What makes a good social media analyst?

Not enough to be social media savvy, role requires greater responsibilities beyond posting and monitoring, including knowing how to answer to larger business objectives such as driving sales and mapping ROI, say industry players.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Becoming a social media analyst requires the person to know social media platforms well but additional skills such as marketing and communication abilities are needed to help achieve larger business objectives, say industry players.

According to Farhana Sidek, digital client executive at Edelman Singapore, a social media analyst's job goes beyond posting and monitoring social media channels. "A lot of companies seem to be hiring young, social media savvy people based on the perception that they already use and would understand social media immediately to able to create a good social media presence," she said.

"That is not the case. The job includes greater responsibilities than just garnering followers and likes", Sidek said, adding that a good social media analyst must be able to answer to larger business objectives such as driving sales and mapping ROI (returns on investment) on the campaigns to make a real impact.

Besides monitoring and posting on social networks, social media analysts will also need to spend time planning and strategizing future campaigns, brainstorm content, meet with other departments to ensure that their strategies are aligned, tracking campaigns and reporting, she added.

According to Sidek, to fulfill these duties, they will need to have a deep understanding of social media tools and how to use them to foster stakeholder relationships. Besides that, the position will require good knowledge of marketing principles, good grammar and spelling as well as a genuine passion for developing relationships, she noted.

Rachel Poo, social media manager at TechSailor, added that as social media analysts manage accounts for clients and communicate with fans on behalf of the company, they will need to have a good command of language, sense of tact, being street smart, fun and outgoing.

Not a 9-to-5 job
According to Poo, a social media analyst's day starts even before they report to work. "The analyst checks on accounts, such as Facebook Pages, before leaving home to see if there are any activities that require the client's attention or if anything that the analyst can reply to," she said.

In the office, the social media analyst would report to the project manager and social media manager on the status of the accounts, she added. In the day, the analyst would follow the requests of the client and plan for upcoming posts and campaigns for the client, she said.

Sidek noted that "social media never sleeps" and conversations would need an immediate response so the analyst has to follow up quickly with the relevant department for a response.

Besides responding to queries on social media platforms, she noted that breaking down information was an important part of the job. "While we track basic stats like followers, click-throughs, fans, comments and traffic, we also monitor conversations happening around the brand both on and off our social media platforms and carefully structure responses that are in line with the company's strategy," she added.

At night, the social media analyst will need to check the accounts again to see if there was anything that needed a response, said Poo.

Sidek said she uses the rest of the workday or night to read trend reports and articles to stay on top of the social marketing trends. "Work in social media is fast paced and challenging as it evolves every minute, and since the Internet is never off, I find that learning something about social media never stops," she said.

Climbing the corporate ladder
While social media jobs only appeared in the recent years, Sidek believes that there is an opportunity for long term career development.

"As consumption of social media continues to grow, more and more companies are realizing that they will require social media analysts to help manage their online presence," she said.

With social media being a key component in marketing and communications, she believes that social media analysts can continue with a senior or expert role in that profession or eventually the roles within digital marketing.

Poo added that a social media analyst can move on to other positions such as an account manager or social media manager who takes on broader strategic duties.

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