Learn more about what it takes to succeed as a social media manager, and the skills you'll need to become one.
A social media manager is typically responsible for setting content strategy and driving engagement on a company’s social platforms. To be successful in that role, social media managers often need to possess a knack for storytelling, a keen eye for design, and an ability to analyze what does well with an audience—and what doesn’t.
Social media has become a key marketing area thanks to its ability to reach and capture customers while learning more about their needs, desires, and frustrations. And it’s ubiquitous across industries—corporations, brands, non-profits, government officials, celebrities, and more have accounts to communicate directly with followers—which means working as a social media manager can lead to a variety of fields.
In this article, we’ll explore the responsibilities a social media manager typically has, the key skills necessary to do this line of work, and how to get started.
Social media managers are ordinarily responsible for developing strategies to increase followers, creating and overseeing social campaigns, producing content, reviewing analytics, and communicating with key stakeholders in a company.
As a social media manager, your specific responsibilities will depend on the size of your company. For example, while many social media managers at larger corporations typically approve copy or videos rather than create them, it’s common for social media managers at smaller companies to take on more content creation.
If you’re interested in working as a social media manager, your tasks may include:
Increasing followers and driving engagement: Boost a company’s profile on all active social platforms by increasing the number of followers they have and the amount of engagement (likes, comments, shares) they receive. You may be expected to develop written or visual posts to achieve both.
Strategizing content and campaigns: To drive engagement, you’ll be responsible for ideating (and sometimes executing) social campaigns that align with a company’s larger marketing strategies. You may also generate ideas for timely and evergreen content or repurpose user-generated content.
Analyzing data: In addition to creative work, you’ll also spend time analyzing data to draw conclusions about how a company’s posts and content are performing. This can include social listening—monitoring what social media users say about a brand or competitors.
Reporting metrics to key stakeholders: Companies want to know the work you’re doing has an impact, so you’ll likely be expected to report your achievements—or any problems that arise—to your marketing team’s and even the company's stakeholders. They’ll probably be looking to see how you grow followers, increase engagement, develop creative content and campaigns, among other metrics.
Posting and monitoring social media platforms: Depending on the size of your team, you may be responsible for posting and monitoring all social platforms. In that case, you may need to schedule posts and observe followers’ responses. You may also be responsible for responding to comments and messages from followers.
If you’re interested in becoming a social media manager, it’s a good idea to improve your skills in the following areas:
Writing: Whether you’re drafting posts or crafting captions, good social media writing goes beyond solid grammar and spelling. It will be important to hone your copywriting skills to develop compelling writing that fits into a brand’s story and voice and engages its audience. before applying to become a social media manager.
Editing: Alongside writing copy, you’ll likely need to review your team members’ work and ensure it's grammatically correct and error-free. Honing your copy editing and proofreading skills can help you develop the eye necessary to reassure a company or brand that they’re in safe hands.
An understanding of social media platforms: You’ll need to have a thorough understanding of several social media platforms—their strengths, weaknesses, and user demographics, among other characteristics—to manage accounts successfully. Knowledge of the following platforms will likely be most important: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok.
An eye for design: Be prepared to communicate about images, infographics, videos, and more with graphic designers, marketing managers, and other marketing stakeholders. Envisioning a post and then articulating the business or strategic reasons for your choices will be critical.
Analytical tools: Knowing what messages resonate with consumers requires an analytical eye and the capacity to research. It’s helpful to know how to use social media listening tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and HubSpot, among others.
Flexibility: Change is constant in the world of social media. New trending hashtags, algorithms, and platform features often require social media managers to think on their feet and incorporate novelty into their work.
Timeliness: News events can cause some posts to be perceived as tone-deaf or insensitive or otherwise overshadow your post in importance. Staying on top of the news and the bigger conversations happening online can help you react accordingly and maintain an organization’s brand.
Social media continues to be a growing field. According to data on LinkedIn, the demand for paid social media skills rose 116.4 percent, while the demand for Instagram skills rose 28.4 percent since the onset of the pandemic . The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that advertising, promotions, and marketing manager roles are expected to increase by 10 percent between 2020 and 2030 in the US .
In the US, social media managers earn an average salary of $55,117, according to Glassdoor (December 2021).
Becoming a social media manager often requires a combination of education and experience, though the specifics can differ by company.
Social media managers typically hold a bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS. Majoring in a field that will build your communication or business skills—like marketing, journalism, or communications—can prepare you for the role.
Going to college can also expose you to various opportunities where you may be able to gain specific experience in a professional setting. Use your career center’s resources to look for internships, volunteer opportunities, or part-time roles. Otherwise, try joining a club and contributing to their social media efforts.
There's more than one path toward a career in social media management. Watch below for a look at the career journey of Daniel Kob, an instructor for the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate.
Experience working with social media is a key part of becoming a manager in the field. If you’re short on experience, look for an entry-level position that can teach you the basics of social media marketing before trying to move into a managerial position.
Keep an eye out for these entry-level job titles:
Social media coordinator or specialist
Social media associate
Social media analyst
Digital content producer
Experience with social media doesn’t have to be relegated to professional realms. If you volunteer for an organization, offer to help run the social media accounts.
And if you’ve built a sizable following on your personal social media platform, it could be worth mentioning to a hiring team (provided they’re appropriate to the job). Being able to market yourself successfully can indicate a savviness that may translate to running a brand.
Social media managers can act as an organization’s mouthpiece to engage with the public and promote their vision. If you’re ready to start learning, consider the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate on Coursera—the first week is free.
1. Marketing Week. "Steep rise in demand for marketers with digital skills, https://www.marketingweek.com/steep-rise-demand-marketers-digital/." Accessed December 14, 2021.
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm." Accessed December 20, 2021.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.