It drives me nutty when people expect a social media manager to also be an expert in SEO, have a communications or journalism degree, be the PR person, create infographics, and design and update the website.
Small businesses often want a one-size-fits-all solution. I would, too. However, the technical depth required for design and SEO may not even exist in the same human being. Many of us social media managers have varying degrees of expertise in these fields, but should they be required? I say no.
The person at the wheel of social media shouldn’t be in charge of the entire marketing car.
A race car driver isn’t in charge of the funding or building of his car. He isn’t even in charge of the maintenance nor is he responsible for pit stop tire changes. Certainly, he doesn’t have to book the race. He has a team for that. He has to arrive, make appearances, connect with the crowd, make fans, drive the car, and win.
Social media management is just part of that winning team.
It’s always nice if a manager understands the parallel fields because they work better together. Having a conceptual understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) allows a writer to include key phrases in the blog posts. Understanding YouTube captioning and how it helps you rank higher in search motivates us to use it more frequently. Understanding the importance of visual elements relating to our social posts to reinforce the overall message matters.
So, if we now agree on what shouldn’t be required for a Social Media Manager, then what skills are important?
Seven Things A Social Media Manager Should Be:
An organized person is usually routine-oriented as well. Checking up on comments and following up on tweets should be part of a daily routine. The closer to real time a brand responds, the better it reflects on the brand.
Being ignored is one of the most offensive things to fans. I’ve had tweets that were not responded to for a year. A year. I mean, if you’re not going to respond then why are you on social media?
“Please” and “thank you” never go out of style and this goes hand-in-hand with being responsive. It’s just polite to respond in a timely manner. And having good manners is even more important when the comment is a complaint.
Asking questions, responding to comments on blogs, tweets, or other social media posts in a creative way furthers the conversations that you’re facilitating on social platforms. Do more than just say, “Thank you.”
Being able to draw is not the prerequisite to creativity. Trying new ideas and thinking differently is creative. A social media manager should be able to craft posts natively on each platform in a way that speaks to each platform’s culture.
If you’re not doing all of the “digital marketing” then you’re collaborating. Maybe you have to get ideas approved or gain approval for blog post drafts. Being flexible with your creative, engaging, polite ideas is part of that collaboration.
So many people these days lack the moral compass to know what is offensive. Being wise enough to think out how people will respond to your post, no matter how great the pop culture reference is, will separate you from the Social Media Winners and Losers.