It takes more than a snarky attitude and knowledge of hashtags to be successful in social media.
Being likable, retweetable, and ultimately generating leads and developing new partnerships is more art than it is science.
But which personality traits separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to social media marketers?
The same traits that make salespeople successful, of course.
You are, after all, selling something any time you interact in social media. You’re selling your personality, your content, and/or your organization.
A recent Harvard Business Review article discussed the traits which make salespeople successful and these traits are the same ones possessed by successful social media marketers.
In other words, if you can sell (and you’re smart), you can be successful in social media. Here are the traits required for both:
Nobody is a fan of braggarts except the braggarts themselves. Less bravado and more humility will help you relate better – as a human – to other people using social media. Bragging only alienates people.
A hair-trigger reaction rarely serves a useful purpose in social media – unless your goal is to embarrass your organization or get fired. Being deliberate with your actions and exercising caution in your online activity will help you minimize your organization’s exposure to risk and undesirable situations.
If the people involved with social media on behalf of your organization have a laissez-faire attitude and think how they act doesn’t really matter because it’s supposed to be a feel-good medium, the results you get from social media will probably only be feel-good moments. And those are tough to justify to the board.
3. Achievement orientation
It’s easy to float in and out of conversations and pine for the random reward but that’s the best way to ensure your results actually are random.
Successful people set goals and spend their time and energy trying to meet those goals and examine what works and what doesn’t along the way.
They’re less interested in earning arbitrary accomplishments (like Klout and achievement badges) and more interested in increasing brand awareness, generating leads, acquiring business intelligence in a formalized way and ultimately, finding more people to do business with.
People who are successful in social media are naturally curious (though skeptical). They’re willing to try something new just to see how it goes. They’re careful not to confuse toys with tools, but they also have a natural tendency to ask questions and not rest until they’ve found answers.
Inquisitiveness is crucial if you want to learn about your audience and potential customers, so people who ask a lot of questions (either directly to people or to search engines) are more likely to acquire knowledge. And, as you know, knowledge is power.
5. Lack of discouragement
A lot of your Tweets will be ignored. People won’t comment on many of your blog posts. A lot of people won’t like you on Facebook (among other places).
Those are the facts. Those who can’t accept them aren’t going to find success in social media marketing (among other places).
There are no overnight successes and getting results takes time. If you don’t have the guts to stick it in for the long haul, you probably aren’t cut out for this grueling marathon.
6. Lack of self-consciousness
By nature, being active on social media means you are putting yourself out there. Your name, your face, your thoughts, and your opinions. You’ve got to believe in yourself and not second-guess everything you do (though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an intellectual filter, see # 2).
Successful social media marketers don’t “feel stupid” Tweeting. They don’t cower away from hitting the “Publish” button on blog posts that may cause a ripple in their community. They aren’t afraid to leave their opinion in someone else’s comment box.
7. Sense of humor
OK, so this didn’t make the Harvard Business Review post, but it’s almost necessary to be successful in social media. Social is the medium of the people, and the people like to laugh.
Besides, without thick skin and a sense of humor this long haul is going to be even longer.