Everyone knows how important social media has become with regard to building and promoting your business brand. Big businesses understand this, and the need to be seen as being socially-active has lead to many companies employing a social media manager – a position that probably would never have existed more than a decade ago.

The ever-changing tastes and demands of the modern consumer will always keep brand names on their toes, and require them to think fast and constantly adapt to their customers wants and needs.

The role adopted by a social media manager is one that can cater to a new generation of socially-active customers that have the internet ingrained into their lives. The majority of these potential new customers are quite used to buying online, but at the same time have become very aware of the obvious sales pitches made by companies over the years to get their money through impulse buying. Old school direct sales advertising is something that has never transferred very well to the internet.These types of tactics no longer work, and will often result in switching off potential new customers and drive them away to spend their money elsewhere.

For a start-up small business or sole-trader, there may not be a budget to employ someone to take on this role for you. You will have to be the best social media manager that you can be on your own. But you are never going to make huge amounts of cash from simply posting a few Facebook updates.

Many small businesses or entrepreneurial sole-trader’s will struggle to find a balance between setting up and running their business, as well as effectively promoting it to attract new customers through social media and other marketing campaigns. But regardless of how much time you can invest into your new business, it will never be a success without any customers!

Being your own social media manager is a bit like being a stand-up comedian. You need to get to know your customers by engaging with them, then keep their interest by constantly entertaining them. Having a following on any social media site is like having an audience waiting for your next joke. You have to keep them entertained in real-time, and if you can dedicate the time to do this, then you will have won over your crowd.

So how do you fit all this in? How can you become your own successful social media manager?

First of all, you will need to be enthusiastic about wanting to succeed. You need to be excited about your social media profile, and want to make it the best that it can be. Ask yourself this one question – am I a social person? You may be very passionate about what you do, or what you make, but if you feel uncomfortable talking to other people about it, then maybe this role is not the right one for you.

In this case, maybe getting someone else to help out would be a good idea, even if it’s a friend or family member that can do this for you for free, you will be making a start. You could enlist the help of others with the promise of a reward further down the line once the business takes off. That could be some sort of financial reward, or even a paid role within your company once you are seeing some regular profit.

According to recent research by LinkedIn, 80% of small businesses attract new customers through social media. That’s a big chunk of potential new customers waiting to connect with you out there on social media sites!

Freelance social media managers have an in-demand role that sees them commanding high fees for their work, and if you are in a good financial position where you could hire one, then why not? But most small and micro-businesses cannot afford this option, so their only option is the DIY route.

However, there are so many free resources or low-cost courses available online that can help to decrease the learning curve, anyone can effectively learn the necessary skills within a short space of time.

The fundamental skills you need to become your own social media manager are quite straight forward, so if you can tick the following boxes, you have everything you need to be successful.

Marketing Knowledge: You don’t need to have a degree in marketing, but some experience or knowledge would be helpful. There are plenty of free resources available online if you need to brush up on your skills, or to learn the basics of business marketing.

Social media experience: Being familiar with at least one social media site will be an advantage. You may have managed your own Facebook or Twitter account for a while, and have an understanding of how it works. This will have already given you an insight into what people expect to see on these sites, and what they prefer to read.

Good time management: This is a crucial skill for any business owner, and knowing how to divide your working day up to dedicate to different tasks will be especially important while in the process of starting and building up your business.

Communication skills: This is an obvious one! To welcome and engage with your prospective customers your will need to be able to talk with them. Notice that I say – talk WITH them, and not talk AT them. Conversation is a two-way street, so listening skills are an important part of communicating with your followers.

Responsiveness: Always remember that social media exists in the here-and-now, and is very fast-paced. If an existing or potential customer has a question for you, they will want a quick response. Gone are the days when we corresponded by written letter that can take days to travel each way. There will be no excuse to keep your customer hanging in silence. Rapid responses help to build good customer relationships, and can keep customers loyal to you because they can expect great service from you.

Creative thinking: Being able to think through your marketing campaigns before you implement them, and being able to think outside of the box, will help you to keep control of your strategies, and let you move through each stage knowing what is coming next. This is much better than running a chaotic sales campaign with no idea of where it is going, or how you are going to end it.

Good writing skills: Writing eye-catching social media posts can be seen as an art that needs some crafting. If this is a weak area for you, then you can outsource this to others with the necessary skills and experience. There are plenty of freelance sites that offer copywriting at very reasonable prices. You can save some writing stress by encouraging your clients to contribute to your site through a regular quiz, photo competitions, joke-telling and sharing funny stories.

The main thing with social media management is not to become too overwhelmed with it. The old 1960’s phrase ‘keep it simple, stupid’ or KISS for short, should be at the forefront of your mind when planning out your campaigns. Over-complicating your marketing strategies will only lead to frustration, so keep all your posts light-hearted and chatty.