Social Media Jobs: 6 Roles to Explore

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Social media marketing is a critical part of any organization’s business strategy as it’s often the front line for communicating directly with new and potential consumers.

[Featured image] A woman working as a social media manager stands by a window with her tablet.

Working in social media typically requires a combination of creativity, communication, strategy, and analysis.

Social media is an area of marketing that continues to grow thanks to the amount of activity that happens online. In the US, 72 percent of the public is active on social media [1], while globally 3.6 billion people use social media [2].  

Whether you’re interested in finding an entry-level social media job or advancing your social media career, there are several roles you can explore. Social media can also help you develop versatile skills to apply to other aspects of marketing, such as digital marketing, as well as related careers in communications and public relations.   

3 entry-level social media jobs

Beginning a career in social media often means creating the content and contributing to the campaigns that will help a company stand out on various platforms. It also requires a knowledge of the major social media platforms (and familiarity with emerging platforms) and their users, as well as what type of content does best on each one. 

1. Social media specialist 

Sometimes called social media marketing assistant or social media coordinator, a social media specialist typically helps a social media team create, schedule, and post content (written posts, images, graphics, and video), analyze posts for effectiveness and engagement, and monitor channels.  

  • Average annual salary: $43,749 [3]

  • Required skills may include: Copywriting, graphic design, video production, knowledge of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and social media scheduling and monitoring tools (Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Talkwalker, Mention, Tweetdeck)  

2. Social media analyst

Marketers rely on research to help them determine what customers want, need, and think—and social media delivers that data in droves. Social media analysts pore over an organization’s social media posts and metrics, gathering information about likes, shares, and click-through rates (CTR). They develop recommendations to help improve a company’s marketing and business strategies on social media. 

  • Average annual salary: $50,231 [4

  • Skills: Knowledge of trends, audiences, engagement tactics, and SEO; proficiency in media monitoring tools (Sprinklr, Khoros, Meltwater) 

3. Marketing communications associate  

Sometimes called a “marketing communications specialist,” a marketing communications associate typically supports a marketing team’s communication and content efforts across a number of channels. Their work tends to involve a lot of writing, which may be applied to social media, emails, websites, or blogs. They may also assist more senior members of the team. 

  • Average annual salary: $52,092 [5]

  • Skills: Writing and editing; generating ideas and content; knowledge of content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), and SEO; understanding of social media monitoring and listening tools  

Learn more: Marketing Careers: 6 Areas to Explore 

3 advanced social media jobs

Advancing in your social media career means taking on more managerial level roles. In these cases, you’ll likely be doing less content creation and more content oversight, managing junior members of a social media marketing team, approving their posts, developing strategy for campaigns, and ensuring everything runs smoothly. 

1. Social media manager

Social media managers are primarily responsible for executing the social strategy their team develops and managing all channels. They may also contribute research to campaign development, make sure all content aligns with a company’s brand identity, identify ways to increase engagement and drive traffic, and monitor channels for important developments.  

  • Experience: 3-5 years

  • Average annual salary: $55,117 [6]

  • Skills: Advanced knowledge of all social media platforms and major listening tools, writing and editing, content strategy, attention to detail, management, and analytics reporting 

Paid social media is a growing area that focuses on developing specific advertising campaigns or sponsored messaging for social platforms. Salaries for paid social media managers tend to be higher. The average US salary for a paid social media manager is $78,939, according to Glassdoor [7].

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2. Community manager 

Developing engaged and respectful communities is a key part of social media marketing, and it requires a savvy community manager who can ensure that followers feel connected to a company and vice versa. Community managers spend their time on a company’s channels, listening to what’s being said, responding directly when necessary, and fostering relationships with customers where possible. 

  • Experience: 3-7 years 

  • Average annual salary: $57,199 [8

  • Skills: Customer relationship management (CRM), active listening and empathy, content development, writing and editing, proficiency in all social media platforms and knowledge of social media listening tools  

3. Social media consultant

A social media consultant tends to be a freelance or contractual role that handles many of the same responsibilities as a social media analyst or social media strategist. They tend to be savvy social media marketers who can jump in and help companies improve their social presence through an array of strategic recommendations.  

  • Experience: 4-7 years 

  • Average annual salary: $46,520 [9]  

  • Skills: Social and audience strategy, proficiency in all social media platforms, and in-depth knowledge of social media listening tools 

As you grow in your career, you can also look for roles like brand manager, digital content manager, and audience engagement manager. The skills you’ve developed as a result of your time working directly in social media should prepare you to take on the responsibilities of other marketing jobs.

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Social media jobs outlook

Social media users are expected to increase to more than four billion by 2025, making social media a potentially high-growth career [10]. The demand for social media skills has only continued to rise in recent years. Based on LinkedIn job postings, the demand for paid social media skills rose 116.4 percent between 2020 and 2021 [11]. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that advertising, promotions, and marketing manager roles, which includes social media managers, are expected to increase by 10 percent between 2020 and 2030 in the US, which is about as fast as average [12].

Nearly all companies, organizations, and entities have a social media presence in order to communicate directly with consumers. This makes working in social media a versatile career choice. You can find opportunities at agencies, where you’re responsible for handling multiple brands, or you can go “brand-side” and work in-house for a specific company, or you can work as a consultant for an organization that most interests you. 

Get started in social media 

If you’re interested in beginning or pivoting to a career in social media, learn industry-specific practices through the Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate. You’ll learn how to establish an online presence and manage social accounts, among other skills. Hear more from instructor Daniel Kob about what makes this certificate so useful. 

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Article sources

1. Pew Research Center. “Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/.” Accessed December 28, 2021.

2. Sprout Social. “36 Essential Social Media Marketing Statistics to Know for 2021. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics/." Accessed December 28, 2021.

3. Glassdoor. “Salary: Social Media Coordinator.  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/social-media-coordinator-salary-SRCH_KO0,24.htm.” Accessed December 28, 2021

4. Glassdoor. “Salary: Social Media Analyst.  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/social-media-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,20.htm." Accessed December 28, 2021.

5. Glassdoor. “Salary: Marketing Communications Associate.  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/marketing-communications-associate-salary-SRCH_KO0,34.htm." Accessed December 28, 2021.

6. Glassdoor. “Salary: Social Media Manager.  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/social-media-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,20.htm." Accessed December 28, 2021.

7. Glassdoor. “Salary: Paid Media Manager.  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/paid-media-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,18.htm." Accessed December 28, 2021.

8. Glassdoor. “Salary: Dominium Management Community Manager.  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/community-manager-dominium-management-salary-SRCH_KO0,17_KE18,37.htm." Accessed December 28, 2021.

9. Glassdoor. “Salary: Social Media Consultant.  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/social-media-consultant-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm.” Accessed December 28, 2021.

10. Sprout Social. “36 Essential Social Media Marketing Statistics to Know for 2021.  https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics/." Accessed December 28, 2021.

11. Marketing Week. “Steep Rise in Demand for Marketers with Digital Skills.  https://www.marketingweek.com/steep-rise-demand-marketers-digital/." Accessed December 28, 2021.

12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm." Accessed December 28, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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