Becoming a Social Media Manager – A Guide to Earning Online

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy
A social media manager working

Are you looking to break into the world of digital marketing?

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Becoming a social media manager could be the perfect career path for you.

In today’s interconnected world, social media plays a pivotal role in connecting individuals, businesses, and communities.

As a social media manager, you will be at the forefront of managing and executing effective social media strategies for businesses and brands.

Not only is this an exciting and dynamic field, but it also offers significant opportunities for earning online.

This guide will walk you through the essential steps and skills required to become a successful social media manager and carve out a rewarding online career.

What Are the Roles of a Social Media Manager?

Social media managers have various responsibilities, including the following: 

1. Social Media Strategy Development and Execution

A primary responsibility of a social media manager is to develop and execute a comprehensive social media strategy tailored to the specific needs and goals of a business or brand. 

This involves analyzing the target audience, identifying the most appropriate social media platforms, and creating a content plan that aligns with the brand’s voice and values.

Successful social media strategies are not only about posting content but also include engaging with the audience, responding to comments and messages, and fostering a sense of community around the brand. 

This helps in building brand loyalty and increasing brand awareness.

2. Content Creation and Curation

Creating compelling and relevant content is vital to keeping the audience engaged and interested in a brand’s social media presence. 

Social media managers are responsible for brainstorming, designing, and producing various types of content, including text posts, images, videos, infographics, and more.

In addition to original content, social media managers also curate content from other sources that resonate with the brand’s identity and values. 

Curated content provides additional value to the audience and demonstrates the brand’s authority in its industry.

3. Social Media Advertising and Paid Campaigns

To reach a wider audience and achieve specific marketing objectives, social media managers often employ paid advertising campaigns. 

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Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer robust advertising tools to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Social media managers need to be adept at crafting effective ad copy, selecting eye-catching visuals, and monitoring the performance of ad campaigns to ensure they meet the desired outcomes.

4. Community Management

As the voice of the brand on social media, a social media manager must actively manage the brand’s online community. 

This involves engaging with followers, responding to comments and messages promptly, and addressing any concerns or issues raised by customers.

Effective community management can turn followers into brand advocates and foster a positive brand image.

5. Social Media Analytics and Reporting

Measuring the success of social media efforts is crucial in determining the effectiveness of the strategy and identifying areas for improvement. 

Social media managers use various analytics tools to track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as reach, engagement, conversion rates, and audience demographics.

By analyzing this data, social media managers can make data-driven decisions, refine their strategies, and report the results to stakeholders.

6. Staying Up-to-date with Trends and Best Practices

Social media is constantly evolving, with new platforms, features, and trends emerging regularly. 

A social media manager must stay informed about the latest developments and best practices in the industry to remain effective in their role.

Subscribing to industry newsletters, following thought leaders on social media, and attending webinars and conferences are ways for social media managers to stay updated.

Steps to Become a Social Media Manager

Becoming a social media manager involves several key steps that can pave the way to a rewarding and successful career in the dynamic world of digital marketing.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Consider a Degree in Marketing or Public Relations

Pursuing a degree in marketing or public relations can be advantageous for aspiring social media managers. 

These fields provide fundamental knowledge and skills essential for understanding consumer behavior, communication strategies, and brand management. 

A degree program equips you with a broader understanding of the marketing landscape and helps you grasp the principles behind effective social media campaigns.

An undergraduate or graduate degree in marketing or public relations demonstrates your commitment to learning the intricacies of the industry. 

It can also enhance your credibility when seeking employment as a social media manager. 

Consider enrolling in reputable institutions or online courses that offer relevant curricula tailored to modern marketing practices.

2. Develop Strong Social Media Skills

Aspiring social media managers should immerse themselves in various social media platforms to develop a strong foundation of skills and knowledge. 

Create accounts on major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok

Interact with others, post content regularly, and learn to navigate each platform’s features.

Building a personal brand and growing your own social media following can serve as a testament to your abilities. 

Experiment with different content formats, hashtags, and engagement strategies to understand what resonates with audiences.

Joining social media marketing groups, following influencers, and participating in discussions can expose you to new ideas and trends, accelerating your learning process.

3. Gain Experience through Internships or Entry-Level Positions

Real-world experience is invaluable in the competitive job market of social media management. 

Seek internships or entry-level positions with marketing agencies, social media firms, or in-house marketing departments. 

Practical exposure will allow you to put theoretical knowledge into practice and understand how businesses execute social media strategies.

Internships provide opportunities to work on actual campaigns, monitor analytics, and engage with online communities. 

