Digital marketing has been around a while now and the role of a social media manager has become a very popular career choice.

But just what is a social media manager, and what do they do, and are there any specific skills needed to be one?

The Social Media Manager Job Description

Usually the role of a social media manager is to lead an organisation’s strategy on social network platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the like, as a means of boosting the visibility of the brand and for customer and client engagement.

This can typically mean developing an overall content marketing strategy, writing good content, looking at analysis metrics, facilitating customer service opportunities and managing specific projects and campaigns.

And while it can be a standalone role, the social media manager can often find their job combined with other communications and marketing responsibilities, especially in small and medium sized businesses.

Check out the snippet from Visualistan’s infographic on the Life of a successful social media manager below and visit the blog to see how the day breaks down into activities (although we’re not sure we’d be up at 6am to update client pages!)

Here’s our rundown on the Top 10 Skills of a Social Media Manager.

Skill Number 1  – Good Time Management

It doesn’t matter if you’re managing one brand or a dozen, looking after posting to a blog or multiple social channels, you have to be able to manage both yourself and any team members who might be creating content for you.

You also need to be able to manage “your community” – this means making sure you’re maintaining communications on all social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, and that your Community Services team, if there is one, is on top of passing on queries or complaints they receive via those platforms.

If your brand supports it, adopt a personal tone, speak to people like they’re friends, not just customers, ask them what they’d like to see or where improvements can be made, offer choices for discounts or run campaigns which encouraging the sharing of your brand via a hashtag.

Skill Number 2 – Effective Content Creation

Unless you’ve got a team working for you, then you need to be able to write good copy and spot good visual opportunities for content others will share for you. Having great copy increases your chance of visitor engagement, it draws people in and encourages them to get involved, to share your posts and to click through to your landing pages and website.

The ability to tailor your message down to the core and make sure it’s the right one for each social media platform you’re posting to, is a vital element in harnessing the impact of your engagement, effectiveness and return on investment from social media marketing.

Skill Number 3 – Understanding Of  Analytics

Having skills one and two are irrelevant if you can’t master skill three. Analytics are the thing which tells a social media manager whether what they’re doing is working or not.

A social media manager needs two different types of analytics skills. Firstly, the ability to assess and analyse data from the platforms you use, Twitter or Facebook likes and shares for example. Secondly, the ability to look at conversion metrics like time on site, bounce rate etc, and understand what they’re saying about your post content.

Skill Number 4 – An Eye For Design

Images are essential for platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and even Twitter and Facebook. Social media posts with images are shared more often, on Twitter it can generate 150% more retweets than a text update, Facebook the ratio is 2.3 times more engagement on a post with an image.

You should be able to distinguish between a great and poor design and have at least some basic photography manipulation skills using a photo editing program. Designing and creating visual content is becoming an essential skill for social media managers

Skill Number 5 – Good Communication

Absolutely vital to the role of social media manager is the ability to communicate – whether that’s in person with your team or across the internet by way of social media. A successful social media manager will be able to take a hands-on role and produce copy themselves.

But if the team grows in scale, they also need to be able to delegate to other people. Knowing how to present your ideas and explaining the requirements if someone else is producing copy for social media is vital. Management platforms like Trello can help with monitoring the workload.

Skill Number 6 – People Skills

Customer service can also be a vital part of a social media manager’s role. If you’re the face of your brand on social media, you must have conversational skills and empathy. A great social media manager who works with their organisation’s community is able to ask the right questions to encourage engagement and can answer queries about the product, company or industry.

They will know how to diffuse a tense situation, how to respond and pass on a complaint and how to keep people actively interested in what the organisation is doing.

Skill Number 7 – Knowledge of SEO

This skill is a tricky one because sometimes there’s someone else doing this job as it is a fairly specialist role. However, a good social media manager will have a basic understanding of how the content they produce across all digital channels affects their organisation’s search engine placement.

Although Google has said social signals (likes, shares etc on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc) do not overtly affect your SEO rankings, the company has also said there is a correlation to content ranking well in search and being shared a lot, because it is good content.

Skill Number 8 – Willing To Take Risks

The ability to know when a risk is worth taking is a hallmark of someone who knows their brand and the social media platforms they work on intimately.

You need to know that, while keeping an eye on the data is vitally important, you can also be reactive and creative if the opportunity presents itself. Trending topic you can jump on legitimately with something of interest to your brand’s clients? Go for it!

Skill Number 9 – Knows Their Audience

Tying in with the previous skill – a good social media manager knows their audience. They have created buyer personas to give them insights into the people who follow their brand or their organisation.

They know what content will appeal – and what won’t.

Skill Number 10 – Rolls With The Punches

Social media is a relatively new concept, many organisations still don’t believe it’s effective. A good social media manager will make the most of the skills they’ve got and will acquire ones they don’t so they’re not reliant on anyone else.

Every social media manager needs to learn how to do a lot with a little and how to take the knockbacks.

Click to view our Top 10 Skills graphic.