As social media becomes an ever-present part of our lives, demand for qualified social media managers is higher than ever.
Social media managers are responsible for helping companies engage their audience through social media, where people are spending more of their time.
As a result of recent shifts toward digital-focused advertising strategies, social media managers are in demand, and social media management has become an attractive career for many. Further, social media management is one of many examples of a role in the tech industry that does not require programming experience.
How do you become a social media manager?
Well, we are going to explore that question in this guide. We’ll walk you through all of the information you need to become a social media manager, and give you access to helpful resources on career progression as a social media manager and salaries in this field.
What is a Social Media Manager?
Social media managers are responsible for monitoring, and maintaining a company’s social media presence. Social media managers will use tools such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook to engage with their company’s audience and promote their products and services.
Social media managers will also use social media as a method to generate new leads, who may become customers in the future.
Social media managers will monitor online conversations through social media, organize customer service through social media, plan and post content for social media channels, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in social media management.
Social media management is a good introductory career in technology. In a career as a social media manager, you’ll be able to gain professional marketing experience, which may set you up for promotion to a digital marketing position in the future.
A career in social media management may also lead to a job in community management, where you would be responsible for managing an entire community, from reaching out to members on social media, to engaging the community internally.
If you want to learn more about jobs in digital marketing, check out our career guide summary on the various different positions available in the field.
No matter which type of digital marketer or social media manager you want to become, Career Karma will pair you with the right coding bootcamp that matches your goals, schedule, and needs.
Social Media Manager Job Description - What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
In the past, companies would advertise on television, newspapers, radio, and other channels. However, in recent years a number of new channels to engage with your audience have opened up, powered by technology. These technology-driven channels make it easy for companies to directly communicate with their audience, and generate new leads.
Social media managers are in charge of a company’s social media presence. They will respond to comments, create marketing campaigns, and post content to engage an audience. The social media manager will ensure a company has a professional social media presence, which may help them attract customers and build brand recognition in the long-term.
Social media managers will work with other members of a company such as the broader marketing and content team to decide what to post on social media and when. They’ll also try out different strategies to find out how they can best engage their audience. Other responsibilities of a social media manager include:
- Support the development of a brand’s identity
- Create promotional strategies
- Provide support to customers
- Ensure a company uses the same tone across different methods of communication
Social Media Manager Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not track the job outlook for social media managers specifically. However, they do track the growth of advertising and marketing managers, which gives an indication as to the overall growth of the industry. According to the BLS, jobs in marketing are expected to grow by 8 percent by 2028, which is “faster than average.”
Social Media Manager Salaries - How Much do Social Media Managers Earn?
Social media managers earn good salaries. According to Glassdoor, salaries for social media managers range from $37,000 to $81,000, depending on the position. The average base salary for a social media manager currently stands at over $55,000 per year.
The exact salary you can expect to earn will vary depending on the company for which you work and the location in which you live. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a social media manager in San Francisco is over $69,000, which is 25 percent above the national average; the same social media manager in Atlanta, GA would earn an average of over $51,500, which is 7 percent below the national average.
Moreover, the salary you can expect to earn as a social media manager depends on your experience. Senior social media managers can expect to earn almost $70,000 on average, or if you transitioned to a role as a digital marketer you could expect to earn almost $61,000 as a base salary with even more impressive job prospects.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
How Can You Become a Social Media Manager?
There are many different paths you can take to become a social media manager, but the most common routes people take to start their career in social media management usually are one of the following:
- Pursue a degree in marketing, communications, business management, or a related major at a traditional college or university
- Attend a short-term coding bootcamp specializing in digital marketing
- Learn social media management through self-study
Each path has its own advantages and disadvantages. While some digital marketers have a college degree, it is not a requirement. Indeed, many marketers have no formal education and have taught themselves about digital marketing. And there is another option available to those who do not want to go to college: coding bootcamps.
Coding bootcamps are a viable alternative to a college education where, instead of spending four years in a university, you will spend a few months learning about a specific position in the technology sector. You’ll learn all of the practical skills you need to enter a position in that field, and build a portfolio which you can use to showcase your skills to employers.
Companies that Hire Bootcamp Grads
How to Learn Social Media Management
There’s more than one way to learn about social media management. Some social media managers attend a college or university and pursue a traditional degree in a field like marketing or business management. Others have taught themselves about social media, which can be easy considering the vast array of resources available.
Coding bootcamps also provide courses in digital marketing, which will cover topics such as social media management. Coding bootcamps, which usually last between three months and a year, are short-term, intensive training programs which will help you learn the skills you need to thrive in a new career in technology.
Top Skills Needed for Social Media Management Careers
To succeed in your new career in social media management, there are a few skills you’ll need to develop. Let’s break those skills down, starting with essential technical skills for social media managers.
Essential Technical Skills for Social Media Managers
There are a few technical skills you’ll need to know to succeed as a social media manager. These include knowledge of certain platforms, marketing processes, and other subject matter skills.
- Content Management.
As a social media manager, you’ll be responsible for sharing content after it has been written and edited. You should be able to manage all content being posted on social media, and work with other members of the content team to ensure the company is promoting all their content correctly.
- Data Analysis and Analytics.
Social media management is a data-driven career. You’ll use data on a frequent basis to determine the success of your campaigns, and use that information to inform new social media strategies. You should be able to understand both qualitative and quantitative data as it relates to social media, and be able to present that information to other members of an organization.
Copywriting is a key skill for all areas of marketing, but especially for social media managers. You should be able to fit in the right content in a short social media post that conveys everything relevant to the reader -- some platforms like Twitter will impose character limits, so brevity is key.
- Customer Service.
Social media is the top channel people go to for customer support. It’s no surprise considering how often we are on social media, and how many companies have social media experts who manage their accounts. You should be able to handle basic customer inquiries and know how to refer people to other experts, or resolve their problem through messaging.
Most social media managers will be given a budget that they cannot exceed. You should be able to figure out how you can spend money to optimize for engagement, whether that be on paid advertising, or social media management tools. You should also be able to figure out basic calculations such as how much money in advertising needs to be spent to acquire a customer.
Essential Soft Skills for Social Media Managers
When you discover a new trend, you should be able to quickly adapt so you can keep ahead of the curve. Social media trends change often, so you should be able to frequently change your strategy in light of new shifts on certain platforms.
- Teamwork and Collaboration.
You’re going to have to work in a team as a social media manager. You’ll likely work with content strategists, editors, copywriters, and other members of a content and digital marketing team to work on how the company should manage their social media profile. Thus, you should be able to work effectively in a team environment.
- Business Mindset.
Good social media managers are able to figure out how social media fits in with a company’s overall business strategy. This allows them to get a greater sense of a company’s voice, and invest resources in work which will help the company. You should be able to think like an executive, and consider the impact of your campaigns on the broader company.
How to Become a Social Media Manager: Step-by-Step
There are a couple of steps you’ll need to follow in order to become a social media manager, which are as follows:
- Learn through a digital marketing bootcamp, college, or self-study
- Develop your technical skills
- Build a digital marketing portfolio
- Write your technical resume
- Start your job search
- Prepare for an interview
Career Karma is here to help you across every step of your journey to becoming a social media manager. We’ll provide you with free mentorship, coaching, and access to a community of people who can support you as you go down the route of becoming a social media manager.
We can also help you prepare for and get accepted to one of the top digital marketing bootcamps, so you can get the training you need to succeed in your new career.
Social media management is a great career to pursue with strong long-term career prospects -- you can get started today!
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