How To Become A Social Media Manager

Social media has transformed the business world and opened up new career paths in the social media field.

There are more opportunities than ever to explore fresh and exciting careers, and understanding what is required to pursue your desired career is essential.

Social media manager is a popular job title, but what does it entail, and how do you get that role?

Keep reading to learn what a social media manager does and what skills you need if you want to pursue this social media career path.

How Do I Become A Social Media Manager?

Becoming a social media manager requires many diverse skills and abilities, and you need to ace plenty of things to help you with this.

Make sure you understand some of the necessary steps to help you become a social media manager.

Here are some of the key elements that are involved in becoming a social media manager:

  • Define your services.
  • Build your manager skills.
  • Establish an online presence.
  • Build up a portfolio of clients.
  • Look at what positions are available.
  • Expand your knowledge and skill set.
  • Learn about the best social media marketing tools.
  • Get better qualified (postgrad, degree, course, etc.).
  • Gain experience via entry-level roles before moving up.

There’s no single path to launching a career as a social media manager.

But focusing on certain steps like building your portfolio and pursuing a degree or certification in this field can give you a major advantage.

What Does A Social Media Manager Do?

Understanding the role of a social media manager is also imperative for helping you find the right opportunities and being able to thrive in your career.

Typically, a social media manager is responsible for strategizing campaigns and content to increase followers, connect with people across different social platforms, and improve their brand’s social media presence.

According to Socially Buzz, 28% of internet users found new products due to social media ads, which illustrates a social media manager’s important role in helping get the best out of marketing campaigns.

Of course, the responsibilities tend to differ depending on a multitude of factors, such as the size of the company.

Producing compelling content and analyzing data are crucial for developing success as a social media manager.

Check out some of the key responsibilities you can be expected to fulfill as a social media manager:

  • Social engagement: Increasing followers and driving engagement better is important for developing a strong social media presence, and you can do this through written and visual content. With 137 million new internet users in the past 12 months, this is a large pool of users to target when looking to improve engagement.
  • Data analysis: One of the most important roles a social media manager has to fulfill is that of data analysis, which involves assimilating all pertinent data and using it to assess how the company’s social accounts are performing.
  • Posting and monitoring social platforms: It might be necessary to schedule posts across all different social media platforms, as well as observe the performance of these posts and interact with followers and customers.
  • Campaign strategy: Developing a strong strategy for a successful social media content campaign is one of the best things you can do to excel in your role as a social media manager. This makes a huge difference in driving engagement and helps you effectively align your brand marketing strategies and values.

What Is A Typical Social Media Manager Job Description?

Social media manager is a job description that is multi-faceted, and it will allow you to gain a greater understanding of what this role entails.

Mostly, you will find that this is a role where applicants are responsible for overseeing businesses’ interactions with consumers via social media, as well as managing and overseeing their social media platforms and implementing content strategies.

The following are the usual social media manager job requirements:

  • Manage a social budget.
  • Interact with customers.
  • Take ownership of the social strategy.
  • Promote posts and craft new content.
  • Develop new social media campaigns.
  • Research trends and stay ahead of the curve.
  • Monitor and analyze social media campaign data and performance.
  • Streamline social media channels to ensure the tone of voice is consistent.

How Much Is A Social Media Manager Paid?

When choosing any career path, knowing what you can expect to earn is important.

It is important to have an idea of what you want to earn, as well as knowing what the average is, to give you room for negotiation.

According to Zippia, who claims the tagline “The career expert,” the average social manager salary is $70,287 per year. On the low end, you might expect $50,000 at the entry level and upwards of $98,000 if you have a few years under your belt.

Washington tops the list in terms of the highest-paying state overall, while San Francisco, California, claims the top spot for the highest-paying city.

Via the above link, if you select your location, specific industry, and education level, you can get a more tailored estimate of what you are worth.

What Skills Does A Social Media Manager Need To Have?

So, what makes a good social media manager?

Well, there are several different attributes to consider, and this will play a massive role in helping you secure this kind of career path in a more positive way.

Understanding the skills and abilities needed to help you excel in your role as a social media manager is crucial when seeking a career path in this area.

So, what is required to be a skilled and successful social media manager? Here are some key social media manager skills you’ll need to excel in this career.

1. They Must Have Solid Communication Skills

It may seem obvious that someone whose primary job is to connect with people from outside the company needs to have good communication skills. In fact, it’s arguably the No. 1 skill social media managers need to be successful.

Communication skills in this realm are slightly different than they are in traditional communication roles.

Social media managers need to be able to understand the audience they are communicating with and speak in a way that will resonate with that audience.

While all social media platforms are similar in what they accomplish, each channel has a slightly different way of communicating. Recognizing and understanding how a person communicates on Facebook is different from how a person communicates on Twitter is essential.

2. They Must Be Social

The best social media managers are people who thoroughly enjoy social media and participate in social media on a personal level.

To be a truly successful communicator on social media, one has to know not only the ins and the outs of the programs but also be able to use the vernacular common to each.

It sticks out like a sore thumb when an “outsider” posts on a social media channel, which can negatively affect the business’s reputation.

That’s why a social media manager who is well-versed in everything each channel entails is key and why the best social media managers are those who, first and foremost, participated in social media on a personal level before taking it on as their profession.

3. They Must Have Personality & Creativity

One of the biggest differences between social media usage for work and personal life is the formality of the content. This isn’t to say that social media messaging for businesses should be stuffy.

