January 21, 2016

How to Stand Out in a World Full of “Social Media Experts”

You have perfected how to sum up what you have to say in 140 characters or less, you understand that the words “Lark” and “Reyes” aren’t just pretty names, and not to brag but you know your way around WordPress (you even have your own blog!). Amazing! You must be a social media expert, right?

No. Sorry ‘bout it, but there are a few more essential items that you’ll need in your toolbox before updating your skill set on LinkedIn. Social media channels may offer a relaxed form of communication, but the reality is that not everyone can do it AND be good at it. Put on your hardhats, we’re going to work. Here’s what you need to build up your social media expertise on a professional level:

  1. Train like Rocky. Try catching a chicken because you need SPEED and the ability to mentally switch gears. Do you find that checking and updating your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram everyday is a daunting task? Forget the software that sends to the masses, because every channel has a different voice and different posting requirements. Now try doing this for 10+ clients; they are all special, and they all need your time. This is a fancy round-a-bout way of saying you need to enjoy multitasking at maximum strength (and your account aids or interns do, too).
  2. Stay hungry like the Wolf of Wall Street. I really just wanted to make a Leonardo DiCaprio reference (good luck on February 28th!). My real point is that you need to have some business sense before jumping into social media on a professional level. 1,000 likes doesn’t always translate to sales and a share on Mashable doesn’t always translate to downloads. Understand your clients’ goals and needs and be honest about what it’s going to take to achieve them through a well-crafted strategy and ad budget. If all a client wants from a social media presence is sales, then you may need to give them a “little talk” about what the purpose of having a social community really means. I should also add that you need to be honest about what it will take before you kick things off—never overpromise but kick some tail on the delivery.
  3. Think like Don Draper. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for having a background in advertising. I can cut copy faster, I know how to sell without sounding “salesy,” and I can have serious conversations about the value of a social media ad campaign versus a two-page spread in The New Yorker. In addition, a seasoned social media manager will always have that “What will make this appealing?” mindset.
  4. Love yourself like Kanye. This is going to break some hearts, but the best content writers I know have that unexplainable spark inside that makes them truly brilliant when they write. You need to be into what you do, informative, stylish, witty, and even a little ballsy if you don’t mind me saying so (now repeat step 1 and do it for 10+ clients, all with different voices). Stop worrying so much about MLA format, and start thinking about the message.

Do you see a pattern here? These are all things you can gain from experience as a student, intern, account coordinator, and so on. You wouldn’t say you were a Store Manager on LinkedIn unless you actually had credible experience managing a store, right? It’s the same concept for us—never underestimate the talent of a good social media manager.