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Interview with Jon-Stephen Stansel
5 ways social media managers can prove they’re experts

In his interview with us, Jon-Stephen Stansel said, “We all use a car to get from point A to point B, we can put gas in it, and we can do basic stuff. But if we need repairs, we go to a mechanic, right? So as a social media manager, I try to position myself as the social media mechanic.”

To do your job well, your organization’s leaders need to trust you as an expert in your field. Lucky for you, Jon-Stephen is a true social media expert (check out the engagement he’s built for the Twitter page of Amazon Prime’s series, Invincible).

And he’s given us five actionable techniques for getting your leaders to see you as an expert as well.

Set up regular meetings with leaders and stakeholders.
Jon-Stephen has found success by regularly meeting with 

company leaders (e.g. the CEO, director of marketing, stakeholders, etc.) to educate them and align social media goals.

Here’s what Jon-Stephen suggests covering in those meetings:

  • Teach social media best practices
  • Share your social strategy
  • Find out their goals for social
  • Align goals across leadership

We’re talking about meeting with busy and important leaders, and we all know that it can be difficult and intimidating to schedule time with people like that. Jon-Stephen says once you get the first meeting, it’s a lot easier to get another. But how do you get the first?

Find an advocate and mentor.

Jon-Stephen recommends finding an advocate who’s better positioned to land you a meeting. Your direct supervisor seems the most likely candidate, but find whoever works.

To get an advocate, you may need to meet a new coworker. In that case, schedule short, get-to-know-you meetings with practically anyone. In those meetings, discuss your social strategy and learn what they do in their role. Whoever seems energized by your conversation could be an advocate.

Once you have an advocate:

  • Develop the relationship
  • Ask them to mention your name to decision makers
  • Ask them to help you get a 15-minute meeting with the right leader
  • Continually learn from them

Getting that helping hand from an advocate is wonderful, but it’s also important to work on ways you can position yourself as an expert independently. The next three strategies do just that. 

Host training sessions at your organization.

Each quarter Jon-Stephen hosts a training for anyone at the organization who wants to come. He’s found that this legitimizes your work and builds trust between you and the entire organization.

What you can do at these meetings:

  • Explain the organization’s current and future social strategies
  • Learn about attendees’ departments and responsibilities
  • Find ways you can help other departments and vice versa

Keep screenshots of social media wins.

This technique prepares you for the moment a leader asks you to justify your approach. Jon-Stephen recommends creating a folder dedicated to screenshots of comments, shares, retweets, DMs, etc. that prove your audience appreciates your content. Constantly add to that folder, then reference its contents for presentations to your leaders (or to remind yourself that you don’t hate your job).

Publish, so you don’t perish.

Professors believe they need to share their insights with their professional community or they become irrelevant, a concept they refer to as “publish or perish.” Jon-Stephen recommends that you take a similar approach with your career by:

  • Writing blog posts
  • Giving presentations
  • Speaking at conferences
  • Talking about those opportunities on your social media

If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, here’s Jon-Stephen’s advice: “Just go ahead and start. You have something to add to the discourse, no matter where you are in your career. And the sooner you can get out, start sharing, and be a good citizen of your professional community, the better.”

You can accomplish way more in your position once your leaders have confidence in you. So apply these tips, and then get working.