With the increase of consumer preference to use online channels for communication, it’s crucial to devote attention to who might be best equipped to handle these valuable relationships. Social media is marketing, PR, sales and customer service all wrapped up into one. Every social media manager needs specific, unique skills to ensure a retailer’s digital reputation is protected.
“Hiring the best is your most important task.” -Steve Jobs
Who exactly is the best person to speak for your business?
It’s not a simple answer. After all, their job duties encompass so many different aspects of visibility in the customer’s journey.
Customer Experience is the sum of all experiences with a brand and those include a customer’s behaviors, attitudes and emotions about the brand. Savvy strategies are mandatory to navigate the nuances of each online property and it’s not a job that just anybody can handle.
Many retailers leave their digital reputation susceptible to digital destruction.
It’s surprising to know that many organizations haven’t put much focus into their social media manager position. Some haven’t even designated someone to manage all of the components of their online marketing, thereby leaving their digital reputation vulnerable.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your digital reputation is “just fine” without your attention. Believing that it’s unnecessary to go to the expense or trouble of making sure your reputation is protected will come back to bite you.
Without this position, how will you know your marketing is working? How will you determine ROI (Return on Investment)?
Managing conversations is key.
Conversations about your organization should be monitored and managed accordingly. Someone must make sure they’re legit, informed and a mirror of the customer experience delivered in real life. Leaving this to chance with an inexperienced team or person is dangerous and leads to lost sales.
10 Qualities of an Extraordinary Social Media Manager
If I’ve done my job, I’ve convinced you to employ someone to oversee your online assets. Before you make a decision on who that will be, it’s crucial to identify the ideal skills they should possess.
1. Social Media Savvy
She/he should be a regular user of social media personally and should be well-immersed in the social environment.
She/he should be able to tell a good story. If they have a blog or write for online media, check out what they’ve written. It’s a great way to observe their skills and decide if their personal brand fits the company’s criteria.
2. Branding and Marketing Experience
Social media is equal parts marketing, branding, sales, PR/crisis management, reputation building and data analysis. It’s a challenge to find ONE person to manage all of that so having a clear understanding of how all the pieces fit together is important.
I can’t tell you how many employees I’ve met who’ve been put in charge of a company’s social media that have ZERO branding and marketing experience.
Social media is simply a channel(s) with which to engage customers, deliver key messages that are relevant to their needs, concerns and challenges, and guide them to a buying decision. Your social media manager’s experience level is evident in your message and its results.
3. Ability to Focus and Concentrate
Focus is fast becoming an essential marketing skill. Amid the many distractions facing social media managers, the ability to concentrate has become increasingly complicated.
We lost our focus to social media, which has made interruption an art and science. The very medium we work in has provided so many distractions that it’s a gigantic task just to keep track of what we were doing 15 minutes ago.
From meetings to conference calls to compliance training to social community management to reviewing analytics, the sheer deluge of interruptions causes us to lose focus.
It takes a concerted effort to manage our time and protect our ability to focus, and it’s one of the underrated skills needed to be a successful social media manager.
4. Emotional Maturity
A social media manager must have the ability to maintain perspective and above all, not take things personally. I often refer back to the Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. #2 is
Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Needless suffering? Yep, who needs any of that! When you’re not caught up in others “stuff” it leaves you available to control your emotions.
A social media manager’s ability to understand and manage their own emotions supports a brand’s healthy online community.
Here are the signs of emotional maturity:
- You take responsibility.
- You show empathy.
- You notice and verbalize (with composure) when you’re wrong.
- You’ve created a space between feeling and reacting.
- You’re compassionate to yourself and others.
- You know when to quit and when to persevere.
- You’re aware of your biases.
- You know when, who, and how to ask for help.
- You’ve realized the more you know, the less you know, and you’re OK with it.
- You seek self-mastery.
- You maintain a positive attitude.
- You’re truthful.
- You’re responsible.
- You’re accessible.
- You’re gracious and giving.
5. Empathy and Patience
Empathy is the key to great customer service and make no mistake, social media IS customer service.
