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What Separates a Real Social Media Marketer from a Wannabe?

By John Bonini

What Separates a Real Social Media Marketer from a Wannabe?

social-media-marketerYou've undoubtedly heard the phrase, "social media is no longer a luxury, but a necessity" in regards to conducting modern business. 

We get it. 

Social media is important. We all know this. But that's not why we're here today. Instead, we're here to talk about the ramifications of this.

Because social media has become so incredibly necessary, there's a whole lot of people doing it who probably shouldn't be. By that I don't mean that they shouldn't be utilizing social media as a marketing tool, but rather that they shouldn't be the one executing the strategy. 

Much like being an effective sales rep, not everyone is cut out to be a social media marketer. So therein lies the question...who is?

Which personality traits separate a social media doer from a poseur?

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They Have An Inherent Need for Interaction

Great social media marketers crave human interaction on a level that others may not understand. It's not a chore or some social hang-up that they need to overcome in order to be successful. Simply put, engagement with others provides them with a great deal of fulfillment.

You may even recognize them as those who are constantly checking email and social on their mobile devices. This isn't some form of anti-social behavior, in fact it's actually the complete opposite. They're so social that they simply need to be plugged in at all times in order to satiate the overwhelming desire to stay connected with others. 

This is actually quite an enviable trait, as possessing the bandwidth necessary in order to navigate through multiple interactions – on various platforms no less – is extremely valuable in executing a successful social media strategy. Take a look at the most successful brands on social media and you'll notice that they're extremely adept at coordinating engagements at a very high volume. This is very important, as consumers have come to expect real time customer service given the technology that now allows for it. 

So go easy on your friends who are texting on your night out. They're simply exercising an inherent need to stay engaged at all times, a quality every company must now strive for. 

They're Intuitive 

Rather than wax poetic about how great their product or service is, real social media marketers have a skillful sense of what their followers actually want to hear. (Hint: It's not just how great your product or service is.)

Everyone knows someone who possesses this skill. They usually know exactly what to say to diffuse a tense situation, or always seem to have that well-timed witty comment that gets everyone laughing. Having someone at the helm who has a good grasp on what people need to hear is a critical component of a successful social media strategy. 

After all, social media is as much about customer questions and complaints as it is about word of mouth and testimonials. So who would you rather have in control, someone who fights fire with more brand propaganda, or that person who always seems to have the right things to say at precisely the right moment?

They're Generous

Effective social media is more walkie-takie than it is megaphone. (Tweet this!)

It's about considering others and engaging in two-way conversations that benefit your audience. It's not self-serving. The brands who treat social media as a vehicle for one-way promotion do one thing: annoy their following. In fact, we often become blind to brands who are offering us little to no value in our news feed. With so much noise going on in social, we essentially train ourselves to filter out what's helpful and what isn't. 

Intuitive by nature, a great social media marketer knows how to help their audience. By sharing content that aligns with their needs and behavior, they're acting more as a liaison than an advertiser. 

While they're ultimately aligning the social strategy with the overall company goals, great social marketers accomplish this by being helpful. It's why they're usually the first to hold the door, and the last one to leave you with the bill. They're the kind of person who would rather see you open your gift than receive one of their own.

Generosity goes a very long way on social media. It's not all about you. The great ones get this.     

They're Expressive 

Prior to social media, consumers – and even fans – had very little access to big brands or even celebrities in regards to interaction. You bought Coca-Cola, however that's usually where the engagement ended. 

Obviously this has changed significantly. As a result, cultivating and maintaining a brand personality via social is paramount from a PR standpoint. Consumers have become accustomed to engaging with household brands through the magic of social media.

This means if brands like Coca-Cola and Oreo are doing it, your company should be as well. This is where personality and expressiveness play a huge role in the success of your strategy. In order to convey personality, you need someone with a pretty large one manning the controls. You know, the kind of person who's quick to laugh, smile, and is quite possibly the loudest person in the room wherever they are. 

They probably also use lots of emojis and exclamation points in their text messages and emails. This is a great quality, and one any great social media marketer should possess.

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Published on February 18, 2014