Social media management is an exciting, fast-paced career. Read on to learn how to become a social media manager and what’s involved in the job.
Managing multiple social media channels can be challenging. Trends and algorithms shift daily, platforms introduce new features and policies, and brand-new platforms make waves in the social media landscape.
With the growth of social media as a marketing channel, in-house and freelance social media managers are in high demand. Interested in getting on board? We’ll explore how to become a social media manager and what a social media manager does.
What is a social media manager? 💼
In short, a social media manager is a jack of all trades. Here’s a rundown of some of the responsibilities that make up a social media manager career:
- Platform familiarity. Social media is fast-paced and ever-changing. A social media manager must be aware of the different social media channels and the kinds of content they support, as well as emerging platforms and their place in the social media environment.
- Campaign development. If a business maintains multiple social media accounts, a social media manager ensures that marketing campaigns are optimized for each platform while maintaining a consistent brand identity.
- Design. Social media managers may create content themselves, or they might collaborate with a design team. Either way, the social media manager has input on how branded content will fit individual channels while maintaining a consistent look.
- Analytics. Using available social media management tools, a social media manager reflects on data from various platforms and analyzes the channels’ impact on business.
- Feedback. Social media is highly interactive. A social media manager will field user questions and comments and mobilize that information to improve a company’s social media presence.
- Reporting. Stakeholders or business owners want to know how their social media presence impacts the bottom line. A social media manager should be able to explain clearly and precisely the benefits and detriments of this marketing channel.
Required skills and qualifications 🎓
- Knowledge of social media platforms. The social media manager must be aware of the unique aspects of each social media channel. This ensures the manager will deploy appropriate content on each channel in a social media presence.
- Writing skills. All social media management requires a good grasp of language and communication. Whether crafting the perfect caption for a reposted meme or reporting to shareholders on a marketing campaign, a social media manager must be able to communicate clearly and precisely.
- Editing skills. Social media managers must have strong editorial skills to ensure consistent and engaging content on social media channels.
- Knowledge of design. A social media manager should have a strong understanding of how each social media channel presents content. Some graphic design knowledge is valuable, but experience with multiple social media platforms is a must.
- Flexibility. As noted above, social media managers wear several different hats. The ability to switch tracks quickly and flexibly, from marketing to design to questions of user interface (UI), is key to rolling out successful social media campaigns.
Along with the above skills, a few college degrees and certifications can help an aspiring social media manager:
- Related degree. Most bachelor’s degrees in business, journalism, or communications will provide a freelancer with some of the digital marketing skills essential to social media management.
- Social analytics expertise. Analyzing social media involves monitoring sentiment, social networking, text, and numerous other metrics that drive customers online. Social media marketing job certification programs can get you up to speed on analytics.
- Project and time management. The ability to manage projects is crucial to the career of a social media specialist. Completing deliverables by the deadline or understanding and jumping on the latest trends on a particular platform involves a good handle on managing time.
7 steps to becoming a social media manager 🪜
As the profession becomes a more and more common in-house and freelance position, following these steps will help take you from a casual social media user to a social media management expert:
- Obtain qualifications. This could be a three- or four-year bachelor’s degree in a related field or a professional certification through an online course or technical college. Neither of these qualifications is a requirement, but for some clients, education will be the determining factor when making a freelance hire.
- Study social media marketing. Those not wanting to pursue higher education can educate themselves by studying social media content and trends and exploring their chosen field. This step is helpful even if you do pursue a degree — some of the most valuable knowledge comes from outside the classroom!
- Establish a profile. This should go without saying, but a social media manager needs to have a social media presence. Establishing and linking profiles on numerous platforms expands a prospective social media manager’s audience and network while providing the opportunity to show off their social media skills.
- Gain experience. Post Instagram Reels or create TikToks, and pay attention to how users on each platform respond. Keep an eye on other social accounts with similar areas of interest. They may have ideas you can deploy to grow your brand.
- Improve skills. If your Instagram Reels tend to be shaky, do some research on improving your videography. Did that last Facebook caption fall flat? Look at your metrics to see what works and what doesn’t, and read other social media posts in your field to get a sense of how others communicate with followers.
- Maintain an online presence. Don’t let a channel go quiet for too long. Nothing derails a growing social media presence like a channel that ceases to post new content. Schedule posts to ensure consistent, regular content and a coherent brand voice.
- Make connections. Make some connections with other hopeful social media managers and pick their brains. Return the favor by sharing information with your online community about tricks you may have learned.
Useful tips 💪
For instance, in the U.S., full-time social media managers average roughly $70,000 per year. Getting there takes time and determination, but keep these tips in mind as you establish yourself in the field:
- Develop communication skills. Well-developed communication skills are a must. Interacting with audiences, explaining social media trends to non-experts, and convincing clients you’re the right person for the job all come down to good communication.
- Explore social media trends. Trends on social media channels are in constant flux. Today’s trending TikTok sound or song will quickly become yesterday’s news. Social media managers should devote time every day to investigating the latest trends and topics.
- Increase your expertise. The skills and knowledge you have when you enter a field only prepare you to learn how much you don’t know. Keep fresh with trends and new platforms, and leverage them to grow your brand awareness.
- Be open to change. Change is the name of the game in social media. Those who resist change are arguably less likely to win contracts, as clients seek professionals who can adapt quickly to technological shifts, platforms, and trends.
Showcase your abilities with Contra ✨
For beginners and experts alike, Contra has the tools to make your social media management career soar. Contra provides tools and tricks for freelancers on our 100% commission-free platform. Social media Independents looking for inspiration or clients looking for someone to manage their channels will find a wide array of professionals in Contra’s Portfolios. Everything you need to explore this exciting career is just a click away!