A social media manager is the ultimate jack-of-all-trades. Whether it’s copywriting, providing customer service, or shooting compelling video, social media managers have the skills needed to keep their audience engaged—and their business on top.

I’ve built a list of the top skills social media managers need to master and where to go to hone these talents. By the end of this post, you’ll know:

  • Why video skills are essential (and where to find a toolkit of resources to help you build this skill)
  • A few simple tips for improving your design skills
  • How to improve your ROI tracking and analytics skills with some resources

1. SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an essential skill for many web professionals. Bloggers, web developers, copywriters, and even designers need to take into account how their work will rank in search. Now social media managers need to know it too.

While Twitter had previously blocked Google from indexing tweets from the site, the stance has since softened. Most recently, Google announced they would once again crawl and index tweet data. For more information, see Stone Temple’s guide to Google’s indexing practices.

Google finds content faster if it gets a lot of traction on Twitter. This is important for SEO because the faster you can get your content indexed, the faster you’ll get rewarded through organic traffic to your site.

Social influence can also help boost your rankings. Google will rank your blog posts and website higher if it sees that you are a credible source, and social media influence(relevance, reach, and resonance) is a factor in determining it.

The faster you get your content indexed, the faster you’ll get rewarded with organic traffic to your brand’s website.

2. Customer service

When I have a complaint, the first place I go is to social media. I’m not alone, either. According to a study by J.D. Power, 67 percent of consumers use social media for service requests. Whether this means sending a question over Facebook Messenger or tweeting a complaint, social media is an invaluable resource for customer service.

As a social media manager, your customer service skills may include knowing:

  • How to navigate difficult conversations with customers online
  • When to take conversations offline
  • How to be proactive with your social customer service
  • How to be a brand expert and align with tone of voice
  • How to respond in a timely manner (and manage expectations)
  • How to find and monitor conversations around your brand (via social listening)
  • How to use data to inform future decisions

To boost your own skills, see our post A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Customer Support.

3. Writing

Most social networks inherently involve writing. Even visual networks like Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube require you to write titles and captions. A well-written caption can make a massive difference in the success of your photo. The same can be said of your video title and description.

Learn how to use active verbs to your advantage. With the right words, you can tap into emotion and boost the shareability of your content. For more on perfecting attention-grabbing writing, check out our post How to Write the Best Instagram Captions: Ideas, Tips, and Strategy.

Basic training in writing can also open up other doors for social media professionals. LinkedIn is focused on promoting publishers, blog hybrids like Medium offer new reach, and a well-crafted answer on Quora can gain millions of free views. It’s clear: knowing how to write can extend your reach.

Honing your writing abilities also gives you an advantage when it comes to content sharing. When your business ends up having a day with no new content scheduled to publish on social networks, being able to write your own blog post is a solid asset.

4. Analytics and revenue tracking

Tying social media activities to actual revenue is a necessary skill for marketers.

With a tool like Salesforce, social media professionals can tag all the links they share on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network. These tags act as a starting off point which will later allow you to attribute the leads or revenue gained from anyone who filled out your form, downloaded your app, or bought something from your online store.

When you can attribute revenue back to individual social media messages, you gain valuable insight into what content works for sales purposes.

You also have data which proves your value to your business or organization.

Learning the ins and outs of popular analytics tools like Hootsuite Analytics and Salesforce can really make an impact as you start a new social media job or ramp up the tracking at your existing one.

Learn how to get real-time analytics from your social media networks with this video about Hootsuite Analytics.

5. Photography

These days, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to share nice photos on social media. Knowing the ins and outs of shutter speed techniques or time lapse photography isn’t expected. And social networks are primarily used from mobile devices anyways, which relieves some of the expectation for professional quality photos.

But people still want to see photos that are well-lit and beautifully laid out—and a focus on interesting and shareable subject matter. So, when it comes to photography, a little knowledge goes a long way.

We all use stock images. But, for your regular day-to-day content, you should try using original photos. Check out An Epic Guide For Creating Social Media Visuals for all the tips and tricks you need to create stellar images for your posts.

6. Photoshop

Having the skills to edit and improve photos will help them stand out and increase shareability on social media. Photoshop skills allow you to emphasize the best parts of a photo, add text where appropriate, and make composite images—among countless other benefits.

When you share content to social networks, great visuals help you stand out amongst the flood of information. Photoshop helps you take average photos to the next level.

I recommend the Photoshop tutorials available through Lynda.com. In a few hours of coursework, you’ll learn the basics and know more than the average social media marketer.

7. Design

To complement photography and Photoshop skills, social media managers need basic design proficiency. People remember 65 percent of a message when it’s accompanied by an image and only 10 percent when it’s not. Boost your memorability with not just any image, but one that is backed by thoughtful design.

See what we did there?

Our post Expert Design Tips for Your Social Media Images offers the following tips:

  • Choose color carefully. Ninety percent of snap judgments made about a product can be based on color alone. For best results, align colors with your brand guidelines and voice.
  • Be consistent when it comes to text and typography. Typefaces need to reinforce your brand and should be clear and concise. Consistency helps your audience and customers recognize you right away—boosting brand loyalty.
  • Don’t skimp on space. When there is too much information in one image, it’s easy for the message to get lost. Use negative space (the area that surrounds objects in an image) to help bring balance and define the focus of the visual.

Check out the full post to help take your visuals to the next level.

8. Project management

Whether you work in a large international organization or a local start-up, people across the company are going to come to you first when they want social media content posted on their behalf.

You’re going to need to know how to strategically manage tasks and requests from a variety of individuals across the organization. You will have to act as a brand advocate to establish which post requests align with business objectives and which won’t make the cut.

Working with teams across the business, your project management skills will come into play during campaign launches and company-wide initiatives. You’ll be working with leaders in different departments to figure out the best way social can support these events and campaigns.

9. Video

Your organization may have a talented video team, but the creation of some social media video will be up to you. Social media managers need to know how to create compelling content such as Instagram StoriesFacebook Live broadcasts, and Snapchat Stories. With all the options out there, you’ll also need to know how to optimize video for all of your different social media channels.

Thankfully, you won’t need a ton of expensive equipment. There are many free and inexpensive social video apps and tools that businesses can use to create video content for their social media channels.

Check out our social video toolkit for a complete guide to tools that can help you save time and money.

10. Public speaking

Being a skilled public speaker is something that will come in handy throughout your career. As a social media marketer, you’ll need to be able to present your ideas clearly in order to create real relationships with your audience.

With the popularity of live broadcasting formats on the rise, social media marketers should be comfortable in front of a camera—and a large audience.

If you stumble on your words, can’t organize your thoughts clearly, or get physically uncomfortable (turning red, sweating, shaking, etc.) while speaking in front of people, you might want to seek out opportunities to increase your presentation skills.

Start small—with a presentation to your immediate team, for example—and work your way up to bigger public speaking opportunities like a company-wide meeting or a big Facebook Live broadcast.

For more advice on how to create a broadcast people will want to watch, find out what Hootsuite’s social media team learned in our list of Facebook Live tips.




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