As communications mediums go, social media is still an infant. The need for companies to embrace and excel at utilizing this communications and marketing channels is still developing, albeit at a ridiculous pace.
So when the need for social media management arises, it can be challenging for many to identify the skills needed to play the part of the social media manager. Do you hand the keys to your enterprise’s voice to any millennial who is good with technology? What makes a qualified candidate?
Based on my personal and professional experience, I believe there are 4 essentials that are foundational to success as a social media manager.
At the core of social media is communication. Yes, social media “lives” on a technology and web-based platform, but don’t be fooled into thinking your social media manager needs to primarily be a webmaster or programmer. Writing, editing, grammar, the ability to cut to the chase and write compelling copy is critical. In many small organizations, your social manager will also be creating iPhone video, doing basic graphic design, photography, and much more. Having a variety of creative content development abilities is a must.
A social media channel is a public image of your church or business. The perception of your organization will be affected greatly by the communications (or lack thereof) from your social channels. When criticism or crisis arrives, your social media manager needs to have baseline public relations training to know when to respond, how to respond, and when to call for backup. There are many instances when escalation to a manager, pastor or even legal firm are necessary. Does your social media manager have the PR training and experience to determine when that is? Handing the social media microphone to someone without PR skills is a slippery slope.
Whether you sell actual products or not, every organization provides services and value to the desired audience. Understanding marketing fundamentals will help any social manager to be more successful in identifying a target audience, developing an appropriate message, measuring analytics, and determining the return on investment of your social media. Building a loyal audience through excellent content is the foundation, but taking the next step in delivering a return on that audience is something that a marketing skill set can bring.
There’s no debating that customers today expect companies, businesses, authors, to respond to their needs through social media. It is, after all, a two-way communications channel, a “shared” medium. Social media has opened the possibilities for direct communication in ways that have never before been available. Your customers, church members expect you to respond to questions, concerns, complaints. Beyond that, social media provides an unbelievable opportunity for you to reward your loyal customers. Is your social media manager equipped to handle customer service needs and requests?
Take this list as a chance to audit your social management. Where are you strong? Where could you stand to improve? One thing is for sure, social media is always changing, and being a continual learning in many disciplines will help maximize your social media efforts.
Kyle is an experienced marketing and communications strategist; having developed and managed social strategy at an Atlanta-area hospital, a state university, and several churches and ministry organizations. He is the senior integrated digital marketing strategist at LifeWay.