20 Must Have Traits For Working In Social Media

This blog post is a compilation of two separate articles I wrote for Ragan.com.  You can view the original articles here and here, with the original also re-syndicated on PRDaily.com.

Social media is the new public relations of the marketing industry. Enthusiastic newcomers think it’s the “exciting” marketing discipline. It is a great field, but it’s more than tweeting and Instagraming around the clock.

Saying that you want to work in social media so you can play on Facebook all day is like saying you want to work in PR because you like people. Good for you, but that’s just not what we do.

These are the necessary traits for success in social media. It’s not as easy as it looks. You must be:

1. Nimble

Social media is the fastest-changing and continuously evolving industry ever. You have to religiously monitor the environment and adapt quickly to change.

2. Educated

You have to be committed to reading constantly about social media and measurement, and searching aggressively for the latest trends and best practices.

3. Dedicated

There is little to no off time in social media. It happens 24×7, so you have to be ready to respond at any time. If someone posts something negative on your Twitter stream and you don’t respond for 24 hours, good luck finding another job in social media.

4. Clever

Social media enthusiasts are quick and clever. You need to be, too, or you will come off looking like your grandma or, worse, like a corporate mouthpiece.

5. Strategic

Social media doesn’t exist in a universe by itself. It’s part of a larger, strategic marketing mix. You must see and understand the overall goals, strategies, and objectives before you can implement social media tactics.

6. Meticulously Organized

You have to write, post, monitor, respond and measure for countless social media channels. You have to be organized, but not such a perfectionist that you can’t move quickly, and it’s so important to have great monitoring systems in place.

7. Playful

Some of the most successful social media folks are funny, lighthearted and don’t takes themselves too seriously. Hello, “NOT COOL, COOKIE!”

8. Analytical

Yep, that’s right. We don’t just sit around and tweet all day. We have to measure our results just like anyone else. Having science and math skills is a big plus.

9. Well-rounded

Though it’s important to be an expert in this category, it’s not good to be too focused on one skill. To truly be a valuable contributor, you need to understand the big picture of marketing.

10. Social

Yeah, that’s right, I said it. You need to be social to work in social media. Get out from behind the computer and have a few face-to-face conversations. Enjoy the life that you’re posting about.

11. Balanced

Yes, social media is a 24×7 job. However, to keep fresh (and sane), you need to set a clear work/life balance and remember to unplug regularly to recharge your own batteries.

12. Cautious

If you’re handling many social media accounts at once, including your personal accounts, don’t get them mixed up or you could be tweeting about unemployment.

13. Measured

Social conversations evolve quickly. Take an extra minute to think about your response. Say it out loud first; that helps make it real.

14. Humble

No one is the “end all, be all” social media expert. We can learn from each other and collectively take social media to the next level. Just look at this post. It’s a collection of your thoughts. We make each other better.

15. Progressive

Instead of always catching up to your competitors, be a trendsetter.

16. Patient

We all want to see our social media posts explode, but it doesn’t always happen. Take the time to listen to your audience, learn from them, and engage in ways that provide value to your followers.

17. Well informed

Know more about your industry than your followers. You don’t want to be a social media manager who can’t talk the talk.

18. Witty

Know your audience and what hits their funny bones. Let your guard down (appropriately), and show that you are a living, breathing person behind the brand.

19. Prepared

Be ready to combat negative press or circumstances at all times. Have a crisis plan in place on how to respond on social media if things go south.

20. Intelligent

Use social channels to educate your fans and customers on the basic principles and capabilities of social media. As the channels evolve and push out new updates, be the authority they turn to when learning how to navigate the latest social platform.

Carrie Peterson is our social media director here at IMI.  Follow her on Twitter @CarrieSavvy to let her know which traits you feel are most important to work in social media.


Comments are closed.