Home > Leadership, Marketing Strategy > Does your social media manager have emotional intelligence?

Does your social media manager have emotional intelligence?

social media and emotional intelligence

When passion overwhelms reason you get a social media firestorm.

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.

social media pr

social media marketing freak out

social media marketing customer engagement

social media management gone wrong

[Source: Buzzfeed]

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.

2. Social awareness and relationship management: the capacity for empathy and understanding how actions and words influence others.

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.


social media emotional intelligence

Social media social skills

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.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy:

Don’t give them what they want, give them better wants

How social media restored my sanity in a time of adversity

On social media some people deserved to be ignored

The paradox of scarcity on social media

9 keys to writing likeable content for the social Web

Join the ranks of marketers being awesome!

Subscribe now to get emails when new posts are published.

About these ads
  1. June 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm | #1

    Wow – as a Psychologist, it is clear that this person has become emotionally hijacked. In other words – anger has completely taken over all rationality. My advice when at risk of such a thing – do not actively respond to anything for at least 24 hours, to give yourself time to calm down and consider an emotionally intelligent response. If you need to respond sooner – stick to being neutral. “We are seriously considering the allegations being made and will have a formal response soon”.

    • June 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm | #2

      It’s definitely an extreme example. Your advice is good and it points out the challenge of responding in real-time and managing your emotions.Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. July 3, 2013 at 9:34 am | #3

    Excellent post and continues to reiterate that anyone in a leadership role needs EQ! Social media – similar to email – is an arena where it is far too easy to feel detached and therefore say and act in ways you would not do in a face to face way. Therefore, it’s all the more reason that someone leading and representing an brand in the social media space has extra measures of it. Thanks again for the insight and the post!!

    • July 3, 2013 at 10:04 am | #4

      Thanks Joann. I don’t think I could add anything to what you said. You hit the nail right on the head! I appreciate your comment.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 86 other followers

%d bloggers like this: