Social Media Skills in the Workplace

Social Media Skills in the Workplace

by: Dan Jeffers

Social media was once a little thing. Not that long ago, really. Most companies ignored it. Those who wanted to be innovative usually handed their social media over to someone who was an enthusiast, or sometimes to an intern.

Now 90% of businesses are in the game. Most have hired people with “social media” in their job titles. Every year the number of job postings that list this in the title increases by 30 to 50%. Many more job postings include social media skills in their requirements.

But there is growing evidence that the people being hired don’t have these skills. Only 12% of businesses are happy with their social media efforts, and there are few training programs that teach social media skills.

One problem is the rapid evolution of social media. The most popular platform now may not have existed two or three years ago. The other, bigger problem is perception. Social media seems easy to many people. Others see it as mysterious, but they often attribute that to age--assuming that hiring younger millennials is all they need to do to get the skills in-house.

However, while millennials and younger workers may be more comfortable communicating with their friends using social media applications, that is far different than managing social media for a business. One expert, William Ward, professor of social media at Syracuse University, has said: “That’s like saying, ‘I grew up with a fax machine, so that makes me an expert in business.”

In order to get people with real social media skills, you first have to acknowledge that there are skills involved. Few of these have to do with platform familiarity. If someone calls themselves an “Instagram guru” or a “Snapchat Ninja,” you should probably keep looking. Social media isn’t easy, but it isn’t magic, either. No ninjas, no gurus, no wizards. Just skills, knowledge, and responsibility.

There are at least skills that are an essential part of the social media practitioners toolkit. These include:

Content creation -- good social media requires good content. Graphic design and writing are both critical skills to have on your team.

Research -- most social media channels include a large proportion of curated content. To have value, the articles selected and posted on need to be the best, most relevant to the audience to be found.

Community orientation -- social media teams need to interact with the larger community. They need to connect with thought leaders, encourage followers, and respond to customers. Managing all these relationships requires skill, organization, tact, and consistency.

Analytics -- tracking your social media efforts is key to getting any return on investment. If you or your team does not have this skillset somewhere, you will never know how well you are doing and how to improve.

Social advertising -- most social media platforms offer advertising. The best way to use this opportunity is by integrating it with your social media strategy.

Content marketing -- If the goal of your web content includes content marketing or SEO, the social media team will have to understand how this process works.

How can we help? If you need to get more out of your social media strategy, we can do an audit, we can also come in and train your team to make sure they have the right skills. Finally, if you don’t want to build your team in-house, we can create a social media process for you.