The most important skills for social media managers (and the tools to help you get there)
1. Content Writing
Whether you’re writing Instagram posts or Pinterest captions, words matter. Good writing can increase engagement, extend your organic reach, and help social media managers create an unforgettable brand.
Think of some brands with strong social media followings like All Birds, Old Spice, Taco Bell. Love these brands or hate them, a distinct writing style is a part of why they gained a following online.
But fear not! If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, some tools can help. One of the favorites is the Hemingway App, that helps eliminate extra words and get straight to the point.
And while there’s no substitute for good, old-fashioned posts, creating a brand style guide may also help.
2. Search Engine Optimization SEO
Understanding the connection between search engine optimization (SEO) and social media reach can be a bit confusing. Google suggests that social signals do not overtly influence your SEO rankings, but the full picture is more complicated.
Contents that have a high social reach and get lots of shares, likes, and comments are likely going to get similar engagement metrics that will be read by Google’s algorithm and positively impact your rankings. This is a correlation rather than causation, so while you don’t want to build your social media plan around SEO, it’s a good idea to be aware of the common mistakes that social media managers often make.
Luckily, there are some great SEO tools in the market. LSI Graph will identify relevant keywords and phrases according to what’s been searched on Google along with your primary keyword. This comes in handy if you’re looking for related topics to write about.
Still, if you feel overwhelmed by the intricacies of SEO, remember that it’s all about creating great content that people will like and share.
3. Customer service
I know I hate waiting on hold, so I often take to social media to engage with brands or air my complaints. And I’m not alone. According to a study, 67 percent of consumers use social media to ask specific questions or find help resolving problems. That’s huge!
So a social media manager needs to have some basic customer service skills like:
- Be timely. Over 72% of people who tweet them complain, expect a response within 1 hour.
- • Understand how to find and monitor conversations relevant to your business. (Tools like Hoot suite and Talk walker allow you to set up social media streams that monitor conversations and keywords across several social networks.)
- • Don’t wait for a complaint. Be proactive when it comes to engaging your followers.
It helps consumers love brands who respond to them. A customer who enjoys a service experience with a brand on social that is nearly three times as likely to recommend the brand to their friends.
So being active when it comes to customer service helps the other half of a social media manager’s job—connecting with consumers to build brand awareness.
The bottom line? The job of a social media manager is also to be a community manager, so acing customer service is a win-win for your customers and your business.
4. Design and photo editing
Because of the smartphones that we all carry in our pockets, anyone can be a photographer now. That’s why it’s more important for a social media manager to have a good eye for design and the ability to recognize and create images that are on-brand.
After all, 65% of people remember a message when it’s accompanied by an image and only 10 percent when it’s not.
It's always not necessary for you to have a degree in graphic design to create awesome visual content for your social feeds. As a starting point, tons of sites offer free stock photography and there are lots of other tools to help with data visualization, fonts, and much more.
Hootsuite Enhance is a free tool used for remembering optimal image sizes for every different social network and can help to automatically crop and store images for all your social media accounts. Easy peasy.
5. Analytics and reporting
Business is a result-driven, well, business. So being able to prove a return on investment is a must-have skill required by social media managers.
With a tool like Hootsuite Impact, social media managers can precisely measure the ROI of social media across paid, owned and earned social channels. The tool connects the existing analytics systems so you can integrate social data with the rest of your business metrics. It also makes it easy to produce executive reports and deliver plain-language recommendations to optimize your social media strategy.
Understanding how to prove and improving return on investment is also a huge selling point when it comes to landing a job as a social media manager.
6. Video creation
Video content is unquestionably an important way to reach your audience.
Over 500 million people are watching videos on Facebook every day, according to Cisco’s research of global IP video traffic. And four years from now, video content is poised to account for 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic.
The bottom line? Social media managers need the skill to create compelling content for different platforms like Instagram Stories, Facebook Live broadcasts, and Snapchat Stories. And with all these options, you’ll also need to know how to optimize videos for all of your different social media channels.
A tool like Animoto can help beginners create compelling video content. But check the rest of our social video toolkit for even more tools. Did I just hear someone say, Spielberg?
7. Paid social basics
Learning the relationship between organic and paid social is a huge asset for a social media manager. After all, one of the most powerful and important marketing tools at your disposal is your organic social presence.
You’ve got a focus group at your fingertips that aren’t afraid to let you know when they like something and when they don’t. And this lets you test new ideas and products, and ultimately put your advertising money behind the best one.
So whether you’re running a paid social advertising campaign or just trying to figure out which posts to promote, understanding how you can use social ads to increase your reach or boost your organic ads is a very powerful skill needed by social media marketing professionals.
You might also want to invest in a tool like Ad Espresso, which lets you create and test hundreds of ads in minutes. You’ll never have to wonder if a different headline or photo might have done all the difference in your campaign.
8. Research and planning
If you thought research skills have stopped but once being useful after you left high school, think again. After all, you can’t tailor content to your audience if you don’t know who they are or what they want.
Plus, as a social marketer and expert, your reputation is on the line. Make sure that all your data and ideas come from credible sources.
We’ve got some tips and tricks that’ll make it easier to find results you can trust. But, when it comes to online searches, the best tool, or at least the best place to start, is learning how to refine your results. This will not only save you time but make your results more accurate.
The other half of research is understanding how your findings fit into a larger plan both for your social media accounts and for your business as a whole.
This may seem pretty obvious, but things move fast in the world of social media and sometimes it’s easy to get swept up in the right-this-second. Regular planning will help you keep your eyes on the big picture and safeguard your social media goals aligned with your business goals.