March 18, 2021 - Brittany Garlin

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Important Skills Every Social Media Manager Must Have in 2021

Social media is everywhere, and managing content and driving sales have become the need of the hour. With so many aspects to focus on and things to take care of, having the right skill sets to manage the show is critical. Social media managers usually start as content marketers and learn the tricks of the trade. Social media management focuses on the role of digital marketing on social media platforms. Leading sales, marketing strategies, generating interests, and calls to action are critical indicators of an excellent social media manager. 

2020 saw a sudden change in the digital dynamics of the world. With everyone stuck at home due to the pandemic, the onus of marketing responsibility shifted from brick and mortar establishments to large-scale digital content creation and management. Brands and businesses started focusing only on online and digital marketing campaigns and advertisements to control their market positions. Offline and paper-based marketing took a backseat in 2020. We feel this trend will be a standard now, with 2021 setting the bar higher than usual.

Can Social Media Management Be a Solid Career?

Yes! Social media has a lot of career choices for bright media aspirants. Businesses worldwide are looking out for new and innovative ways to connect with their customers and target audiences. Companies that do not have a social media presence are not looked upon favorably – in fact, their credibility and trustworthiness are also measured by the reviews and favourability on social media. 

This need for an online presence leads most businesses to focus their marketing strategies on online and social platforms. With the ever-increasing boom in online business ventures, there is a necessity for a focused online media marketing approach. For this reason, social careers are on the rise. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic was a prime example of media marketing professionals’ need to increase social media communication with all customers.

What is the Responsibility of a Social Media Manager?

Social media managers are responsible for leading a team of social media and digital marketing executives to monitor, manage, inspire, and update clients, stakeholders, customers, and competitors about trends regarding the business. Launching new products online, creating brand awareness, updating users’ skill sets, and other service-related information is all part of the social media-required talent pool. Social media managers essentially track and analyze all the received data and help the brand reach greater heights of sales and awareness. 

All this has to be done organically by creating a buzz in the online social community without seeming too pushy or demanding. 

Social media managers also have to be well-versed in public relations communication, content creation, writing, video creation, internal communication, the company’s vision and mission, and customer service queries. Earlier all these job roles were tackled singularly. However, with the onset of technology and the transparency available to all customers, media management and brand ideation fall under the social media manager’s scope. 

Managing all these diverse roles can be harrowing, and for this reason, it is essential to hire and retain a skilled social media manager. Having a social media expert to learn, report, strategize, execute, and measure progress is a need that cannot be ignored. Social media jobs may have different names – expert, manager, strategist, specialist, and so on, but they are essentially the same regarding deliverables

What does a Social Media Manager Do?

Small businesses usually hire one digital specialist to perform all social media-related job roles. As the company expands, there may be a need for individual special skills to perform each of these functions in greater detail:

  • Build new online social channels
  • Design and implement the same language across all platforms
  • Design channel-specific blitzkrieg marketing strategies across different social functionalities
  • Implement numerous social media campaigns for brand and product/service awareness
  • Create social media content specific to the target audience (text, video, and image)
  • Test, measure, and analyze all campaigns and returns on investments
  • Approve, edit, and schedule all social media marketing posts across diverse digital platforms for brand building and awareness
  • Keep customers engaged with practical, relevant information regarding products or services, new launches, and social perspectives
  • Keep the team informed about the latest media trends, viral content, and help spread the word about the business in a positive light
  • Contribute positively to the public relations of the company, and help with any customer grievances or complaints with prompt decision making
  • Incite a Call-To-Action among customers and clients

What are Important Skills Every Social Media Manager Must Have in 2021?

It should be evident by now that the job of a social media manager is not an easy one. Several aspects need to be understood and worked upon.

1. Communication Skills

All social media platforms are based on communication loops and feedback mechanisms. For a social media manager, communicating effectively with the masses is a must. With so many diverse nationalities, people, age groups, and variable demographics, it is essential for a media professional to have excellent communication skills.

For these professionals, communication is not only with customers or clients; it is also with the internal team, customer care support executives, C-level executives, and all stakeholders. Apart from personal communication, language, tone, and final message are also critical. Product meetings, switching between diverse teams, product placements via posts, conducting social listening and video audits are part and parcel of effective communication. Social media managers should communicate with people from all walks of life. It is critical that he/she can keep the team motivated, the leadership informed, and customers engaged through positive communication and valuable data. 

Two Communication Types That a Social Media Manager Should Have:

  • Internal Communication: Internal communication is done with the team, bosses, and critical business stakeholders. Producing communication collateral and collating infographics and videos should be looked at by the social media manager to ensure there is no doubt about the communication delivered. Most employees rely on annual reports, online collateral, and international training and education to help them succeed. The social media manager has to provide all the information needed to help employees grow and be answerable to the bosses. 
  • Social Communication: Social media managers are essential in helping set and provide the language, tone, and voice of all the products and services related to the business. Online communication is written or spoken; there are emojis, GIFs, explainer video content, viral videos, infographics, blogs, articles, reports, analytics, pictures, stickers, and many others. 

The media expert needs to know how to use all these tools to effectively convey the brand message in a positive light and help build trust in customers’ minds. 

These different communication types should also help build the brand up to be positioned as an authority. Social media post scheduling, 24-hour monitoring, and constant feedback via video, text, posts, hashtags, and pins are essential. 

2. Writing Skills

Indeed, you do not have to be an exemplary writer to get the point across. However, for a social media manager, writing and setting the perfect tone is essential. While there are many tools, software, and other modes to help deliver content, effective communication always comes down to writing. Many people like to argue that videos do not need written content, but making a powerful script does. Actors in ad films cannot say the correct lines and deliver the exact content without having a well-written script to go along with. 

