So you want to be a social media manager? It’s a great career choice, with plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement. But what does it take to make it in this field? What kind of skills and experience do you need?
In this post, we’ll explore the career path of a social media manager and discuss what you need to do to achieve success in this field. We’ll also look at some of the key challenges and opportunities that social media managers face on a daily basis. Let’s get started!
1. What Is a Social Media Manager?
A social media manager is responsible for planning, creating, and executing all of the company’s social media activities. It’s their job to come up with new ideas on how to effectively use social media platforms, manage content calendars, post regularly across multiple networks, respond to comments and questions from followers, measure results, and more. Social media managers may work for small businesses, part of large organizations, or even as in-house staff members at agencies. In many cases, they report to a social media director or another senior manager.
2. What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
As you can probably guess, the core responsibility of a social media manager is to help grow and maintain a company’s social media presence. This includes planning and executing various types of posts, from promotional messages to engaging content that helps build relationships with customers.
Social media managers also spend a lot of time creating content for their company’s social media profiles, including writing posts for various networks. Some will also create images and videos to share with followers on Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and more.
A few other things that social media managers do are:
- Collaborate with the marketing team to develop content that supports larger campaigns
- Work closely with customer care teams to provide fast and effective responses to customer inquiries
- Analyze social media performance and report results to teams, often with daily or weekly recaps.
3. Educational Requirements
As with any profession, there are generally minimum educational requirements when you’re looking to become a social media manager. The most common degree earned by social media managers is a Bachelor’s degree, but it’s becoming increasingly common for employers to require at least a Master’s.
As with any other position, the best way to get ahead is by staying up-to-date on new technology and social networks. While all of them may not be relevant for your particular role, it’s good to know about these resources and understand how they can be used for marketing purposes.
4. Experience Requirements
When you’re just starting your career in social media, finding entry-level positions will likely require either prior experience or extensive knowledge of social media platforms. Many job postings may require 2 to 3 years of experience in this field. If you don’t have any experience, leveraging your social media skills into an internship or college project is a good way to land your first position in this field.
The next step up is often into an assistant or associate social media manager role, where you’ll have the opportunity to work under a more experienced professional. As your experience grows, so will your responsibilities and pay. If you’re good enough at what you do, you may even be promoted to senior social media manager or director.
5. Motivation and Personality Profile
Good communication skills are an absolute must for social media managers, not only when it comes to writing but also in terms of speaking in front of groups. You’ll need to be able to interact with employees from all departments within the company, so being able to communicate clearly is a must.
You’ll also need to be self-motivated. Social media managers are generally required to work on their own without much oversight, meaning you’ll have complete autonomy over your time and what you do on a daily basis. You’ll need to be able to manage your time and come up with new ideas on how to improve the company’s social media presence.
6. What Skills Do You Need?
While we’ve already touched upon some of the necessary skills, here’s a more detailed look at what they entail:
Writing: You’ll need to be able to put together effective copy, whether it’s for a press release, an event listing, or a blog post. You may also need to edit others’ work and help publish content on the company’s website.
Social media networks: As we mentioned earlier, all social media managers should have a basic understanding of the different social networks and what they’re used for. This means knowing how to start a business account on Facebook, configure ads on Twitter, and more. Of course, experience with specific platforms is always helpful.
Analytics: Measuring results and finding out where you can improve is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing. You’ll need to be able to use Google Analytics or a similar tool to find out how users are interacting with your content and what the return on investment is for your efforts.
Creativity: When developing ideas, social media managers rely heavily on their creativity. Whether you’re finding ways to maximize ROI from existing strategies or coming up with new ways to build your social media presence, you’ll need to have a lot of creative ideas at hand.
Here are some useful skills that can help support the ones we just mentioned:
HTML: Knowing how to create HTML tags and codes can be helpful when it comes to publishing content on a company blog. As many websites are strictly text-based, the ability to use HTML tags can help you format content in a more user-friendly way.
Graphic design: Many social media managers need to be able to create images for their posts and advertising campaigns. Learning about color theory, different image types (jpeg, png), and how to manipulate images can help you create better content.
Programming: If your company is looking to develop a mobile app or integrate social media into an existing website, programming skills may come in handy. While it’s not required for this role, knowing HTML and CSS will be helpful when you need to tweak the code of your ads and landing pages.
