How to Become a Social Media Manager (Step-by-Step Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 21, 2023

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to develop a career through social media, you may be wondering how to become a social media manager. These careers are prevalent across various industries, which allow you to work in various companies. By understanding how to work in this field, you can begin developing the foundation of your career. In this article, we discuss how to work as a social media manager, explain what they do, provide you with several skills required to succeed, and answer several frequently asked questions about the role.

How to become a social media manager

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a social media manager:

1. Get an education

Many social media managers begin their careers by obtaining bachelor's and master's degrees in marketing or advertising. While these degrees aren't requirements for succeeding in this field, a postsecondary degree provides you with social media management skills and experience that can help you advance your career. Many postsecondary degrees also provide the opportunity to complete internships, which require you to work under the supervision of a full-time social media manager. Some companies hire interns as full-time employees after graduation, which is an added benefit and can help you start your career.

Related: 15 Top Social Media Marketing Courses to Improve Your Skills

2. Get experience

Social media managers require experience with social media algorithms and platforms to work in this profession. You may find it beneficial to create a portfolio that demonstrates your social media management skills. If you know someone who owns a small business, you can offer your services to build this portfolio. This allows you to gain knowledge of various industries and ensures you can develop your strategy. Every business requires a different social media strategy, so gaining more experience in diverse fields can expand your skill set.

When building your portfolio, you can consider creating a website to showcase your successful projects. This provides you with an accessible platform for clients to view and increases your overall professionalism.

Related: How to Make a Portfolio

3. Build a social media following

If you want to work in this field, consider developing a strong social media following on your personal channels. You can do this by creating a strategy for your own accounts and sharing content that increases engagement with your audience. Consider working to increase the number of likes, comments, and shares on your personal accounts to show potential employers how you develop social media platforms. It's also wise to show a variety of skills by staying updated on the latest trends and producing relevant content.

4. Learn how to use social media analytics

Social media managers require strong analytical skills to determine whether social media campaigns perform appropriately. These analytics help social media managers ensure success and identify trends among consumer interests. For example, you can determine what your consumers like, and dislike, and which posts have the best performance and generate the most leads. Analytics typically require social media managers to review clicks, page views, followers, reach, shares, comments, and impressions. When you begin working on a campaign, you can record initial analytics to determine how engagement increases over time.

Recording analytics identifies areas of improvement for social media campaigns. For example, campaigns that have high clicks and low engagement provide an opportunity to improve overall engagement. You can use online tools to track these metrics. These tools provide you with practical experience to build upon any education or training. Your client or employer may ask you to monitor analytics to include in reports later, so developing this skill is essential.

Related: 15 Social Media Metrics to Track a Successful Campaign

5. Get additional training

You may find it beneficial to pursue training besides a bachelor's or master's degree and can complete individual courses that update your existing skills. These training courses are beneficial because they allow you to educate yourself on current trends. They also help you develop research, analysis, and communication skills. Social media management provides you with real-time information and marketing opportunities. This ensures you have the opportunity to use any analytics or social media listening software. This software enhances marketing campaigns and provides you with more educational experience to add to your resume.

You may find these training courses beneficial if your previous work or education experience is from a different field. These courses and certifications provide you with the practical experience necessary to excel in a social media management career.

Related: Top Degree in Marketing Jobs

6. Follow companies you admire on social media

One of the best ways to develop your social media management career is to learn from those who previously achieved success in this field. Consider which field you want to work in and research contributing social media managers. You may also want to research those who share the same writing style or type of content as you. For example, if you want to implement more humour into your campaigns, you may want to follow social media accounts that often use jokes and humour.

Related: Top 10 Skills of a Marketing Manager

What does a social media manager do?

The national average salary for a social media manager is $53,736 per year. They work within an organization's communications, marketing, and public relations department to monitor and filter the social media presence within businesses. Social media managers are important professionals within businesses because they navigate marketing strategies in real time. They typically research trends within their industry and remain updated on news stories.

These professionals can work in many industries, which is why you may find it beneficial to determine which niche or industry you prefer. Choosing an industry you have experience in can increase your chances of being hired because you have additional knowledge in the field and can better educate your target audience. Here are some of the common responsibilities of social media managers in every field:

Develop calendars

Social media managers develop editorial calendars to ensure the timely publication of content. They research the best time to publish particular content and ensure the relevance of all content. These professionals research their target audience and develop content that is informative for that audience.

Related: What Do You Mean By Social Media Schedule? (With Examples)

Monitor social media channels

Every employer or client has a list of social media channels that generate traffic to their website or channels. Social media managers identify the best ways to generate traffic depending on a social media channel's algorithm. These professionals identify the best analytics tools to determine which campaigns generate the most engagement.

Maintain brand guidelines

Social media managers maintain brand guidelines across all social media channels chosen. These professionals also communicate with the marketing and sales departments to ensure campaigns follow brand guidelines. Social media managers focus primarily on ensuring the brand's values and goals are consistent across channels.

Related: A Guide To Marketing as a Career

Skills required to become a social media manager

Here are some skills required to be a social media manager:

  • Spelling and grammar: when developing engaging captions for social media campaigns

  • Time management: to manage calendars and several social media channels and accounts

  • Customer service: to respond to comments and questions both publically and in private messages from their audience

  • Creativity: to develop creative and engaging content for their social media campaigns

Related: How to Include Social Media Skills on Your Resume in 5 Steps

FAQs about becoming a social media manager

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about social media management:

What is the work environment for social media managers?

Social media managers typically spend extensive hours sitting and working in office settings. These professionals also work extensively in front of computers and use both their smartphones and tablets. They communicate frequently with customers and team leaders to ensure social media campaigns suit the needs of the company. Social media managers work both in teams and within contracts. These professionals work regular, full-time hours.

Do social media managers post on behalf of their clients?

This depends entirely on the client's social media managers oversee. Social media managers often oversee the social media accounts of several clients and develop calendars that post content to particular clients' social media accounts. Some clients prefer to post media and implement campaigns that social media managers provide.

Which industries do social media managers work in?

Social media managers work in various industries because companies rely upon these professionals to implement social media campaigns and engage with consumers. Social media is an excellent tool for creative industries. Fashion, fitness, food, art, and travel are all subjects that typically do well on social media due to their visual nature. Developing a niche in one of these sectors can provide lots of opportunities to find clients. Some social media managers also work on in-house creative teams to develop social media campaigns.

Who is successful in social media management?

Successful social media managers are those who enjoy working with data and analytics. You may also experience more success if you enjoy establishing brand voices for clients and if you thrive in environments that require quick turnaround times. These professionals require strong social media algorithm skills.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.

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