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Six Skills You Need To Be Successful on Social Media

It would be fair to say that some people are more naturally inclined towards social media than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn or increase your proficiency in the skills required to be good at it.

Young black man recording a video on a smartphone

It may require some time and effort on your part but if you want to realise the benefits of social media you need to put the work in. It might sound harsh, but it is completely true. If you aren’t prepared to put in the time and effort to make your social media work, don’t expect to see any substantial or sustainable results from it.

Just as with any other business growth strategy or initiative, social media marketing requires a genuine investment if you want it to be successful.

So, let’s jump in with the first skill you need to work on if you want to be successful on social.

Skill one is planning.

“Fail to prepare; prepare to fail.” We’ve all heard it said before but just as with any successful business strategy, a good plan is essential. Social media is so readily available to all of us it could be tempting to jump straight in and start posting. However, without a plan you won’t know what you are trying to achieve, let alone how you are going to measure how you are doing.

My advice would be to set aside an afternoon once a quarter to ask yourself some broader strategic questions about your social media, considering:

  • What do you want to achieve?

  • Who is your target audience?

  • What platforms are right for you?

  • What content are you going to post and how frequently?

Having a regular review of these types of things will help you to feel more in control and confident.

Skill two is creativity.

I’ve spoken previously about how important it is to make yourself stand apart from others who are offering the same products and opportunity as you. Your personality will help you to do this, but you also need to think creatively to come up with new and inventive ways to promote your products, opportunity and brand. Learning from your competitors is a great way to get ideas but the key is to take inspiration from them and then do it even better. You could search for a popular hashtag relevant to your business. The search results will, by default, show you the most popular posts first, so you can easily see what types of posts have worked well for others.

Obviously, you should not be stealing others’ content, but instead, take inspiration and put your own spin on the idea to improve and tailor it for your audience.

Quality matters on social media, particularly on a visual platform like Instagram. How many times have you scrolled down your feed and seen a low-quality photo, or a poorly designed, unprofessional looking image? They stand out and will contribute to the perception others have of your business. Now, a lot of people I have supported are not confident in graphic design or video creation. However, there are loads of free tools out there that will do the heavy lifting for you. Canva is one of my favourites as even with its free plan, it offers a ridiculously high number of templates for all the major social networks, so you don’t need to start from scratch. If you’ve not tried it yet, I’d strongly recommend that you give it a try, particularly if you don’t consider yourself a naturally-gifted designer.

Skill three is caption writing.

Almost every post you ever make, on any social network is going to require some text to help you convey your key messages. No matter how good a photo or video is, the accompanying caption needs to grab the attention of your audience or motivate them to take action.

Keep your captions engaging by making them descriptive and informative, but not too wordy and don’t waffle.

Stick to one or two key messages per post, use language that is natural to you and always include a call-to-action if you want to make your caption compelling. A call to action should become a staple element of all your social media posts. It is a simple statement that tells your audience what you want them to do and you need to get in to the habit of always including them. Some examples might be:

  • Click the link in my bio

  • DM me for more info

  • What do you think?

  • Register now at my website

  • Share with a friend who needs to see this

Skill four is customer service.

Social media is a great tool to help you support your customers and referring back to the point I made earlier about making yourself stand out from the crowd, how you service your customers is crucial here. A satisfied customer can be your best tool to find a new customer. Keep your existing customers happy and they will willingly talk favourably about you to other people.

Social media has given all of us the ability to tell the whole world what we think, so make sure you treat your customers in a way that will make them use this ability for your good, rather than provoking them to tell everyone how bad you are.

Invite your customers to ask questions in comments, use questions stickers, run polls and most importantly, always respond. There is no better way to alienate someone, than by asking them to give you input and then completely ignore it.

Think also about how you can add value – could you create “how to” videos answering common questions from customers, or could you create a carousel post on Instagram taking your customers through how to use a particular product, step by step?

Don’t lose sight of the fact that social media is about building relationships. Regularly engaging and interacting with your audience, will allow you to build valuable relationships, and these relationships are where you can get true value from your social media.

Skill five is speaking on camera.

I’m pretty certain the majority of people reading this will say that they aren’t very comfortable appearing in front of the camera. I’m also pretty certain, that all of these people do a fantastic job talking to people face to face as a routine part of running their business. There is something about getting in front of a camera that makes a lot of people lose their confidence and they just freeze. However, it is completely possible to overcome these nerves and become more comfortable being filmed. So, whether it is pre-recorded or live video, there are a few things you can do to feel more comfortable:

Practice makes perfect

Plan what you want to say, how you’re going to say it, where you are going to be filmed, etc. and have a few dummy runs so that you can let the nerves out and relax.

Speak from the heart

Talking about something you are genuinely passionate about will help boost your confidence, and you’ll find it much easier to talk about a topic that excites you. Let your passion shine through as this will resonate with your viewers.

Be yourself

Whilst it is natural to take inspiration from others, don’t try to be someone you’re not. Being authentic is vital if you want to build trust with viewers. Take the pressure off and just be yourself.

Say something valuable

If you want to engage with viewers you need to have something so that is going to entertain, educate, inform or inspire them. Be clear on what your key messages are and stick to them. This will help you to avoid waffling.

Stop worrying

I absolutely promise you that you are over-analysing and being overly self-critical. It won’t be as bad as you think and you are totally capable.

Skill six is analytical thinking.

Understanding how your social media is performing is crucial if you want it to be a sustainable sales and marketing channel for your business. Social networks offer highly valuable analytics that you should absolutely be using.

Regularly reviewing how your posts are performing allows you to identify the types of posts that your audience likes, so you can do more of the good stuff and less of the bad.

This will in turn not only help increase your engagement by delivering more content that your audience wants to see, it will help you spend your time more productively.

If you need some more help understanding where to find the data insights available for each social network, or how to interpret them, head over to my Instagram profile, where you’ll find a few posts on how to get the most from analytics.

So, now I have taken you through what I consider to be the six most important skills you need to be successful on social media, what’s next? Well, you shouldn’t be disheartened if you feel that you aren’t proficient enough in all of these areas yet. We only learn new things by seeking support from others, whether it be in the form of advice, training, coaching or mentoring and there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, if you need to ask for help. It’s very easy to spend too much time focussing on the things you aren’t perfect at and forgetting about the things you excel at.

Being aware of your weaknesses is the first step to overcoming them, but don’t let this process consume you.

Focus on what you are good at and maximise the potential of these strengths whilst, working on improving on your weaker skills.


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