10 Things Every Social Media Manager Needs

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Behind every social media success story is a manager with the following 10 essentials. From purchased tools to innate personality traits, here are the things every social media manager needs in his or her arsenal to conquer the ever-evolving social landscape.

Liz Borcik
Liz Borcik

Time to be active in the industry. Staying on top of trends means carving out time to research hot industry topics, audience insights and popular platforms. Tools like Hashtag Scout, which allows you to find trending Twitter hashtags, can be a valuable time saver.

An eye for strategic and aesthetic photography. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for the brain to decode text, so it’s no wonder why images and videos dominate social media. It’s imperative to create branded visual content to communicate your message. There are plenty of great photo apps at your disposal designed to enhance photos with on-brand filters and settings. Our favorite industry go-to apps are Afterlight, Snapseed and VSCO Cam.

Good customer-service skills. Customer service is a key component of every social media manager’s job, and it is therefore essential to create a process for responding to customers’ positive and negative comments. Amplifying positive comments allows you to capitalize on a valuable marketing opportunity. Always address negative comments publicly in a diplomatic and friendly tone, while driving the resolution to a private space through direct messaging.

A reliable mobile device. The social conversation doesn’t end when you leave your office, so it’s essential to have access to social channels at all times. You never know when you may need to put out a customer-service fire or make a brand statement. Enable push notifications or predetermined alerts to do the monitoring for you.

Social listening tools. These tools allow you to monitor a brand’s online presence, as well as gain insight into top industry influencers, competitors and customers. Today more than ever they’re needed to organize, monitor and scale the growing pool of social media users, so take care when choosing the right tool to reach your goals.

Good judgment. Sometimes your own common sense and quick wit are the most helpful tools. After all, you can’t teach a computer to understand the nuances of your brand’s audience or the sensitivities and cultures you might be dealing with.

A second pair of eyes. No matter how advanced your writing skills are or how quickly the deadline is approaching, it is always important to have a proofreader review your work before content goes live. A fresh set of eyes can find an overlooked mistake or provide feedback on the effectiveness of your message.

An understanding of platform diversity. Be aware of your brand’s audience across various social channels. For example, your brand may have a great consumer following on Facebook, but if you want to also reach a B2B audience, Twitter might be a better channel for those conversations. Create unique content for each platform instead of publishing the same content on all of them.

Event aids. Create a checklist of the essential items that aid in carrying out a successful event. Generate buzz by creating an event hashtag that allows attendees to stay informed and encourages them to interact with one another. Live-stream the event and use social media to engage with consumers before, during and after the event. And, when you’re onsite, don’t forget your charger.

Authenticity. As a social media manager, you’ll likely work with brands in a variety of industries. As you gather audience insights, tailor your content to resonate with their unique interests and values. Brand personality is a powerful thing, and you want yours to respectfully disrupt the clutter—not add to it.

Being a social media manager comes with the complex task of representing brands in a constantly changing digital space. With these 10 items in your toolbox, you’re equipped to rise to any challenge in a respectable, on-brand and eye-catching way.

Liz Borcik is the social media supervisor at Planit, a strategic, digitally minded brand agency where she oversees the social media team and collaborates closely with public relations, digital design and other departments to develop and drive effective social media campaigns for clients.