Brand marketing and communications have changed almost beyond recognition since the advent of social media. According to Statista: “In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025.”
That’s a vast pool of potential customers and companies who are keen to maximise and optimise their social media presence. Sprout Social calculates that “81% of organizations use social media publishing/analytics tools,” while the use of “content creation/collaboration/workflow tools increased from 48% in 2019 to 58% in 2020.”
Where once brands could only reach out through outbound campaigns and direct marketing programmes, now they’re engaged in a constant social dialogue with their customers, advocates – and detractors. With the public scrutinising your performance and presence online, you need to execute the brand guidelines flawlessly.
The task facing social media managers
Social media management can be a challenge in a fast-moving world, where in addition to their own outbound messaging, brands need to react to events and enter conversations. After all, and according to data from Hootsuite’s report ‘The Global State of Digital 2021’:
● 40.4% of internet users are on social media for work purposes
● 44.8% of global internet users used social media to search for brand information in 2020
Consequently, a team’s writers and Instagrammers need to be on their game, but they also need ready access to brand resources. Having the right photos, videos and other information is fundamental to getting your message out there, and responding effectively to the people who want to chat or spar with you on social channels.
For too many brands, this is where the problems start. Staying smart and snappy on social means being able to call up the right material for a tweet or Instagram post. Sending out updates across multiple platforms often means multiple formats – different resolutions, lengths or treatments of media, designed to make the most of different audiences. Even responding to an email can mean digging around for the right video to embed.
Brands often find themselves struggling to find the assets they want, or to identify the ones they’re missing. Trawling through a kludge of file shares and file transfer sites eats up time, and makes it too easy to use the wrong files. Businesses who want to keep up the dialogue, stay on-brand, and avoid embarrassing mis-steps, need some way to manage their social platforms and assets. This is the role of social media management.
What is social media management?
Social media management software helps companies stay on top of their conversations and branding across multiple social networks. Platforms such as Hootsuite are fundamental to this, for example by automating and scheduling posts. They’re also crucial in supporting the person or team charged with maintaining the brand presence while they monitor and engage with conversations on various networks.
Increasingly, however, social media management also means simplifying, accelerating and fool-proofing the supply of brand assets for social pipelines. And here, existing social media platforms fall short. Not designed with this role in mind, they offer limited or no ability to store or search for images, videos and other files. At a time when brands create and use more assets than ever before, they need additional tools to manage them. This is particularly true of video. According to Wyzowl’s Video Marketing Statistics 2021:
● 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.
● People watch an average of 18 hours of online video per week.
● People are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content.
It’s here that digital asset management (DAM) – and specifically brand asset management – can become an integral part of the social media management solution. Working alongside a social media platform, a DAM platform helps ensure assets are available quickly when they’re needed. Just as importantly, it ensures that social media operatives are only dealing with the right assets – no sharing unapproved content, and no zeitgeisty posts shot down by last year’s branding.
Why do marketers need social media management?
Engaging on social media is an increasingly important role for marketing teams. It’s not just expected by the public – doing it well can be a differentiator against other brands. A unique voice, a strong brand language and the ability to move quickly are all powerful ways to increase reach and engagement. But poor execution can be a brand’s undoing.
The fundamental rule for being active on social platforms is to ‘listen’ and ‘engage’. Here, social media management allows brands to maintain consistent conversations – even when multiple people are involved. They also support filters and searches – so you can get on top of #[your company]sucks before it gets out of hand.
However, marketers also need help applying brand guidelines and serving up suitable content. When the ideal video length for Facebook is 15-180 seconds, Twitterers prefer 45 seconds, and the LinkedIn audience can handle 10 minutes, brands can best reach everyone with multiple takes on the same message. Throw in a choice of resolutions and multiple languages, and a global team could be juggling tens of files for every core video message. Consider personalisation, A-B testing – not to mention photos, illustrations and other formats, and it’s easy to lose count.
In reality, marketers are often dealing with thousands of brand assets, any one of which could be needed to support social media campaigns or conversations. Trawling through these assets takes time, delaying replies and potentially harming the brand. Using the wrong file can also be damaging, while having to recreate lost assets is an additional cost.
This trend is reinforced by Imagen’s 2021 Marketing Tech Report, where 30% of UK respondents said that the biggest headache of managing digital media assets was “files being stored in multiple places.” More worryingly, 15% of respondents revealed that they were not sure whether they or others knew where to find all of their digital media assets.
Where brand asset management fits in
Here, a brand asset management platform is invaluable. By storing approved, final resources in an organised and easily searchable library, it lets social media teams quickly find the image, video, illustration or copy block they need. And by storing the library securely in the cloud, a brand asset management platform ensures that colleagues in Spain can find assets just as easily as those in Swindon.
A brand asset management platform’s built-in versioning and approval features mean that marketers can ensure their social teams are only using final and current assets. This also means it’s easy to roll out and remove short-term changes – for example, modifying icons, profile pictures and other visual assets for an annual event. With assets already approved, available and easily found, global offices needn’t wait for the head office to wake up before they can get the files they want – and they needn’t double-check before using them.
In a role where speed is essential, a brand asset management platform saves time for social media teams, ensuring conversations continue unbroken, and that brands can respond quickly and decisively to events. They also reduce the time to market for outbound campaigns, helping coordinate and distribute all the assets necessary to execute them across social and other channels.
This ability to coordinate and organise assets is a massive boost to the identity and continuity of the brand. Marketers can ensure they use the same on-brand copy to reply to frequently asked questions on Twitter, for example. It’s easy to achieve simple tasks like re-sharing an infographic that lays out your USP. Equally, it’s easy to ensure you’re publishing the right edits, of the right videos, on the right channels, at the right time.
Social media management is essential for brands as they operate in the digital age, but the need is no longer just about managing posts and conversations. As digital assets multiply and become more essential to every marketing activity, asset management becomes a core requirement in social media. Brand asset management meets this need – and its powerful benefits deliver returns across all other marketing and communications activities.
Stay on top of your brand assets. Use the right messaging for the right channels at the right time. Discover what a brand asset management solution can do for you.