Top 3 Skills to Have When Working in Social Media

Social media has become the future of storytelling— it’s the way consumers are fed the news and the way brands tell their story in hopes that it matches our very own. Social media breaks down hierarchy and democratizes communication. Managing something this powerful is never an easy feat. And yes, it takes certain skills to do it well.

In the later part of 2016, I had the pleasure of speaking with eager students from one of the top 25 colleges in the country. And they all curiously asked the same question: what skills should you have to work in social media? I’m diving deep into these skills while dispelling any myths of what it’s like working in social media.

Be Creative [Read: Strategic]

As I write this post, something in social media just changed. This 24/7 moving piece of our online world comes with constant updates and changes. And you need to remain creative [read: strategic] to cut through the noise. It’s not enough to schedule out content for the platforms you manage, in hopes that your robotic feeds will stand out and help you achieve your business goal. You need to be super creative (think live videos, chat content that pull at the heart of your online community, GIFs/memes that speak humor & brand) and double down on your strategy while doing it.

In Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger gives us six principles on contagious content:

  1. Social Currency. How will you make your consumers, your audience, your community feel like insiders?

  2. Triggers. How will your content create a constant reminder for people to think about your product or idea? Top of mind leads to tip of tongue. 

  3. Emotion. Focus on feelings rather than function. 

  4. Public. How do we develop content that promotes itself creating behavioral residue even after the content has been shared? 

  5. Practical Value. Think of content that will help others. 

  6. Stories. Create a narrative that people will want to share. 

"If you want to craft contagious [creative] content, try to build your own Trojan Horse. But make sure you think about valuable virality. Make sure the information you want people to remember and transmit is critical to the narrative... So build a social currency-laden, triggered, emotional, public, practically value Trojan Horse. Make sure your desired information is so embedded into the plot that people can't tell the story without it." — Jonah Berger.  

Worried that you don’t have the design or code skills needed to create content that is innovative and embodies the above principles? Grab my Skillshare code and get three months of Skillshare Premium for $0.99. Three months of unlimited access to design, coding and marketing courses can really help you to level up on your creative social media skills.

Stellar Comprehension of Analytics

Excelling at social media also means running towards numbers, not away from them. Being creative and strategic also comes from understanding reports and analytics— knowing what is working versus what is not and how to continuously test your strategy based on numbers.


Can you look at the social acquisition section of Google Analytics over the course of 2 months, and know what strategy to test and implement to boost social acquires? Do you have the mindset to look at numbers, both loss and gain and create strategy to increase retention?

Excellent Human Relations Skills aka You Get People

Interacting with hundreds of thousands of people in the course of a day can be arduous and mentally draining. But the accounts you manage aren’t your personal accounts, it’s a brand you represent. This means, you have to garner the strength to keep up the brand voice. Basically your people skills need to be on 100. And no this isn’t the “people are cool. I like people” skills I’m talking about. I’m talking about the psychological prowess to understand how to dictate content that will soothe, rather than offend. I’m talking about knowing how to maximize effective human interaction where everyone benefits — not just the brand.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have a genuine interest in others?

  2. How active are your listening skills? I know you may be thinking, “why do I need to have great listening skills for social media? I’m behind a laptop or mobile device.” But your best strategies and business decisions come from listening to your consumers on social media. Noticing what they like and what they don’t like. Noticing their frequency in engagement with particular content.

  3. Can you make sound judgement? Content online can go viral quickly, leaving a positive or negative effect on your brand. You need to have the ability to make sound decisions, strategically and quickly. The power of your brand lies in the hand of people and how you address their concerns.

Social media is more than posting on Instagram, snapchatting or tweeting all day. To the next generation of social media strategists and digital marketers, I want you to strive and excel— that means being creative (strategic), analytically sound and having great human relations skills.

Looking to get a deeper knowledge of what it’s like to work in social media? Shoot me an email.

Natasha Benjamin