Social Media Manager vs Social Media Strategist- What is the difference between them?

Though social media may have begun as a way to stay in touch with friends at college, it has become as much, or more, a place for businesses to thrive as it has for seeing which of your high school classmates and extended relatives believe conspiracy theories. Here at Office Mercenary, we often find our clients handle one or multiple social media accounts that impact their business workflows daily. Social media work is a relatively easy task to start handing off to a dedicated virtual assistant and regaining precious time to leverage your business in other areas. (Though, sorry, we can’t help with the conversations with your great uncle about Flat Earth Theory.)

When looking to hire a social media virtual assistant there are a lot of job titles to sift through from social media managers to social media content creators to social media strategists. You may wonder how in the world you will know which of these job roles is the best for you to be looking for.

First, we recommend you look at your task list and identify all the social media work that you would like taken off your plate ( And if you have trouble with that, check out our VA checklist to get some ideas of what tasks you could be handing off!). Most commonly we find that our client’s tasks fall between either a social media manager or a social media strategist. It can take time to understand the differences between each and understand which one fits your tasks the best or if you need to hire both.

Don’t worry, we got you covered; we break down the differences between social media managers and social media strategists.

Social Media Managers 

A social media manager helps maintain your social media daily, weekly or monthly. They are going to be about consistency: in getting things posted, making sure messages are answered in a reasonable amount of time, commenting, and potentially interacting with other accounts. Social Media Managers can also help with set up to make sure everything is started correctly and gather some keywords for hashtags. Their role may also include some content creation ( making sure your logo and brand colors stay on point), review data metrics, and converting content to work across various social platforms. Onboarding a social media manager can help get things up and running to your desired specifications as soon as they have access to your accounts and content. They can give you feedback from data metrics such as the best time to post so you can make the time you spend creating social content more effective. This type of role won’t help boost ROI immensely but will give you valuable time back to work on other income-producing tasks for your business!

Social Media Strategists 

A social media strategist is going to be a second hand to your marketing efforts. A Social Media Strategist, or Specialist, can create an entire marketing strategy, use data to increase conversations, do in-depth content creation, and much higher level ROI related tasks. They will help identify brand voice, brand imagery, and audience behaviors to heighten engagement. This type of role is considered a specialty virtual assistant and they often are at a higher hourly rate than managers due to the task load and expertise. 

How can Office Mercenary help you? 

Office Mercenary absolutely recommends bringing on a specialist when you can (and we have GREAT recommendations to share), but most small businesses find that they don’t have the budget for a specialist quite yet and really just want to just get started with getting content out regularly. Office Mercenary has dedicated virtual assists that can help with social media management and for less than the cost of a full strategist which makes it a more affordable starting point. If you find later on that you want to bring on a strategist, your social media manager can work closely with the strategist to make sure new strategies are implemented quickly and easily, keeping the strategist able to focus and spend less time to get the results small businesses want, much like how a bookkeeper and accountant work together. 

Whatever your social media and business needs may be Office Mercenary’s knowledgeable and dedicated team is ready to help you get back to doing what you love. We encourage you to reach out for a quick chat if you have any questions or are interested in knowing more about how a dedicated virtual assistant of ours can help your social media marketing! Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn and stay connected with us below.

What a Virtual Assistant Is Not

If you’ve hired a General VA, here’s a few examples of where the line is between General VA duties, and specialty or OBM responsibilities:

Sales Person

A general VA is not a salesperson. It takes relationship-building skills and advanced communication skills to meet a brand new person, build trust, and convince them your product or service is the cat’s pajamas. It also takes quite a bit of research and hands-on experience to know your brand inside and out to speak to it the way you intended it to be perceived. 

Marketing Strategist

This goes hand in hand with the salesperson. Your general VA probably does not have years of experience in marketing and understand the complex strategies to take you from 150 followers to 2.5K in 30 days. They do not have the ability to analyze the data and adjust your marketing plan to output better results in big ways. A general VA’s number one goal is to create consistency in marketing by making sure your content is posted regularly and looks generally cohesive. Their experience can lead them to ask if you wanted to try something they’ve seen work for your market, but the background isn’t there to make the decisions and guarantees you’d get with a specialist. If you are looking for more in-depth marketing responsibilities, you will need a Marketing Speciality VA. The good news is Marketing/Social Media is the #1 specialty most VA’s dive into.

Content Creator / Copywriter

Any general admin is expected to have some proficiency in written communication. Taking care of emails, meeting minutes, or any other general admin task requires some writing. Writing blogs, email marketing campaigns, higher-end social media posts, etc. are more complex and need a combination of technical and artistic skill. Just like sales, your VA has to embody your brand voice and ensure the message is interpreted by your target audience the way you expect it to. A VA who has taken the deep dive into content/copywriting has the advanced skill to accomplish this and has a specialized skill.

Leaders and/or Decision Makers

A General VA is the best support character you could ever have on your team. If you are leading the way, they’ve got your back the entire journey. A General VA should never own the responsibility of leading other team members or making big decisions without your knowledge. Addressing team conflicts, making financial decisions, or any other management level task is not a good fit for a general VA. If you need this leadership type of support, an OBM has the skill and practice with this and will be a better fit.

Hopefully this provides some guidance as to what you can expect from a virtual assistant, but if you’re still not sure, we’re happy to talk through your needs and point you in the right direction!