How many social media professionals have encountered someone who played down their job as simple—lots of time spent “Googling stuff” and sitting on Facebook?
IF ONLY THEY KNEW!
Expert social media managers not only need to be on top of current events and trends, they need to understand what works and what doesn’t across a range of platforms. They must have an in-depth understanding of multiple channels, and know how to analysis data across all of these. Creativity, curation and customer service are also key!
Here are some of the top skills that I feel all really great social media managers should possess:
The Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram captions and other short witticisms that occupy much of a social media manager’s daily content creation are brushed off as part of social media, and something anyone can do. However, knowing how to use language that incites an emotional reaction or that has a call to action, can really affect the shareability of content, or whether or not your link is clicked on, or an ezine opened.
Content curation is an essential skill for a social media manager, as you need to know what to share and what not to share. Curation has always been a part of social media marketing, especially for businesses that don’t have the time or resources to create a steady flow of original content. If you see a great piece of content relevant to your audience, share or re-tweet it.
Photography/ Photoshop / Graphics Production
Images are an essential part of social media. Now, more than ever, people expect social messages to be accompanied by shareable photos or images. Networks like Pinterest and Instagram are built on this premise. For this reason, photography is a very valuable skill for any social media professional.
Articles with images receive 94% more views than those without. Buffer says tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than those without, and research shows photo posts on Facebook get 120% more engagement than other types of posts.
In the same vein, being able to edit and improve photos will absolutely help them stand out and be more shareable on social media. Photoshop skills allow you to emphasize the best parts of a photo, add text where appropriate, and make composite images, among other benefits. When you share content to social networks, great visuals help you stand out amongst the flood of information. Photoshop can take even average photos to that next level. Another significant reason why photoshop skills are valuable is that they allow you to have photos that meet the optimal size of various social networks.
Knowing how to access analytics and being able to read them, and put them together is vital as they allow you to justify every decision you make in your role. What should you post, when should you post it, where should you post it, how much should you spend on it, how much did it make for your business—all of these questions can be answered, but only by someone who understands how to use social media analytics.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an essential skill for many web professionals. Bloggers, web developers, copywriters, and even designers need to take into account how their work will rank in search. You may not need in depth technical knowledge like knowing what URL canonicalization is, but you do need to understand keywords, link building and content marketing.
In order to keep your followers engaged and to be an effective social media manager, you have to consistently come up with new and creative content and campaigns. Whether it is a Facebook competition, a co-branding initiative, or entertaining videos, great social media managers must always be coming up with new concepts and ideas, and think of ways to stand apart from the millions of other users on social media.
Be able to cross platforms
Television, radio, newspapers, email, every single social network that you have a presence on – these are all platforms. Knowing how to manage each individual platform — taking into consideration the audience, the style and tone, and the successes and failures of your previously posted content—is a key skill needed of every social media manager.
Social media professionals with customer service skills will know what tone and tact to use when speaking to customers online, whether this is engaging in posted content, answering queries, or responding to complaints. As more and more people turn to social media to resolve their issues, customer service skills, especially in small businesses without full support teams, are vital for social media managers. A quick response to questions and complaints, a “customer first” mindset, and the ability to move difficult questions offline are all important aspects of social customer service.
So there you have it, this list is of course non-exhaustive, and there are many, many more valuable skills that could be brought to the table such as time management, budget management, and so on, but a good writer also has to know when to stop! 🙂