So you think you “do” social media?

We wrote a few weeks ago about the role of the press release. Well, more specifically we asked if the press release had actually had its day. Our conclusion was that although the press release is still important, the PR landscape has changed considerably over the past decade and communication professionals ignore that fact at their peril.

Social media engagement is now a part of the communications mix and forward-thinking companies will have an integrated social media strategy, aimed at raising profile, enhancing brand and creating that all important engagement. And if companies don’t have these plans in place, they will look to their communications suppliers to provide the right level of expertise, and make no mistake, good social media management requires a level of expertise not found in the average journalism graduate or marketing executive.

New York Times best-selling author and incidentally, the most retweeted person in the world by digital marketers, Jay Baer, asserts that there are 6 key skills needed to be a social media professional.

  1. You must be a good listener

Who among us can claim to be a good, active listener? Active listening requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is said. Listen to your clients. Listen to the news. Listen to what’s going on in your areas of business interest. Develop you social listening skills. It’s ok, we’re not talking about social psychology; social listening in the social media context is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your client and then analysing your findings for actionable insights. Become a good social listener

  1. You must be able to recognise patterns

The complexity of social media continues to rise unabated. The ability to recognise patterns and then be able to capitalise on them differentiates social media professionals. The ability to recognise those patterns and then sell your solutions to clients is quite another skill.

  1. Are you a visual thinker?

Many a seasoned marketer turned their hand to social media in the “early days”. Great integrated experience, combined with finely honed writing skills must equal a good social media manager, mustn’t it? After all, condensing a brand and a message into 140 characters is a skill in itself! Not good enough anymore I’m afraid. Today, with every social media network embracing visuals and multi-media, being able to represent a brand visually is a key element of being a great social media professional.

  1. Excellent, you think visually. What about statistics?

Not fair you cry. If I have the visual thinking and listening nailed and can just about recognise a pattern when I see one, surely throwing statistics into the mix is just plain wrong? Understanding what works, what might work and why it might work is key to the skillset of a social media professional. You must also be able to present your findings coherently to your clients, backed with data and yes, meaningful statistical analysis.

  1. How do you cope under pressure?

You’ve scheduled a client’s whole social media activity for the month and something happens in the wider media to make your schedule suddenly, wildly inappropriate. This is the schedule you worked so hard on. You created amazing graphics and each social media network update in your campaign complemented the other perfectly. Well, after today’s news it’s back to the drawing board, and it all needs to be done NOW!

How do you cope under pressure?

  1. How’s your public speaking?

So you thought you’d get your head down, slaving over Photoshop, crunching data and Hootsuite analytics and pulling together super impressive schedules. Reality check. You must be able to sell your ideas and shout about your successes. You must be confident enough to challenge your client’s status quo and help them to understand how social media works and can work for them.

Incidentally, a well-constructed, beautifully written press release can provide the social media professional with endless content for blogs, tweets, Facebook updates etc. The landscape may have changed, but there’s still no substitute for quality.

Dragonfly PR specialises in creative PR and social media campaigns for the construction sector. For a free no-obligation review of your requirements, email hello@dragonflypr.co.uk or call: 01709 300130 to find out more.

We’re also recruiting for a social media guru to add to our team; interested? http://dragonflypr.co.uk/news/we-are-seeking-a-social-media-executive

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