“So, what do you do for a living?”
“I run social media for [insert the name of your favorite brand here].”
It sounds like a fantasy to spend most of your time on social media and make a living doing it, but it’s not. Careers in social media management have increased by more than 1,300 percent since 2010, according to Entrepreneur magazine.
Aside from those specific social media positions, it’s difficult to find a job listing in journalism, advertising, public relations, or marketing that doesn’t focus heavily on social media knowledge. And, with social media usage continuing to increase, the need for experts to leverage these platforms for businesses will continue growing.
But just because you’re a Millennial with a Facebook profile who posts selfies on Instagram doesn’t mean you’re cut out for a career as a social media manager. There are certain traits you must possess to be successful in the social media industry.
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Social media managers must be tech savvy.
They must have basic computer skills, proficiency with search engines and an understanding of web navigation. It also is helpful for social media managers to have graphic design skills and knowledge of coding.
Social media managers must have strong personal skills.
The personal skills required for success in social media may be more important than the technical skills. A good social media marketer is personable and able to make conversation and establish a connection with anyone, regardless of their location or background.
Social media managers must understand the industry.
They must understand traditional concepts that drive the way the social media industry runs. This means having a solid foundational knowledge in advertising, journalism, marketing, and public relations. They also must stay up-to-date on changes in the social media industry and with current events.
Social media managers must have great communication skills.
They must be good listeners, have a diverse vocabulary and have strong reading and comprehension skills. They also must have strong writing skills and be able to communicate quickly and effectively on immediate deadlines.
Social media managers must be highly creative.
They must be able to think quickly and creatively to uniquely solve problems or address challenges. They also must be able to channel this creativity to help their clients stand out in the crowded online environment.
Social media managers must be professional.
A lot of communication that happens via social media is unprofessional. This creates problems for organizations and their employees. Social media managers always must be professional, ethical and sensible in their communication. They must understand the importance of word choice and how to communicate tone. And, critically, they must understand how to perform at their most professional when under duress.
Social media managers must have social media experience.
You’re unlikely to get a social media job without a strong personal social media presence. It’s even better if you have experience running social media for a company or organization.
Social media managers must embrace strategy.
They must understand that social media isn’t about just using the tools. Social media managers must help their clients strategically use the appropriate social media tools to reach their audiences most effectively and persuasively.
Social media managers must be patient.
They must have the ability to listen to what the social community wants and needs. Otherwise, it’s too easy to just push content out without effective, strategic interaction.
Social media managers must have strong time management skills.
Social media management is more of a lifestyle than a job. Social media platforms are always on, which means people always are engaging and the social media manager’s job doesn’t stop. Social media managers must have excellent organization and time management skills. Their jobs are quite flexible and often can and will need to be done from a variety of locations at various times.
Social media managers must be adaptable.
Social media platforms develop and change and new ones are introduced. Social media managers must be open to changing tactics as they evolve. They also must be willing to learn about new platforms and the most strategic uses of them.
More than 80 percent of adults report that social media interactions impact their purchase behavior. This has resulted in businesses continually increasing the amount of money they spend on social media engagement. As a result, professional jobs in social media will continue to grow. But being in a certain age group or having personal social media accounts doesn’t qualify you for the job. There are certain traits that you must possess to be successful in the social media industry. It’s time to develop and hone these traits to stay competitive in the job market.