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What’s the New Social Media Skill Set?

Authors: Gini Roberts Gini Roberts
Posted Under: Social Media
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Hire the wrong social media manager, and your business might be in trouble. Learn the most important traits and skills to look for when hiring a social media manager.


  • The importance of a top-notch social media manager is growing as social’s role in marketing continues to expand.
  • A great social media manager is naturally curious, adaptable, and teachable.
  • Great social media managers should also have experience with customer service, multimedia production, and analytics.

Christin: Get this hire wrong, and your business might be in trouble. Hi, I’m Christin Kardos, and I’m the Community Manager at Convince & Convert, and today I wanted to talk about some of the really important traits and skills for a good social media manager.

Recently, Jay Baer wrote a blog post that talked about how he thinks that agencies are about to experience a big boom due to the sheer number and variety of skills that a good social media manager might have today. The digital landscape is changing, along with customers’ consumption preferences. To be successful, businesses and their social media reps will have to stay in lockstep with these changes and continue to bring value to their customers and their leads. The days where lobbing out tweets and posts of your own content, magically resulting in sales, those are over. You also have to know what to do in the event something goes wrong. And you can’t do any of this if you don’t have the right philosophy and the right social media professional, or professionals, representing you.

If you’re a business owner or a decision maker, and you’re staffing for social media management, you’re going to need to carefully recruit and vet candidates for certain traits and skills that will help your business. Buffer has a recent post outlining what some of these are, and I want to talk through them just a little bit today.

Number one, you preferably want to hire someone who’s naturally curious. He or she needs to be willing to ask, “Why?” or, “What now?” or, “How can we help?” when dealing with customers or looking for ways to build your brand. Second, teachability and adaptability are also very key. The pace of content and the rate at which new platforms and technologies are emerging has been never been faster. So ultimately, it doesn’t even matter how much you know today or how great you are on a social platform. It’s far more important to be able to learn, to successfully navigate new platforms, new tools, as they become relevant to your customer.

So obviously, curiosity and teachability and adaptability are important, but those are more inherent traits. They’re not really skills. So the third thing that I would say is really important is to look to hire someone who has some skill with multimedia. Now we’re getting into skills that are actually learned and honed over time, but this one is important. Your social media manager is really going to have to know how to work with images, graphics, multimedia, to actually convey your message in different ways on different platforms. He or she might need to be able to make a video like this one. There are a lot of tools and resources out there that make this much easier for us today than it would have been in the past, but there’s still an amount of skill required, involved just to use those tools.

The fourth thing I would look for is skill and experience in customer service because that is utterly important to your social media efforts. Social media is much more for advocacy and awareness than it is for sales. So you need someone who really knows how to take care of your customer, someone who knows how to not only answer questions, but to ask questions and to read into and dig into things that are not said.

And finally, my number five top skill for a good social media manager today is analytics. A social media manager really needs to know far beyond just how to measure likes and clicks and that sort of thing, but to really get into the data and to understand what things mean and how to make recommendations based off of what they’re seeing in those numbers.

If you’re a business owner or a decision maker, you really should try to recruit and vet your candidates for social media management using these traits and these skills. They’ll be really important for your business. And if you’re a social media manager, or you’re aspiring to be one, then you might want to lean in to your existing curiosity and adaptability sides, and then also look at ways to strengthen your muscles with things like graphics and video. Also look for opportunities to go above and beyond with your current customers and think about your own experience as a customer, and keep those ideas and what was great and what was terrible really close for future reference. And if you’re not quite qualified to be hired for these things yet, don’t be afraid to volunteer. That’s actually how I got started.

So with that, let me ask a question: If you could only ask a candidate for a social media manager position one question, what would that be? Or if you are the candidate, what would be the one question you would ask a potential employer? Let me know your questions in the comments, and we will see you next week.

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