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6 Skills You Need to Be a Social Media Professional

Posted by Ian Davies on 23 February 2014

What skills do you need to be proficient in Social Media? The skill set required has changed over time in social best practices, but we believe SPEED and TECHNOLOGY have spawned a new list of ingredients that social pros ideally should possess.

The 6 Skills Are:


This skill is still very much true, and perhaps even more so these days. The best social media pros listen the most actively and most aggressively.

Pattern Recognition

This is getting more and more critical as the data and complexity of social continues to ratchet up. Are these posts on our Facebook page a crisis in the making, or just noise? Where are the real-time marketing opportunities? Instantly identifying patterns and being able to capitalise upon them are some of the skills that separate good social practitioners from great ones.

Visual Thinking

This is perhaps the biggest change in the past year or two. Being a great writer was formerly a key characteristic of many social pros, as being able to coherently write in 140 characters isn’t as easy as it appears. Today, with every social network embracing visuals and multi-media, being able to represent the brand visually is absolutely critical. This is a real challenge for many business managers who come from the PR/communications side of things, and all of a sudden need to be quasi graphic designers.

Statistical Analysis

Social success is now about optimisation, not colonisation (click to tweet).
Understanding what works, what might work, why it might work, and under what circumstances is a major differentiator within the social media professionals ranks. Those that are constantly thinking about data and metrics, tying social outcomes to company outcomes are those that will ultimately succeed as social becomes integrated into larger business functions. If you’re not comfortable with math, data and Excel, you need to get good at that side of the business RIGHT NOW.


Understanding how to handle a wide variety of situations with dignity, humour and empathy is a huge part of the business now, especially for front line managers. The ability to think like an improv comedy actor to burnish your “in-the-moment”  posts can go a long way to pushing the envelope which creates interest with fans without crossing the line.

Public Speaking

You may be thinking, “wait, I got into social media so I wouldn’t have to do stuff like public speaking, and could confine my awesomeness to a keyboard.” Well, here’s the deal. If you really want to make a run in this business, you are going to have to merchandise your success internally and externally. You have to make the execs in your organisation understand why and how social works to either make the company money, save it money, or both. And if you can’t walk into that conference room and knock their socks off with a focused 10-minute presentation, you are realistically impeding your own success path.
What did I leave out? Where do you disagree? I’m sure this list will change again by next year.

Author: Ian Davies
Tags: Advice Social Media

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