In an article for, Alfred Lua breaks down 10 key traits and skills that successful social media managers have. With social media platforms constantly evolving it is important to have basic skills down cold. Every day is different for a social media manager, when you wake up you don’t know if someone is going to win an award or if there is going to be a crisis. It is important to work towards mastering these seven skills and three traits to become a successful manager.

Seven Skills:

1. Copywriting

Social media is all about copywriting, it doesn’t matter if you’re on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat what you say can make or break the post. It is important to be aware of your company or team’s voice. The copy that you write needs to maintain a similar tone no matter who is actually posting it. Every account has its own “voice”, short and to the point, sassy, funny or mysterious, just to name a few. Here are two examples, both accounts represent Oregon Athletics and yet they both have very different tones.

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2. Design

Research has found that posts with visual content – gif, video or photo – get a higher level of engagement. According to HubSpot, if people hear information they are likely to remember 10% of that information three days later, however, if a relevant image is paired with the same information people remember up to 65% of the information three days later. Not only will visual content help make the post more interesting it will also increase the chances of the consumers remembering it.

3. Public Speaking

With going live on social media becoming more popular social media managers have gone from behind the scenes to more of a talk show host. “Going live” is very popular right now and 42% of marketers seek to create more live content. By developing your public speaking skills you are opening the door to a whole new world of live content.

4. Customer Service/Community Engagement

Social media has become the top channel for consumers to go to when they need customer service. However, only 21% of businesses use social media for customer support. This leaves a large opportunity for businesses to strengthen their brand by providing customer services through social media. The same goes for community engagement, a good social media manager will ask and answer questions to facilitate engagement. Lululemon, JetBlue and Nike Support are all known for their excellent customer support.


5. Analytics

Analytics can be used to refer to both social media metrics (likes, retweets, favorites, comments, shares) and business metrics (traffic, leads, conversions, revenue). A good social media manager will understand both and work to tie them together. By looking at both business and social media metrics it gives the manager an overall view of the companies social media performance based off of their business goals. It is important to have fluid communication between executives and social media managers. If the managers don’t know the goals of the company then they cannot produce content to help achieve the goals.

6. Behavioral Psychology

Although analytics tells you which types of social media posts do well and who the audience is, it does not mention why. Knowing the what helps to spot trends and repeat successes, but knowing the why will understand the underlying cause for the successes. Analytics can show you that posts with visuals do better, but they cannot inform you that it isn’t just photos but gifs and videos as well. That is known because of the psychology behind trends.

7. Budgeting

Running a successful social media account can drain a lot of resources. Programs to track trends, create analytics and boost posts are expensive. On top of that there is the content that must also be paid for. Learning to budget can help to reduce stress as well as keep the account on track.

Three Traits:

1. Curiosity

Curiosity may have killed the cat but it can benefit the social media manager. Social media is about trends, what’s new, what’s hot, who is doing good and who is not. Without curiosity trends wouldn’t become trends and viral videos would never get more than a hundred hits. As a social media manager it is important to see what other companies are doing, what is working and what isn’t. It is also important to try new things. Maybe you will start the new trend.

2. Adaptability

The life of a social media manager is never complacent. Every day is different and things are constantly changing. Being adaptable allows you to stay ahead of the curve. Not only is it important to notice changes but also make sure to adjust your skill set to fit the changes. 10 years ago text posts were all that was happening. Nobody was making gifs, graphics or videos. But that changed and so did the skill sets of the top social media managers.

3. Business Savvy

As mentioned in the analytics section, it is important to combine content with business goals. A successful social media manager will see the bigger picture and how one post can create a domino effect. The social media manager for lululemon is focusing on selling a product while the manager for the SF Giants is focusing on selling a team. Some aspects are the same but the content is completely different.


It is not about having mastered every single trait and skill. Rather having them handy in your toolbox. Excelling at design may mean that your copywriting doesn’t always have to be perfect and vice versa. But having a strong base for each will make you a better social media manager and greater asset to your company.