Rick Barron
Rick Barron 30 May 2019

Skills Every Successful Social Media Manager Should Have

Managing an organization’s presence on social media is an important job and one that requires a person with a certain set of qualities.

Being active on social media in some way, shape, or form is invaluable for businesses. Social media managers are often the ones planning and implementing these efforts, as the champions of branding and community management across all relevant platforms.


1. Solid Communication Skills

When you’re publishing content to online communities and the public, everything you say has a purpose and should be conveyed in the clearest way possible.

Relationships are built through social media. Behind a computer screen, without being face-to-face, achieving authenticity is no easy feat. It requires you to be tactical in word choice, tone of voice and clarity when pushing each message across.

Brands use Twitter, for example, as a way to get up close and personal with their followers. Every conversation is an opportunity to stand out, give excellent customer service and showcase relatability.

2. Be an expert on your social channels

Being successful as a social media manager starts with knowing your channels. This means understanding the most effective use of each channel and setting goals that are specific to each one. For example, if Facebook is the biggest traffic driver for your website, knowing what drives engagement on this channel (and how to capitalize on that) should be your main priority.

Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does work so be sure to keep a close eye on your campaigns and optimize your results by testing.


3. Follow the Data

Few things are as important for optimizing social campaigns as understanding what’s working and why. The best way to experiment effectively is by tracking every test you run and using metrics from analytics tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to optimize your campaigns as needed.

Every great social media strategy keep the numbers in mind. How much social referral traffic does your content drive? Are you really getting more sales with your Facebook Ads? How does social media fit into the general marketing strategy? It’s in every social media manager’s best interest to work with data and use it to their advantage. If a plan isn’t working, fix it and be better for it moving forward. If it’s working, you’ve just proven your worth, in other words, your social ROI. Take away: keep asking questions.

4. They Must Be Project Managers

Managing social media channels for a business isn’t all fun and games. It’s a serious job that takes serious management skills.

Some social media managers will be one-man or one-woman teams. If this is the case, the person will need to approach each channel as a separate project with short-, medium- and long-term goals, along with that of the overall social media plan.


5. They Must Write & Edit Well

While social media provides some leeway in terms of language and content, keep in mind that it’s still a message being sent to current and prospective customers; it’s still messaging that will serve as the public voice of a company.

That’s why all successful social media managers need to have excellent writing and editing skills. Some of the typical language one might use for a personal social media account won’t fly on a professional account.

6. Must be Visually Minded

Social media is a very visually-driven form of communication. Although graphic design skills aren’t a “must-have” for a position in social media, having them will definitely help you do your job more effectively, particularly since graphics are becoming increasingly important for engagement. This means using tools like Canva or Buffer to design graphics that can be used across all of your social channels and creating unique memes and gifs to show off your brand’s unique personality.


7. They Must Be Flexible & Adaptable

A social media manager’s job requires a lot of patience and flexibility. Not only are a company’s needs changing all the time, but social media itself is, too. This is where the flexibility comes in.

A good social media manager will need to be able to digest changes made to each social media channel, as well as how to shift the approach to that channel.

In addition, social media managers need to be able to adapt to each environment they are communicating in, as sometimes the change occurs with the users of a social media channel and not just the channel itself.

This means being up on all the trends on not just how people are using Twitter, for example, but what they are talking about on Twitter – whether that relates to the manager’s company or not.

8. They Must Be Great Marketers

Remember that the end goal is to market the business. The social media manager needs to understand that the content the social team produces is ideally supposed to generate sales – if even in an indirect way.

Social media is equal parts marketing, branding, sales, PR/crisis management, reputation building, and data analysis.

Social media is simply a channel(s) with which to engage customers and deliver key messages that are relevant to their needs, concerns, and challenges. Experience level is evident in your message and your results.


9. Have Empathy for the customer

One important element to keep at the forefront for a social media manager, and that is empathy is the key to great customer service in addition that social media IS customer service.

The act of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes helps a great deal with understanding their needs and addressing them accordingly.

Intense crisis situations, where there’s an audience watching, a social media manager may not always deliver a solution but she/he can always deliver empathy.

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