10 Must-Have Skills For Social Media Specialist

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The role of a social media specialist is vital to companies that want to stay ahead of the marketing game and build an engaging connection with the community. In the past 18 years, social media management has morphed into a multi-faceted position that requires a variety of interdisciplinary skills. It is no wonder the job is in such high-demand! Social media specialists have a more significant job than just getting paid to Tweet. Duties might include setting the social strategy, analyzing data across platforms, creating content, running paid advertisements, managing campaigns and coordinating with marketing and public relations teams. Given the immense amount of responsibility, businesses want competent people with proven experience developing and implementing in-depth social media strategies.

If you are interested in becoming a dedicated social media specialist, these are the 10 must-have skills to get you started:

  1. Storytelling Skills

Content marketing and social media go hand-in-hand in establishing a brand image. Social media specialists are the main voice behind companies’ social channels, and half of the job is about educating people about the brand. As a gatekeeper for content efforts, strong writing, editing and storytelling abilities are crucial to setting the right tone across platforms that truly represent the company.

2. Strong Visual Aesthetic

In social media, the visual aspect is significant in defining a presence. A brand’s storytelling is not just done with words but through creating a cohesive aesthetic presentation across platforms. For these reasons, a good eye for design and the ability to conceptualize and create eye-catching content are a must. While it’s not necessary to have advanced Photoshop skills, knowledge in using content creation tools such as Adobe Spark, Giphy and Canva helps social media strategists create compelling posts.

3. Community Management

A major goal of social media is to engage with a community effectively. It humanizes the brand, allowing customers and readers to feel like they are not just receiving offers and news, but also have the ability to respond. It can involve a lot of experimentation on post strategies to get folks to respond. Discovering how a brand’s audience communicates helps to better understand their comments, questions, needs and concerns.

4. Trend Awareness

In this ever-changing industry, it’s a necessity to stay up-to-date with the latest news, tools, applications and social media best practices and technologies. Choose the right social listening tools to find relevant terms and conversations online. Following the “real world” outside of social platforms will help managers produce fresh and relevant content.

5. Embracing Channel Diversity

Social media strategists need to have in-depth knowledge of each social media platform to pick which channels are right for the company. For example, posts that perform well on Twitter may be weak on Instagram, since each channel offers a different target market. It is essential to recognize the company’s audience across platforms and identify content that should be varied.

6. Determining KPIs

It is a social media strategist’s job to show companies how they can use social media to meet their goals and objectives. Determining key performance indicators (KPIs) defines the success of the company in achieving those goals. Social media strategists should review those objectives and strategies regularly and make necessary adjustments on their KPIs.

7. Deciphering Analytics

Analytic tools will provide the data that measures social performances, but great social media specialists need to understand what those charts are telling them. Always have KPIs in mind. How did those stats impact the bottom line? That way, a strategist can make informed decisions to develop further tactics and determine the content development in which to invest.

8. Understanding SEO

Integrating search engine optimization (SEO) with social media to drive organic traffic is a key to conversion. For example, adding interface and external inbound links can boost ranks in the search engine charts. Each piece of content must be segmented, searchable and shareable based on the target audience. Beyond employing keywords, optimize every post to solve the searcher’s query.

9. Utilizing Social Media Ads

Social media strategists need to have experience with paid social advertising and to understand how ads can scale organic social media efforts. It is vital for strategists to know which platform is best for the company to run the ads. For best practices, when the target market aligns with the user demographics of a social platform, social advertising can provide huge increases in conversions and sales with a lower cost of acquisition. The ability to determine what type of ads will work best according to the budget and campaign objectives is also crucial.

10. Time-management Skills

Social media strategists can have a busy day at work. Having daily and weekly to-do lists and creating a social media calendar ahead of time will help to stay organized. Getting familiar with social media marketing tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite will also save the day.

Do you want to be a social media specialist? Enroll in The Academy of Art University’s Social Media Pro courses today!

Text by Marisa Tania, BA Fashion Journalism and Social Media Center Contributing Editor, Academy of Art University