Are you wondering what it REALLY takes to be a social media manager or consultant? Do you have to be a tech wiz? Do you need mad multi-tasking skills? Do you have to be extroverted?
I would say no to all of those. My friend Phyllis Khare and I have trained over 1000 people through our Social Media Manager School and here are some of the traits I see over and over from our fantastic students.
#1 Likes to Learn
I think the number 1 trait that makes a difference is the love (or a deep like) of learning. Social media is always changing and you have to keep learning and investigating what is working now.
Sometimes you have to be a bit of detective when doing research about what your competitors are doing, how a certain platform can work, or how a new tool can help you (rather than be a time-suck).
If you like learning then you can make this career work for you.
#2 Ability to deal (and sometimes wrestle) with technology
Do you have to be a complete tech wiz to do this job? No. But it does help to not be afraid of technology. Know that things aren’t always going to be smooth.
That blog post might get erased, your profile image might not be sized right the first time, you might accidentally post to the wrong account. But if you can take it in stride, learn from it, and move on then you will be successful.
It really helps to have a group that you can bounce ideas off of, get advice from, or at least commiserate with when the tech gods are not kind.
Find a group of like-minded people who can help (hint: we have one with Social Media Manager School 🙂
#3 Likes People
No you don’t have to be an extrovert but you do have to like people and want to help them. In fact, I find that many people in the social media field are actually more introverted.
As a social media manager or consultant you will deal with all kinds of people. If you are an independent consultant, you may find some of your clients to be under a lot of pressure to make their business, their product, or their launch more successful with social media.
It’s your job to educate them, support them, and also set your own boundaries around what you can and can’t provide.
The better you are at communicating with people and approaching every person from a place of kindness the more successful you will be.
#4 Ability to Stay Focused
Oooo this is a hard one. Especially on social media….squirrel. But while you are posting, researching, and “working” on Facebook, you have to resist that temptation to click on that new cat video or find out who’s on Blab right now. Because your time is money.
The more efficient you can be on social media, the better your margins are and the more profitable you are.
You also have to know when you are “researching” something new and when you are “procrastinating”. We can spend endless hours consuming but at the end of the day it’s our content – our production of content – that makes us money.
#5 Ability to Switch Gears Quickly
If you have multiple clients (and don’t forget that you are your own client on social media), you have to be able to switch your focus between them throughout the day.
You don’t have to multi-task – in fact, I rarely find that works well for myself – but being able to get fully into a project for a set amount of time and then switching to a new project is key.
I find that this is the really fun part of my job. I love being able to work with a personal trainer one moment and then a tech startup the next.
Block out your calendar with set times to work on each project so you don’t get to the end of the day without getting your key projects done.
#6 Customer Focus
Having a servant mindset both for your own customers and even their customers helps you approach social media the right way.
What’s in it for your customer and their customer when you are posting? Marketing products and services are great but there has to be value for the person you are trying to reach.
Accomplishing your end goal on social media sometimes takes some creativity.
How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you get people to listen? You have to be different.
You don’t necessarily have to wear a wig and make videos (although that way is my personal favorite 🙂 but adding something that is uniquely you helps to connect you to your community.
If you have these traits, I think you can be a successful social media manager or consultant. I also invite you to connect with the wonderful community that Phyllis Khare and I have started. It’s an amazing place full of support. Get all the details here: Social Media Manager School.
How about you – any must-have traits that you think I’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!
And if you are thinking of becoming a social media consultant or manager, or just want to improve the business you have, I highly recommend you grab some of our free resources like our Social Media Checklists.