5 Qualities Of A Great Social Media Marketer


I am a social media marketer

My default answer when asked what I do is, “Social media strategy consulting.” In some circles the reply I receive is, “What’s that?” The graphic above was based on similar images that were being passed around online a few years ago. I designed this one and used it at a number of presentations and conferences. There are many opinions on what social media marketers do and few take the time to distinguish marketer from strategist.

Here is the Salary.com description of a social media manager:

Develops and implements the organization’s social media strategy, including marketing plans that leverage social media outlets. Responsible for development and maintenance of online content that attracts attention, generations interest, and is easily shared with social networks. Establishes relationships with bloggers and other members of the online community. May work with technical personnel in the development of tools that allow for easy integration with a social network. Requires a bachelor’s degree with at least 7 years of marketing experience. Familiar with a variety of the field’s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. Leads and directs the work of others. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected. Typically reports to top management.

The US average salary for this job is $102,822 before benefits.  Here are 5 qualities of a great social media manager:


There are three aspects of listening. First, a great social media manager must listen to the stated business goals, the mission and vision of your firm. Everything must stem from that. Part of this entails listening to individual business units. Understanding the challenges and goals of R&D, legal or HR will help refine and focus all outreach. Secondly, they have to be up to date with changes in best practices, software, hardware and platforms.  Lastly and perhaps most importantly, a great social media manger must listen to the audience. This includes your competition. How are they succeeding online? How are your customers using the web to find content and what are they sharing? You may have multiple audiences to attend to. NGOs for instance may have to listen to potential sources of funding as well as end users.

Content Creation

A great social media manager is fluent in all the relevant platforms and how each handles content. They have to be able to write engaging tweets under 140 characters, SEO optimized blog posts and emails for every segment you communicate with. This content can also be images, video, audio and more. Posting an image on Pinterest is a very different process than posting an image on Instagram.

Fast Yet Efficient

Social happens in real time and is changing quickly. A great social media marketer understands what conversations require immediate attention and can respond quickly. Posting to individual platforms one at a time is a waste of your $102,822 especially since Hootsuite is virtually free.

Cautiously Curious

I could dive into an MBA level conversation about the risks and rewards of being an early adopter. A great social media marketer is an early tester and a cautious adopter. There are dozens of tools and platforms on the market. Many are specialized and fulfill specific needs. On the other hand, there are dozens of platforms that all do the same thing. Understanding the goal of the tool and how it works should be a primary concern but if it solves a problem you don’t have what is the point?


This goes back to listening to the internal drive and goals of of your business. There are lots of networks and programs to test but do they move you closer to your objectives? Technology should be the last concern. Determine your audience and objectives before developing a strategy. Only then will you know how to engage online.  A great social media manager has real business experience. Do not hire your son or daughter because “they use Facebook a lot.” Do not hire someone because they are “young and hip.” Another aspect of great strategy is developing contingency plans. Major brands have had to pull campaigns within the first hours of launch after the realizing it was backfiring on them. This is often overlooked. A failed campaign should at least be a valuable learning experience.

If you can find someone with these qualities who is passionate about your product or service and they fit in your culture, grab them quickly or your competition will.