The perfect social media manager

A lot of blogs have been written about the ‘perfect social media manager’ or, as often called these days, ‘community manager’.

Social Media Today wrote about “What Makes an Exceptional Social Media Manager” and there are some great traits listed on this blog by Powerhouse USA (an older post, but still valid).

As social media seeps more into organisations, employers are grappling with finding the right person to manage their online forums, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, blogs and so on.

(In the worst case scenarios, I hear Members of the C Suite musing over asking their children or grandchildren to manage their business’s social media platforms. They have a misguided view that because teens spend a lot of time texting or on Facebook, they are “digital savvy” and will be able to guide the face of the organisation online. That is of course a ridiculous presumption, and I’ll  use this blog post to outline some reasons why).

There is such a thing as the Perfect Social Media Manager for your organisation.  To my mind, the Perfect Social Media Manager has some building blocks to begin with – some DNA if you like.

The Perfect Social Media Manager:

  1. Enjoys communicating and in particular communicating online. Quickly learns about online community expectations and absorbs the etiquette of a place rather quickly. Is likeable!
  2. Has high standards when it comes to communication. They want to respond promptly and accurately. They care about impressions made online.
  3. Has patience and tact and doesn’t cave under pressure. They don’t have a tantrum after reading ‘stupid questions’ online day after day. They’re not easily upset by criticism, but focused on setting the record straight or getting it right.
  4. Is ethical. They don’t misrepresent themselves or their organisation online. They don’t fudge the facts, they don’t pretend to be something they’re not. They are aware of ‘duty of care’, copyright, defamation and so on.
  5. Has a way with words. Ideally they have excellent grammatical skills. They also have a wide vocabulary and can swiftly recall the most appropriate words to use in a tweet to convey context and emotion. They know where dashes and semi colons go and they don’t have a desire to use eight exclamation marks in a row. They can shape a blog headline to make an old school sub editor weep with joy. They know best where to weave a link into a tweet.
  6. Understands search engine optimisation and that the words, images, alt tags, hyperlinks and URLs they use can make a difference.
  7. Knows their client/business inside out. They’re able to answer customer queries online without having to read the manual.
  8. Has a passion for the online space. They don’t begrudge checking Twitter on the weekend. The don’t begrudge a platforms’s changing terms and conditions. They absorb change as part of their role and the nature of the social media beast and they thrive on being up to date.

So: the Perfect Social Media Manager is a person who knows their organisation and how it works; they’re passionate about social media and aren’t afraid to use it; and they are an exemplary ambassador for your brand.

Think that’s impossible?

It isn’t. I’ve seen it. There are examples locally.

Some social media managers are just hitting their stride; others are doing such a fantastic, seamless job that you don’t know about because they’re not making any mistakes. (In that way, they’re a bit like a PR professional).

And that eight-point list above? If you think your grandson can do all that – go for it.

But finally: the Perfect Social Media Manager cannot exist without the ‘Perfect Employer’. If, as an employer, you find the Perfect Social Media Manager, please move to the back of the room, don’t ask to vet every tweet, and be grateful that they’re there.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Ben Teoh says:

    Great post, such a diverse range of skills and traits, but something to aspire to. You’re getting some great responses on Twitter as well. Nice one 🙂

  2. Interesting read & couldn’t agree more that a “Social Media Manager cannot exist without the ‘Perfect Employer’”. It’s a shame that some businesses are struggling to fight the social media stigma.

  3. Tony Bogar says:

    Geez, Prakky, #5 makes it sound as though content still matters. 🙂 I love that you included that focus. Precision and wordplay can make even 140 characters riveting.

  4. I loved your point about absorbing the etiquette. Really important for newcomers to respect the ownership of community members when stepping into their world.

  5. Dan Popping says:

    Great summary. Someone who cares about corporate impression and high standard of customer service is so important. Heres hoping we land a good one for ACC in the near future.

  6. CathieT says:

    Curse those superfluous exclamation marks! There goes my new career ….

  7. Jade Craven says:

    Do you have a post about social media managers trying to find the perfect employer? 😛

  8. OK, so my boss wants me to be our Social Media Manager and I fit the numbered criteria. It’s the “exemplary ambassador” bit that concerns me. Does that mean I shouldn’t say c•••?

    1. Prakky says:

      Derek, it just depends on what your brand is and what your audience expects from you. 😉

  9. Great post Michelle.

    The “way with words” and “understands SEO” aspects stand out for me. It’s rare to find someone who can author copy that catches the ear as well as understand why this word is better than that one, in this or that position on the page, in search-engine-visibility terms.

  10. Better late than never hey! LOVE THIS POST. It’s so topic as it’s been a whole focus of conversation in my neck of the woods over the last week. Couldn’t agree more 😀

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