Quite simply, empathy is the best way for you to show your customers that you really care. And while it’s not always possible to solve a customer’s problem, showing empathy helps customers to feel that their concerns matter. It reinforces that they are valued by your company.
The act of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes helps a great deal with understanding their needs and addressing them accordingly.
In tense crisis situations, where there’s an audience watching, a social media manager may not always deliver a solution but she/he can always deliver empathy.
Empathy and social media content
Empathy is also vital in creating high-quality social media content, including advertising copy. Content hits the mark when the customer is left thinking, “Wow, that was meant just for me!” Empathy is what allows a social media manager to create such content.
Patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
When it comes to customer service, a social media manager’s job can become draining without patience.
Sometimes, customers will be angry with you.
Sometimes, customers will need extra attention to understand things.
Sometimes, things will simply be difficult.
The worst thing you can do in these situations is lose your cool.
Impatience not only impedes our ability to enjoy life, but it makes us worse at doing hard things (like being an extraordinary social media manager).
Understanding the addictive nature of anger, irritation and outrage helps prepare for crisis situations. The more people feel these emotions, the more likely they are to keep feeling them. When you know more about these emotions, your patience becomes stronger and you’re able to handle even them most intense situations.
6. Clear, Concise, Professional
When a prospect engages with the business, they expect (often subconsciously) proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. This is an easy one to forget, so don’t.
User-generated content (content that customers and influencers produce such as online reviews) is representative of the experience another buyer can expect. Prospects examine reviews to become knowledgeable about the business and your responses to your reviews are included in their research.
Poorly written review responses or robot-sounding corporate speak will work against a company’s digital reputation. They can damage any goodwill you’ve earned because it looks like you don’t care.
7. Ability to Recognize Leads
Social media, including online review sites, are places where people share their experiences and opinions. Often during those conversations, questions will arise.
A social media manager’s job is to recognize those questions as opportunities to bring a customer closer. She/he must be able to distinguish a lead and treat each as though the person were physically in front of them.
Pro Tip: Answer your prospect’s question and then pose another consultative question that will help them think through their decision and lead them to the sale. These are the tenets of consultative sales but to the buyer, it’s advocacy.
8. A Sense of Humor
Let me preface this by saying that humor is not for amateurs. Humor on social media is only meant for those who can master it. And by master it, I mean a reasonable person would laugh or find humor in your content.
I’ve included a sense of humor in my list here because you don’t have to be funny to have a sense of humor. I have many friends who can’t tell jokes or write funny posts, but they laugh at funny stuff.
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
Laughter is a universal means of communication. Humor humanizes a brand. In social media (and all marketing), people pay big bucks to reduce the distance between people so if you can master it successfully, humor rules.
9. Industry Experience a Plus
While it’s an added bonus that a candidate has automotive retail experience, it’s not a requirement. An overview of operations and an immersive trek into company culture will go far. Also, training provides the automotive social media manager a clear advantage.
Additionally, with a high empathy quotient, she/he can quickly get up to speed on how the industry works.
10. Ability to Resolve – Not Inflame
This falls under the heading of “customer service” but I wanted to spotlight it because our culture has become less patient, and that fact lends itself to more conflict. As more people choose to communicate online, the need for a great customer experience online intensifies.
The capacity to balance a timely response with a reasoned response brings down the temperature and fosters resolution.
Inflammatory remarks and behavior don’t do anyone any good. A social media manager may often be working on their own without supervision, so a calm approach to any conversation, including conflict resolution, should be in their wheelhouse.
A social media manager must have authority.
An empowered social media manager takes responsibility and becomes accountable to see every issue through to the end. With authority, they can escalate an issue, follow-through with the players involved and respond to the customer in a timely, respectful manner.
Without authority, they are crippled and the customer receives poor service and support.
A social media manager speaks for the organization.
Every retailer must develop and implement a sensible social media strategy to manage its digital reputation and secure it all by choosing the right person, with the right skills, to maintain it.
Are you looking to hire or promote a social media manager? I can help! Get in touch with me >>here<<.