Anyone can do social media marketing, right? Well, not quite.

In the ever-changing world of social media, there are consistent skills you will need if you are going to work year after year as a social media manager. Here are the top skills we think are necessary to succeed in the social world:

Social media manager skills

1. The ability to relate to others.

Social media may be done on a computer or your phone, but the core values of human relationships still hold true. When you focus on relating to others, you’ll notice that your social media ads will be more successful.

People who see your photos on Instagram or ads on Facebook will quickly associate their 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 consider to be especially quirky, others may not relate to that. You’ll lose the views, clicks, and purchases you need.

2. Strong communication skills.

Just like in normal conversation, looking people in the eyes and speaking clearly is super important on social media. Don’t miss the mark by trying to be too clever with your message. Speak clearly, use correct spelling and grammar (always TRIPLE check!), and relay your message clearly.

Write like you talk. Think about how you would explain your product or service to a friend. That’s how your customer wants you to talk to them! I usually read my writing out loud quietly to make sure it sounds right. It might make you sound crazy, but #worthit.

3. Have patience with the process.

Patience is a hard one for a lot of people. Social media takes time! You probably won’t become Insta-famous overnight, so don’t get down on yourself when you don’t see results from your organic efforts in two, three, or even six months!

An awesome organic 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 to 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, Linkedin, Snapchat, etc.

There is a ton to do! But don’t just trust your social media to the nearest teenager just because they’re young they use social media. Make sure you look at some of the profiles they’re hopefully already managing. If you want them to run ads, ask about their experience with social media ads.

Using social media does not make someone qualified to run social media ads.

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 will evolve as years pass, but it’s not going anywhere. Making sure your company is active in that process will ensure you’re not left behind.

5. Knowing how and when to show empathy.

Global pandemics, elections, social issues… you want to participate in the discussion. It’s 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 in the short term, your overall long-term brand and reputation could suffer.

Be involved without getting involved.

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 credibility with them. The more credibility you gain with them, the more likely they will think of you when they need a cleaning.

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 does have the ability to transcend the screen and translate to the readers. Caring about the things you talk about goes a long way.

We’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.

8. Flexibility.

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 9:05 am. One day it happens at lunch, and the next day it happens at dinner, and the day after that it might not take place at all!

Be aware of exciting 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 judgment is vital to your #socialsurvival. You know your business and your audience better than anyone, so don’t do it if you don’t think it’s right because nine times out of ten, it probably isn’t.

10. The ability to persuade others.

Everyone loves a good salesperson, right? I mean, don’t we love being schmoozed into thinking we have to have whatever that person is selling…?

Okay, clearly that’s not the case.

But it is important to have good persuasive skills. You persuade people to your product or service by showing them how it fits their specific individual needs, and social media is perfect for that. I can’t tell you how many beauty/home/cooking products I’ve bought because someone I trust said, “You’ve GOT to have this.”

11. The ability to keep an open mind.

If people are commenting on ads and posts, even if the comments aren’t quite on par with what you’d hope, you should be responding. People want to know you’re listening. 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 valuable to you.

Value and trust bring you two steps closer to a purchase.

12. A great sense of humor.

Humor is a no-brainer. Being funny is one of the best skills you can have on social media. Ahem, Wendy’s tweets.

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. You can 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. Probably. Hopefully. You’ll be okay either way.

13. Know your audience.

There are no more sacred words in social media than “know your audience.” This is the essence of all things social.

A good example is knowing your industry. Where correct grammar and spelling might be important to some industries; other industries 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.

14. Honesty.

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 didn’t do. And don’t freeboot, 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 in social media when we 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!

You see that on Twitter from time to time. A brand will use a trending hashtag to get on the trending feed, but their tweet and brand have nothing to do with the hashtag. Just be aware of what you’re posting.

16. Proactive problem-solving.

Beat your worst critics to the punch by being proactive with problem-solving on social media. Your social media profiles 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. Be social so you have control over the discussion about your brand.

17. Good manners.

Now we all know this is the case, but just to reiterate the point: have good manners on social media. Or as Ellen would say, “Be kind to one another.” There’s no place for rude or inappropriate posts and content; they will provide zero benefits to you or your brand. Just be nice.

What did we miss? Comment any thoughts below!