15 Traits Every Successful Social Media Manager Should Have

Facebook users have clicked the ‘like’ button 1.13 trillion times since the platform was last updated. Every minute, there are an additional 4 million ‘likes’ clicked. On Twitter, there are over 25 billion tweets and interactions that take place on the site every day. And, two new members join LinkedIn every second. In the digital age, it’s crucial for businesses to adequately, monitor, manage, and curate their social media feeds and profiles. 

With the sheer volume of social interactions taking place each day, how can someone even begin to analyze the relevant data? Fortunately, there’s an entire profession dedicated to curating and leveraging the power of social media for brands and businesses. Below are 15 traits every successful social media manager should have.

What does a social media manager do?

A social media manager monitors, strategizes, and curates content for a brand’s social media profiles.

Consumers expect a brand to have a social media presence. Without one, it’s hard to gain a customer’s trust and loyalty. A social media manager’s job encompasses the following tasks:

  • Optimize the brand’s profile for each platform
  • Field comments and queries
  • Engage with viewers
  • Curate and post content
  • Monitor reactions
  • Monitor the overall health of the brand’s social media presence
  • Strategize brand content
  • Curate the appropriate tone for the brand’s personality and customer’s expectations

It’s all too easy for the average business owner to get lost in all of the ‘noise’ of social media. It’s almost impossible for the untrained eye to cut through the commotion and figure out what customers want to see from the brands they like.

A social media manager’s job is to monitor and field comments and queries that come through via social media. But monitoring a company’s profiles isn’t enough. It’s critical that the social media manager understands how to curate appropriate content for viewers which is engaging and relevant. Thus, there are two, essential sides to the social media manager’s coin:

  • Monitoring
  • Listening

The CEO of Networked Insights, Dan Neely said, “Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest.”

Monitoring entails specific, time-sensitive tasks on social media. Listening takes insights from social media monitoring and leverages them into an overall strategy and vision that moves the needle forward for the brand.

For example, monitoring would look something like this:

A locally-owned, family card game company releases a new game on a Monday. For the entire week, the social media manager fields comments on the business’s Facebook page. Every so often, the manager gets a question or complaint centering around the card game’s scoring system. At each instance, the manager can successfully explain how the scoring system works.

The above scenario is an example of monitoring. As you can see, it’s detail-oriented and happens at a specific time. On their own, each instance may not be anything of concern. But when looked at in the aggregate, a successful social media manager can see that there is a theme here, and a common problem that needs addressing.

Now, social media listening would be if the manager noticed the overall trend with current customer complaints and questions. In the particular example from above, with social media listening, the manager could deduce that there was something wrong with the instruction manual that came with the new card game. They would immediately notify the company owners who could promptly fix the issues with the manual.

With social media monitoring, the manager is compelled to take immediate action. Listening requires the social media manager to sit back and look at the entire picture, not the little details. While both activities are essential for a business to be successful, monitoring and listening are different in kind, not degree. When looking to hire a social media manager, not only do you want someone with experience across a broad swath of different channels and platforms, you want your new hire to have certain intrinsic traits. A successful social media manager must demonstrate the following skills, which encompass both significant actions – monitoring and listening.

  1. A successful social media manager must be a good listener.

    Does your social media manager take a step back and let you do the talking, or do they talk over you? Do they actively listen to you, and make an effort to understand your concerns and goals for your business? If there’s any doubt about their abilities here, you may want to ‘next’ them.

  2. Observant

    A social media manager must be observant. To notice trends via social listening, a manager needs to always be on the lookout for what viewers are saying and how they are interacting with the brand. They also need to look at overall social trends and have a culturally sensitive nature.

  3. Insightful

    Monitoring and listening help the social media manager to plan and strategize for your business. Planning and strategy require insight.

  4. Strategic

    One of the most important tasks your manager will perform for you will be brand strategy. By listening and observing, your manager should take their insights and begin to incorporate them into an overall content strategy for your future social media posts.

  5. Analytical

    For a successful strategy to work, managers need to be analytical. They will need to curate posts that take into consideration your target audience’s tastes, expectations, and the kind of tone they want to see from your brand.

  6. Ability to Leverage

    A social media manager should take their insights into your customer base, and leverage it to serve your future business goals. Successful social media managers know how to streamline and integrate a brand strategy with your company’s voice and personal story.

  7. Customer-Centric

    Successful social media managers aren’t just in the business of making their client’s happy; they are also required to develop customer trust and loyalty. More than half of consumers expect customer service and support via social media. A social media manager will need to understand how things look from the customer’s point of view. Is the brand customer-friendly? How is the user experience? Successful social media managers will ask and answer these questions.

  8. A Healer

    Social media managers are responsible for monitoring a brand’s health on social media. If your brand’s reputation has taken a hit or is showing signs of wear, a social media manager will be able to use their insight and superior listening skills to bring a healing touch to your profiles and accounts. With monitoring, they’ll be able to smooth over any customer complaints. By listening, they’ll be able to help pivot the marketing strategy to improve your brand’s reputation and to improve customer trust.

  9. Cool-headed

    It’s critical that your social media manager has a cool head. After all, they’re the one responsible for starting and fielding conversations on social media. You want a manager who will act responsibly in your stead and won’t inflame conversations or throw out incendiary, offensive remarks if a troll tries to get under their skin.

  10. Patient

    The most successful social media managers are patient when dealing with both customers and clients. A lack of patience can cause a manager to become short or rude if something doesn’t go as planned. Impatience can also cause them to give up too quickly on a goal or strategy that may otherwise be working, just taking longer than they’d hoped.

  11. Reflective

    The ability to reflect enables social media managers to see what is and isn’t working with the brand’s strategy. Instead of getting caught up in their ego, reflective managers can correct course decisively.

  12. Empathic

    You want a manager who is empathetic to your needs, as well as your customers’. They will be dealing with hundreds of different people every day. A social media manager needs to have the ability to connect with and relate to others. An empathic manager will intrinsically know how to engage with people via social media.

  13. A Conversationalist

    Conversation is an art form, and your social media manager needs to be an artist. They need to know what topics are going to inform and delight a brand’s customer base on social media. In turn, they also need to know how to keep conversations focused and engaging.

  14. Focused

    It’s crucial that your social media manager has the ability to focus. Social media is noisy and hectic. Your manager should have a good grasp on how to use monitoring and social media listening tools to help them stay focused and keep the brand’s strategy on track. Getting easily sidelined can damage a brand’s reputation otherwise.

  15. An Idea Machine

    A successful social media manager should also be an idea machine. By leveraging the power of social media monitoring and listening tools, your manager will be able to generate innovative ideas for your brand’s online strategy consistently.

Successfully managing a brand’s social media accounts and their overall strategy is incredibly important in the digital age. Social media managers who know how to connect and engage with people, leverage monitoring, and listening tools, and align their insights with a brand’s goals will be the most successful. It’s not enough to look at social media engagement through the lens of monitoring. Managers must also actively listen to customer expectations in aggregate.


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Life is short and the internet is vast.