The Social Admin: (arguably) the most undervalued role in adland

Social is now one of the most important brand building channels

Hannah Mahony & Tiffany Mondesir

Social/Influence Director & Planning Director VCCP


We’re about 20 years on from the first social media boom, and 10 years on from the first high profile social media marketing campaign, yet the way the industry tends to view the “social media admin” is only now starting to shift. Gone are the days where a social media manager, a seemingly all encompassing term, could grab a photo from a brand asset folder on their desktop, or god forbid, Google images, upload it to Facebook and hit post. 

Although this may have been how many brands started showing up on social media, even then it was never actually a simple job. Content calendars, approval processes, channel strategies, copywriting and more…  So why today are marketers still believing the myth that the social admin job is an easy one? 

The problem

Social Media Managers and Social Admins are the classic “multiple-hat” scenario, encompassing all or some of the following roles. They can be: creators, strategists, copywriters, photographers, platform specialists, influencer coordinators, media buyers, designers, video editors, compliance managers, analysts and more. 

According to The Institute for Public Relations, Ragan Communications, and the University of Florida partnered on a survey of more than 450 social media professionals, two-thirds of respondents said their primary role as a social media manager was to create and strategise the content itself (68%). Meanwhile at least three-quarters of social media managers are also involved in the wider social media planning (76%). But the most challenging of them all is still likely the community engagement and admin side of the fence: the “always-on” aspect of the job where in some cases, you literally become the first-line to the social masses.

Too often, client ambitions don't match agency capabilities; it’s something that needs to be addressed from the get-go with marketing teams and social clients. We all need to set ourselves up for success, not just strategically and creatively but operationally too. Unfortunately, when 79% of customers expect a response to their social media posts within 24 hours, and trends are simultaneously happening at the speed of light, it requires constantly “being on” – blurring the lines between work and personal time. This is likely why 47% said they believe they worked more hours than their colleagues, which ultimately can add pressure and mental strain. 

So what?

Brands’ social teams like Duolingo and Ryanair are shedding some light on the real power it takes to run branded social channels. It takes: Planning. Perseverance. And importantly, people. (ps. Ryanair has a team of 8 people running their page alone). Yes, you might get the odd viral TikTok from a team of one intern, but it’s quite frankly too much pressure for one person and social truly deserves the time, investment and expertise of a well rounded team to deliver consistent results. Agencies and brands must find the right ways to staff, plan and develop content together to ensure long-term success.

Here are 5 of our Top Social Media Manager habits that that engage, entertain or drive action with their audiences when carried out consistently (including examples from VCCP clients Domino’s and LinkedIn):

Don’t be an “island” 

It’s common knowledge that campaigns created to actively involve audiences, when done in a fun and authentic way, yield the highest engagement. Rather than asking an audience to create something for the brand, asking to make it with them (alongside a low barrier to entry) makes for a collaborative effort. The recent Tesco TikTok search to find the new voice of their checkouts showcased this perfectly. This engaging style of  provoking participation also worked well for the BBC, when they encouraged the audience to sit in the interview seat of Louis Theroux.

Keep things fresh 

Strategise, strategise, strategise - but always remember to test! Fortune favours the bold, and whilst jumping on the newest social channel or platform feature may not always pay off - it could just pay dividends. Chipotle’s immediate activation on BeReal provided them with a new means to offer daily deals in an exclusive setting - mainly due to the fact they maxed out their allowed number of followers, in turn creating an intimate outlet.

Know the community 

Commenting on a fan community’s passion in a way that’s both relevant and irreverent can gain brilliant results. For the launch of Taylor Swift’s new album the VCCP Domino’s social media manager started a Twitter thread of Taylor’s albums as Domino’s menu items. However, when talking to a community doing your homework is key - superfans can sniff out a fraud!

Help when or where you can 

Good campaigns make you laugh, great campaigns add genuine value. Whilst it’s tricky to land both, it is possible. VCCP’s work for our client LinkedIn UK saw us create #TheTeammates; a creator collective that’s adaptable to cultural moments, trends and platform discussions, while also providing genuinely useful and tangible career advice and support. By creating content with multiple TikTokers (including an industry favourite, Rob Mayhew), we’ve curated a team audiences can relate to AND learn from. In addition to this, there’s still a team of 6+ people working on the daily reactive, always-on content and community engagement, cheering our audience on.

Break brand rules

Partnering unlikely creators with seemingly opposing brands can engage future customers well ahead of their potential purchase period. Burberry worked with the TikTok account Sylvanian Drama to create a series of irreverent videos. Rather than an obvious Burberry advertisement, the content was inline with Sylvanian Drama’s existing videos; featuring only a small product nod toward the end of the video. It’s unlikely that the creator account’s demographic will immediately purchase a luxury product, but the targeted early social marketing is a tactic we’ve also seen by the likes of Porsche and Gucci.

So if you haven’t yet raised a glass to your social media managers in 2022, there’s still time - and if you don’t have them (!) why not drop us a message so we can chat about keeping your brand fresh, adding genuine value and engaging communities, all whilst breaking a few brand rules. 

Guest Author

Hannah Mahony & Tiffany Mondesir

Social/Influence Director & Planning Director VCCP


Hannah is Social and Influence Director at VCCP focussing on social media, creators and digital content. With a keen interest in digital popular culture she’s driven by creating ideas that are wholly engaging and bespoke to platforms whether it be in video, filters, animation or apps. Within her role at VCCP she’s worked across clients such as Compare The Market - whilst at previous agency roles worked on brand such as Samsung, NIVEA, Coca Cola, Dyson, Sports Direct, OPPO, Topman and more. Tiffany is a Planning Director at VCCP with a specialism in social and content. Her unique hybrid background in both strategy and creative brings both mindsets to the table to truly elevate integrated projects. With an additional passion for of social and content, she believes in executing work that serves a real purpose and adds genuine value; ditching the sea-of-sameness and thus avoiding ending up in the digital landfill. At VCCP London, she has been across global clients such as, LinkedIn, White Claw, Canon and Red Cross. Prior to VCCP, Tiffany was part of the advertising community in Toronto, Canada working in various full-service and social specific agencies with clients such as Diageo, Expedia, General Electric, Crayola and more.

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