What Is a Social Media Marketer? And How to Become One

Written by Coursera • Updated on Oct 19, 2021

Social media marketers use social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote a company and its products.

Social media marketer sees how her posts for a client are doing.

Social media marketers are marketing specialists who use social media platforms to promote a company’s offerings. They often use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to reach new customers, engage with current ones, and announce new products or services.

Social media marketers can work in-house in a dedicated role within a company, but many work as freelancers and are hired to work for an hourly rate. SproutSocial found that around half of companies outsourced at least a portion of social media marketing efforts in 2020 [1].

Social media manager vs. social media marketer: What’s the difference?

Social media managers and social media marketers have very similar roles, and the two titles are often used interchangeably. However, the term marketer is more commonly used for freelance specialists.


What do social media marketers do?

A social media marketer uses social media to promote a company’s product offerings. Here are some tasks you might do as a social media marketer:

  • Oversee an organization’s overall social media strategy

  • Work with copywriters and designers to create and publish social media posts

  • Monitor social media metrics to optimize future performance

  • Stay up-to-date with social media trends, technologies, laws, and best practices

  • Respond to and engage with user comments and messages

  • Use social listening tools to understand what people are saying on social media about a company

Do social media marketers put out paid ads for companies?

Generally, the paid ads you might see on Facebook or Twitter are not orchestrated by social media marketers. Other marketing roles like advertising specialists, paid media specialists, and marketing coordinators typically oversee paid ad efforts. However, you may see smaller companies blend the usually distinct roles.


How much do social media marketers make?

Social media marketers make an average base salary of $55,314 in the US, according to October 2021 data from Payscale. 

Jobs in social media are projected to grow as social media usage for individuals and businesses continues to increase. Social media users are expected to rise to 4.4 billion globally in 2025, up from 3.6 billion in 2020 [1]. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates jobs for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers will grow by 10 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is as fast as the average [2].

How to become a social media marketer

1. Learn social media marketing skills.

You’ll want to polish certain skills as you begin your job search. These include:

  • Social media: It’ll be crucial to know a variety of social media platforms well. The most commonly used platforms include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but companies may also WhatsApp, Pinterest, Tiktok, LinkedIn, and others, depending on their audience. You’ll want to know what kinds of posts do well on each platform, as well as the differences in audiences for each and how to capitalize on trends.

  • Analytical tools: Social media marketing analysis tools are used to track performance, analyze trends, and mitigate digital risk. Commonly used tools include Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and HubSpot.

  • Content creation: Creating content for social media can look different depending on the platform, but you’ll generally need some design sensibility and a good grasp of writing skills. 

Need a place to get started? Check out these guided projects on Coursera that can be completed in two hours or less:

2. Look for entry-level opportunities.

Entry-level opportunities can include jobs, freelancing, or volunteering. Explore different options to see what fits your needs.

Entry level jobs: An entry-level position generally requires less relevant experience and can provide you with the opportunity to learn about social media marketing on the job. In your job search, keep an eye out for entry-level titles such as:

  • Marketing intern or social media intern

  • Social media coordinator

  • Social media specialist

  • Social media associate

  • Social media analyst

Freelance: Consider freelancing to build up your experience. You can build a portfolio on a freelance website such as Fiverr or Upwork.

Volunteer: Volunteer opportunities may have less stringent requirements. Look for local or remote opportunities through volunteer search sites like VolunteerMatch.

Build your own social media pages: Sometimes jumping in and doing it yourself is the best way to learn. Create your own Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Facebook business page to learn the ropes of how each works and best practices in content creation. You can also point to these accounts in job applications as well.

3. Expand your professional network.

Networking might be intimidating—but it can be a good way to learn more about job opportunities, get job-search advice, and gain knowledge about the field. Your network might include friends, family, alumni of your alma mater, or old coworkers.

If you don’t know where to start, join groups for social media professionals on LinkedIn or Facebook. This can expose you to different job postings, make you more familiar with the job landscape, and help you research how people landed the jobs they have. 

For more advice on networking, check out Coursera’s guide on networking.

Get started in social media marketing

Learning the dynamics of social media is the first step in becoming a social media professional. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate. You’ll learn how to create posts, manage accounts, develop advertising campaigns, and assess results. Plus you’ll get a professional credential to add to your resume—and the first week is free.


Facebook Social Media Marketing



Related articles

Article sources

1. Sprout Social. "36 Essential social media marketing statistics to know for 2021, https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics/." Accessed October 18, 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 October 18, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Oct 19, 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.

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