Eleanna Sbokou
Eleanna Sbokou 8 June 2015
Categories Social Media

What Makes A Brilliant Social Media Manager?

Louise Goulden, Social Media Director at Blonde - What are they key 4 qualities a great Social Media Manager should have?

Author: Louise Goulden, Social Media Director at Blonde

A client of ours is recruiting for an in-house social media manager to implement the strategy and campaign ideas that Blonde devises. It’s a new role for the organisation, so they asked my advice on what qualities they should be looking for.

I gave them four key recommendations, which, in addition to the things you’d look for in any role, are crucial to me when I’m hiring. I decided to share them here too, in the hope they might be a useful guide, both for other businesses and for current or aspiring social media managers themselves.

1. Someone you trust with the reputation of your business


OK, so there aren’t many jobs where trustworthiness would be relegated to the ‘nice to have’ list of employee attributes. But with social media management, it’s a whole other ballgame. This person is acting as the voice of your brand to a potential audience of billions. The way in which they communicate - the opinions they express, the way they handle customer complaints, even the content they retweet – will be taken as representative of your company. It’s an incredible amount of responsibility, and one that is often dished out with frightening abandon. All the social media usage guidelines in the world can’t protect you against someone who doesn’t have the innate sensibilities to handle potentially difficult situations in a very public forum. Or gets pie-eyed and tweets from the wrong account.

2. A true understanding of platform

This goes way beyond the nuts and bolts of how each of the channels work or their capabilities. It’s about understanding the way that people use them. Why a joke would take off on Twitter but fall flat on Facebook. Why certain Instagram filters will be right for one brand and wrong for another. And so on. The subtle nuances of how people use social media platforms as communication tools is incredibly important to understand.

People are on these channels primarily to interact with friends and likeminded people, so as a brand you’re already on the back foot. You’re attempting to join a conversation you might not have been invited to, so it takes someone who instinctively knows the rules of engagement to be welcomed in.

3. The ability to wear an impressive array of hats

My first digital job was running online communities for various pop acts. In a typical day I’d deal with uproar about technical glitches during a ticket pre-sale, devise a campaign to generate excitement for an album no one cared about, compile fan insights to help product managers plan their release schedule and mediate in a huge argument about who had the best Westlife tattoo.

Great social media management comprises a wide variety of expertise. The ideal candidate is someone who can demonstrate skills in four key areas:

Marketing – how can you use social channels to achieve measurable objectives (collect data capture, drive traffic to a website, etc.) rather than simply generate noise?

Creativity – there’s a hell of a lot of brand content and conversation out there. How will your work stand out? Project management – you’re likely to have lots of different workstreams running at once, and be liaising with many areas of the business if you’re client-side, or teams if you’re at an agency. And if you’re agency-side you’re probably juggling multiple projects too. Being organised, proactive and cool under pressure are vital.

Empathy – lots of creative, ‘clever’ ideas fall flat in practice because proper thought hasn’t been given to the end user. Why would that person take time out of whatever activity they came online for to generate some UGC or share your video with their friends? Understanding the motivations of people in the real world is hugely important.

4. Genuine enthusiasm and dedication

Social media is fun! You have a legitimate reason to spend a proportion of your working day researching cat memes on Tumblr! (maybe). It’s also fast-moving and requires dedication and commitment to stay ahead of the game. I always look for someone who genuinely loves the craziness and unpredictability it all brings, but who’s also focused enough to work hard and recognise it’s not always a 9-5 job. So, those are my thoughts. If they’ve been interesting or useful to you, or if you’d like to agree, disagree or add your own, I’d love to hear from you.

Leave a comment or tweet me @GouldenRules. The article What makes a brilliant Social Media Manager was written by Louise Goulden and originally published on

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