Competences of European Communicators

The top three knowledge, skills and personal attributes for social media managers in Europe
Competence is a good thing. It means you can do it. Think of sports, playing an instrument or being able to fly: if you are competent then you will fit the general view that you can handle the task, issue or challenge in front of you. So what does competency mean when we talk about our work? A recent study has highlighted that there are significant gaps in the shared knowledge and understanding of the issues when it comes to our own professional capabilities, particularly in communications. Supported by the EU and working in partnership with the European Association of Communication Directors, the European Communication Professional Skills and Innovation (ECOPSI) programme is the largest European-funded communications project looking into the future skills and competence needs of practitioners. It recognises that there is a changing context for communications. New corporate positions demonstrate that communicators now require a complex set of competences to be successful in a global workplace which is currently undergoing phenomenal change, driven largely by pressure to improve profits and to make cost efficiencies. A partnership of six leading European universities, the ECOPSI programme is focused on mapping the current competences required for social media roles, internal communication roles, crisis communication roles and communication director roles in Europe as well as understanding their future development needs. Here, we only have space to highlight one of four emerging trends that resulted from the interviews.: strategic social media. As organisations seek new ways to drive innovation and build authentic relationships with their various stakeholders, many decide to jump on the social media bandwagon. Some organisations are experts in surfing the social media wave while others struggle or fail. Our study found that practitioners feel they need a greater understanding of its strategic application and want to find out more about the return on investment that might be realised from their implementation rather than knowing how to use a specific social media technology or platform. This finding links with the fact that all regions view social media as a growing area: not all are necessarily viewing this as a threat, but more as another media channel to use. The top three knowledge, skills and personal attributes for social media managers in Europe are listed in the table above.

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