Everyone thinks they can “do social media.” If someone has a Facebook or Instagram account, they think they’re suddenly qualified to be a social media marketer. Today, digital marketing requires a variety of skills just to survive in this ever-changing industry. To do more than survive, but to stand out and shine, these are 7 skills social media marketers need to master. You may have all these skills yourself, or you may team up or hire out for some of them.
Here are 7 skills that I feel every social media marketer needs to stand out:
1.Great writing skills
So, this one seems so obvious, and yet I still feel this is an area most of us are lacking. To write well online is very different from writing essays or text messages. I see horrifying grammar and spelling all over websites and social media posts. This shouldn’t be happening with all the auto-correct tools like Grammarly out there. By-the-way, Grammarly has a free tool that allows you to load your entire post or article to have it checked or you can add the Chrome extension to your browser and have the Grammar Police follow you EVERYWHERE on the web! Find them… use them…and start writing better!
The other side of that coin is the far-too-formal writing. Our English teachers must have beaten us all in school, because most people still write as if they are writing a research paper, instead of speaking to their ideal audience. On Social media or blog posts, it is best to write like you would speak… conversationally. Sit across from the table with a cup of coffee and talk to people through your writing. It’s a social channel, not a term paper. Check out HemingwayApp for tips on making your writing more readable.
2.Customer Service Skills
Someone just asked me today, what skill is hardest to hire for. It’s definitely customer service. Everyone is a “people person” in an interview until they have to deal with PEOPLE. In social media marketing, you have to be prepared to take the hits online from people who are hiding behind a keyboard and want to vent. If you work in an agency, you will also have to take the hits from the customers who don’t like something you wrote or the color of the image you’ve used.
When you own a business, you are willing to go further for customers to solve a problem, versus someone who is “just working” on that job. I get it. You have to find people who want the best for clients to be managing your social media. It can get ugly online.
3.Basic SEO Understanding
While you may not know how to optimize your website using tools like SMRush or MOZ, but you should know the basics of SEO as a social media marketer. There are lots of blog posts out there that give more information on this. A great one is Keyword Research for SEO, by Yoast, but there are some basics that you should know if you are writing content for your website or writing any social media content. Know what ALT tags and keywords are. You need to be tagging your images on blog and website content.
You should know what your main keywords and phrases are that you want to be found with. What are the top questions people are typing into Google or other search engines for your industry? What content do you need to write so it comes up as a match to those questions? These are keywords and keyword phrases. You not only want to learn how search engines match your content, to the questions people are typing, but you also should start considering the questions people are SPEAKING into search (Google, Alexa, and Siri).
As you write content always keep your reader or searcher in mind. How are you providing valuable content to answer their questions? What clues are you giving Google on what your content is about? ALT tags give clues in every image, as does the title of that image.
4.An Eye for Design
With all content, we want to make sure it is visually appealing and able to capture someone’s attention in a matter of seconds. People don’t read anymore…they scroll. As social media posts go by, it’s the images that stop the eye traffic. When your images are boring, corny, not sized right, or missing altogether, your content will get fewer eyeballs on it.
There are lots of beautiful photo sites and ways to manipulate them to make them POP. We now have tools like Canva that make creating beautiful graphics a snap. If you don’t have an eye for design, you might be trying to stick 150 words in yellow font across a dark blue square. Stab me in the eyes already! The good news is, there are hundreds of great templates, and you can even take free mini-courses on design right from Canva.
5.An Eye for Details
With so many platforms and so much going on at once, it can be easy to slip up and schedule the wrong content on the wrong platform. Without an eye for detail, you may not catch the misspelling of the company owner’s name on a very important blog post. YIKES… it happens. Too many companies still throw the job of social media management to someone who already has 47 tasks to do each day. Most people think social marketing is easy. You might be the person trying to do it all. You know, it can be a full-time job!
Social marketing is about putting your brand out there in front of the world…quickly. You don’t have time to have an editing committee review every social post (and I do know for a fact there are such things). Social moves too fast and the posts have a short life span, but you need to have a keen attention to detail.
If you’re a person who moves fast and doesn’t pause before hitting that send, or post button, you’ll hear about it from your readers. How do I know this? Well… let’s just say with social media, it is going to happen to the best of us. Everyone turns into an editor as soon as they read anyone else’s content, so be sure to re-read posts, even out loud, one more time before publishing. It will at least cut down the number of times you find that goofy typo right after you hit, SEND.
