5 Social Media Skills That You Won’t Learn In College

by Jana Aplin | Aug 5, 2019 | Lessons Learned, Marketing, Business | 0 Comments


If you have ever been a ten year old, then you have probably sang one of these rhymes:

Circle circle, dot dot. Now you have a cootie shot. Circle circle, square square. Now you have it everywhere.

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider. Girls go to college to get more knowledge.

What’s interesting is that as an adult, I don’t think we’d want a cootie shot (because, you know, we kind of like the idea of having a boyfriend/girlfriend). I also believe that someone could actually accrue more life experiences on Jupiter than in college.

Yes, I do value education. But sometimes approaching knowledge with lectures, textbooks and theories isn’t relevant or applicable to real life, especially in the field of marketing. Digital marketing is about being social savvy and aware of recent trends. But those basic skills won’t make you a master of the entire horizon of social media. Platforms evolve and therefore skills need to be modified in order to achieve marketing succeed.

What social media skills are not taught in college? How can you learn those things outside of a classroom? How can you improve these areas?

Skill #1: Know Your Performance Metrics and Your Business Metrics

What are the goals of your company? Believe it or not, these goals are important to your social media campaigns. Potential clients learn about your business through your social media accounts and/or website. Therefore, your social media posts portray who your company is, what you value, and the products or services that you offer (just like your website).

For example, if a lead clicks on a webinar post, they could be converted into a prospect, who in turn becomes a customer. Your social media post about your webinar attracted a stranger who eventually turned into a client. See the connection between your social media and your overall business?

...feeling the pressure yet? Your work directly impacts your company! That’s an honor to hold such an important role among your teammates. Which is also why aligning your social media strategy and your company’s business goals is integral.

In official marketing lingo, “business goals” are related to “business metrics,” including leads, conversions, traffic, revenue, etc. On the other hand, “performance metrics” analyze your audiences engagement on social media and websites with things like comments, shares, retweets, likes, etc.

Your university career likely taught you what those terms mean, but on-the-job practice (including meetings with your manager) will educate you on how to implement tactics to drive your overall business goals.

Skill #2: Make your face known

A social media manager is the aura of a company’s online presence, and you’re also the face of it. Humanizing brands means revealing the people behind the computer - meaning you get a chance to be in the limelight! (Whether that freaks you out or gets you hyped up, keep reading and I promise you will land in the neutral zone about making your face known.)

You may interview a superior for an online video, share a speech about new innovations coming from your brand, speak at a live event, host a webinar, and represent your company with other public speaking events. Some of these require you to be front and center, while other opportunities simply demand your presence.

Remember, you are the human face to your online presence. Your digital voice and actual voice represent your company. It might feel daunting to be the face of the people behind your brand, but relish it as an opportunity to relate to your audience, spread the value of your brand, and to grow professionally.

P.S. It can also be an excuse for a fresh haircut, new makeup, or fun clothes!

Skill #3: Amp up your customer care via social media

When people have an issue with a product or service, what do they do? Instead of being placed on hold or waiting for a stranger at the call-center to answer the phone, consumers are turning to social media.

In particular, roughly 70% of consumers use social media to resolve customer service issues. Plus, the majority of people are less likely to use your company if you leave complaints unanswered on your social media pages. The bottom line: consumers expect you to be a present support on social media. Action point: master customer care via social media.

Surely your academic career reminded you to be personable and empathetic with clients, and to respond in a timely manner to theirs questions or feedback. Either you provide the sufficient response or your forward them onto to another representative who can help resolve their issues. For this skill, take the knowledge you learned in college and apply it to interactions with your audience.

Skill #4: Stay calm and fight the fires

Social media reflects the truth just like the magic mirror used by the evil queen in Snow White. And once the truth is out there, it is accessible worldwide. Your website crashes. You send out the wrong email campaign. Your account was hacked. Anytime something goes amiss, your prospects and customers will express their discontent on social media.

Hopefully college taught you that every negative response does not require company-wide actions. How do you know when a crisis happens (not if it happens, but when it happens)?

  • Information asymmetry. The first indication of a social media crisis is that the general public knows more about the issue than your company, and they announce it loud and clear on social media.
  • A series of negatives. A few critical reviews or a handful of unhappy clients are not a crisis. But a pattern of negative responses from your audience is the second sign to alert you to a social media crisis.
  • A negative impact on your company. The magnitude of the crisis is important. Does it lessen your reputation, deteriorate your brand, turn customers away? If so, you’ve hit the third point of a social media crisis.

Find yourself in this position? Time to stay calm and fight the fires! Gather a team together, create communication guidelines, alert your employees, make a public statement about the crisis, and always be transparent!

Skill #5: Be your brand

Branding and social media are like peanut butter and jelly or green eggs and ham: they are different yet complementary. Each social media post reveals your brand. Every photo, tweet, poll, or message. Your brand guidelines should directly impact your social media posts, which platforms you use, and the audience that you target.

  • Your content should align with your brand’s core values. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with your tone on different platforms: LinkedIn can be serious, while Instagram is inspirational and Twitter is witty - yet all three convey the same brand to your audience. The key is consistency: keep your message the same across all channels.
  • Help your audience distinguish your brand from your competitors with uniform visuals and imagery. Use the same logo, mascot, icons, and colors across all social media platforms.
  • Personality. As your company grows and expands, evolve your language and visuals to match your company’s personality. Similarly, you’re the same person that you were in college yet you probably dress and speak a little differently now compared to then.
  • Consistency. Keep your messages the same across all channels.

A Social Media Manager Who Is More Than A College Graduate

Social media managers need to adapt and evolve what they learned in college with the current digital world. Perhaps university taught you to be an excellent writer; keep your writing skills in tact while you also expand as a branding manager, crisis firefighter and customer care representative.

You went to college to get more knowledge, but you got a job to apply what you learned...and to continue learning for the rest of your career!

Feel like you could use some help bringing your college marketing knowledge up to alignment with today’s social media world? We would love to help! We promise there won’t be any pop quizzes or comprehensive finals, but we do promise to teach you more about social media marketing!