8 Traits of Highly Effective Social Media Managers
So you want to work in social media? Before you start sending out resumes, realize first that being a social media manager (sometimes referred to as “community manager”) isn’t as easy as it looks and it certainly isn’t for everyone.
On the outside, managing social networks may look like it’s all about posting interesting articles and hitting “like” every now and then. But the truth is there’s so much more to being a social media manager than likes, tweets, and plusses. The job requires an understanding of people and an eye for emerging trends and technology, among others.
Below are some of the characteristics that would make a great social media / community manager. If you’re thinking about applying or taking a job in the industry, see if you possess the following traits. (If you don’t have these characteristics, you need to be at least open to developing them.)
Digitally Extroverted – The keyword here is “digitally”. You don’t need to be a social butterfly in real life to succeed in social media, but you certainly need to be one online to do a great job. Even if you’re shy in person, don’t let that stop you from being completely extroverted online. This is crucial, because you will be dealing with a lot of people when working in social media. You will also have to reach out to various types of individuals, from partners and colleagues, to customers and potential clients so an eager and out there online personality is a must.
Sensitive – People of all races, genders, and cultures will see your updates, photos, and articles so as a community manger, it is your responsibility to ensure that you don’t offend anyone. Be as sensitive as you can towards the feelings and traditions of others. Be aware that not everyone may have the same sense of humor as you do, so be as tactful as you can when posting stuff online. And while it’s perfectly acceptable to voice out your stand on social media, do this in a respectful and open manner, and make it clear that you are merely voicing out an opinion and not attacking anyone.
It only takes one offensive tweet, status update, or photo to ruin your reputation. Tactlessness on social media can quickly lead to a PR disaster so avoid it as much as you can, by being sensitive enough to think before you post.
Witty – Be clever (without being offensive of course) when posting updates and articles on social media. Tweeting an article? Include your quick two cents before hitting submit. Posting a photo on Facebook? Attach a nice caption to go with it. Being witty on social networks increases your chances of getting noticed. Remember that people are bombarded with updates on these websites, and the only way to stand out from the pack is to be clever and entertaining.
Additionally, social media involves a lot of back and forth communication and banter. If you really want to make an impression, you need to be witty and be able to come up with interesting or entertaining comebacks. When responding to remarks and comments, quick or bland “yes or no” answers just won’t cut it. You need to inject some personality into the stuff that you put out there if you want to win likes, followers, and of course, customers.
Trendy – In social media, the most engaging conversations at any given time occur around trending topics. Always be in the know with what’s hot in your industry and in pop culture in general. This will help you post relevant content and keep up with what’s being said out there. What’s more, people are actively searching and talking about whatever’s trending, so posting about what’s hot can get you more clicks, views, and comments.
Curious – These days, new social media-related tools, startups, and websites are always sprouting up. And while you may not need all of the hottest tools in your strategy at the moment, it wouldn’t hurt to give them a try at least once. When you’re working in social media, you need to develop a natural curiosity towards other apps, websites or companies. You have to be willing to try new things because you never know if that latest app can actually add value to your campaign. Besides, if a tool turns out to be the next big thing, wouldn’t you want to be one of the early adopters who tried it first?
Patient – If you’re going to work in this industry, you need to recognize that the rewards aren’t instant. Organically growing your fan base doesn’t happen overnight, and reaping the results of your social media campaign takes time. Great social media mangers are patient, and continue with their duties even if they aren’t seeing a landslide of results yet. Being consistent with posts and conversations and keeping at them even when you’re not seeing results is the key to gaining and sustaining your fan base.
Must NOT be such as hard seller – As a social media manager, you need to recognize that social media isn’t about the “hard sells”. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. Don’t be one of those pushy sales people when you’re on Facebook or Twitter. Remember that you’re on social networks to socialize, not to sell, so when talking to prospective customers and existing fans, it’s best to keep your conversations light instead of trying to persuade them to buy your products or services. While it’s okay to plug your products or services every now and then, for the most part, you should be using social media to make friends and not customers.
Must NOT be self-absorbed – One of the main reasons why many community managers fail on social media is because they’re too self-absorbed for their own good. Don’t be one of those people. Don’t use social media to just talk about YOU and how awesome YOU are. Instead, use it to shed the spotlight on fans or customers. Instead of just posting about you or your company, show fans what’s in it for THEM. They’ll only pay attention to you when they see how you can add value to their lives.
Now it’s your turn. What other traits should social media managers have in order to succeed? Share your thoughts below!
Image credit: kikemb on Flickr