In the ever changing world of social media, there will always remain some constants when it comes to managing a social media profile. Especially when it comes to managing a social media profile for a business. Here are the top social skills we think are necessary to succeed in the social world:
1. The ability to relate to others.
Social media may be done on a computer or some remote device, but the core values of human relationships still hold true. By striving to relate to others, you’ll notice that your social engagement will increase. People who see your photos on Instagram or tweets on Twitter will quickly associate their own feelings with the message you’re conveying and will engage with it accordingly. When you’re thinking too outside the box, or trying to share something that you may think is especially quirky, others won’t be able to relate to that and you’ll lose the engagement you so desperately need.
2. Strong communication skills.
? People are people so why should it be ?, that you and I should think sometimes so awkwardly. Just like in normal conversation, looking people in the eyes when talking and speaking with good volume/intonations apply to your social media updates as well. Don’t miss the mark by trying to be too clever with your message. Speak clearly, use correct spelling and grammar (HUGE!), and relay your message clearly. Being awkward on social media will lose engagement and thus lose customers. Use strong communication skills on social media and the results will speak for themselves (tweet this).
3. Patience with the process.
This is a hard one for a lot of people on social media. Social media takes time! You don’t become insta-famous overnight, so don’t get down on yourself when you don’t see results from your efforts in two, three, or even six months! An awesome social presence is earned, not bought. So stay consistent, stay focused, and stay on point and you will eventually reap the rewards.
4. The ability to trust others with your social media.
Now be careful: sometimes turning over the reigns on your social media account is the exact thing you should not do. But for many businesses, there just isn’t enough time in the day to stay on top of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, Snapchat, etc. There is a ton to do! But don’t just trust your social media to the nearest millennial because they’re young and are on social media. Make sure you look at some of the profiles they’re hopefully already managing, or at least their personal social profiles to make sure they’re not being too obnoxious, overbearing, or sending selfies every 5 minutes (amongst other things).
Having a great social media management team can take the burden off your staff, or yourself, and allow your online presence to flourish. Social media may evolve as years past, but it’s definitely not going anywhere. Making sure you or your company is active in that process will assure you’re not left behind in the madness!
5. Knowing how and when to show empathy.
Global disasters, sadness strikes, people are hurt and you want to participate in the social discussion. Totally an awesome thing to do, but be tactful about it. If there are two sides to the issue, be safe on your business profiles and don’t take a side while sharing your compassion to those involved. Taking sides will divide your followers. Now, many readers might disagree and say just the opposite: that taking a side will sometimes propel you right into the social media spotlight! And while yes, this can be true on the short term, your overall long term social engagement will suffer. Be involved without getting involved (tweet this). Tricky, but true.
6. Active listening skills.
Social media is all about getting the attention of your audience, and what better way than to get their attention than by giving them exactly what they want? Pay attention to the interests of your audience and talk about interests even if they’re not directly correlated with your business goals. A dentist excited about sharing a photo of the new ice cream parlor around the corner may not seem ideal, but if it’s something your audience (or potential audience) would love to know about then you have just gained an “impression” with them. The more impressions the better when it comes to converting social media to a sale, so we want to get those up as high as possible.
7. Genuine interest in others.
There’s a fine line between sharing something because you want to be part of a discussion, and actually caring and being involved in the discussion. Believe it or not, if you’re personable and give a voice to your posts and shares on social media, your emotion really does have the ability to transcend the screen and translate to the readers. Actually caring about the things you talk about goes a long way. I’ve always said the best kind of content is from the heart, and if your social content is from the heart, you’ll know it and your readers will too.
Don’t be so regimented with social media that it loses it’s fun. Social media is all about just letting your story echo to those who are listening. Your story doesn’t happen every day at 9:05am. One day it happens at lunch and the next day it happens at dinner, and the day after that it might not happen at all! Be aware of interesting moments or ideas that come to you throughout the day, and then capture them when they happen. Being flexible with your social media plan allows you to strike when the iron is hot instead of forcing the idea into a perfectly scheduled time slot.
9. Good judgment.
DO NOT jump on the latest social media trend just because everyone else is doing it. (Yes, I sound like my mom right now, but it’s true.) Using good judgement is vital to your #socialsurvival (tweet this). You know your business and your audience better than anyone, so don’t do it if you don’t think it’s right because 9 times out of 10, it probably isn’t.
10. The ability to persuade others.
Now everyone loves a good salesman, right? I mean, don’t we love being schmoozed into thinking we have to have whatever that person is selling…? Ok, clearly that’s not the case. But someone with good persuasive skills doesn’t come across like that. You persuade people to your interests by showing them how it fits their specific individual needs, and social media is perfect for that. I can’t tell you how many drone videos I’ve watched that have made me think, “that’s exactly what I need! I gotta have it! (I have yet to actually buy a full size drone, despite the incredible need I feel to own one. I do have a couple of these bad boys, though, and if I had an affiliate link I’d put it here since I’ve just persuaded you to own one, too.)
11. The ability to keep an open mind.
Potential engagement is often lost in the comments. If people are commenting, even if the comments aren’t quite on par with what you’d hope, you should definitely be responding. Sometimes people don’t engage with you because people don’t think they’re actually being listened to. When you engage with those that may sometimes think differently than you, the likelihood of everyone else commenting will also increase as they will feel that their input is actually important to you.
12. A great sense of humor.
This is a no-brainer. Being funny is an awesome social media skill to have. If you can dial in just the right amount of “funny” on your social media, your page will flourish. It can sometimes be difficult to do, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be funny off-line as well. You can easily follow other funny people and see what they do, then replicate it as best you can. Try, try and try again and eventually you will succeed. Either that or you’ll fail miserably which could also be funny… just messin’.
13. Knowing your audience.
There is no truer words in social media than “Knowing your audience”. This is the essence to all things social. When we discussed this at our Social Media Meetup, a regular attendee, Marilyn, pointed out that a lot of the points we’re discussing in this exact article can change based on your audience. Her example was that where correct grammar and spelling may be important to some industries, there are some industries that thrive on using their own vernacular or slang. By knowing your audience, and the things that interest them, the rest of the points in this article will come into focus.
You won’t get by for long being dishonest on your social profiles. Don’t tout having a larger company than you really might have or act like you did something that you really didn’t do. A big one right now is freebooting, where you take the content of someone else and repurpose it as if it were your own. Be honest with your social media.
15. Awareness of syntax and context.
Sometimes we get caught up in the passion of things and participate with social media when we really aren’t quite sure what exactly is going on. Just because you see a new hashtag trending and you want to be with the “cool kids” and hashtag it too, doesn’t mean you should! Tamara at our meetup mentioned the Digiorno’s fiasco during a domestic violence awareness campaign using hashtag #WhyIStayed. They clearly didn’t understand the context of the hashtag or else they probably would have never posted this tweet:
16. Proactive problem solving.
Beat your worst critics to the punch by being proactive with problem solving on social media. Your social media can be your biggest asset when it comes to sharing your point of view. Imagine a product recall. You are getting flack from all directions and everyone is waiting to hear from the source on the matter. Where do they listen? Social media. While looking around, I noticed an interesting thing with Blue Bell ice cream. Their social media presence was waaaay sub-par prior to their March 13th announcement of their massive product recall. Since making the announcement you can tell that their social media has been the main way they have communicated with their often still-loyal following. Be social so that you have control over the discussion when it comes to your brand solving issues.
17. Good manners.
Now we all know this is the case, but just to re-iterate the point: have good manners on social media. Or as Ellen would say, “Be kind to one another”. There’s really no place for rude or inappropriate posts and content, they will provide zero benefit to you or your brand.