Social Media

Essential Skills for Becoming a Social Media Manager

The role of social media managers (SMMs) has undergone significant transformations in recent years. With the increasing complexity of social network fragmentation, dynamic search engine optimization (SEO) changes, evolving content trends and the emergence of new technologies, SMMs must continuously enhance and diversify their skills to remain competitive and future-ready. In this article, we will explore the required skills for becoming a social media manager and how the role has evolved over time.

Who is a Social Media Manager?

A social media manager is an individual responsible for managing a brand’s presence on various social media platforms. Their role involves strategizing, creating and publishing content that aligns with their clients’ brand identity. Additionally, they analyze and report on the performance of the content and actively engage with the community by responding to comments and direct messages.

The Challenge of Being a Social Media Manager

It is crucial to recognize that social media managers shoulder a significant amount of responsibility as they play a vital role in driving a brand’s marketing efforts. With a growing number of customers using social media for product research and brand discovery, the role of social media management has become increasingly critical. In the past, it may have been seen as an entry-level position, but today, it requires a high level of expertise and professionalism. Online-only businesses often rely solely on social media to establish their brand presence thereby highlighting the importance of skilled and experienced social media managers.

As the social media landscape continues to evolve, so too must the skill sets of social media managers. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends, mastering SEO strategies, adapting to emerging technologies and effectively engaging with the online community are essential components of this ever-changing role. By honing these skills, aspiring social media managers can position themselves for success in the dynamic and competitive world of social media marketing.

What’s the Role of a Social Media Manager?

The role of a social media manager is both dynamic and challenging encompassing a wide range of responsibilities. In this role, you’ll find yourself engaging in various tasks including:

• Creative Copywriting
• Graphic Design
• Video Shooting and Editing
• Photography and Photo Editing
• Content Planning
• Content Strategy, often in collaboration with the larger marketing department
• Community Management
• Analyzing and Reporting on Content Performance

At first glance, this might appear as an overwhelming list of skills possibly intimidating for aspiring social media managers. However, it’s important to note that one doesn’t need to be an expert in all of these areas to begin a career as a social media manager.

For instance, smartphones can provide more than adequate photo and video quality for a significant portion of social media content. Additionally, user-friendly tools like Canva have made graphic design and photo editing more accessible than ever before.

In some cases, larger companies may have a team dedicated to managing social media activities rather than relying on just one person. This means you could collaborate with other team members whose skills complement yours thereby creating a more well-rounded approach to social media management.

Above all, a willingness to learn is one of the most valuable qualities a social media manager can possess. If there are areas where you don’t feel entirely comfortable yet, it’s perfectly acceptable to acquire knowledge and skills as you progress in your role. Embracing a learning mindset is the key to success in this ever-evolving field.

Essential Skills for Becoming a Social Media Manager:

Being a social media manager requires a dynamic set of skills as the landscape of social media is constantly evolving. While the specifics and tactics may change over time, there are fundamental abilities that form the foundation of this role.

1. Adaptability

Success as a social media manager hinges on your willingness to continuously learn, experiment and adapt. The nature of this job is highly dynamic with trends shifting rapidly. Whether it’s the popularity of carousels, video content or emerging technologies like the Metaverse, staying informed and creating exceptional content is crucial.

Social media platforms and their features are in a state of constant flux. As such, you must be prepared to acquire new skills as needed to keep up with the changes. Additionally, the ability to swiftly adjust your content strategy based on market developments or audience feedback is indispensable.

2. Communication Proficiency

As a front-line communicator with customers, you bear the responsibility of conveying brand messages with confidence and clarity. Effective copywriting and strong communication skills are timeless assets for social media managers. Ensuring that your points are crystal clear and avoiding misinterpretations by the audience are essential aspects of this role.

Entertaining and engaging your audience while maintaining a clear brand voice is a delicate balance that requires excellent communication abilities.

3. Content Curation Expertise

While you may not be creating every social media post from scratch, you will be curating and repurposing content from various sources. With tools like Canva making content creation more accessible and combining different elements into a cohesive and authentic social media presence becomes vital.

Having a keen aesthetic eye is crucial for maintaining a consistent visual identity that aligns with your employer’s brand. Technical skills are valuable, but the art of curation and design plays a significant role in crafting a compelling social media presence.

4. Creativity

In the competitive world of social media, standing out from the crowd is a major challenge for brands. To succeed, it’s crucial to produce exciting, valuable and relevant content that sparks interest. Creativity plays a pivotal role in achieving this encompassing several key aspects:

• Generating innovative social media ideas that captivate your audience.
• Creating visually appealing multimedia content that grabs attention.
• Paying attention to every aesthetic detail from images to links, to copy formatting and to ensure a polished social post.
• Facilitating productive brainstorming sessions that bring out the best ideas from your team.
• Refining and expanding your brand’s voice and persona for a stronger identity.

