(Note: This is based on one of the prompts from Robert S. Kaplan’s book What You’re Really Meant to Do.)
The Hootsuite blog recently published a list of the skills they feel are essential, but perhaps go unremarked upon, for social media professionals to have. It’s an interesting list and since it goes along with the self-assessment I’ve been doing of my own skill set recently I thought I’d use it as a launching point to talk about how important I feel they are and how I might rank in terms of those abilities. More specifically, it allows me to answer a variation on the question posed in the book: At this point in my career do I have the kind of experience companies are looking for? Let’s take a look.
I come at SEO first and foremost from a content standpoint, mindful of best practices like keyword highlighting, photo tags and the like but not beholden only to them. I believe the best, most search-optimized content is that which best addresses what people are actually searching for. So I’m interested in taking the material that’s offered, the posts that come from various authors, and making sure it’s tweaked a bit to be search-friendly, not in just writing for Google Trends or something. That feels forced to me.
I’m pretty strong here and am able to get along with just about anyone. My primary goal in all programs is the make the client look good and help them succeed and I think that has come in handy from a client service point of view. One of my primary responsibilities over the year has been acting as the daily program lead, the one various client stakeholders come to with questions or issues, so it’s important to be able to have the instincts and experience to address whatever they’re bringing to me. That’s been especially useful when acting as the liaison between the client and a team of designers and developers, for whom I’ve always felt very protective.
Yeah, I’m pretty comfortable in my writing abilities. I’ll just leave it at that.
Analytics and Revenue Tracking
No, I’m not a data geek. I don’t look at numbers and have them immediately reveal their secrets and stories to me. But I’m fluent in Google Analytics and a few other platforms, as well as tools like SimplyMeasured that are geared toward social media. Give me enough time and a Google Sheet to mess around with and I’ll figure out what I need to figure out. That goes for assigning revenue to a program as well. I’ve worked with Google Analytics and other tracking codes that have enabled us to set goals and then report on conversions of all sorts, whether that’s revenue, white paper downloads, email signups or anything else.
I’m a decent photographer. I don’t think you want me as the only person documenting your wedding but I’ve churned out event coverage using either just my phone or my phone plus a DSLR that has looked professional, if not expert-level. I learned early on how to compose a shot and convey a message through focus and framing and that’s served me fairly well. Again, you definitely want someone else on the team if you’re going for photojournalist-level output, but considering most photography these days is shared on social platforms where the composition isn’t being analyzed academically I’ll get the job done.
Here I’ll admit to a weakness. I just haven’t used Photoshop enough to really become fluent in it. If you gave me a bit of time I’d figure out the tricks and work out how to use it – I’m mostly self-taught in almost all software I’ve used over the years – but it’s not something I’m going to list as a skill.
No, I’m not a designer. I’ll admit that. But what I do well is speak “designer” fairly fluently. The Voce Platforms team could tell you stories about my sending them pencil-sketched wireframes following client meetings with a rough idea of what they – and I – are looking for. So I can help get the design started but when it comes to actual execution I’m the first one to recommend calling in the professionals.
This is something I’m pretty good at, but wouldn’t claim to be a professional project manager. I’ve worked alongside some great ones and while I can keep things on track and moving forward, I don’t have the entire skillset someone might be looking for in this position.
I can script a video pretty well and help with production, but like the Photography point above, I’m not a videographer. Again, I’ve worked alongside some people are specialists in this field and know that they have worked hard to attain those skills. Ask me if a video is ready for publication and I’ll come back to you with edits and feedback, but don’t put me behind the camera unless you’re looking for something that’s just a few steps above “amateur.”
Here’s another area where I’m back in my comfort zone. Not only am I very comfortable in front of a crowd but I consider executive meetings in this category as well. I’ve had numerous occasions to not only present to industry and other groups but also be in meeting rooms with high-level stakeholders who are looking for updates and answers to their questions about a program. The key is to treat everyone fairly and respectfully and remember to read the room. Just like a musical performance, play to what the audience is reacting to most noticeably and don’t be afraid to pivot the presentation. The words and points aren’t sacred, so if they want to focus on something specific, allow things to flow in that direction.