April 10, 2011

The Top 5 Critical Skills of a Social Media Manager

If you think a business owner wears many hats, try being a social media manager. A day in the life of a social media manager, especially one that’s an independent contractor for several companies, requires a strong attention to detail as well as a high degree of flexibility.  Managing multiple accounts and social media channels is like juggling... but juggling with different size objects… and juggling blindfolded! This is a job that requires thinking on your feet and working quickly!

Here are the top five critical skills of an outsourced social media manager.

Knowledge of social media and its constant changes.

First and foremost, a social media manager must be able to understand and differentiate the types of media in order to formulate a strategy for marketing a business. It’s critical to stay aware of what’s new, what’s coming, and what might benefit a business.   An understanding of each medium and the role it plays in a building influence and brand awareness is fundamental.

Highly organized self-starter.

A social media manager should be able to get work done quickly and accurately, while still being “on call” for abrupt changes. This role requires managing and organizing yourself and managing and organizing the businesses you represent.  It’s a necessity to have a process or system for managing multiple accounts, responding to inquires and commentary, monitoring engagement, and communicating ROI to clients.   You may find yourself getting up early and staying up late just to stay on top of it all.

Writing, writing and more writing!

A social media manager should have strong writing skills in order to develop content, to quickly and accurately respond to social media inquires, and to articulate a response to negative feedback with tact and professionalism.  The writing hats should include creative and powerful copywriting or headline style skills (remember we only have 140 characters on Twitter) and conversational writing skills – aka human language skills – a.k.a. for blog writing.

Extensive and ongoing knowledge of a business and its brand.

A social media manager will serve as the clients’ primary agency and will represent them in the most visible front. In order to represent a business, a social media manager should understand the challenges, goals, and voice of that business.   It is essential to stay abreast of timely and relevant information about a business and the industry the business represents (as well as industry leaders and business competitors.) You will need to identify the clients’ target audience and the motivation levels of the audience. What makes them tick? These skills, combined with a general understanding of SEO, are pillars for a successful social media campaign.

People skills!

This is the core qualification for being a social media manager:  the business of building relationships!  Here’s the “work well with others” list: the audience (fans, followers, connections, etc.), vendors or third-party contributors, other marketers (including those involved in traditional marketing efforts), and those who hired you to represent their business (business owner(s) and any staff involved). The last one sounds like a given, but it can often be the most challenging, especially when there are multiple folks involved (business partners, husband/wife teams, in-house staff, website developers, etc.).

Are these traits of someone you would hire to manage your online efforts? What other skills would you require?

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