Details also come in the form of schedules in this industry. There is usually a lot of content going out on different platforms and you may be waiting on graphics or webinar dates and links. Things are best when planned in advance and put on a scheduler with reminders. Using content calendars or team tools like Asana or Trello is almost essential today.
6.Willingness … NO … A BURNING DESIRE to Learn
This skill is probably the most important in social media marketing. Because there are always new tools, platforms, and techniques, you will always have to be learning. It’s one thing to be willing to learn, but you must WANT to learn. You must LOVE the process of learning. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to spoon-feed you new information. As a marketer today, you must have an insatiable appetite for learning and experimenting.
When I meet someone in this industry, I ask, “what are some of your favorite blogs or podcasts?” If they don’t have an answer, it tells me they won’t last long or go very far. It’s an industry like few others in that it changes daily and the only way to keep up is to be in a constant learning mode.
A common question is, “What book can I pick up to learn social media?” By the time a digital marketing book is published and sits on the shelf of a bookstore, it’s outdated! I was the technical editor for the Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media and as we would finish one chapter, the one prior already needed changes. Conferences, podcasts, videos, classes, and blog posts are the way to keep up in this industry. Stay thirsty my friend!
While this last one isn’t necessarily a SKILL, it is a required attribute for a successful social media marketer. Be willing to pick up and try new things. As you hear of a new platform or tool, jump in and start playing with it. Create accounts to check out how others are using it and what is going on in there. They don’t all pan out, but you will always learn something and you will meet interesting people along the way.
In 2009, I was working with teams at IBM who were meeting in a virtual space called, Second Life. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. It was amazing and creative. I would log in as an avatar and we could share slides, speak to one another and learn in incredible virtual environments. I met people in there that I still interact with regularly, and have even done business with a few of them. Never hesitate to jump in to take a look at different tools. Be adventurous.
I’d love to hear from you. What other skills do you feel are necessary to be successful in digital marketing? Which of these skills do you need to work on the most? I’d love to know.
As a social media marketing agency in Colorado, we employ a variety of people that possess these skills. If you need to augment your own skillset, give us a call…or a tweet! If you’re interested in learning—jump into our DIYsocial Community where we share regular tips, tools, and resources to help you stay ahead in this social media marketing space.
I know most people are skeptical about Yelp, Google My Business, TripAdvisor and other review sites, and none more skeptical than a business owner with a bad review posted on one of these sites. “It’s probably one of my competitors, posting a false review.” Whether it is your evil competitor trying to take you down or your newest fan raving about you, these sites cannot be ignored.
Companies have to be monitoring their brands and make time to engage and reply to these active reviewers. Now before you start whining about the good old days before all of these social sites and consumer review sites, stop! Times and tools have changed. Consumers have a voice and now the tools to tell the world about you–good and bad. Let’s focus on what you can do to maximize this power. With a little attention to these reviewers, you can turn a bad experience around and build loyalty, and on good reviews you can boost the love and create a viral spread.
Here are some tips you need to use today:
1. Claim and Manage Your Business’s Review Sites.
I still hear people saying they don’t want reviews because they fear the negative reviews will hurt their business. First of all, if you think there will be more negative than positive reviews, perhaps it’s time to do some training within your team. Second, people are going to talk about you whether you “allow” them to or not. The question is, will you be part of the conversation? According to Review Trackers, who looked at 9 million online reviews, they found more people are leaving positive reviews than negative and most consumers say they want to see what other people say about a brand before they decide to do business there.
On Google My Business, be sure to claim and get your website verified so you can reply to comments left by your customers. On Facebook, you want to be sure you own and manage your business page so you can do the same. If you search for your business on Yelp (or any of these sites) and you see “IS THIS YOUR BUSINESS?” or “CLAIM THIS BUSINESS” do the work and gt it validated so you control it.
2. Reply to comments and social reviews quickly
When someone takes the time to write any comment about your business, they are giving you a gift. Don’t leave that gift unacknowledged. Make sure you have notifications turned on for comments on your website and that you either check once or twice a day all of your social channels or turn those notifications on as well so you don’t miss comments there.
There is nothing worse than leaving a question or comment and never hearing back. Whether you receive a great compliment or a horrible review, be sure to thank the person for taking the time to provide you with feedback. One thing I learned from raising my 4 children is, what you recognize or reward will be repeated. Thank people for bringing you the feedback.
3. Apologize… SINCERELY!
Again, something I learned from my kids during those teenaged years; an apology that starts with SOR-RY and includes BUT… is not an apology. It is an excuse.
I had the opportunity to sit with a woman in a cable company call center, Mary Delgado, who was the escalation desk for the vilest of customers. She took call after call from people who were cussing at her, screaming into their phones (over cable TV, no less). Mary would listen without interrupting and then her first response would be, “Oh my goodness. I am so sorry you have had to go through this. This should NOT have happened. I am going to get this taken care of.” It was so classic. You could almost see the person on the end of the line squirming as they tried to come up with another comeback. Their anger couldn’t compete with her willingness to own the problem and seek a resolution. Sometimes all a wronged customer wants is to be heard and to hear a sincere apology.
4. Do NOT delete the comment
Show, in public, how you are going to make things right or at least ensure it doesn’t happen again. Most review sites don’t allow you to delete a review, but Facebook does if the comment is left on the page and not in the review area. I have seen companies delete negative reviews, thinking the person will just quietly go away. If you delete an angry comment on your site, the customer will take it to a public space where you have no control and it WILL. GET. UGLY!
I am shocked to see review sites where a company either denies that the problem happened, basically calling the customer a lier (Most classic is the Blue Sky Hostel owner in Glasgow who calls the customer “a blind, fat, retard.” The firestorm of comments back and forth between the owner, the angry customer and everyone else who chimed in for entertainment was better than any reality show available on any television network.
You can find the Buzzfeed post here with screenshots. Which is another reason why you should never delete a negative comment–the person has most likely taken screenshots in case they need to go to the public.
So what can you do about it? If it is something you need to investigate to find out if it is true, you can HIDE a comment on Facebook, but on any site, you should contact the person who posted the review and ask them to contact you via private message to resolve the issue. When they don’t respond, you can assume the person isn’t looking for a resolution. Whether it’s a negative review, an old embarrassing photo of yourself, or anything that shows up on the web that you wish would just go away, the one thing you CAN do is put out lots of good content that is attached to your brand, to push those old reviews down. It will take time, but it works.
5. Ask for reviews and recommendations on your social media sites regularly.
When a delighted customer tells you they had great service or loves your product, immediately ask if they would mind writing a review for you on one of your social sites like Google, Yelp or Facebook. Let them know how it helps your business and then thank them.
Talk to your team and remind them to think digital-first and get those recommendations in video, on social sites or anywhere else that the world can see.
Aim to get these recommendations on a regular basis. It doesn’t help to have 10 reviews all at once in 2014 and nothing since. This tells consumers (and Google) that you got friends and family members to review your business when you opened the door but no one has reviewed it since. Make a point to ask people on an ongoing basis 2-5 a month or 1-2 a week depending on how busy you are.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you left reviews on a social review site? Do you expect a response? How do you feel if you get one?
If you need help keeping up with all of the responses and connecting with your social audience, contact us today.…it’s what we do!
Do you remember who you were at your 20th birthday? I don’t. I was married and had a baby at age 20 but I’m SURE that I didn’t know much about ANYTHING!
How much have you learned since your 20th birthday? I was looking at how much I have learned since my 40th birthday (a little easier to remember). Before social media was … well… let’s just say 2003 was the year MySpace was founded. I was afraid of it. The iPhone was invented in 2007, when I was 43 so at 40 I’m sure I had a blackberry and I remember my sons wanted to carry around pagers.
I have another birthday coming and it’s always around this time that I look back and become more reflective. What have I learned this year? How have I grown? What have I done that is significant?
I can remember in my 20’s I was promoted to a branch manager position at a personnel company (a temp agency). I had major imposter syndrome. I always felt too young. Who would take me seriously? My teammates and peers were all older than me.
Then one day I looked around and realized everyone was suddenly younger than me, including my doctors, which is always really weird. I can remember thinking, “Am I now too old for people to take seriously in my line of work? Am I still relevant?” I think we have about 2 good years—between 39-41 when we feel we’re just right!
I’ve never been the smartest one in school or on my jobs. I’ve also never been the one with the most experience. I can say those things were somewhat out of my control. Genetically, I didn’t have any rocket surgeons or brain scientists for parents and experience … well when you’re 22, you don’t have much control over that one. But what I did have in my control, was the desire to OUTLEARN and OUTWORK everyone. Maybe I was trying to prove to myself and others that I was smart enough to deserve the success I was experiencing.
Fortunately, what I didn’t have in degrees, I had in moxie…or scrappiness. I signed up for conferences and paid with my own money, at every chance I got. I went to Brian Tracey, Toni Robbins. I walked on fire and came home with bags of cassette tapes (that’s right… cassettes!). I have always spent lots of time letting the wisdom and experience from others pour into me through books, blog posts, podcasts, conferences, and face-to-face meetings.
When I speak to people who tell me they are stuck financially or in a negative space in their lives because they are in a bad relationship, or they are a single parent, or they lost their job, or they feel too old… I stop them and ask—What are you going to do about it? What is in your control?
Can you outlearn your competitor? Can you outwork that person who is up for the promotion you want? Do you have the guts and the desire to take the leap and start your own business and learn everything you need to so you feel you can at least dog-paddle your way instead of sinking? I love that scared feeling of being in over your head…just enough to get you moving. There is nothing like looking down and not seeing the bottom of the ocean to make you drop your weight belt (a SCUBA story I will have to share one day) and start kicking harder to get back to the surface.
If you’ve never had that feeling… it’s time. Let me push you out of your cushy but crappy spot you are in and get you kicking! If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I am gathering a group of women to go skydiving in a week and a half. I love these experiences that put us in a position to really feel what getting out of our comfort zones feels like. We need these times to remind us we can do hard things! We can do scary things!
Here are 3 things you can do to outwork and outlearn the rest:
Enjoy the Pursuit of Your Potential
You have so much potential. You just need to pursue it with a passion. Be in a crisis to be next best version of yourself. Learn to truly enjoy that hunger and that pursuit to reach your full potential.
What I love about this is, regardless of where you are, we are all starting this pursuit from the same place…our current state. There is no “too old” “too broke” or “too broken.” Just start the pursuit and give thanks each day for your journey and all that you are learning.
Sign up for a conference that will stretch you. One that will put you in the room, not just with your buddies and besties, but one that will put you in the room with people you will learn and grow from.
Schedule one hour a week for online learning—YouTube University! Our kids used Khan Academy for science and math homework help, but did you know there are sites that offer courses on everything from web development to character drawing courses. From photoshop courses to courses on neuroplasticity and rewiring your brain! You can take classes that are very inexpensive or free! Check out these resources to start:
I loved what Darcy Luoma said a couple weeks ago on our podcast when she said a coach will help you identify and fix your blindspots. She says we all have blind spots and a coach can help you improve in areas you may not even know you have. Whether you hire a life coach, an executive coach, or a business coach, working with one can help get you aligned in the right direction and they will hold you accountable for making the improvements or changes necessary!
3. Build habits and rituals to prevent laziness.
Make the commitment to get up earlier—even 30-minutes will give you that time to outwork and outlearn others. Make this a time to meditate, read, or plan your day. Incorporate listening to podcasts and audiobooks during your drive time or instead of watching lame television shows that do nothing to help you get ahead (unless you are writing scripts for lame television shows, then it makes sense). Incorporate one day or 30-minutes each day to learning. Whether that is attending a webinar, taking one of the classes you committed to or simply reading articles and filling your brain with the life lessons of others. Build these into daily and weekly habits to keep you out of the laziness trap.
4. Harness the Power of YES
Sometimes it’s in the serendipitous times that our path is forever changed. Saying “YES” to new experiences, new people, new opportunities will open us up to information or people that expand and enrich our networks and our lives. Start paying attention and listen for those invitations that you would typically say, “No” to. Those things you never make time for or that you have always been afraid to try (like skydiving or dance lessons).
That obscure concert that is free in the park. That invitation to a lecture series downtown. The invitation to join a new group of people for a luncheon. When you open yourself up to new experiences, you will be opening yourself up to new opportunities as well. By putting yourself in new situations—surrounding yourself with people who are where you want to be, you will learn and grow.
So when you feel discouraged and feel as if things are just too hard, stop and take a look back. Look at how far you’ve come and how much you have changed and grown. You’re not the same person you once were and thank goodness you’re not the same person you were when you were 20!