How to manage social media assets
It’s impossible to open up any social media platform for more than 30 seconds without seeing an ad. Businesses didn’t really begin to rely on social media as a marketing tool until around 2006. That year, only 11% of American adults even used social media. That was also the year Facebook transformed from an exclusive network for college students into a public platform. Fast forward to today: at least 91% of American businesses practice social media marketing.
Now every marketing team has a content marketing strategy. Almost every business has a Facebook page, plus various other social media channels. Marketers have to worry about search engine optimization, or SEO — a specific, frequently-changing set of guidelines that define which websites are easier to find on search engines. Even small businesses are creating media content to reinforce their brand identity. To build a strong social media strategy, you need to know how to create and manage everything from visual content to entire accounts. You need to have a deep understanding of what goes into creating and managing social media assets.
What are social media assets?
Social media assets are the images and videos that you post to social media — but they’re also your actual accounts, the hashtags you use, the photos you’re tagged in, your followers, and every other component of your social media presence. Whether you’re on the social media team at a multinational restaurant chain or you’re a solo influencer working towards 10k followers, every piece of your social media strategy contributes to your overall brand experience and success.
It’s easy to understand how an image you post to Instagram is a social media asset, as well as the caption you write for that post. It might be a little trickier to wrap your head around how your followers are also a social media asset. Think of it like this: you use social media to promote your business, probably with the end goal of increasing awareness or profits. Those loyal followers buy your products and help spread brand awareness to their friends and followers. They’re a crucial part of your social media strategy
How you create social media assets depends on which social media channels and what target audience you’re creating for, as well as what you’re trying to accomplish. Let’s keep the focus on Instagram, the second-most used traditional social media platform worldwide.
Before you make your first Instagram post, you need to first create an account. To do so, you need to pick a handle, a password, and a name. You’ll also want to create a profile picture, a profile bio, and add a link to your profile. Once these details are in place, you can draft a post:
Pick an image
Write a caption
Tag other accounts
Add a location
Link to your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr accounts
Then tap “Share,” and your post is live!
It’s important to understand that every one of those steps produces a social media asset, or a component of a larger social media asset. Your handle is how other users know and find your brand. Your password protects your account. Your account itself is a high-level asset. Your name provides more detail than your handle. Your profile photo is very important, for the same reason as your handle — it’s the badge that identifies you on your followers’ feeds. Your bio provides a brief description of who you are and what you do. Your profile link funnels visitors to your website or shop.
On Instagram, posts are usually all about the image, but sometimes that image is just a way of drawing attention to the caption. Tags strengthen your brand through affiliation. Location tagging is another way of adding context to your brand — if your location says “Brooklyn, NY,” users will associate your brand with everything they already know about Brooklyn. Finally, adding links to your other social media accounts builds out the web that is your overall brand experience, linking users to more branded content.
How to create social media assets
From initially creating your account to your 10,000th post, it’s important to have a consistent, guidelines-enforced creation process in place. No matter what kind of business you’re posting for — whether it’s a small-town plant shop, a non-profit managing massive sums, or anything in between — you’ll probably have similar goals. Spreading awareness of your brand, building a loyal following, that sort of thing.
On Instagram, you’re mainly creating two things: images and captions. You could be creating images for a Story post or for a regular Feed post. You could be creating 10-slide carousels. Maybe you’re designing infographics. Whatever “it” is, there are a few tools necessary for creating high-quality content.
Adobe Illustrator, Procreate, Canva, Figma
Microsoft Word, Notion, Google Docs
Before you get to using any of these tools, you need a strategy. What’s the goal of this post? To optimize your account for the algorithm? To share a product update? To build a sense of community among your followers?
Whenever you’re creating a social media asset, make sure you have a clear reason why. Make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job. Gather the raw materials, use those tools to polish the post, and then publish.
If you work in digital marketing, you should create templates for every kind of content you need to produce. You could make just one for each social media platform you use, or get specific and make one for all the different formats you want to build within each platform. For example: a template for your Facebook header; a template for Snapchat posts; and a template for Instagram posts. Using templates will streamline your creative process and encourage consistent messaging.
Social media asset management
Anyone using social media to promote their business quickly accumulates a staggering amount of content. Most brands have thousands of posts spread across various social media platforms. Instagram’s official account has more followers than any other account on the platform. At the time of writing, they had 6,796 posts (and some 395 million followers). Even a smaller company, like the music platform Bandcamp, has 2,509 posts. Of course, they’re also on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. There’s also all the user-generated content created by their users and audience. This presents a problem: how do you keep track of it all?
To meet the challenges posed by modern social media marketing, people have developed different software products to manage digital assets. Collectively, these tools are called content management systems, or CMS. The software category most relevant to people managing social media assets is called digital asset management, or DAM.
DAMs and their CMS siblings are absolutely necessary for any business creating and posting content. Using a modern tool like Air, which takes the promises of traditional DAMs a step further, managing the mountain of digital content necessary to do your job becomes … manageable. It’s great for your images, video assets, PDFs, MP3s, other files, and your sanity.
A successful social media asset management strategy also includes tools like 1Password. Keep track of the passwords for all your different accounts without writing them down in a vulnerable digital document or on a disposable piece of paper. To schedule posts, you might also use a tool like Sprout Social or Hootsuite. The point is, you don’t need to make your job harder than it is. Use software to make your life easier!
How to maintain consistency across social media assets
Any successful brand has consistent branding across everything they do, from product packaging to social media posts to their customer service experience. You need to have a firm, structured set of brand guidelines. You also need to define your brand values. If you don’t have systems like these in place, thoroughly documented and explained, your job will be way more difficult than it needs to be. Luckily, there are resources from people who’ve already done the work that can help you get on the right track.
Even if you do have a strong set of rules and guidelines around your branding, maintaining consistency across every one of your social media posts and accounts can pose a challenge. With the right set of guidelines, you can frequently work with a large stable of internal and external collaborators, and everything you make should end up hitting the right notes. It also helps to have someone managing everything — one set of eyes directing the flow of everyone working on your brand.
Having an organized asset management system certainly helps. You need a headquarters where all of your social media assets live, so you can look at things side-by-side, track progress on visual asset edits, assign work, and so on. With the right asset management software, maintaining consistency across social media assets becomes very doable.
How Air can help
With Air, social media asset management is painless. You can keep every asset you’ve ever used organized in one place. Create detailed organizational systems, with the ability to pin the same asset to multiple boards (Air’s folder equivalent) without taking up more storage space. Keep both internal and external collaborators in the loop. Give feedback. Use and reuse any of your assets.
If you’ve been using multiple storage systems like Dropbox and Google Drive, on top of distributed team members’ hard drives, you can easily sync everything to Air. Don’t waste time asking your graphic designers to locate that one campaign image from last quarter. Just search for it yourself — Air utilizes smart search and tagging to make finding anything fast and easy. Create boards for each social media platform you use, and then create sub-boards organized by month, category (product update, sales push, user stories), whatever you need.
Air was built to make the creative process easier and take the friction out of tedious sharing and feedback workflows. Lightweight where it counts, with a beautiful, intuitive interface, Air is for everyone — brand managers, designers, marketers, even executives. Content lives and thrives on Air. Start with 5GB of storage and three workplace seats, all for free.