4 Unique Skills of a Social Media Marketer

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

4 Unique Skills of a Social Media MarketerSearch engine optimization and social media marketing are not the same. This much is obvious. However, what is not so obvious are the skill-sets involved with each, and how incredibly different they are from one another. Take social marketing for example. A social marketer does not spend their time studying complex ranking algorithms or tweaking web pages.

4 Unique Skills of a Social Media Marketer

Search engine optimization and social media marketing are not the same. This much is obvious. However, what is not so obvious are the skill-sets involved with each, and how incredibly different they are from one another.

Take social marketing for example. A social marketer does not spend their time studying complex ranking algorithms or tweaking web pages. Instead, social marketers focus on people, and specifically on strategies that create engagement and build conversations through insightful content.

While there may be some crossing-over from time-to-time - an SEO that also plays the part of an SMM, and vise verse - for the most part there won't be. Social media marketing requires a unique set of skills in order to perform the necessary tasks associated with it. What skills, exactly? Well, in my opinion, a social media marketer must be these 4 things, in addition to having other personal and professional skills.

A Filing Cabinet (Organizational Skills, Planning Skills)

First and foremost, a social media marketer MUST BE organized. Social marketing entails a lot of strenuous, yet important, day-to-day tasks, and one needs to be able to adequately manage their time to ensure that these tasks are completed according to the campaign's budget, goals, and specifications. Such tasks will include:

1. Creating content.
2. Publishing content.
3. Listening and engaging.
4. Reputation monitoring.
5. Reputation management.
6. Reviewing analytics.

Social media is full of all kinds of wonderful distractions. Knowing what needs to be achieved and being focused enough to stay on path is important. In most cases, a monthly or yearly calendar will need to be created highlighting the dates and times for when specific tasks are to be done and content published. Social media marketers will need to be able to execute their assigned tasks and strategies on time, or risk disrupting a lot of hard work.

A "Peoples" Person (People Skills, Networking Skills)

Since social marketing is a strategy built on the idea of social interaction, social media marketers, by default, need to be "people persons" - that is to thoroughly enjoy conversing and interacting with people. Being genuinely interested in people, and having a strong understanding of what they think, how to help them, and what makes them tick are skills that will help one to become more effective in communicating, networking, and marketing via social media channels.

Building an audience that is active, large in size, and, at the same time, relevant to one's marketing objective is a challenging task. Target audiences aren't gifted; they are built through hours upon hours of social interactions, engagement, and relationship building. If common, everyday interactions with people annoy you, than I'm sorry to say this is not the job for you.

A King of Content (Creative Skills, Resourceful)

As so many search and social marketers before me have said, "Content is King". This is probably the understatement of our industry. Content is, without a doubt, the absolute most important element of a social media marketing campaign. Without it, there is nothing to say, share, or showcase, and therefore there is no campaign.

A social media marketer worth his or her weight must be content-focused, and be able to generate new and exciting content to share on a frequent, ongoing basis. What kinds of content? All kinds of content!

A good social media marketer has to be able to write well. One should expect to author everything from 5-page articles to 500 word blog posts to 140 character tweets and updates. In addition, social marketers must be versatile when creating content. Often, social media marketers are tasked with creating and editing graphics, audio files, photos, and videos for the purpose of distributing and sharing. Having a solid understanding of these technologies and being able to utilize popular forms of Internet media such as photos and videos is essential.

A Social Media Handyman (Technical skills)

Just as a person in the offline world is sometimes called a handyman because of their superb ability to use carpentry tools to complete difficult house remodeling tasks, a social marketer must also be a handyman of sorts. Being a social media marketer means not only knowing about specific Internet tools and technologies, but mastering them in order to complete tasks more efficiently. Some tools of the trade include:

1. Social Media Platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.).
2. Content Publishing Tools (Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Excel, etc).
3. URL Shorteners (bit.ly, TinyURL, owl.ly, etc.).
4. Reputation Management Tools (TrackUR, Google Alerts, etc..
5. Content Automation Tools (TwitterFeed, Yahoo! Pipes, etc).

A social marketer's tool belt constantly changes and improves to feature the latest and greatest in social media management tools and technology. Does yours?

Moving forward, I'd like to once again reiterate that these are only 4 of the necessary skills needed to be a social media marketer. However, they are, in my opinion, the absolute most important. I'd consider them the core-4 of an essential social marketing skill-set. With that, I would certainly agree that other skills and talents are needed to round out one's abilities.

So let me ask you... in your opinion, what other skills should a social media marketer possess if he or she wishes to be successful? Which are absolutely essential?


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  1. Very useful tip... Thanks for sharing...
    By Anonymous Anonymous on September 02, 2011
  2. Karl, thumbs up for this one! It's not the usual blah blah blah on the social media marketing person's roles. I like how you used the term "Filing Cabinet" to describe how the person needs to be organized. lol.
    By Blogger coeline on September 06, 2011
  3. Thanks Coeline! Much appreciated!
    By Blogger Karl Ribas on September 06, 2011
  4. Great summary of skill sets. Many people here the term "social media" and get intimidated. This general overview shows that although it requires being qick on your feet (and typing fingers), they are also skills some people use day to day maintaining their online worlds without even realizing it.
    By Blogger Pauldine on February 03, 2012
  5. Thanks, Pauldine. I couldn't agree more. If people could just get passed being intimidated by social media marketing, their businesses would benefit greatly.
    By Blogger Karl Ribas on February 03, 2012
  6. Great post. I liked how you emphasized the importance of content. Social marketing is nothing if not for its content. Well done.
    By Anonymous Chris Chain on February 16, 2012
  7. Hi Chris, thanks! Of them all... I'd agree it's most important.
    By Blogger Karl Ribas on February 16, 2012

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