“Hi, my name is Mike and I’m a Social Media Manager”. Sorry for using the name “Mike” if that’s yours. Lol. Sincerely, I have had 3 “Mikes” come up to me with that intro in the last 6 months. To most people, “social media manager” is just another designation at the office which involves posting stuff on the company’s social media platforms and responding to messages.
While such activities are vital in running social assets, social media management is an art no different from writing, journalism, fine art and music. Social media has evolved into a broad field of communication. Just as great communicators rely on their intuition and the gift of holding the audience spellbound, managing a community – any community – on the social media, if it is to be successful, deserves a measure of deliberate strategies and well-timed tactics.
Most importantly, social media managers must be skilled at language usage, understand the social media audience and keep up with trends in the ecosystem in order to function better and delight their followers.
Below, I will touch on just 7 vital skills – or traits if you like – that I believe you should possess or develop as far as social media management is concerned
1. It pays to understand the psychology of your community– A good social media manager in Nigeria must be a good community manager and understand the way followers react and respond to content. This is important as it not only enables you to develop valuable content that connects with your audience but also helps you avoid online friction precipitated by tone-deaf contents.
Even with the best of intentions, it is very easy to commit a faux pas in the Nigerian social media landscape if a piece of content is not well thought-through. The Nigerian social media ecosystem can be very difficult to manage. Great social media managers exhibit a good measure of flexibility as they know when to be funny, sarcastic, informative, and stern.
This is important as it not only enables you to develop valuable content that connects with your audience but also helps you avoid online friction precipitated by tone-deaf contents.
2. Possess good content development skills, beyond just text– Social media pros always advise that human beings process images faster than prose. I totally agree with this. Images, infographics, memes and videos have taken the social web by storm, leaving being text-only content.
As a social media manager, it is important to have access to the numerous free and paid easy-to-use apps available on the web to create and curate smart contents that appeal to the Nigerian audience.
Note that the world over, the attention span of an average web user is so low that it becomes a great responsibility of the social media manager to communicate through socio-centric means rather than in long form textual contents.
3.Be a good social listener– Yes, let this be one of the most important skills to learn. The Nigerian social media landscape is so dynamic that it is so easy to miss out on opportunities to amplify yourself or your brand if you don’t listen well.
Topics trend, news breaks, and conversations reach fever pitch. It is your responsibility to be aware of all these and understand exactly when and how to jump on these opportunities to open up your channels to a larger community.
4.Possess the skills of a marketer – Social selling is the new word-of-mouth. Guess what? It works so good! As a social media manager, you need to sharpen your marketing skills not just in the area of pitching ideas and selling products but also understanding the digital marketing terrain and how to successfully advertise on channels like facebook, twitter, and Instagram.
You also need to know how to target your customers and stakeholders, develop budgets for campaigns and advertise on these channels. Note that the ad algorithms of most of these channels are frequently tweaked.
Whether you are marketing products and services on these platforms or just engaging in non-profit conversations, you need to keep up with trends to optimize usage.
5.Be analytical– As a social media manager, it is very important to understand success metrics on social media and use it to tweak activities and fine-tune strategies.
Social media analytics helps to measure your efforts, content quality, and growth. You, therefore, need to assess these metrics per platform in order to grade your efforts.
6. You need great customer service skills– Managing a community online requires patience, decorum, and emotional intelligence. It is even harder in Nigeria since the majority of citizens actively use platforms such as twitter and facebook to make inquiries and vet their perceptions.
As a professional social media manager, you cannot afford to taint your brand’s reputation by going on a “cursing contest” or trolling your community members. You need to be experienced enough to stay calm in the middle of a stormy relationship with your followers.
Trust me, such moments will come and it will be left to you to handle it professionally and protect your brand’s reputation.
7.Be a geek – There are numerous digital apps and platforms, paid and free, on the web that social professionals in all fields utilize to stay efficient, save time and make a measurable impact.
As a social media manager, it is your responsibility to keep an ear on the ground for such digital tools in your field. You would agree with me that activities such as video production, image editing, content scheduling, reputation management, social monitoring e.t.c would have been a lot harder if not for great apps we have access to.
It is, therefore, important to always stay informed about innovations in social tech so as to enable you to utilize these platforms optimally.