What makes a good Social Media Strategist

I have often thought about what makes a good social media strategist. It’s a job I would love to have for a bigger brand. So what do I think a strategist need to do to be successful? Here are some traits you have to have in your daily routine

Know The Social Landscape

This is the most important. You have to know the social networks out there. Not just the big ones but also the smaller ones that are playing roles in the social landscape. This includes: demographics of the sites, products offered by the sites, advertising options and limitations of each one. All of these are easy to find out. There is nothing worse than being in a meeting and you’re the social expert. Then you get corrected on an easy question about a network. I’m not talking new ad products from Facebook. Those can change monthly. But rather the importance of video on Facebook when it was released and now being pushed so hard.

A good strategist should be on all social platforms. You don’t need to master each and everyone of them. Have enough skills to be versed in what is happening on all of them. One of the networks I don’t use often is Periscope. I know enough and keep up to date on it. However, I am no power user. Which leads to my next point.

Investigate new networks/products

New social platforms and tools come along monthly, if not weekly. Many will be a fad or flash in the pan. While others will take off and become part of a businesses social media mix. You have to jump in to new things and see if they are going to be the next big thing. If it is not, don’t spend too much time on it. If it does have potential, start slow and see how the site/service grows. There have been many times I thought something was amazing, and a few months later it was gone.

Read as much as you can in the space. There are many sites out there. Some of my favorites are Social Times, Social Media Today, Social Media Explorer and Marketingland. But find a blog/site you love and keep reading it and they will change over time.

Must love to learn to learn

The only thing constant in the world of Social is it changes constantly. Networks change the way they do things, and quite often. New services rise and fall. To succeed you have to have a quest for knowledge. Just know you can’t do it all on your own. Social/Digital is changing so fast it’s impossible for you to keep up on everything. It’s great to have a team to talk too and get new information. I can’t tell you the number of times I am talking to someone at an event or networking event, and hear about a new service or change coming down the pike. Its ok to admit you don’t know it all but be open to learning about everything.

Keep up with changes in current networks

This to me is the most important characteristic for a strategist. You have to see how changes they are making are going to affect your current social media strategy. Luckily most sites gives you heads up on changes that are coming. One thing I have noticed is that changes made on the consumer side of Facebook will eventually have ramifications on the business side. This doesn’t mean it will be the exact change will happen with pages. Facebook will pick the things that work for pages and implement them after the consumer side has settled. A perfect example is the profile design. Individuals were first to get it with the big cover image, then pages.

Some changes are slight and will have little affect. Other changes will be major and have big implications. The prime example is when Facebook launched the new pages. They changed just about everything on the business side. Tabs were moved. The layout was totally different. This made brands change graphics and custom made tabs to the new sizes.

To keep up with changes coming there are several places you can go. They are Facebook News Room, Facebook For Media, Facebook for Developers, Pinterest for Business, Instagram for Business, Twitter for Business are just a few of them.

You don’t know it all and never can

As I stated above, there is no way you can know it all. If someone says they know it all, don’t trust them. Things change so fast. All you can do is keep up as much as you can. Read, listen to podcasts and news sections on social media. If you do those things you will be fine.


Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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