Designing a Social Media Superhero

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Posted: Feb 5, 2015

"What are the qualities that make a successful social media manager?"

This is a question that I hear often. Maybe your social media was started by a proactive intern and they’re moving on, or maybe you’ve finally managed to get an FTE for digital communications worked into the budget. Regardless of the situation, recruiting the right talent for the job is critical, but knowing what things to focus on in a candidate can sometimes be tricky, especially if you yourself don’t feel like you “get” social media.

In my experience, these are the kinds of traits you should look for when identifying someone to lead or collaborate on your social media efforts.

Superpower 1: Super Hearing

In each of my blog posts, you might notice a pattern. I mention “listening” in basically all of them. Well, that’s not a coincidence. We’ve gone from the information age to the relationship age with the introduction of social media. We must begin to think about the emergence of social as an opportunity to build authentic relationships with our constituents. As we know, one of the best ways to contribute to and build any strong relationship is through good listening skills.

Superpower 2: Epic Wordsmith

Linguists and communicators unite! People who succeed in social like word games, word associations, and thinking up new ways to get their point across. Let’s face it, language plays a big role in social content, so people need to be effective communicators. They need to get messages across in 140 characters or fewer….hopefully fewer. The messages don’t need to be complex, but they certainly need to stand out from the crowd. Also, it pays to have a sense of humor. Witty and subtle can go a long way to making people want to stick around and pay attention to you.

Superpower 3: Creative Adaption

Thinking about how to most effectively get your message across often comes down to your creative prowess. How familiar are you with photography, imagery, design, video? Having the a large toolbox of skills will help you build a rich experience across your channels and make you more memorable.

Superpower 4: Empathy

If social is about building relationships and being human, you need to be in tune with understanding the needs of others, even anticipating it before they even know they need it. A strong social manager will be patient, because changing cultures to be more responsive to their constituents isn’t as easy as one would hope.

Also, social managers need to have a thick skin. Sometimes people get upset. Social provides an easy (and more anonymous) way to vent those frustrations. People might be more frank in their feedback with you on Facebook, than if they were talking to you on the phone or in person. When you’re on the front lines of that customer support through social, it’s important to not take things too personal. Instead, why not recognize the opportunity to turn that person around? If you really hear their concerns and do what you can (within reason) to solve their problems, you might even be able to turn that frustrated constituent into an advocate. I personally view a social manager’s role as part company representative, part customer advocate.

Superpower 5: Enhanced Intelligence

Let’s face it - these channels are evolving...fast. A person who will thrive in this role should be curious, a bit of a news hound, and a culture wonk. They should be constantly reading and consuming media. That passion will drive people to stay on top of current events, which is important because a lot of great content plays off of what’s going on in the world around us.

Superpower 6: Super Speed

Sometimes things in social can move fast. Successful social managers will be quick on their feet, will call in the right people to help when needed, and will pay attention to the details. Responses should be timely. News events may not happen on a 9-5 schedule, so the social manager must be ready to jump in to the conversation at a moments notice. Package up some of these traits into your social manager, and you’ll find yourself with a strong social superhero ready to take on the world!

 

This article was previously posted on ELGL, where you can find Kim Ervin's monthly column, Digital Storytelling.

Image Credit: JD Hancock | Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Twitter: @kimervin
Kim Ervin is Pyramid’s Senior Social Media Strategist. She develops social media strategies and campaigns which aim to deepen connections between organizations and their communities. When she's not repping Team #WhiteandGold, Kim is likely reading and researching ways to change the world on multiple screens. You can connect with her on Twitter @KimErvin.