Does your social media manager have emotional intelligence?
This is a topic I don’t hear discussed much, if at all.
Most tips on finding or becoming a social media manager focus on similar skills and experience:
- Familiarity with numerous social platforms
- Experience/expertise with social media
- Education in marketing, communication, journalism, PR
- Solid writing skills
Emotional intelligence should be at the top of the list.
Growing up on Facebook or having expansive knowledge of social platforms does not translate into grace under fire. In the throes of real-time marketing on social media, passion can overwhelm reason and judgment.
Take for example, the recent public meltdown of Amy’s Baking Company on Facebook. Here are a few excerpts from a much longer series of posts responding to their critics.
Since the last post invokes “what God wants,” I’ll cite one of His Proverbs that speaks to this situation and any other social media exchange:
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
I confess, I have not always followed this wisdom. I’m just grateful none of my angry tirades got published on social media for all the world to see.
And that is the point.
Of all emotions, anger has the greatest potential to stir controversy and discord on social media.
Anger criticizes, ridicules, disrespects, humiliates and frequently provokes us to take quick action.
Those actions can be regrettable. On social media they can destroy your brand reputation and damage public relations in a single mouse-click.
That is why emotional intelligence is such an important trait in a community manager.
An emotionally competent social media manager
The concept of emotional intelligence was first introduced by Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book. In business, it is most commonly associated with cultivating effective leaders. But the principles work across any discipline, including social media management.
What is the model of emotional competence in a social media manager?
Most simply, it can be evaluated by examining two areas of the social/self.
1. Self-awareness and self-regulation: understanding what drives individual behavior and how the individual regulates emotions.
Understanding the “self” part of the person will give you a sense how the “social” part will operate. Ideally you find this out when you interview them, if you know what to ask.
How to guage emotional intelligence
Here are some things to ask your current or perspective social media manager to gauge his or her emotional competency.
Tell me about your strengths and your limitations.
Tell me about a time when you received feedback.
Tell me about a time when you made a big mistake.
How do you handle stressful situations?
Tell me about a time when you got angry. What did you do?
When do you feel most under pressure?
How do you handle multiple demands?
How do you achieve work/life balance?
Describe a time when you had to deliver difficult news.
What do you do when someone comes to you with a problem?
Describe a time when understanding someone else’s perspective helped you understand them better.
How do you understand what others are feeling?
Tell me about a time when you needed to influence someone.
Describe a difficult issue you had to deal with.
How do you build rapport and relationships with people?
As Goleman has said, emotional intelligence can matter more than IQ in determining a person’s success. Is your social media manager intelligent enough to turn away wrath with a soft answer? Think about it now, because your brand’s reputation depends on it.
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