Social media marketers are like bloggers and other work-at-home professionals: They are misunderstood, underappreciated, and oftentimes treated as if their job weren’t real. Not having a 9-5 type of job automatically gives suit-and-tie professionals that you’re at home in your pajamas, leisurely scrolling through Facebook, watching cat videos, and messaging your BFFs, who ignore you because they’re hard at work.
Not having a 9-5 type of job automatically gives suit-and-tie professionals that you’re at home in your pajamas, leisurely scrolling through Facebook, watching cat videos, and messaging your BFFs, who ignore you because they’re hard at work.
This conception, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Social media marketers wear many, many hats in the form of planning, strategy, analysis, and more. It’s a time-consuming occupation that requires a Swiss-Army knife kind of skill set. So when you run into someone in the field of social media, know that they’re not just playing around on the internet all day — they’re creating marketing magic.
Social media pros are recognized for many of the skills they possess, but there are many more that often go unnoticed under the radar.
They’re great at writing
No matter if you’re using Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram, writing is crucial to your marketing campaigns. It’s more than just knowing how to put a sentence together and using grammar properly; though both of those are highly important, too. With social media, you have a short amount of time to lure in your audience, prompting them to engage with your post and follow through to your website. With so many companies on social media, the competition is rife, and it takes a top-notch writer to create a successful campaign.
They have SEO skills
In the same vein, when writing a post, not only do you have to appeal to a human audience, you also have to catch the attention of search engines.
Social media professionals have to keep up on their research and be aware of which string of words will make their posts the most popular in the internet’s eyes. It’s complicated business, and that’s why so many people are bad at it. So when someone gives you their card and it says “SEO Specialist,” go ahead and tip your hat to them.
They dabble in photography and graphic design
Writing is only part of creating a fantastic, clickable post. Since humans tend to be visual creatures, they’ll gravitate toward pretty pictures more often than a Nobel Laureate-worthy tweet. This means that social media professionals often have to be skilled photographers as well.
And even if they don’t know how to properly handle a DSLR, they certainly have to know what people like to see. This aesthetic awareness translates into a need for graphic design skills, whether Canva or Photoshop is being used.
If you have a business account for Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen the graphs that they show you every week or so, telling you how your business is performing. Social media professionals need to know much more than just how to read these graphs (that may nauseatingly remind you of your high school trigonometry class). They also need to know how to properly analyze this information, breaking down which posts performed best at which times, which demographics were reached throughout the day, which hashtags drew in the largest audience, what type of content was most desirable, and so much more.
If you’re a creative mind looking to become a social media professional, you may want to take a statistics class for this one.
While it may seem odd that leadership skills would be needed for a job that often is performed solitarily, it is absolutely necessary. People who make their livings in social media need to be assertive, decisive, go-getting leaders. They can’t wait around for someone else to approve each of their posts or to tell them when they should share their Instagram selfie (not that they would necessarily post selfies).
Social media pros are independent workers who don’t need anyone to hold their hand or micromanage their every move. They are leaders who control their own strategies as the companies they work for sit back and watch them work their magic.
They’re masters of time management
Anyone who has ever spent any time on social media platforms — Instagram, Pinterest, or even the old-school Myspace knows that opening up that app is like diving into a rabbit hole. It’s easier to lose track of time on social media than it is to add one plus one.
Because of this, social media professionals need to keep stellar track of their time on each platform, making sure that they are spending time creating content and buzz for their company rather than liking their friends’ baby photos. They have to manage their time efficiently, and constantly ignore the temptation to scroll through celebrity tweets- every single hour of every single day.
They’re strategic to make your experience more fun
Basically, social media professionals don’t use social media for fun like everyone else does, but rather as a marketing strategy.
It’s an occupation, not a cover-up for playing around on the computer, and it’s time those who earn their livelihood through social media were appreciated for the incredible skills they possess.
Would you add any other skills to this list? Share them in the comments below.