By Alexandra Zamfir

January 12th, 2016

A successful social media manager needs to be able to do a lot more than ‘just’ craft a witty 140-character message. Despite the huge value created by an effective social campaign, it can sometimes be a struggle to convince the rest of the business.

As a result, social media managers need to develop a range of skills to help them perform better in their roles and ‘sell’ their value to other stakeholders. Here are seven we think are vital:

#1 – Grow thick skin
Dealing with online trolls is hard work, and there are always countless detractors ready and waiting to criticise your social efforts. Harder still is overcoming the perception that some in your own company might have towards social media marketing, if they haven’t been convinced by your efforts.

The ability to manage these perceptions and make the case for your strategy is key, all while keeping a positive attitude.

#2 – Possess an analytical mindset
Virtually every business operation is governed by metrics – particularly around proving return on investment. Social media managers need to be able to create campaigns and define the metrics that will be used to monitor performance. These metrics need to go beyond a simple tally of ‘likes’ and re-shares and ultimately tie social activity to your company’s strategic goals.

You need to be able to tie your spend, activities, and outcomes together, using the data you have available. The analytical mindset is crucial for cross-referencing seemingly unrelated data to create coherent insights.

And being able to prove the ROI (and effect on corporate profits) of your social efforts, you will help to overcome any prejudice you face.

#3 – Become a good listener
Great social engagement comes from listening to your audience to properly understand their needs, preferences and pains. This is because without a deep level of understanding, you cannot properly interact with them. Social media managers need to actively listen on the social channels where their customers and targets are, assessing sentiment and preparing for the time when it’s appropriate to join the conversation.

Great social media managers also need to be able to listen to internal stakeholders if they are to be able to share relevant, valuable information with brand followers. Whether by intentionally engaging co-workers in conversation or simply keeping an ear open for useful information around the office, the better you understand your business, the more you can help your social followers understand it too.

Social Media Manager collaboration

Internal communication at Falcon is a big deal. We often get together to share insights.

#4 – Polish your communications skills
Working in communications, you’re expected to be able to be able to craft the right message for the right audience. But you also need to be able to communicate internally.

From producing reports to presenting the results of your social media campaigns, you will need to work on communicating with your colleagues and peers too. They need to see that social media campaigns are capable of generating a return for the business. Spend time introducing your internal audience (such as your CMO) to the metrics your social strategy uses.

Your colleagues also need to understand that social campaigns take time to generate results. But if you cannot communicate that aspect properly, you may not be able to get the time you need.

#5 – Establish a flexible approach
Social media is the ultimate expression of social trends, fluctuating in line with the collective interests of millions of people across the world. And each of these changes brings with it new challenges and opportunities.

Take Google+ for instance. Long considered the poor man’s version of Facebook, Google’s social network has undergone another major overhaul in an attempt to lure more users on board. And although the Google+ user count may remain much lower than Twitter or Facebook, the new Communities feature is a great place for marketers to find individuals who share a common interest or passion. But if you don’t learn about these developments, you’ll lose out to your competitors.

To take advantage of these shifts, social media managers must have the ability to think laterally, and to adjust their outreach plans very quickly.

"Social media is the ultimate expression of social trends, fluctuating in line with the collective interests of millions of people across the world."

#6 – Stay up to date with social technologies
Technology is constantly changing in B2B, B2C, and C2C communications, and the social media manager will need to stay on top of new developments if they are to remain engaged. Because if you miss the next big thing, you also risk losing credibility with your target market.

Just as topics trend on social platforms, so to do the tools and techniques used in social campaign management. By staying abreast of these changes, you can better adjust your campaigns to take advantage of each. Your targets will often beat you to new platforms and services – but you need to be right behind them.

On the upside, familiarity with new technology will also help to streamline your own work processes and help you be more efficient. Tools like IFTTT can be used to link platforms and automate specific functions to save time. Others like Grammarly can raise the standard of your content by improving the quality of your written content.

Every day more tools become available, and a good social media manager needs to stay on top of the best ones

#7 – Ignite a drive for constant improvement
No matter how well your campaigns perform, there is always an improvement to be made. Whether tweaking personas or optimizing technology for more effective messaging, a good social media manager is always looking for opportunities to increase ROI, engagement, and efficiency.

This drive for improvement has to be focused, though. Everything the social media manager does must be tied to the strategic goals of the business, selecting only those options that work with the strategy. Or being willing to change strategy if required.

There will always be a temptation to be sidetracked by shiny new tools, but a great social media manager is able to quickly assess the potential of each, discarding anything that doesn’t serve the customer or the company.

Without a focused drive for continuing excellence, your campaigns risk stagnating and losing ground to your competitors.

Not an extensive list
The ideal social media manager has all of these skills and more. But, perhaps most importantly, they have the ability to acquire new ones to deal with a constantly changing social media landscape.

So over to you – what would be on your list of must-have attributes for a great social media manager?


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