Traits of a Successful Social Media Manager

World social media networkI recently read a terrific article on Mashable called 14 traits every successful social media manager should have. It reminded me that brilliant social media management is more of a strategic than executional skill. The strategic part of social media is not something delegated to interns when the CEO/President says, “We should do some social media” (Actually enlightened leaders now better understand the power of social media as a genuine strategic communications tool).

There is merit to all 14 traits that are suggested in the article but from my perspective there are 5 traits that stand above all others on the list as follows:

1. General pop culture awareness
Top communications pros are “students of life”. In hiring talent at all levels in my former life as an ad agency head, I always wanted to know their interests (and knowledge) about the world around them. Music, sports, culture, news, etc. Every top social media manager understands culture at large and is on top of what’s happening in the world that minute

2. Editorial skills
The ability to write well is paramount. It is critical to state your ideas crisply whether in short form or longer ones. The ability to write well is not a universal ability.

3. Appreciation of channel diversity
This one is obvious, but each platform has its own nuances and as a result a smart social media manager crafts content that works in the specific platform.

4. Authenticity
A smart social media manager understands how to speak as a person not as the faceless voice of a company. The more authentic the voice, the more it will be heard. Obviously the opposite is true as well.

In addition to the full list of 14, there’s an additional trait that I believe is critical.

5. An eye for the key visual
Words and pictures go together (“like peas and carrots” says, Forrest Gump). In fact a powerful visual needs few words. A smart social media manager is skilled at finding (or creating) key visuals.

Strategic social management is a valuable skill. What traits do you believe are most important?

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