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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Social Media Manager


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If you’re wondering how to become a social media manager, you can choose from multiple paths to this career. Relevant education and experience can help you break into this fast-evolving field. Social media management balances creativity with analytics, attracting individuals with strong interpersonal, verbal and visual skills.

If you’re considering a job in social media management, this guide is for you. Discover the steps to pursue a career and explore a social media manager’s skills, responsibilities and job outlook.

What Is a Social Media Manager?

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Role and Responsibilities

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As social platforms become more ubiquitous, social media managers help brands solidify their online identities, engage with users and enhance social reach.

Social media managers must pivot quickly to match their employers’ shifting needs and the evolving social media landscape. A typical workday may involve some or all of the following responsibilities.

  • Strategize for social media success. A social media manager develops strategies that align with their employer’s values and goals. These strategies encompass campaigns, content and the brand’s overall tone and personality.
  • Post content and engage with users. Social media managers craft, schedule and post visual and written content. They respond to user comments and messages across multiple platforms. A manager may create posts and respond to followers directly or may oversee colleagues responsible for those tasks.
  • Analyze and report results. Managers use social media analytics tools to measure engagement and conversion, along with listening tools to observe user conversations about their brand and competitors. After gathering and analyzing data, managers report findings and recommendations to stakeholders.
  • Track trends. Social media managers must stay up-to-date on ever-evolving social media algorithms, trends and best practices, and developments in their employers’ industries.

Work Environment

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All businesses need a strategic social media presence, including nonprofits, government entities and public figures. Therefore, there’s a demand for social media managers across many industries.

Social media managers can find in-house company jobs or work for a marketing, public relations or social media firm with multiple clients. Alternatively, many professionals in the field become freelance social media managers.

How to Become a Social Media Manager

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Consider a Degree in Marketing or Public Relations

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The first step to becoming a social media manager is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations (PR) or a relevant field. Marketing or PR degrees give professionals specialized education in brand management and consumer behavior.

Marketing and PR curricula often feature courses in social media strategy or digital marketing. Some programs offer formal concentrations in social media or new media.

When combined with related work experience, degrees in English and other humanities disciplines can strengthen communication skills. Social sciences like psychology can develop insight into human behavior.

Gain Experience in Social Media

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Many managerial roles require experience. Social media-related internships are a great way to build your résumé while in school. Aspiring social media managers may also benefit from free online courses.

Internships and junior positions provide valuable on-the-job training. Many social media managers start in entry-level PR or marketing positions like social media associate, marketing assistant or digital content creator.

You can also gain social media management experience outside of traditional work environments. Consider volunteering with a club or nonprofit. Developing your personal social media presence is another way to showcase your skills.

Market Yourself to Companies

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An online portfolio is an essential self-promotion tool for prospective social media managers. Portfolios showcase work samples from internships, volunteer work, personal projects and previous professional experience. You can also feature client testimonials and list skills and tools you’re proficient in.

You can stand out as an applicant by researching the companies you’re applying to. Familiarize yourself with potential employers by following them on social media.

Salary and Job Outlook for Social Media Managers

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Salaries vary widely for this growing industry, but social media managers are becoming essential for all brands. As such, professionals with social media savvy are likely to remain in high demand.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes a promising job outlook for advertising and promotions managers, including social media managers. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median salary of $127,830 in 2022, projecting a faster-than-average 7% growth from 2021 to 2031.

According to Payscale, as of May 2023, social media managers made an average salary of around $54,600 a year. With experience, social media managers can become social media directors, who make around $80,700 annually, according to Payscale.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Becoming a Social Media Manager

What qualifications do you need to be a social media manager?

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To become a social media manager, you need a bachelor’s degree, typically in marketing or PR, and relevant work experience through internships, personal projects and junior-level positions. Social media managers need skills in verbal and written communication, data analytics and time management.

Are social media managers paid well?

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Salaries in this career vary. According to the BLS, advertising and promotions managers—including social media managers—earned a 2022 median salary of $127,830. This figure is more than double the median for all occupations.

What does a social media manager do daily?

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A social media manager oversees a brand’s social media presence. Daily duties include developing overall strategy, creating and deploying posts, responding to followers and using social media analytics tools to assess performance.

Sources


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