What are the skills require to manage social media?

Your social media manager needs to know and understand your organisation’s work, be passionate about promoting your cause, and be able to communicate on behalf of your organisation. 

Too often social media is left to the “techie” to manage, regardless of whether this person can effectively communicate on behalf of your organisation or not. Social media is not a technical medium, it is a communications platform. And passion and enthusiasm for your cause can be contagious!

The social media manager should have experience with:

  • writing website content, 
  • managing e-newsletters, and 
  • running donation campaigns. 

Just knowing how to use Facebook or Twitter is not enough. An understanding of marketing and campaigning is critical, as is understanding how all the e-communications platforms work together.

Your social media manager needs to understand your brand.  Their tone and personality on social media should reflect the tone and personality your want your organisation to embody.

The ability to be resourceful and creative, as well as friendly and welcoming, is important because this person will be managing one of the faces of your organisation.

Creativity is helpful in thinking about ways to convey seemingly mundane information. For example, when we were talking about a Water Rights campaign on social media and struggling to generate interest in it, we used a quote from the UN which stated that “more people in the world have access to a cellphone than a toilet”. The quote made many people stop in their tracks and think, and importantly, retweet the quote and click on the link to learn more about water rights. 

And finally, the social media manager should be able to mentor staff in cultivating their online presence as well. We would have a wonderful ongoing lively conversation about the non-profit sector in South African if more of the directors of South African NGOs would get on board and get tweeting!