.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
PB: Of course every brand wants to hit a certain goal when it comes to follower figures, and although it’s obviously important, I think the most important metrics to measure have shifted to focus on revenue in the past year.
Facebook’s ad rates have risen by 35% in the last quarter, and there has been a slow decline in organic reach on Facebook for some time. With brands focusing so much more attention on paid content, we obviously want to see a return on that investment. And since Instagram has introduced shoppable feeds, sales generated via this channel will be under more scrutiny from ecommerce teams. Track everything.
It’s also easy to get bogged down in the likes on your posts, but consumer interaction (comments and shares) can be so much more impactful than a simple like. Don’t just look at how many people double-tapped your images, but how much reach and conversation it generated.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
PB: When it comes to tracking revenue, it’s Google Analytics all the way.
For quick image editing on the go, Snapseed is my favourite app to use. For the not-so-quick edits, it’s a job for the graphic designers – they’re not really a tool, but life saviours nonetheless.
E: How did you get into social media, and where might you go from here?
PB: I got into social media accidentally. I’d been working for an agency as an email marketing executive with corporate clients, and I was bored out of my mind. I’d previously worked in fashion as a merchandise associate at BHS (RIP), and I knew that fashion was an industry I wanted to break into.
I applied for a position as social media executive at Harrods and was rejected nearly immediately. Two weeks later they called me to explain that it was an apparently accidental mistake, and that I’d been invited for an interview. I worked at Harrods for a year and a half and it was the most surreal career experience I’ve had to date. From there I went onto LVMH beauty, Jaeger, agency-side and then to Oasis.
Overall, my next steps are to stay one-step-ahead in social (as much as I can, anyway). For now, I’d like to stay within the fashion industry, but perhaps in a few years I’ll consider a jump to FMCG or luxury travel (who can turn down those perks?).
I’d like to manage a growing social media team, and eventually take myself more onto the creative strategy and brand management side.
E: Which brands doing social media do you admire?
PB: Weirdly, my favourite brand on social media at the moment is Barkbox (like Glossybox, but for dogs). They know what the people want – cute videos of animals and dog memes; they’re always creating video content and narrative in their Instagram Stories, a channel that I don’t think many companies are utilising as well as they are.
When it comes to content creation in the retail landscape, Madewell know exactly what they’re doing. Their Instagram feed flows beautifully, and you can spot their content by the aesthetic alone.
Finally, National Geographic – you only need to look at their feeds to know why.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to get into your field?
PB: Attending University is not a necessity; I was a drop-out and it was the best decision I could have made for my career. I was studying Fashion PR & Journalism, and now I work in an entirely different area. It meant I could work from the ground upwards, and gain indispensable experience in an industry brands were only dipping their toes at the time.
I’d also advise to fully immerse yourself in the industry. You may love social media but that doesn’t necessarily translate from a business perspective; I’m an Instagram girl, I personally don’t like Facebook or use Pinterest, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to best utilise those channels.
Social media management might sound easy, but it’s not just posting pretty pictures (well, maybe sometimes it is). If you want an ever-evolving challenge and a space to be creative, then go for it.
If you’re looking for training or guidance, Econsultancy has plenty on social media, copywriting and content creation: