7 Skills Every Social Media Marketer Needs

7 Skills Every Social Media Marketer Needs

skills social media marketers need

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 is 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.

skills for social media marketing

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-reads 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!
thirst for learning social media skills

7. Adventurous Spirit

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.
social media tools second life
Ok, these are the 7 skills that I have identified. 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.
Anticipation Marketing: Baby Giraffes, New Websites, and Launches

Anticipation Marketing: Baby Giraffes, New Websites, and Launches

Anticipation marketing, April the giraffe

Anticipation can be a great marketing tactic. As Carly Simon sang in her song, and the 1979 Heinz Ketchup commercial, “Anticipation is making me wait.” This typically means you are waiting for something you want. This month the world was on the edge of their seats (apply heavy sarcasm here) with their eyes glued to their computer monitors watching the live-video feed of April the Giraffe at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York. After over a year, everyone was waiting to see the arrival of the new baby giraffe.

While I love a new baby giraffe as much as the next girl, I just couldn’t see what all the hype was about, but after seeing the story covered day after day on the news and with the hysterical  twist of the pregnant woman, Erin Deitrich getting in on the action as she spoofed April the Giraffe and put on a mask saying she would deliver her baby before April would, I gave in. I clicked over to see what all the fuss was about and, just as I thought, there was a large giraffe standing around in a 20’ x 20’ enclosure, taking a few steps now and then. I don’t know if I was expecting to see her doing yoga or sitting on an exercise ball to relieve her labor pains, but it was extremely BORING…but I watched her for over 5 minutes before I slapped myself out of the trance and made myself get back to work. Why? Because we all wanted to witness the moment she finally gave birth. We were heavy with anticipation.

I see companies ready to birth new websites, posting the exciting news, “We’ve got a new website coming” which, to be honest, is about as exciting, to anyone outside the company, as watching a giraffe walk around her enclosure. You may be launching a new book, a new website, opening a restaurant or store, but you’ve got to be creative to pull your audience in with anticipation in order to get them to stay engaged. People want to know what is in it for them and to be honest, you launching a new website USUALLY has nothing in it for your customers.

anticipation marketing

What if you could get your audience to be even half as excited as you are about your new website or business launch? What if you could get them to “tune in” and see how your project was developing? Here are a few ideas to help you use anticipation marketing:


  1. Poll Your Audience

    Create easy response polls to get your audience involved in helping you make decisions. This works great in real estate. Put up images of four different kitchens and ask which one people would want to cook their next meal in. What if for a website launch, you asked people to vote on 4 different font choices or color combinations.

  2. Play “Would You Rather”

    Along the same lines, you can show two choices and play would you rather. We work with a commercial interior design firm, and this works great. Ask your audience which chairs they would rather have at their desk, or which conference table looks more inviting Which uniform do you prefer? Could you ask your audience if they would rather have a content library filled with case studies or a challenge a day section they could draw inspiration from?

  3. Name that Mascot

    Of course once the little 6-foot, 150-pound baby giraffe was born (April, the zoo could hook the world a little longer by involving everyone in the naming of the little lad. They are raising funds by charging a dollar per vote, with a minimum of 5 votes per person. BRILLIANT. Of course, they are using the opportunity to educate everyone on the state of giraffes in the wild and the preservation efforts that they are involved in. In a different manner, what if you had a character in your business that helped educate the world on your products or services? John Kapos, of Perfection Chocolates in Sydney, Australia goes into his Chocolate Johnny character (a chocolate “dealer” with a bodyguard and a drag queen girlfriend) to bring funny videos to his fans. Could you have your audience help you name a company mascot or perhaps a fun “character” or spokesperson that will bring regular tips their way? You might have a harder time getting people to pay for their votes, but people love to have a say and it can be a fun way to get people coming back for more.

  4. Create Some Drama

    I love seeing the story of Sarah and Juan “unwrap” in the Extra Gum commercials. They have done a brilliant job of creating a romantic drama that draws you in. You anticipate their next short chapter. Could you use this type of story-creation to bring your audience along for the ride? There are many brands that tell part of a story in a commercial and then pull you to their website to see how it ends or to view the whole story. You could release a mini-chapter each week until the finale or big reveal.

Remember, anticipation is “the feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen,” according to Merriam-Webster anyway. If you want your audience to be excited about your brand and what is happening, get them involved; allow them to participate or go behind the curtain with you to watch. If that doesn’t work, you can always try getting pregnant and wearing a giraffe mask.