7. What Is the Salary Range?
The salary for social media managers varies based on your location, experience, and company. According to Simply Hired, here’s a rough idea of what you can expect (in USD) based on your level of experience:
- 1-2 years: $35,000 – $45,000
- 3-5 years: $45,000 – $65,000
- 6-10 years: $62,500 – $100,000
- 11+ years: $75,000 – $110,000
8. What Are the Social Media Manager Job Prospects?
The social media manager job prospects are strong, which is why it’s one of the best jobs to help you gain experience and grow in your career. Depending on your location and industry, there may be a high demand for social media managers due to the trends mentioned above. So what does this mean for you? It means that right now is a great time to begin a social media manager job search.
While the number of social media manager job openings continues to grow, the competitive nature of the role means that you need to make sure you set yourself apart from your peers. While any experience is helpful, continuing education (such as a Social Media Marketing course ) can help you transform your journey into an exciting career.
9. Which Companies Hire Social Media Managers?
Here are some of the most popular companies that hire social media managers:
Facebook: If you’re interested in working at Facebook, you’ll need to apply for a job at their headquarters. Be sure to check out their LinkedIn page and Twitter account for more information on how to apply.
Twitter: Again, if you’re interested in employment opportunities at Twitter, there’s an application form on their website. You can also find more information about working at Twitter through their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
Google: One of the most popular places for social media managers, Google hires new employees using a dedicated career site. More information is available through Google’s YouTube page and its various LinkedIn groups.
Amazon: For those who would like to join the Amazon team, there’s a job board on their website. You can also search their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for more information.
LinkedIn: A widely popular social media platform, LinkedIn is a great company to join if you’re interested in pursuing this field. More information can be found through their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Pinterest: Interested in a job at Pinterest? Head on over to their site and check out the careers page for more information. You can also find more information on Twitter and LinkedIn.
NEW: Instagram: While there aren’t any employment opportunities available yet, it’s only a matter of time before this social media site is looking to hire someone with your skills.
Reddit: There are no current openings listed for Reddit as they don’t hire employees directly. However, you can learn more about this company through their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit accounts.
10. Courses One Can Study for Social Media Management
Social media management is an interdisciplinary field that combines aspects of marketing, communication, psychology, and technology. As such, there are no specific courses one can study for this profession (though you may want to complete a course in social media marketing). While it’s possible to gain the necessary skills on your own through online learning, your decision to pursue social media management is an important one that should be fully considered.
Here are some courses you can take to help jumpstart your career in this field:
Social Media Marketing: A Guide to Using Social Media for Business: If you’re just starting out on your social media journey, this course is a great place to learn the basics about growing your network and tracking your success.
Marketing Your Business on Facebook: This course is perfect for those who have little to no experience using Facebook as a marketing tool and want to maximize their engagement with an online community of over 1 billion users.
Basic Social Media Marketing Course: A free course that will provide you with the basics about leveraging social media as a marketing tool.
Sociology: A Beginner’s Guide to Mind and Society: While you don’t need a formal education in sociology to do social media management, learning about how people work as groups can be incredibly beneficial.
11. Best Colleges to Study Social Media Management
Google and LinkedIn did a survey that asked professionals in this field which college they graduated from. The following universities came out on top:
Georgetown University, George Washington University, Georgia State University, Harvard University, New York University (NYU), Northwestern University, Ohio State University, and Syracuse University.
Many colleges and universities across the world offer post-graduate courses in social media marketing. Here’s a list of top institutions that you can contact directly to see what courses they offer:
University of Southern California (USC), California State University, Dominguez Hills, Arizona State University, New York University (NYU), American University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Penn State, Purdue University, Kent State University, and the University of Texas at Arlington.
The social media manager career path can be a very rewarding one. It’s a great way to use your creativity and passion for writing while also helping businesses grow their online presence. If you’re interested in becoming a social media manager, the best way to start is by building up your own personal brand and developing your skills. Start by reading as much as you can about social media marketing, experimenting with different platforms, and engaging with other users. The more experienced and knowledge you have, the better positioned you will be to land your dream job or start your own business. We wish you all the best on your journey!