Social media managers are a rare breed. Not only must they be a marketer at heart, they must also be able to do the following:
Speak as different brands multiple times per day, possibly in different tones based on the platform (hello, Sybil.)
Handle all aspects of customer service and funnel questions throughout the organization in a timely manner: this requires a level of professionalism in the workplace as well as strong relationships built and continually nurtured throughout the company.
Gain consumer insights from what may seem like mundane conversations: Each social network is a community of people with interests and likes - a free focus group if used correctly.
Create goals & success metrics
Understand the numbers
Knowing when to shut it down due to an emergency/tragic event and how to handle crises
Translate the brand/marketing message into multiple versions of the message: No one wants to see the same image or hear the same tagline over and over. You'll lose your audience.
Read the crowd
Explain social media to anyone. Anyone.
They must also know the following things, things that they probably never expected to know much about:
- Wildly popular TV shows
- Big sporting events
- Good design & digital design
- Jargon, acronyms, how kids these days talk/communicate
- Their consumer network better than anyone in the company, outside of just the brands they work on. (Does the consumer like ice cream? Do they shop in outlet malls? Do they drive a sports car?)
- More about the product than anyone else, including marketing managers
- Hot products in the market
- New releases of cool gadgets
- Cultural differences
- Newsworthy events
Effective social media managers are marketers, well-read, geeky, trend watchers, know a little about a lot, grammar and spelling advocates, social, comfortable with numbers, quick graphic creators, amateur photographers (or pro!), and are overall a well-rounded individual.