Social media is one of the most popular areas in Digital Marketing, one that happens to be on-demand, as well. Smaller and larger companies hire social media managers to help them manage their social media channels, engage with their followers and design their social media campaigns. It is an exciting time to work in social media!
Suppose you like to spend part of your time scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, watching videos on YouTube or tweeting about everything and anything. In that case, you might have wondered what the career path of a Social Media Manager looks like.
Like any other role, you need to understand the role of social media marketing and the differences between the different social media platforms and tools. Having a social media presence does not automatically qualify you to become a Social Media Manager.
After reading this article, you will learn what social media managers do, what to expect from the role and the primary skills you need to become a successful Social Media Manager.
What Does A Social Media Manager Do?
Some people believe a job in social media means posting memes and animated videos and thinking of ingenious replies to other people’s tweets. However, there is much more to this role.
The first thing you need to know about working in social media is this: no two days in the life of a Social Media Manager are the same. However, these below are the most common tasks in the weekly planner of a social media marketer:
What does it mean to create content for social media? Well, it might look like this:
- Come up with content ideas for your social media posts around relevant topics
- Write the text of your posts
- Shoot the images or videos, or select your existing content from the photo or video assets to go with your text. This process often involves using some image or video edition tools.
- Finally, schedule the content.
Content creation can be highly time-consuming. Sometimes, social media managers prefer to leave some time in their diaries to relax and squeeze their brains looking for new creative content ideas. They must also find time for keyword research, brainstorming, and then think of ways to adapt their content to the latest social media trends.
There are several social media management tools to keep all your social media pages and groups well organised, plan and schedule your publications in advance. Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Tailwind or Later, to name the best-known ones.
Community management involves replying to fans and engaging through online conversations to create engaging conversations around your brand. That is usually the most fun part of every social media role. It involves some customer management tasks, especially if you manage the social media accounts of a large e-commerce retailer or a big brand.
If you manage online communities, you will have to learn how to deal with angry customers, negative reviews, complaints, and even rude comments. However, you also get to speak directly with your target audience. If you are an extrovert person, this will probably be the part of your job you enjoy the most.
Social Media Reporting
When you work as a social media manager for a company, you spend plenty of time looking at the likes, shares, comments of each publication. This is, measuring the results.
You will also pay attention to the trends, such as your audience’s evolution and the sentiment in their messages (positive, negative or neutral). Finally, you look at your social media pages’ traffic to your website and any social conversions.
You will need to access the data and insights of Google Analytics, the analytics pages of your social media pages and other digital marketing software solutions.
Paid social media
As a social media manager, you might be in charge of designing, planning, and implementing paid social media campaigns. This is, image or video ads featuring the products or services of a brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. In larger companies, paid social media management is usually a whole different role.
Do you need to be an expert graphic designer to work in social media? No, you certainly do not. However, having graphic design and video edition skills will improve your chances of finding your first job on social media and distinguish you from the crowd.
Photoshop and InDesign are two of the best-known software for image editing. Many social media managers use Canva instead because it is easier to learn. Wave and other video editors are a great alternative to Adobe Premiere video editors and are prevalent among digital marketers.
How To Get Hired As A Social Media Manager
If you do not have previous experience building a community of your own or you have never worked in social media, you will most likely start your career as a Social Media Assistant. Then, you might progress to become a Social Media Executive role to gain experience before finally being promoted to Social Media Manager.
You do not need to have a specific qualification on social media. Any experience in marketing, communication, advertising or public relations will get you closer to getting hired as a Social Media Manager. Still, a degree or a postgraduate qualification will always impress your employers and get you ahead of the competition.
If a college degree is not an option for you, you can follow many online courses. The IDM and the CIM offer industry-recognised qualifications, which you can complete by gaining professional certificates, such as those from Facebook or Hootsuite Academy.
Working In-House Vs In A Digital Agency
You can work as an in-house social media manager in companies of all sizes and types. You need to know that, in smaller companies, social media is a one-person job. As you can imagine, you have more resources when you work for an agency or a large company. Whether or not this leads to faster career progression very much depends on the individual organisation you work for.
When you work in-house, you or your team typically implement your campaigns, organic and paid. Even if you develop your career in the marketing department of a company, you might work with agencies.
A digital marketing agency will design its campaigns (organic and paid), do all the copywriting and schedule all the publications. Then, they will report the results to their client. Sometimes, external Social Media Managers coordinate their work with other in-house professionals in the marketing department.
Agencies usually work with larger budgets, but they have to follow a client’s brief and present their results. If you work for a social media agency, you will often have access to a more extensive set of tools, and you will work on a variety of campaigns for several brands. It is a fast-paced environment. Your campaigns need to be approved by your management and the client’s side, therefore you may have less autonomy.
What Skills Do You Need To Become A Successful Social Media Manager
We have already mentioned some of the top skills for social media professionals, some of which are common to other areas of digital marketing:
- Good communication
- Image and video edition
- Time management and organisation
- Data analysis
- Team working
- Customer service
- Project and budget management
- Flexibility and adaptability
As you can see, social media managers work with various hard and soft skills in their daily lives. It is a fast-paced environment, where you need to be very organised and use your time wisely.
Social media professionals are thought to be creative minds with brilliant copywriting skills. However, you also need to have analytical skills. Paid social media managers have to be excellent analytic tools, though. Analysing results, managing budgets, and reporting is a full-time job for them.
Social Media often involves a lot of teamwork. Even if you are not part of a large team, you will have to coordinate your social media strategy with the marketing manager and the rest of the marketing team. You might need to get other departments within the business involved, too. It also includes other external stakeholders, such as influencers or other partners (e.g. a campaign with a charity).
Successful social media professionals stay up to date with the latest digital marketing trends to adapt their posts to the changes and stay ahead of the competitors.
Is Social Media Management A Good Career Choice?
Digital Marketing professionals are in high demand at present, and social media is one of the most exciting career paths in the field. For this reason, social media entry roles always attract a large number of candidates.
Salary wise, they are not the most well-paid professionals in marketing. According to the latest reports of Indeed and Glassdoor, salaries for social media assistants or junior roles range from £19,000 to £21,000. The wages of social media managers can range from £30,000 to £40,000, although this amount can significantly increase when you get more experience.
Final Thoughts On How To Become A Social Media Manager
If you thought Social Media was a task for the intern, think again! Social media is the heart and the voice of a company, and it represents the values and the brand. Having an inexperienced social media manager can damage the reputation of a brand.
There is not a clear path towards becoming a Social Media Manager. Nevertheless, having a passion for social media, an interest in learning and the right set of skills will help you succeed in this career.
If you found this article helpful for anyone wanting to start a career in social media management, please share it on social media to help others.