Even for experienced social media managers, infusing creativity across multiple projects can seem overwhelming. However, technology comes to the rescue in the form of AI-based creative apps for design and copy serving as excellent sparring partners to kick start the creative process.

Additionally, a sense of humor and the ability to improvise in any situation complement the creative efforts and contribute to a well-rounded approach.

5. Unique Marketing Strategy

Social media occupies a crucial position at the intersection of marketing, customer experience and sales offering valuable business intelligence. The challenge lies in proving ROI as highlighted by the 2022 Sprout Social Index™. To overcome this obstacle, blending marketing acumen with social intelligence can pave the way for a successful data-driven and customer-centric marketing strategy.

To achieve maximum business impact, it is essential to integrate both traditional and digital marketing approaches into your social strategy. This entails documenting how your social efforts align with other tactics like email nurtures, paid campaigns, corporate events, webinars and more.

6. Good Customer Care

An effective social media manager needs to possess a unique set of skills that combine customer service, interpersonal abilities and the talent to spot opportunities. Developing a robust social customer care strategy becomes an integral part of their role.

According to our Index, 44% of marketers use social data to inform customer experience and insights from the customer service team drive 53% of social strategies. A customer-centric approach requires placing the voice of the customer (VoC) at the core of the strategy.

Research indicates that over three-quarters of consumers expect a response on social media within 24 hours. This implies that listening to and understanding customer concerns is not enough; being proactive in handling emergencies is equally important.

For instance, when a frustrated customer reached out to Delta Airlines on Twitter, the company promptly responded with respect, acknowledging the customer’s feelings while providing the necessary assistance. This exemplifies how good customer care can turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one and strengthen brand loyalty.

7. Data Analysis

Beyond the usual end-of-month reporting, skilled social media managers regularly analyze data to inform their strategies and achieve their goals. Utilizing both quantitative and AI-enabled qualitative data derived from social listening such as sentiment mining of comments and posts provides a comprehensive view of engagement levels and the underlying reasons.

This data not only helps you understand the “why” behind your engagement metrics but also enables you to share tangible customer experience (CX) insights with stakeholders and cross-functional collaborators. As social listening gains importance and brands fiercely compete for audience interaction, analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data becomes pivotal in making a lasting impact on social media. By identifying emerging trends and generating recommendations based on the voice of the customer, you can create a personalized and successful action plan for your audience and brand.

8. Budget Management

As a social media manager, expertly planning and managing funds for various programs including organic and paid media spending is a crucial responsibility. This includes budgeting for content creation especially if influencers or brand ambassadors are involved or if you need to hire freelance professionals. Costs may vary based on location, the size of the influencer’s following and freelance fees.

To allocate your spending wisely, you must thoroughly understand the project’s goals and conduct a social spend audit to compare expenses from previous months or quarters. This will help you distinguish between one-time spends and ongoing expenses which allows you to prioritize creator partnerships based on available resources and production costs. Effective budget management ensures that your social media efforts remain efficient and aligned with your objectives.

9. Embracing Independence

Whether you’re part of a team or working solo, cultivating motivation and self-direction is essential for thriving as a social media manager. Each day, you’ll be responsible for making critical decisions while crafting and sharing content that reaches a vast audience of hundreds or even thousands of people.

According to Trish, a seasoned professional in the field, self-trust is a crucial attribute. Despite the initial intimidation it may bring, believing in yourself and your abilities is essential for success in the industry. Being confident allows you to bring forth innovative ideas and turn them into reality.

The beauty of the social media landscape lies in its diversity of opportunities. You might choose to work as a freelancer and enjoy the freedom to explore various projects or opt for an in-house position within a company. Each organization might focus on different content types with one emphasizing long-form LinkedIn posts and the other prioritizing viral videos.

Trish also points out that the social media industry now offers clearer career trajectories than before. In the past, professionals often found themselves uncertain about their future path. However, today’s landscape provides more visibility that enables individuals to envision and plan their career growth effectively.

10. Update Your Resume

In creative industries, your portfolio does a lot of the heavy lifting. But clients will still ask for a resume and yours needs to sparkle.

Your goal is to stand out from the crowd, so have fun and get creative with the design (just make sure it’s still easily readable).

Try including a ‘Profile’ or ‘About Me’ section at the top of your resume to summarize what makes you special. You can also decide to include only relevant work experience rather than a laundry list of every job you’ve ever had. You can also read importance of social media marketing to small business.

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