Anticipation marketing, Coming soon



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Adapting Your Brand’s Voice for Social Media Platforms

Adapting Your Brand’s Voice for Social Media Platforms

communicating with customers on social media

You spend a significant amount of time communicating to customers and potential customers through marketing and sales campaigns, support contacts, and your company blog. You also take advantage of customer engagement opportunities through social media sites, as few other venues give you the one-on-one ability to start a conversation with your customers. While you can use whatever voice you want for all communication, establishing a unified brand voice for your communication helps you build consistency across your brand. It also helps you establish employee guidelines explaining acceptable language for communication, common phrases or terms you use for your company, and other details important for correctly conveying your company’s message. On social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the ease of back and forth communication between yourself and your customers requires some shifting for your brand’s voice, due to the more informal setting.

Creating Voice Guidelines

The first step in adapting your brand’s voice for social media is establishing your voice guidelines.

Use this checklist to create overall voice guidelines for your organization: 

  • Who is your audience? 
  • What are the approved names for your company? Be specific with capitalization, especially if your brand name uses a lowercase as the first letter (i.e. eBay).
  • What sets your company apart from others in the industry? 
  • What is your typical communication tone: funny, formal, informal, informative, educational, casual, etc?
  • What are common phrases you use in messaging? These phrases can include taglines, common industry terms and keywords, and slang used by your demographic. 
  • Do you prefer specific grammar styles, such as AP or Chicago

Once you’ve created a document covering basic voice guidelines, it’s time to understand how they relate to your brand’s interaction with customers on popular social networks, the types of content these networks respond best to, and how to adapt your voice for your customers.

consistent voice on social media digital marketing agency


Facebook is the biggest social network, and it’s also the one that accommodates a wide range of content. Content length ranges from 50 to 200 words, with videos and pictures drawing more attention to your text posts. You don’t want to overwhelm your Facebook fans with long-form content, but you can provide substantial information to begin a conversation. Facebook supports threaded conversations, making it easier for everyone to follow along with comments compared to a platform like Twitter. You adopt a slightly more informal speech pattern on Facebook, but you don’t have to deviate strongly from your typical speaking patterns. You want to interject personality with some demographic and brand appropriate slang and humor to help get the conversations going. 


Twitter is challenging for many brands due to the 140 character limit per message. Your social media managers learn how to distill messages into easily digestible tidbits. Effectively communicating on Twitter requires an understanding that you’re going to use abbreviations and Internet slang to get your message across in such a short space. Additionally, knowing how to sustain a conversation through appropriate hashtags is invaluable. Twitter is the most informal social network you may encounter, so you most likely need to adjust your guidelines the greatest for this network. It’s particularly important to mandate which abbreviations and shortened words are appropriate and which do not suit the brand.

creating one voice on social media sites content marketing


LinkedIn is primarily used for B2B communication, so you won’t deviate far from your established brand voice on this network. You do want to keep your tone as warm as possible to encourage engagement and show your brand’s personality. Longer form content is welcomed on this network, although visual content still does a great job at attracting interest. 


Pinterest is a visual-first social media site, and your messaging should reflect that. Infographics and DIY projects get significant attention, especially if you have a home or lifestyle brand. Product photos themselves are also welcomed, especially if you can create pinboards that speak to how your products are used in day to day life. Pinterest focuses on visual storytelling, although the picture and board descriptions are important places to further explain the story. A warm and personable tone gets the conversation and pins going on Pinterest, with mostly informal speech. 

Niche Industry Social Media Sites

Niche social media sites pop up on a regular basis, such as Steepster for tea community or the niche sub-reddit communities on Reddit. While there’s no one size fits all approach to handling these specialty communities, going for a welcoming and relatable tone is an important first step. It’s also essential to truly understand standard terminology used by customers within your niche. If you go into a specialty social media site filled with enthusiasts and you don’t know the first thing about the phrases they use, it damages the trust they may have in your company knowing what the niche is all about.

Social media sites may seem intimidating when it comes to keeping your brand’s voice consistent across multiple platforms. Understanding the typical tone and content used on these sites helps you adapt your social media guidelines and effectively start conversations with your customers. 

If you are needing help with this or other digital marketing activities, use your voice to call our voice and let’s connect!