Skills You Need to Be a Social Media Manager

By Danni White on December 31, 2016
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It used to be the case that many small and large businesses saw social media as tools that only individuals use to promote their personal brand, product, or event, or to simply connect with friends and family. However, as social media has taken on a life of its own, businesses of all sizes have started to see its value and now include it as a strategic part of their marketing plan.

Every single business, no matter who or what it does or the products it sells, has a need for social media creation, development, implementation, and maintenance. Social media doesn’t just happen on its own and social media managers don’t just pop up. Social media managers are becoming essential partners for businesses.

Since businesses have realized the value of social media, both financially and otherwise, many are looking to hire people who can help manage their social media and actually make their social media work for them.

Simon Sinek said, “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat and tears.”

Mitt Ray over at SocialMarketingWriting.com offers some interesting data about social media usage. Check it out here. Interestingly, “81 percent of small and medium-sized business use social media. 94 percent of them use it for marketing purposes.”

Further, businesses “spent $23.68 billion on social network ads in 2015. This number is expected to reach $35.98 billion by 2017.”

So if you’re interested in social media marketing, here are some skills you will need to succeed.

Learn how to develop a brand.

Spend some time researching the company and understand their “WHY” behind their product or service. Be able to draft a compelling reason customers should do something or buy something from the company. Anything factual about the company can help with this information such as awards, special recognition, numbers, data, policies, industry achievements and so forth. Be sure you can answer that question all customers have of “what’s in it for me?” or “how will I benefit?”

Develop an aptitude for writing.

Advanced writing skills and a degree in English literature or creative writing is not necessary. However, you must be able to string 10 words together in a way that is compelling, interesting, accurately representative of the company, and sells the brand. While you may not be writing 800-word articles, you will be communicating with customers and a lot of that will come across through words on a screen. Being able to clearly convey an idea in a passionate way on behalf of the company is essential.

Serve the customer.

The bottom line of every business is to sell products or services and to make money. Your social media plan should ultimately surround that objective. Posting cute cat pictures and clever quotes each day will only get the company so far. Be responsible for maintaining a professional virtual appearance and respond to customer’s questions and needs appropriately.

This includes responding to customers in a timely manner, knowing how to respond to irate or angry customers, moving difficult questions up the chain of command to the right person, and overall, being the brand or company’s face on social media. Remember, social media is a reflection of the company, for good or bad.

Manage your time well.

Just as it is easy to get carried away scrolling through endless messages on Facebook and posts on Twitter, it can be easy to waste lots of time doing the same thing on a company’s social pages. And in this case, a lot worse, because you’ll be wasting the company’s time, they’ll find out they’re paying you to do nothing and you’ll be out of a job.

But seriously, managing social media accounts takes a lot of time and it’s time you can’t afford to waste. You will most likely be responsible for creating or adopting systems that help you organize social tasks and complete work according to the company’s timetable and that of their clients.

Learn some advanced marketing skills.

Nowadays, pretty much anybody can post a video on Youtube, post a message to Facebook, and post a picture to Instagram. Advanced skills involve SEO (search engine optimization); optimizing videos with tags, titles, captions, annotations, and descriptions; creating customization for social media pages; creating hashtags (I’ve done this for my own social campaigns and it works well); and knowing how to launch social ad campaigns, do webcasts, hangouts over Google+, and even email newsletters and capture forms.

Go mobile.

We live in the most mobile generation ever. If you are like me, you go almost nowhere without your phone. Social media managers must know how to make their clients look good on mobile devices. This includes optimizing the company’s website to be represented on mobile devices and knowing how impactful responsive design is.

Have an aptitude for visual design and web development.

Whether you consider yourself a graphic artist or not, you need to have an eye for what is visually appealing to customers. Visual content has a near permanent effect on the viewer because people often remember what they see, even more than what they read or hear. Compelling visuals will help customers remember the company or product. If you’re not graphically savvy, be sure to work closely with the graphics team or pass your work by a friend who is skilled in that area.

Social media is fun and works wonders for those willing to use it effectively and make it work for them. If you like social media to the point where you want to start earning money or turn your skills into a part-time or full-time job, gain some experience in the field.

Build your own personal portfolio first and then offer to help local companies with theirs. Develop a profile on LinkedIn as it is the most perfect opportunity to sell yourself. Network as much as possible and develop relevant content that fits your interest. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to becoming a successful social media manager.

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Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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