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10 Essential Traits of a Social Media Manager

Dec/Wed | Category: theIdeas | 


Over a cup of coffee with Keith Pape of a-p studios yesterday, a discussion emerged about how hard it can be for companies to find someone reliable out there who can become the “owner” of their social media efforts.  Today a simple Google search for “social media consultant” brings back more than 2 million hits and feel confident saying, most of these people are not qualified – not even close.  Most of them are like this guy – selling social media snake oil to the highest bidder.


So we’re left with a dilemma – how do you find someone reliable to run your social media?  Well, to really answer that question, I think you first have to look at the traits this person should have:


1.  Ability to write - Can they make a point, craft a story, engage you with their written communication both in short form (140 characters or less) and long form – like a blog. 

2.  Ability to use a basic still and video camera - this may seem basic, but we’ve been at this a long time and can say without reservation that photos and videos draw people in – it’s what makes them want to look.  So, your person should be able to operate these and upload them to a website. 

3.  Utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube - they need to at least have a working knowledge of these and have interest in them.  If they say, “I just don’t get Twitter” or “I’m morally against Facebook” then they may not be the best person for the job. 

4.  Love of conversation - they’re going to be talking to people all day on your behalf, so make sure they like people and like to talk with them and learn about them.

5.  Passion for your product/brand/industry - this is the one I would say you can’t go without.  1-3 can be taught, but passion is something that can’t be.  They have to embrace what your doing and be excited about sharing that.  This is the type of excitement where having to keep something secret tortures them. 


Once you have found a person(or a few people) that posses those qualities, you need to do your part too.  This means ensuring they are people you can entrust the following to:


6.  Ability to make content decisions:  they need to have the ability to make content decisions so that they can be focused on creating and building – not waiting on approvals.  This can happen within some guidelines but ensure the process is fast and efficient – social media happens in real time.

7.  Access:  Access to people in the company and information needed to answer questions.  Be sure they are comfortable searching out the answers and getting customer inquiries handled efficiently and that the other players in the company understand the need to be responsive to that person.

8.  Clear understanding of business objectives:  make sure they understand the path down which you want your company to travel.  If it’s sales focused, they can create content to drive people to product sites.  If it’s awareness they may focus more on general content about your brand.  You need to have the vision to guide them though.

9.  Guidelines:  you will need to provide clear guidelines on appropriate content and inappropriate content.  They need to understand what’s sharable information and what needs to be kept within company walls. 

10.  Tools:  empower them with the time to learn about social media and a budget to get the tools they will need – monitoring tools, subscriptions, etc.  (these can range in price, but as little as $200 per month can cover it and make your new staffer much more efficient).  Social media is one of the fastest growing tool sets ever and staying on top of it requires dedicated time each day.  Allot a budget so that they can attend at least 3-4 seminars a year to stay current on trends and generate new ideas.


We always recommend looking within your current employee base first – is there someone that meets these criteria (or most of them) that could be a potential candidate?  Give them a chance.  Sometimes you’ll find your talented and most “in the know” person at your company is the office manager or the receptionist – or even your product manager.  Of course, if you have a marketing team, talk with them.  This might be something they can handle, but still be sure they possess all of the traits above. 


Another thing to consider is a consultant or an agency that can assist you just at the highest level, particularly if this person’s manager has little social media experience themselves.  These consultants come at price, but ensuring you have the right strategy and have a gameplan to work from can potentially allow you to hire someone at a lower salary for the job.  Some consultants (like ourselves) can also be available on an “on call” basis so that if your new social media person has questions they have a place to go for answers and guidance – like an experienced big brother.  Some consultants or agencies offer the full-service approach too, but it’s not something we recommend.  It’s very difficult for someone outside your company to be fully dedicated to knowing all about you and everything your doing and maintaining excitement for it when they are likely managing several other accounts simultaneously.  It’s a model some have found success with, but it isn’t always easy to keep these outsiders informed.


That should help get you started finding or creating your own social media guru to passionately share your brand with the digital world.  What other traits would you recommend for someone looking for a social media manager? 

Category: theIdeas

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