New technology is one of the factors that drive innovation and this is gradually happening in Nigeria even among people who think Social Media will fizzle out with time. Advent of a new technology will raise new leaders, open up more opportunities, and command new level of skills and resources. The gradual entry of Social Media is not different; organizations and businesses are coming to realize the need for a new set of emerging work skills that require the consistent monitoring, promotion and engagement of fans and consumers about brands, products and services on the numerous social media platforms.
What does it take to become a great community/social media manager? What skill sets will make you the ideal candidate when your company decides to begin engaging their customers online? What becomes important to look for especially in a space where experience may not count for much in a field so new? What do we check when you need to get someone on board to manage your social media efforts? What skill sets do you need to quickly become the social media face of your organization?
1. Excellent Communication and Writing Skills
Great communication skills are non-negotiable especially when the manager will be communicating as the voice of the brand. The ability to be able to string words together and communicate clearly without ambiguity and misconception is especially necessary when in the social media space is an absolute necessity for success.
A good sense of charm and wit might also get the fans developing a sense of connectedness with your brand. “To me, someone with a good sense of wit and charm in their writing is appealing. Some of the best brands in social media have that combination and it’s attractive to users,” says Jonathan Sexton, CEO, Socialgladiator.com
It will be easy to make this transition if you have a background in brand management, marketing, public relations and journalism. Creative wordsmiths are an excellent resource for your Facebook page.
2. Temperate (Emotional Intelligence)
Social media engagement is not about communicating; it is about listening them communication. The ability to manage different personalities is not necessary, it is critical. Emotional intelligence is the ability to, not just become self aware but to also be able to relate and manage other people’s perceptions and emotions. I had written about dealing with online social media attacks and the example of the rash comments made by the person managing Nestle international’s Facebook page led to a great harvest of attacks. This is becoming very important in Nigeria. The ability to also be able to process information flying around the company, industry, or product will also help garner enough knowledge and solve consumer/fans communication challenges.
3. Strong Personal Network (Social Skills)
The ability to be social on a social network says a lot for itself isn’t it? Social skills can’t be taught but it can be developed. A social media connectedness is an incredible asset especially when adding corporate blogging, Twitting or Facebooking to their job description. People who are already active in their social media sphere will gradually find themselves being invited to manage or blog for the web.
A strong personal network will also add value to the job of a social media manager. This will help the organisation leverage on his/her connections to generate buzz around the messages that is to be communicated.
Working well with others on the business and to be able to liaise with other departments is an incredible asset that may count especially when the individual needs to be abreast of events and issues in other departments. That individual must be able to hit the ground running and is a great team worker. Though the person will be communicating online, interpersonal skills will play reflect greatly in their day-to-day activities.
4. Web Enthusiast
A huge dose of enthusiasm about the web and social media trends is an absolute necessity in helping any community manager, you don’t really have to be a techie, you only need to be able to identify and use the daily tools and techniques that make coordinating and engaging though social media platforms effective.
Let me warn that the high degrees and qualifications in Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism and Brand Management may not count greatly when it comes to online engagement. Of course, why pick someone who wants to feel his way through the web to manage your brand on social media. Lesser effort will be required to monitor results and updates when the person is a passionate follower of the web. There are so many new developments each moment that it requires someone enthusiastic to meet up with the trends and interests.
An enthusiastic person will generally have a steep learning curve. The ability to be able to unlearn, learn and relearn is important is important in adapting well in the rapidly changing world of social media.
5. Digital Presence
Part of values brought into the job description of a social media manager apart from excellent communication skills is a strong presence on the internet. Why would I entrust a brand into your hands when you cannot remember when last you updated your Facebook page? People who manage brands must have an online presence and a voice of their own so as to be able to leverage on their experience in engaging and gaining the attention of others.
6. Use/ Manage Multiple Social Media Platforms
If you must succeed at this, the ability to manage multiple platforms is key. Apart from the basic ability to manage different social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), an effective Community manger should also have the ability to manage social media aggregators (e.g Tweetdeck, Twib, Hootsuite e.t.c.). This is also different from specialized or bespoke marketing management platforms apart used by different organisations. One of the best indicators that a community manager can be effective is the ability to manage his/her own website/blog.
Excellent community managers are noticeable over time – they can multi-task, multi-monitor and are multi-skilled in managing brands over various stages of engagement.
7. Brand evangelist
Above all you do not only just need people with the skills and attitude, you need brand evangelists. Great Community managers are not only great at what they do, the love the brands they represent. Those who as bloggers for events and competitions will tell you the chemistry that exists between them and the people that communicates with them as brands. Once the community manager does not connect with the passion brand loyalists feel for the brand, the core of objective for consumer engagement will be lost.
Loving the product is not only the major point; you must also understand the perceptions and pains of a user. This helps the manager when dealing with complaints and challenges or how else will you be able to empathize with a brand consumer when you have no idea of the challenges of using the product.
Community management is a new job description that may not require strict educational background and a long term business experience. Customers are evolving and choices are becoming more varied. Your brand needs a face.