It’s taken a long time for marketers to really get to grips with social media. In fact, it’s only in the last five years or so that they’ve begun to successfully leverage this powerful online tool.
Today social media impacts almost every part of our lives. It’s routinely used by families to stay in contact and gets a mention every news day on every news channel. People use it to form groups of support and action. They even use it to get closer to their favourite consumer brands.
For marketers, social media presents an enormous challenge – there are several platforms to choose from and each has its own individual etiquette. This has given the rise in recent times to social media managers, marketing specialists who focus on only one thing: How to get the best out of Facebook, Twitter et al.
If you’re a business trying to make the most of social media, what does a successful manager look like? The truth is that anyone can call themselves a social media manager. That doesn’t mean, however, they are any good at it.
Here are 5 really important skills that your social media manager should have if they are going to benefit your business:
Let’s start with the basics. Although social media can involve different media from video to still images as well as the odd GIF or two, one of the key elements is writing. Your social media manager needs to be able to produce good copy quickly.
That doesn’t mean simply getting the punctuation right and using a few hashtags here and there.
Your business should be creating compelling messages on social media and that’s an art form in itself. There’s a difference between platforms too. You have a small space to get across your message on Twitter but there is more scope on Facebook. The two require content that keeps to the same message but is often presented in a different ways.
What you need to bear in mind is that copywriting is not just writing. It’s a specific form of writing. Before you take on a social media manager you need to check out their skills – look at their posts and find out how engaging and thoughtful they are. More importantly, ask yourself whether this social media expert is able to consistently write copy that drives customers to your site and gets sales.
You might think that social media is all about the fast food equivalent of writing, posting as often as possible, finding a few images and getting people to respond in big numbers. Yes, you do need to post regularly but you also must be creative.
The average person can have hundreds of followers and groups on their timeline – you’re competing with a lot of other noise on social media.
The trouble is that, according to the research, we become less creative as we grow older. A good social media manager should have creativity built into their soul. It might not have been learned in a course or through their work, in fact, it’s more likely to be something that is unique and innate to their character.
Take a look at successful social media campaigns online and you’ll find a host of creativity that takes engaging fans and followers to a whole new level of experience. Okay, you’re probably not going to find a creative genius every day of the week but ensuring that your social media manager is free to be innovative can be just as good.
There’s a stark difference between posts that look good and those that seem amateurish and that’s often down to the design. While you may not have a creative genius on your hands, they do need to understand the basic elements of design and be able to bring that to their posts. If you want evidence of this check out the ads created by amateurs compared to those that appear as sponsored posts on your timeline.
Most marketers know that posts are more like to be viewed and shared if an image is attached to them. There should be a caveat here, however. It’s not just any old image. Your social media manager needs the design sense to know what will work with particular audiences. And they need to be able to do it without breaking sweat time and again.
Delegation is key part of management and it’s something certain people are good at while others aren’t. You may be starting off with a small unit to handle your social media, perhaps because your business is just getting off the ground. That might mean the social media manager working on their own and producing the entire content for your feeds.
Once your business starts to become more successful, however, social media is going to be a key factor in engaging and growing that important customer base. When this happens, your social media guru will need to delegate effectively. It’s vital to check if your manager has actually led a team and how that worked out for them and their last employer.
Finally, social media can be a powerful tool but it’s not much use (unless by sheer luck) if you don’t have metrics in place. This is where average managers tend to fail because they don’t understand or haven’t learned about the tools available to them.
Metrics allow you to analyse your timelines and see how they impact on sales and other business parameters. For instance, if you are running a campaign to sell a product and link into a dedicated landing page on your website, you’ll want to understand where people are coming from and what they do next. It’s not just about how people engage with social media but how that coordinates with other aspects of your marketing.
A successful social media manager will have a handle on all the metrics that are available nowadays for tracking social media and there’s an awful lot of them. It’s also an area that changes fairly quickly so keeping up with the latest innovations is vital. If you’re social media manager doesn’t know the difference between their acquisitions, reach and conversions, you may need to send them on a training course or two. Or look elsewhere.