7 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Managers

What makes a social media manager stand out from the crowd?

While every social media manager approaches his or her job differently (after all, the job changes quite drastically depending on your goals) there are a few habits that the most effective social media managers will have in common.

These seven criteria should be applied if you want to succeed in your role as social media manager. With a medium that changes as often and as quickly as social, it’s important to be on top of your game.

Early Starter

The day does not start when you wake up, it carries over through the night and early into the next morning. If you want to find success in your position, you are going to have to be right there monitoring your brand and industry conversations on social first thing in the morning. A major part of the job has to do with keeping an eye out for bad press, negative comments or a social media crisis. These kinds of cases do not wait for you to sleep in and take your time in the morning.

Getting an early start means being alert from the get go. With real-time platforms like social, managers do not have the luxury of easing themselves into the day. If an issue or event comes up, you have to be ready to tackle it. So for all those morning people, you’re off to a good start. For the rest: a cold shower and a bucket of coffee should do the trick.

Great Writer

Great as in even when you throw something together quickly most people envy your innate ability to write. You don’t need to have the most eloquent of speech, but you should be able to speak well (not good, but well) and with complete grammatical accuracy. One of the most upsetting things for social media users is poor grammar from brands. That’s right – not terrible customer service, but poor grammar. (That said, don’t overlook good customer service in the name of proper grammar.)

As a social media manager for a brand or business, you are (generally) speaking on behalf of the company. That means that everything you say or do reflects not on you, but on the brand. So a whole bunch of misspellings and grammatical slip-ups means the brand looks bad and you’ll be taking the heat.

Quick on Your Feet

As noted above, a lot is happening and it is happening fast. You don’t always have the luxury of taking your time to deal with things as they come up. It’s important that you are quick on your feet when it comes to social media. When you need to respond to a tweet, for example, you should know your brand’s voice, the image it wants to maintain and, most importantly, how best to address a comment (or let it lie) in order to avoid any negative repercussions. That takes some quick, critical thinking on your part.

Of course, in the event of a crisis, the best thing to do is to bring the issue to higher ups that know how to handle these sorts of things. Try not to take on too much yourself. Which brings us to our next point:

Modesty Can be an Asset

There is a time to let your ego shine and there is a time where modesty can be your best friend. As a social media manager, you are going to have to realize (sooner rather than later) that you cannot do everything. Sometimes a senior marketing executive is going to have to take the reigns. Sometimes the PR department will have to step in. Sometimes there is an issue best handled by your support staff or the sales team.

Know the limits of your job description and recognize times where something is out of your league. Knowing when to pass things off is just as important as knowing when to take charge.


You were not put in this position because you are a monotonous drone with no people skills. You were likely charming in your interview and a great conversationalist. That’s a great start. That personality should extend to your brand’s social presence. Of course, you will probably be given some guidelines when you first get started indicating what you can and cannot say, but try to give everything that human touch.

People are active on social media because they want to engage in conversations with people all over the world who share similar interests. So, make the social channels highly sociable. A great example of a brand that understands this is Cadbury.


We seem to keep circling back to one important point: social media are fast paced environments wherein a ton is happening all in real-time. You need to be able to handle that sort of thing if you plan on being a successful social media manager. Becoming easily overwhelmed means it will be tough to go far with the platform. So if you want to succeed in your role, know that you will be able to take a step back, take a deep breath and handle everything that is going on without feeling like it ‘never ends’ – because it doesn’t.

The larger and more public the brand, the truer this holds. If you recognize this aspect and still feel confident that you can handle this without breaking a sweat, you’re in great shape so far. Only one more step to go!

Coolheadedness is good for social media managers

Born Decision Maker

In contrast to the modesty mentioned above, you will also want to be a born decision maker. Marketing, PR and advertising executives do not want to be bothered with every little thing that comes up. It might not seem like it at first (especially when people constantly ask you if you simply post to Facebook all day) but you are being given quite a bit of responsibility as a social media manager. The public voice of the brand is being put in your hands, and you ultimately control its fate. To succeed in this role, you’re going to have to be able to make some important decisions with the utmost confidence.

Know when to respond and when to leave a comment or criticism alone in the socialsphere. You need to be capable of making decisions in real-time about a number of different elements including what content to share, how to respond to messages, how to handle small crises, the best ways to measure returns, the best tools to use, the right campaigns to run, the key demographics to target and quite a bit more.


If all of this sounds like a walk in the park, and these seven habits identify you to a tee, then you might have found your calling! Of course, these are not the only seven habits of highly effective social media managers. Quite a bit more goes into the job. But if you possess these qualities, you are certainly off to a great start!

What other qualities do you think effective social media managers possess? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!