3 Characteristics Every Successful Social Media Manager Has

Social_media_girl_blog.jpgRock star social media managers are not easy to come by, and in many cases, the most desirable skills tend to be overlooked by those who are hiring anyone that can post a picture or understand Instagram or Snap Chat. 

The power of social media is simply remarkable. Beyond marketing and customer service, social media recruiting trends have redefined what it means to recruit in today's digital age. 

Hiring the right social media manager can make or break your organization's social footprint. To avoid a failed engagement, here are three necessary characteristics to look for when hiring your next social media manager. 



Social media is one of the most powerful tools in marketing today, but it carries quite a few pros and cons. For one, customers can communicate instantly with businesses. However, customers (and candidates alike) now expect this instantaneous communication all the time. In a smaller operation (and possibly bigger ones too), there is a good chance the social media manager will have to wear a customer service hat and handle responses to those who reach out to the brand via your profiles. Replying to a disgruntled customer or thanking a happy one creates a long-lasting relationship with them, leading to more loyal customers and referrals.

People are not willing to wait for social media responses these days. According to a recent study, over half of customers want a reply the same day, and 24% want it within the hour. Your social media manager needs to be able to handle these types of expectations by keeping an eye on social media engagement. JetBlue Airways is a brand that has become known for their excellent customer service via social media. Customers who tweet an issue to the airline receive responses within minutes, and JetBlue consistently tries to resolve any issues or complaints.

In all your social media responses, the manager is generally responsible for how the situation is handled, and the timeliness of communication.

One easy way to spot this trait in your candidate is based on their response to your inquiries. When you reached out to the candidate, how quickly did they respond? How well-constructed was there message? Communication skills are essential to all managers, especially when it comes to marketing. Was communicating with the candidate easy, or was it difficult to get a hold of them? Were their responses polite and informative? These are all factors to consider as this characteristic will likely indicate how well they would be able to handle responses in a managerial position.



Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is certainly responsible for success in social media. You want a manager that is consistently curious when it comes to marketing. Whether they are looking for a better engagement strategy or finding little ways to think outside the box, a good manager should be inherently inquisitive.

Since your social media manager’s job is (obviously) to manage your social media presence, they should be constantly working to fine-tune strategies and experiment with new ones. For example, Facebook advertising is quickly becoming one of the largest and most powerful social platforms for business promotion. It is your social media manager’s job to conduct in-depth research and use information gleaned from the Facebook ad guide to optimize your strategy to meaningfully expand your audiences.

Fear of failure can hold anyone back from success, but this saying is especially accurate when it comes to social media management. You want a manager who is willing to question the status quo and try out new ideas. Your social media manager may also be responsible for data analytics, depending on your company’s strategy and structure. When this is the case, they should be prodding at the meaning behind the data and searching for new ways to improve results. Pay attention to the questions your candidate asks, and ask them things like where they believe the market is heading and what ideas or strategies will work best in the future.


Cultural Awarenes

Social media is the hub for trending content; so staying on trend is vital to your marketing strategy. You want a social media manager who is up-to-date with what’s going on in the world and makes strides to stay relevant in a quickly changing social media environment. They also need to have a deep understanding of your business’s core audience and be able to produce content that engages with them.

To do this successfully, they should be aware of current hot-button issues and their relationship to the audience. Social media has become a platform where everyone is entitled to their opinion and is given the opportunity to openly share their thoughts. When it comes to your business, you need a manager who is able to accurately gauge your audience and know what their standpoints are.

A great example of this is Audi’s stance on equal pay through their #DriveProgress campaign. They released a commercial across their platforms that openly stated their views on the issue. The brand touched on the trending topic of feminism and equality, while proclaiming themselves as a “brand that’s ahead of the curve and looking toward the future, just like the next generation of buyers.” This topic was controversial and political, but Audi took a stand and the ad was well-received by their audience.

In your search, look for someone who is aware of current trends and is in-touch with your target audience. You want someone who understands what your customers are looking for and what content is exciting and interesting to them. Keep an eye out for traits like creativity and quick-thinking skills by asking situational questions. For instance, give them a hypothetical scenario like “If you were in charge of ____’s social media, what topic would you post about and how you would you leverage the brand’s messaging?”


Finding the perfect fit for your social media manager position is not an easy task. You want to hire someone who is capable of handling customer engagement while also creating captivating content and implementing new strategies. Keep in mind what kind of message you want your brand’s social media to project when considering candidates, and look for people that naturally possess these traits.


About the Author: 
Lori Wagoner is a marketing and business consultant. She helps small businesses put in place growth-focused digital strategies. Lori is also a prolific blogger; she writes for Tweak Your Biz, Project Eve, Small Biz Daily, and many other business publications. You can follow her on Twitter @LoriDWagoner.

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