Identifying this approach was not by chance, and developing it has always been a key focus for our agency. As consumers evolved into ‘prosumers’, technology advanced and new platforms arrived, we realised very early on that the role of social media manager was specialised and requires more than just social media experience.

Seven years ago, Liquorice pioneered this forward-thinking approach with the Unilever brand, Knorr. The ambition was to build the largest recipe portal in Africa, with a great opportunity to build the largest online community driven by meal inspiration.

The approach required a social media manager who ticked the boxes: Passionate about food and social media, and an understanding of consumer behaviour. Together with Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner – writer, editor and self-trained cook and one of South Africa's leading food influencers – Knorr WhatsForDinner? soon was launched in 2010.

With expert skills in food and recipe development, Hobbs understood social media as she ran her own successful blog. She was the perfect match for the brand and key in ensuring the success of WhatsForDinner? Her work was recognised, receiving the Best Community Manager Bookmark Award in 2013.

Liquorice continued to pioneer its approach over the years by identifying and growing a team of specialised social media managers with core strengths and passion points to deliver authentic content for clients. This has resulted in elevated online community management and real-time responses and tactical pieces that explore targeted interests of the consumer.

In 2017, Liquorice won international beauty brand account Avon. The approach was implemented again when we paired Mishka Lawrence, a beauty blogger ‘Call Me Zeena’ on the account.

The natural fit for Lawrence led to her overseeing the social strategic approach and content creation for the brand. The success of this has been demonstrated through the elevated engagement on Avon’s multiple platforms.

As social media gains more prominence, and as consumers' demand for authentic content continues, so will the social media manager’s role, which requires specialisation. With the increasing demand for real-time marketing, the growing sense of specialised social media skills are no longer a 'nice to have', but now, a must-have.

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