What does it take to be a social media manager?

I’m currently studying for a social media MA, which, certainly for many of us on the course, will hopefully lead to a job as a social media manager.  However, what does that actually mean in practice?

Well, communication seems to be key, whether that is through social media platforms, with clients and stakeholders or with other industry professionals.  Creating and curating content are only one part of the deal; unless you are managing a social media portfolio in a vacumn, professional communication skills, both to sell your knowledge and teach others, are a must.

Of course, a great working knowledge of all the major social media platforms is essential – and that means not just understanding how to post on a site, it also means knowing the analytics to use to gain a better understanding of what works (and doesn’t) with your client or audience.  Having insider knowledge of some of the workaround sites is also good; there are lots of sites, particularly for Facebook and Twitter, which offer instant analysis of your individual post or account – ideal if someone asks you an awkward statistics question in the middle of a meeting!

You also need to have a great eye for graphics – an awful lot of social media nowadays is visual, and if you are going to work in the industry, you will need to have both the conceptual, and the practical, ability to produce outstanding designs which will win your company or client both interaction and exposure.

Perhaps a less thought about, but equally essential skill, is the ability to judge and deliver social customer service.  Any company who is hiring a social media manager is going to have a public face, and said public are going to expect to be treated in a particular way.  Understanding the importance of timely, professional, accurate customer service, and, even more importantly, what to do when things go wrong, are essential skills for this particular role.

So, there you have it – these are just some of the attributes you will need if you want to be the next social media manager – does this sound like the role for you…?


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