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Wendy’s, KFC, Oreos and other big-name brands have seen enormous results by investing in expert social media managers. According to eMarketer, 90.4% of millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers actively use social media. That means social media managers that can successfully tap into these audiences are invaluable to the business.

But can emerging brands find and leverage witty social media talent like these big brands? We’ve asked social media industry leaders about the importance of social media managers and the particular skills, traits and best-practices these roles require.

Why Emerging Brands Need Great Social Media Managers

“In this day and age, emerging brands do need a dedicated social media manager,” said Lydia Mansel, head of content at SEO My Business, “but that doesn’t mean it’s their only job.” While posting on social media is crucial, many smaller companies can benefit from a smart social media manager that can help with other aspects of their overall marketing strategy as well. This is especially true for companies that have a smaller social media presence and more manageable posting cadence.

For example, a social media manager is often capable of copywriting, PR and other essential marketing functions. “Social media is just one piece of the overall marketing strategy,” Mansel continued, “it’s necessary, but if you hire a smart, capable employee, they’ll be able to help grow the company in more ways than posting online.” They can establish connections with prospective and existing customers not just through social media, but also through other digital marketing channels.

Moreover, Ryan Pitylak, founder & CMO of ZenBusiness believes great social media managers are able to build a sense of positivity around the brand. “They come up with great ideas,” he explained, “producing posts with the perfect blend of creativity and humor.” While Pitylak believes it’s possible for emerging brands to attract social media managers on par with the big-name brands, companies need to be thorough with job advertisements and reviewing applicants. “There will ideally be an opportunity to show creativity in the writing of application form responses and answering of interview questions.”

Related Article: 6 Social Media Best Practices for Brands

The Skills, Traits and Best-Practices of a Social Media Manager

When brands are searching for their own witty social media manager, here are some characteristics the experts recommend looking for:

Thought Leadership

“A good social media manager should have an excellent understanding of the business and the types of people that they are expected to engage with,” Pitylak suggested. They need to have their finger on the pulse in terms of news about the company and how this fits into a broader industry context. “Their own social media pages should be updated and prove they are on top of trends,” Pitylak added. A candidate may say they’re an industry expert, but reviewing their online presence is the best way to ensure they’re following the industry closely.

Lifelong Learning

“A good social media manager should be able to write, self-edit, understand data and analytics and be a lifelong learner,” Mansel said. Social media in 2020 is far different from what it was in 2015 and likely will be in the future. Social media platforms come and go, algorithms change, and other factors make social media management a rapidly changing role. The best social media managers show that they are ready to continuously learn and improve their skills and knowledge throughout their careers.

Organization

Social media managers have a heavy workload and a constantly changing calendar because their front-facing role attracts feedback from the CEO, sales representatives, and everyone in between. “Social media managers have to think outside of the box,” Mansel explained, “in order to produce quality, original content on a daily basis.” This requires strong organization and productivity to achieve the best results.

Personality

“When hiring a witty social media manager,” Pitylak said, “you’re looking for personality and charm more than a lengthy CV.” That means a new graduate with little experience could be a better fit for a brand in terms of attitude and tone of voice than more senior candidates. For Pitylak, characteristics like a sense of humor, empathy and storytelling ability far outweigh work experience.

Curiosity

Mansel believes the most important practice of social media managers is exercising curiosity every day. “Social media success requires trying new things,” she explained, “new platform features, new content, new ways of production.” When it comes down to it, many social media posts fail to bring real results, and the best social media managers are ready to try something new the next day. “It’s a dynamic world that only the bravest of social media managers excel in.”