Pictures, infographics, and explainer content also need to be well written. While graphics are supposed to be self-explanatory, the ideation behind making the picture or image needs to be written and well-thought-out. Social media managers need to be excellent copywriters. They need to write replies to stakeholders, potential customers, irate existing clients, and many others. Social banter, witty responses, humble thank you’s, and emotional copy help gather a lot of interest and momentum on social media. 

Social media managers have to deal with a diverse demographic, and as such, should be skilled at writing copy for different age groups. Different audiences and platforms have varied allowable word counts for their posts. A good copywriter always knows the correct counts and keywords that help engage audiences. 

Creating engaging copy for audiences and internal communication also come under the skills required for social media managers. Writing is a highly effective communication tool that can also help in future career progression. Making notes, writing articles, blogs, reports, and other business-related written communication can help get you noticed in the eyes of superiors and other bosses. Writing is necessary when discussing strategy with key stakeholders and executives in the business. It is also needed when composing well-articulated emails and presentations. 

Two Writing Styles That a Social Media Manager Should Have:

  • Formal Writing: Formal writing skills are complex and need to be as precise as possible. There is no room for grammatical error or ambiguity. Formal writing aims to place all of the data and information in an unemotional and accurate manner without additional verbosity. You must also use full words instead of acronyms in writing formal reports, emails, presentations, and other business communication. Formal writing also includes explanations of all graphs, figures, and numbers in a highly professional language. These skills are incredibly essential for social media managers since they are also accountable to critical stakeholders and top-level executives. 
  • Social / Informal Writing: Informal writing has many latitudes when it comes to using spoken communication. Broken syntax, exclamation marks, figures of speech, commonly used slang, and witty quirky writing styles are considered social or informal writing styles. Conversational sentences are often short and can mean several things at the same time. There is a lot of scope for variation in social sentences. Social writing involves a lot of emotion, empathy, and complexity of thought. These emotions can be depicted with the use of emojis, hashtags, and other social media styles. 

Social media managers have to be fluent in writing both styles – formal and social. 

3. Creativity

Social media marketing, at its core, is highly creative. Almost everyone can write, speak, and manage to upload a post a day. The quality and creativity of the post, tweets, hashtags, photographs, images, and videos matter greatly. Brands need to post shareable, linkable content with a high conversion rate daily. Social media managers are the ones that deliver on this creativity promise. Creative social media managers can bring about substantial change in the perception of the brand and its uses. 

Failing business, companies with low turnovers, start-ups, and even well-established players in the industry benefit from extremely creative social media strategies and campaigns. Since each brand is unique, social media managers need to create a differentiation in customers’ and consumers’ minds. With so much extra content in the market, it is essential to prove to new and returning customers that the brand is valuable, exciting, trending, and worth speaking about with other people. 

Creative ad campaigns, social media competitions, giveaways, contests, value adds, and so on only come with a sound social media go-to-market strategy. However, no plan can compensate for creativity and ideas. 

4. Organizational Skills

Let’s face it – it is impossible to be successful without excellent time and skills management. The role of a social media manager is no different. Conceptualizing campaigns, designing strategies, lead and executing ideas, control, and timely routines all have to be looked over by the social media manager. While there are tools and other processes available to help with scheduling and other tasks, the onus of responsibility ultimately lies with the manager. Using the time to organize all meetings, deliverables, must-haves, and reports is part and parcel of a team leader’s position. However, the social media manager also has to keep a close eye on all the updates, tasks, and feedback from all posts. 

It is essential to utilize all resources carefully and put them to optimum use. To successfully implement social strategies (while watching costs and budgets), the manager needs practical organizational skills, so all tasks get done promptly with correct delivery schedules. 

5. Knowledge of SEO

While most social media managers are not expected to be experts at SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it is widely taken for granted that they know and understand it. SEO and search engine placement are always directly proportional to the marketing strategies implemented by the manager. 

Placement across varied digital channels is exceedingly important since it is a visual representation of good quality content. It is a simple fact that shareable content is always content that adds value to the customers. Brands like to promote and create shareable content that helps get many likes, shares, and reads since it gathers a lot of traffic to their product sites, service sites, and affiliates. 

With regular footfall, the webpages start ranking higher on major search engines like Google. Even Facebook has a search engine algorithm that is used to identify trending and shareable content. An excellent social media manager will have a basic understanding of leveraging these aspects to ensure that the brand rankings always remain high on searchable engines. 

6. Customer Service and People Skills

Social media managers are often regarded as the face of the company. With this role come empathy and excellent listening skills. Conversational skills, writing skills, and other skills will not help if the social media manager does not know how to manage people tactfully and diplomatically. Social media managers need to understand the root of the issue, find viable solutions, and help customers with ready answers. Online engagement, likes, and trust can only be built with good people skills. Customer service and people skills usually go hand in hand and should be inculcated over time. 

Social media managers also need to communicate internally and help teams with solutions to business-related issues and concerns. They need to tactfully diffuse cultural issues, racial discrimination, caste issues, and gender inequality issues with empathy and understanding. 

Customers also need a unique understanding. Not only do social media managers have to listen and read customer complaints and grievances, but they also help solve them in a just manner. While some customers are demanding, some need very little support and encouragement. It is the manager’s job responsibility and skill that is tested in times like these. Celebrating customers with praise, images, and shout-outs are equally important. 

Final Thoughts

Social media management can be learned with time, but managing everything takes time, patience, and understanding. Social media managers need to be on board with working through significant and minor issues, communicating effectively, and making each customer feel like they are the most important person for the brand. Personalized attention, a critical eye for detail, and empathy are some of the most valuable skills a social media manager must have in 2021. 

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