What's a Social Media Manager? And How to Become One

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn what a day-to-day social media manager’s role looks like, essential skills, desired qualifications, and how to take your next step.

[Featured image] Woman on phone working on social media

A social media manager is typically responsible for setting the content strategy and driving engagement on a company’s social platforms. To succeed in that role, social media managers must possess a knack for storytelling, a keen eye for design, and an ability to analyse 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 various fields. 

In this article, we’ll explore a social media manager's responsibilities, the key skills necessary to do this work, and how to get started. 

What does a social media manager do?

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 their followers and the amount of engagement (likes, comments, shares) they receive. You may be expected to develop written or visual posts to achieve both.

  • Strategising 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.

  • Analysing data: Besides creative work, you’ll also spend time analysing data to conclude 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 your work has an impact, so you’ll likely be expected to report your achievements—or any problems that arise—to your marketing team and even the company's stakeholders. They’ll probably be looking to see how you grow followers, increase engagement, and 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.

  • Ensure brand consistency: Make sure that the company has a consistent tone and voice throughout all copy, editorials, and digital material. You want to ensure that all brand material represents the company.

Social media manager skills 

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 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 to reassure a company or brand that they’re safe. 

  • 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: Meta, Instagram, WhatsApp, 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 your choices' business or strategic reasons will be critical. 

  • Analytical tools: Knowing what messages resonate with consumers requires an analytical eye and the capacity to research. Knowing how to use analytics tools such as Hootsuite, HubSpot, Microsoft Office, and Google Analytics can be helpful.

  • 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 online conversations can help you react accordingly and maintain an organisation’s brand.

  • Management skills: Depending on your role, you may manage a group of employees to help the brand reach its goals and complete initiatives.

Social media manager: Job outlook and salary

Social media continues to be a growing field. According to data from Statista, ad spend on social media in India was $.97 billion USD in 2021 and is expected to grow at a rate of 3.87 per cent by 2027 [1]. 

Social media managers earn an average monthly salary of ₹36,000, according to Glassdoor, as of August 2023 [2]. Salaries vary depending on experience and location, with the average Senior Social Media Manager earning ₹6,60,000 annually.

How to become a social media manager

Becoming a social media manager often requires a combination of education and experience, though the specifics can differ by company.

Build a relevant background.

Employers often desire a degree or relevant qualification in traditional fields such as marketing, but it is not always required. Many social media managers showcase their skills through practical experiences and self-study paths. Taking an online marketing class, attending a digital bootcamp, or taking courses at a local college can help you build relevant skills. In general, you will want to show potential employers you have skills in:

  • Content creation and management

  • Copywriting

  • Data analytics

  • Customer relationship management

  • Budgeting 

  • Technical skills (Adobe Indesign, Photoshop Microsoft Office)

  • Critical thinking

  • Clear and engaging writing

Get an entry-level social media job.

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 to teach you the basics of social media management before moving into a managerial position.

Keep an eye out for these entry-level job titles:

  • Social media coordinator or specialist

  • Social media associate

  • Marketing assistant

  • Social media analyst

  • Digital content producer

Polishing your resume and building a portfolio can help you stand out to employers and increase your chances of landing the position. If you don’t have a portfolio, consider taking an online course or completing an online project to practise your skills and create tangible demonstrations of your work.

Getting started

Social media managers can act as an organisation’s mouthpiece to engage with the public and promote its vision. If you’re ready to start learning, consider the Google Digital Marketing & E-Commerce Professional Certificate on Coursera. You will build tangible digital marketing skills applicable to several types of digital management, including social media management. Once you have this certificate, you can apply for your first entry-level position or continue building your skills to enter higher-level roles.

Article sources


Statista. "Social Media Advertising—India, https://www.statista.com/outlook/dmo/digital-advertising/social-media-advertising/india." Accessed August 16, 2023.

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