Social media is a blessing to many companies. The potential for “free” marketing on social media is limitless, which is why all companies big or small should be taking advantage of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Behind any successful social media account is a person (or sometimes, group of people) who manages the accounts in behalf of the company.

Choose the right person for this job, and your company can benefit from free press and increase in sales. If you’re looking to hire a social media manager, assign this position to an existing employee, or man the accounts yourselves, here are 10 skills, traits and characteristics you must consider:

Copywriting & Communication Skills

The web is fast-paced and people online lose interest within seconds. The right person for the job must know how to catch the people’s attention. Whether you’re assigned to manage the 140-character-restricted Twitter or Facebook pages, writing is a huge part of the job.

While automation tools like Hootsuite are available to make posting to different networks easier, every social media platform follows specific rules, which means you can’t just re-post something you published on Facebook to Twitter, or Twitter to Instagram.

A person with exceptional copywriting skills would know how to write for the 65+ year-old market (who are mostly active on Facebook), for the college kids and young professionals (LinkedIn), or for the teens to below 30s (Twitter/Instagram). On top of copywriting guidelines, the social media manager should also be familiar with social media etiquette, writing headlines for every platform, and hashtags.

Knowledge in graphic design, video creation, and Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

In 2016, Hubspot conducted a Consumer Behavior Survey and found out that posts with images are received better than text-based posts, and that 43% of consumers want to see more videos in the future. You don’t have to be the best artist in the world as a social media manager, but some skills in graphic design and video editing would give you an edge over the rest.

Outstanding Customer service skills

Sprout Social reported in mid-2016 that about 35% of people choose social media for customer care, beating out those who still prefer live chat (24%) and e-mail (19%). This means that even if your goal is to promote products and services on social media, it is inevitable that you’ll receive inquiries, complaints, and other messages from existing or potential customers.

Humor and empathy

In order to facilitate community engagement, a social media manager must be able to address a wide range of people armed with information and sometimes, empathy. The people who follow your brand’s social media must feel that the one publishing posts is human.

Social media managers with a good sense of humor would go a long way in this field. Many companies have benefited from banters between two brands (Wendy’s vs. Burger King, Taco Bell vs. Old Spice, and more) that have turned viral for days. Many people follow companies on social media for the laughs. It doesn’t mean you should throw in dadjokes every day, but be on the lookout for opportunities to join friendly banter online and enjoy a dramatic increase in followers and free press.

Multi-tasker

As you’d notice by now, a social media manager wears the hat of a writer, graphic designer, customer service rep, and even company mascot. It can be a stressful job for the wrong person, but a fun and challenging position for someone who meets all these requirements.

Meltwater published an interesting “a day in the life of a social media manager” post with an infographic listing down the numerous tasks that this job entails.

Up-to-date with trends and pop culture

Social media managers must work like a journalist – posting timely news that bring value to its audience. Not only do they have to be updated with social media policy changes and trending topics, they should also have an ever-so-growing knowledge of pop culture. People on social media absorb information and relate more to a brand when its social media posts also include what’s happening in the real world than just serious marketing-infused talk.

Detail-oriented

It’s not just fun and games for a social media manager. Time management plays a big role in this detail-oriented position. The business side of this job requires you to keep track of a content calendar, where company promotions are often included.

You have to really dig into the details because aside from creating content, you’re also scheduling pre-written posts, responding to messages, answering e-mails, engaging with the company’s audience, and more. Of course, there are office-related tasks as well (such as meetings and reports) that you have to deal with.

Authentic

Knowing your brand’s mission, vision and “voice” is important because the social media manager will become the official representative of a company. You don’t have to use slang to sound cool. What’s great about social media is that you can use a casual tone while being professional. It’s important that the person manning a company’s social media knows exactly who the target audience is in order to make the brand’s voice as authentic as possible.

Analytical

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms provide users a comprehensive report, which includes metrics (likes, comments, shares, re-tweets, etc.), and useful metrics like traffic and revenue. A social media manager has access to all these information, which he/she can use to improve the social media account’s performance, such as discovering what topics the audience engages to the most, or what time there are more active followers. If a company is using social media to drive traffic to a website, these reports can help achieve this goal.

Budgeting skills

Sometimes, a social media manager will also handle a company’s paid advertising and other expenses (images, graphics, social media management tools, etc.) required in managing a brand’s social media effectively. If this is the case, you’d need basic spreadsheet skills to list down every cent spent on any given month/quarter.

The Bottom Line

The job of a social media manager is relatively new, but it’s becoming a highly in-demand job. For many small businesses, hiring a resourceful, multi-tasking, creative and effective social media manager could be all it takes to drive more sales. For bigger companies, an active social media presence bridges the gap between corporate and customers.

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Last Updated: September 3, 2017

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