The job of a social media manager is constantly changing, one minute you’re marketing a new product and the next you’re brushing up on your customer service skills, providing help and advice to customers. Whether you, a team member or an outsourced team manages your accounts, it’s important that the right skills are there.

These 6 skills are essential to create a successful social media channel and can be used as a good list of what to look for when hiring a new social media manager or team.

1. SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential skill for ensuring your site is ranked in Google’s search results and social influence can help boost your rankings. Google will rank your blog and website higher if it can see that you’re a credible source and social sites including Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are a determining factor in proving that.

2. Sales & Customer service
Nearly 35% of customers prefer using social media as their customer support channel, which means being able to provide a high standard of customer service, in a short digital format quickly is essential. Social media managers should be able to provide solutions for customer enquiries, making sure they feel heard. Great customer service skills include:

• Knowing how to navigate difficult conversations
• Knowing when to take conversations offline
• Being proactive at responding
• Being a brand expert (or knowing who to turn to for help with a tricky question)

3. Copywriting
Writing is an essential skill for all social media managers, and although they don’t need to write page long essays, they should be able to create short attention grabbing copy. Different social sites will have ideal post lengths, with Twitter restricting copy to 140 characters, and this will need to be considered to make sure post performance is at its best.

4. Analytics
It’s important to monitor and report on your social accounts, so you know how they’re performing. Social managers will need to have a good understanding of analytics so they can track performance metrics such as engagement rate, followers and traffic driven to your website, all of which should be measured. Plus, being able to attribute revenue back to individual posts, will mean you gain valuable insight into what content works for your business.

5. Creative skills
A large part of running a successful social channel is down to visual elements including photos, videos and graphics. Those running the channel should have an eye for design and a bonus would be to have Photoshop, photography and video skills. People remember 65% of messages when they’re accompanied by an image (compared to 10% when they’re not) so having the skills to edit or create great visuals, will help them stand out and increase your engagement on social media.

6. Project management
Whether your agency is a large multi-branch business, or a small independent, your social media manager will need to be able to work with different teams and staff across the whole business, to help gather content and updates that might need to be shared online. They’ll need to be organised and able to keep up to date with upcoming events and campaigns, so they know how and when to support them through the social channels.

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