Given the much publicised issue of a skills shortage in the social media sector, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the appropriate skill set of the social media communicator. And what’s more, it is a discussion that is ongoing.
Firstly, it is important to define who or what a social media communicator is, and in broad terms, this can be defined as a technician that is skilled in the development and execution of social outreach messages across social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and now of course, Google+. From a personal perspective, everyone who has a personal profile on a social network is a social network communicator, but the question of the skills shortage is less about the personal outreach, and more about social communication on behalf of brands or established profiles with numerous followers or fans.
With regard to defining the appropriate skills, there appear to be two schools of thought on the matter; the first arguing that because social media has evolved from a technological perspective, that it remains the natural preserve of the technical developer or “geek” for want of a better moniker. Certainly, there is merit in this argument. When it comes to designing and developing apps, or getting deep and dirty in coding or analytics, the core skills and interest of the technical developer come to the fore and are able to provide the all important intelligence, analysis, tactics and strategy. Equally, it could be argued that without this technical know-how, there would be no digital social networks.
The other school of thought is that the key skill set for a social network communicator should focus on those who are naturally skilled communicators, rather than specifically technically minded. This is equally, if not more persuasive, at the current time, given the requirement for brands to ensure that their followers or fans are engaging with their content offering.