What Does a Social Media Manager Do and Do You Need One for Business?
What is the Job Description for a Social Media Manager?
More businesses than ever are taking to social media to interact with their customers, and for good reason.
It’s estimated that 84% of people with access to the internet use social media, making it a valuable platform for not only advertising but directly interacting with customers.
Behind the scenes of every brand-run Twitter account, Facebook page, and LinkedIn business profile is a social media manager responsible for advertising new products and services, creating engaging content, and directly influencing the brand’s image on social media.
Social Media Manager: Job Summary
In short, social media managers are responsible for the company’s social media and advertising.
It’s their job to ensure that the company’s profiles are constantly updated with engaging content that showcases their products and services, their brand personality, and their mission.
Social media managers are expected to have a wealth of technical knowledge under their belt, including in-depth knowledge of social media algorithms, SEO, and lead generation.
Who does a Social Media Manager Report To?
This can vary depending on the size of the company. In large companies, social media managers tend to be managed by the head of marketing or communications. However, in smaller businesses, they may report directly to the CEO.
Who Does a Social Media Manager Work With?
Alongside other social media managers, they will be expected to collaborate with copywriters, content writers, graphic designers, and other creative professionals within the business to build engaging content for social media.
Social media managers also will work with product development, sales, and marketing teams within the company to ensure their campaigns and strategies complement the company’s other marketing efforts.
Does a Social Media Manager Manage Other Employees?
While they are a manager by title, this doesn’t mean that social media managers are expected to manage a team of employees.
Typically, “social media manager” is a generic term to refer to employees who specialize in social media marketing.
Generally, this means that social media managers do not have a team underneath them, but this is not the case for every company.
Duties of a Social Media Manager
A social media manager’s day-to-day responsibilities normally include, but are not limited to:
- Developing and implementing a social media strategy
- Creating social media campaigns to improve engagement and brand awareness
- Defining KPIs to measure social media campaigns against
- Monitoring engagement and suggesting optimization strategies
- Ensuring that company social media channels are regularly updated with new content
- Using social media tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to automate posts and monitor analytics
- Creating monthly/quarterly reports on the company’s social media presence
- Communicating with customers and responding to comments and direct messages
They will also be expected to:
- Stay on top of social media trends, algorithm changes, and best practices
- Attend conferences and training courses from industry professionals
- Research new social media platforms, industry trends, and marketing opportunities
In larger companies, social media managers may also be required to:
- Create social media policies for employees to follow
- Hire and train new employees
- Engage with social media influencers
It’s worth noting that, depending on the size of the company and the structure of the social media team, not every social media manager will be required to follow the same duties listed above.
Qualifications Required to be a Social Media Manager
The qualifications and experience cited in a job description for a social media manager can depend on various factors, such as the size of the company and the level at which you’ll be expected to work.
Generally, however, a social media manager will be expected to have the following:
- A BSc degree in Marketing, Communications, or another related field
- 2+ years of experience as a social media manager - this may be more or less, depending on whether you’re applying for a junior or senior position
Social media managers are also often expected to have experience using the following:
- Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn
- SEO and keyword research tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, and/or others
- Social media tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and/or others
- Social media PPC advertising like the Facebook/Instagram advertising suite
- Microsoft Office suite and/or GSuite
Employers will also be looking for:
- Great time management skills
- Excellent ability to multitask
- A strong team player
- Problem-solving and critical thinking skills
- Great communication and interpersonal skills
- A comprehensive standard of written English
A Note on Experience
If you’re looking for a change in career, or you’re working in a similar field already, you may not have the required experience to get your foot in the door.
However, when you’re looking at a job description for a social media manager, the required experience might be easier to show to employers than you think.
Why Experience is Just as Important as Qualifications
While no employer can deny the importance of understanding the technical aspects of social media, working knowledge of these platforms gives social media managers something that books and articles can never teach - the social expectations of users on these platforms.
For instance, follow-unfollow tactics (inflating your follower count by following people, then unfollowing them when they start following you) might seem like a good idea on paper.
However, in practice, it’s considered a sleazy tactic, and many social media users see this as a sign that the account is fake, spammy, or untrustworthy.
Having this working knowledge, combined with the experience of using social media platforms to promote a brand, product, or service, can be just as important as any degree.
How to Get Experience as a Social Media Manager
If you’ve never worked as a social media manager before, you can start getting experience now. Managing a blog is a great way to build up experience in promoting a brand, and it helps build your working knowledge of how social media works for professionals.
If you have a side hustle selling products, you can also use the experience you’ve gained marketing those through social media as experience in a social media manager role.
While you might not specifically be a social media manager yet, all of these skills directly translate to the job description for a social media manager. These experiences can be great portfolio pieces to showcase to potential employers.
How to Build a Social Media Manager Portfolio
A great portfolio is built from the job description of a social media manager - even if you don’t have prior experience in this job role.
Take each skill that is listed on the job description and try to find examples of when you’ve done that skill in the past, whether it’s been for work purposes or not.
For instance, if an employer is looking for a social media manager who has experience with creating engaging campaigns, you could list that you ran a Facebook competition to win one of your products, and show how your analytics grew from that increased engagement.
What Makes a Great Social Media Manager?
You won’t often find these listed on job descriptions for social media managers, but these personality traits are often highly sought after by employers.
A great social media manager should be passionate about what they do, as this passion will translate to their work and how they come across to customers on social media.
Passion is a fantastic driver of continuous learning and development. With social media being as big as it is, this personality trait sets apart the professionals from the amateurs.
When you’re posting to an audience of hundreds, thousands, or more, your confidence will make or break a consumer’s perception of your company and brand on social media.
A 2019 survey found that 86% of Americans said transparency on social media is more important than ever before, and that they would be willing to take their business elsewhere if a company they supported weren’t being honest with their customers.
If you’re confident in your message, it shines through and helps build that sense of trust and transparency that customers are looking for in today’s social media climate.
New social media platforms are being created all the time, and big platforms like Facebook and Twitter often regularly change their algorithms to respond to new trends, worldwide events, and to make it easier to monetize their platform.
A key part of being a social media manager is always being curious about the social media sphere.
From algorithm changes to consumer trends, there’s always something new to learn, and staying ahead of the game can set your campaigns apart.
How to Get a Job as a Social Media Manager
It takes years of education and experience to get a job as a social media manager, however, some companies may employ people in junior positions, which can help you get your foot in the door.
While having a qualification related to the job role is often sought after by employers, having working knowledge and experience of social media platforms and how they’re used by brands can set you apart from others who only have a theoretical or personal understanding of social media.
Online courses in social media management can also help you to understand the technical aspects of social media platforms and tools if you don’t have a formal qualification yet. While some of these courses may not be formally accredited, having them under your belt can help you stand out to employers.