It’s quite the opposite, actually.

Social media channels are a way for businesses to communicate with customers on a more personal level.

So, a sense of humor, a touch of creativity, and a voice that resonates with the audience are all must-haves.

A business’s social media channels shouldn’t appear as ads or include typical PR jargon.

4. They Must Be Up On Digital Data

The top three skills on this list all deal with the makeup of the person who holds the title of social media manager. The rest are all professionally-based skills.

A social media manager needs to take the content a step further by optimizing and analyzing it.

This means being able to discern whether the social media marketing is working by culling the appropriate data for each channel and then adjusting the content, if necessary.

This aspect of the job requires knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) general practices and, specifically, how search engines treat social media posts.

5. They Must Be Project Managers

Managing social media channels for a business isn’t all fun and games. It’s a serious job that takes serious management skills.

Some social media managers will be one-man or one-woman teams. If this is the case, the person will need to approach each channel as a separate project with short-, medium- and long-term goals, along with that of the overall social media plan.

Some social media managers have a team of people helping them manage each of the channels. In these cases, the manager must have solid skills in managing people and projects.

6. They Must Write & Edit Well

As a social media manager, you will need to be able to write creatively.

Crafting social media copy can be very challenging, and it takes a creative and talented head to be able to do it well.

Writing and editing as the “voice” of a company can be hugely fulfilling, and this is an essential part of being a social media manager.

Yes, the social media manager will need to be able to inject some flair into the writing, but it must be done in a professional way.

This goes for the content the manager will write and the content that he or she will edit that others on the team have written.

7. They Must Have Visual Skills

Social media is a very visually-driven form of communication.

Even posts on text-based channels such as Twitter perform better if they have pictures that go along with the text. That’s why successful social media managers must understand how to pair visuals with text.

This means a good social media manager will be able to cull available images from the internet or a company’s database and also must be able to create great imagery on his or her own – or at least, be able to tell a design department in the company what to create.

8. They Must Be Flexible & Adaptable

A social media manager’s job requires a lot of patience and flexibility. Not only are a company’s needs changing all the time, but social media itself is, too. This is where the flexibility comes in.

A good social media manager will need to be able to digest changes made to each social media channel, as well as how to shift the approach to that channel.

In addition, social media managers need to be able to adapt to each environment they are communicating in, as sometimes the change occurs with the users of a social media channel and not just the channel itself.

This means being up on all the trends on not just how people are using Twitter, for example, but what they are talking about on Twitter – whether that relates to the manager’s company or not.

9. They Must Be Great Marketers

Ultimately, the purpose of a social media channel is to create marketing opportunities. The fun part of social media is communicating, taking photos, creating eye-pleasing posts, and interacting with people.

But the end goal is to market the business.

The social media manager doesn’t need to have a strong direct sales background, but he or she needs to understand that the content the social team produces is ideally supposed to generate sales – if even in an indirect way.

It’s also important for the social media manager to recognize a sales lead that may come across in a reply to a message and pass it along to the sales team.

10. They Must Have Excellent Customer Service Skills

One aspect of social media that can’t be overlooked is the fact that it’s a two-way communication street. It’s simple for people to reply to your content or share it with all of their followers.

Successful social media managers will understand this customer service aspect of the job and will be able to effectively monitor the activity on each social media channel and respectfully reply to all inquiries in a timely manner – whether the reply is positive or negative.

People can say whatever they want on social media – and they often do – so approaching these people politely and respectfully takes some patience and discipline.

Where Can I Find A Job As A Social Media Manager?

You should consider plenty of options when looking to become a social media manager, and you have several options when trying to get a job in this role.

Finding online openings and opportunities via job boards is always a good option, and you also need to make sure you contact companies directly to see if there are any openings.

Networking is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself connected to job opportunities, which can prove incredibly useful.

Social media sites are a great way of being able to network with potential clients, and this is an excellent way of finding a job as a social media manager.

Bottom Line On Becoming A Social Media Manager

The best social media managers will be able to draw on a combination of the above 10 skills, as it’s truly a position that requires a diverse set of skills across various traditional disciplines.

As social media platforms keep growing and their algorithms change, the fact remains that any company online, from ecommerce to small businesses and agencies alike, will need you.

You’ll have a lot of opportunities to upskill and pave your own path as a social media manager in whatever industry you desire.

Keep reading about emerging social media channels and trends regularly to keep yourself informed. Also, learn and practice effective social media strategies. Combine them with the skills listed here, and you’ll land that dream job in no time.

More Resources: 

Featured Image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock


What are the key responsibilities of a social media manager?

A social media manager is responsible for creating and implementing social media campaigns that increase engagement and followers. This role involves strategizing content, analyzing data to assess performance, posting and monitoring social platforms, and developing new social media campaigns. It’s also crucial to maintain consistent tone of voice across different channels.

How much can I expect to earn as a social media manager?

Average salaries for social media managers can vary. According to Zippia, the average salary is around $70,287 per year. Entry-level positions may start at approximately $50,000, while experienced managers can earn up to $98,000 yearly. Highest-paying locations include Washington and San Francisco.

What skills are essential for a successful social media manager?

Essential skills for a social media manager include solid communication abilities, data analysis competency, creativity, and project management proficiency. Writing and editing skills, visual content creation, adaptability, customer service skills, and a thorough understanding of digital marketing principles are also critical.

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