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Proving your capabilities during internships can lead to potential job offers or valuable referrals in the industry.

Even if you start with entry-level positions, consider them as stepping stones towards your career goals. 

Every experience contributes to your growth as a social media manager.

4. Build a Portfolio of Social Media Projects

A well-organized portfolio showcasing your social media projects is an essential tool for demonstrating your expertise to potential employers. 

Include a variety of projects that highlight your skills in content creation, campaign management, community engagement, and analytics.

Ensure your portfolio is visually appealing, concise, and easy to navigate. Add descriptions detailing the goals of each project, the strategies implemented, and the results achieved.

If you lack professional experience, create personal projects or volunteer to handle social media for local businesses or non-profit organizations. 

These initiatives can demonstrate your initiative and commitment to honing your social media management skills.

5. Stay Updated with Industry Trends and Best Practices

The social media landscape is constantly evolving, with new platforms, features, and strategies emerging regularly. 

As a social media manager, staying updated with the latest industry trends and best practices is essential to remain relevant and effective.

Follow influential blogs, subscribe to newsletters, and engage in webinars related to social media marketing. 

Attend industry conferences and workshops to gain insights from experts and network with other professionals.

Being aware of the latest trends and best practices allows you to adapt your strategies, implement innovative approaches, and maintain a competitive edge in the field.

6. Obtain Social Media Certifications (Optional but Beneficial)

While not mandatory, obtaining social media certifications can provide additional credibility and validation of your skills as a social media manager. 

Various organizations offer certifications that focus on different aspects of social media marketing, such as platform-specific certifications or general social media strategy certifications.

Completing certification programs demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and mastery of specific social media tools or tactics. 

It can also set you apart from other candidates during job applications and increase your chances of landing your desired position.

7. Network and Connect with Industry Professionals

Building a strong network of industry professionals can open doors to new opportunities and valuable insights. 

Engage with other social media managers, marketing professionals, and influencers on social media platforms and professional networking sites like LinkedIn.

Joining social media marketing communities and groups can provide a platform for discussions, sharing knowledge, and seeking advice from peers. 

Attending industry events and conferences allows you to meet industry leaders, potential employers, and collaborators.

A robust professional network can lead to referrals, collaborations, and a deeper understanding of industry practices.

8. Apply for Social Media Manager Positions

With the necessary education, experience, and skills in place, start applying for social media manager positions in companies or marketing agencies that align with your interests and career goals. 

Tailor your resume to highlight relevant experiences and accomplishments from your portfolio.

Craft personalized cover letters that demonstrate your understanding of the company’s brand and how your expertise can contribute to their social media success.

Be prepared for interviews that may include case studies, content analysis, or scenario-based questions to showcase your problem-solving and strategic thinking abilities.

9. Showcase Your Expertise During Job Interviews

During job interviews, emphasize your hands-on experience, analytics-driven approach, and successful social media campaigns. 

Discuss how you’ve handled challenging situations, built engaged communities, and achieved measurable results.

Use concrete data and examples to demonstrate the impact of your work on increasing brand visibility, driving website traffic, or growing social media followers.

Show enthusiasm for the industry, willingness to adapt to changes, and your dedication to staying updated with the latest trends.

10. Continuously Improve and Adapt Your Skills as Social Media Platforms Evolve

The digital landscape is ever-changing, and social media platforms continuously introduce new features and algorithms. 

As a social media manager, continuous learning and adaptation are essential for maintaining relevance and delivering successful campaigns.

Stay curious and curious about emerging trends, tools, and strategies. Invest time in further education, attend workshops, and take online courses to expand your skillset.

By being proactive and staying ahead of the curve, you can thrive as a social media manager and drive impactful results for businesses and brands in the fast-paced world of digital marketing.

What Are the Common Challenges Faced by Social Media Managers?

Social media management is a dynamic and demanding field, where professionals are responsible for shaping a brand’s online presence and engaging with its audience. 

However, this role comes with its fair share of challenges that social media managers must navigate skillfully. 

Let’s explore some of the common challenges they face in their day-to-day responsibilities.

1. Content Strategy and Creation

One of the most significant challenges for social media managers is developing a compelling and consistent content strategy. 

Crafting content that not only aligns with the brand’s identity but also resonates with the target audience and meets the specific goals of each social media platform requires a delicate balance of creativity and adaptability. 

Social media managers must continuously brainstorm and produce engaging content, including text, images, videos, and infographics, to keep their online presence fresh and captivating.

2. Community Management and Engagement

Actively managing an active and diverse online community can be overwhelming. 

Social media managers must be proactive in responding to comments, messages, and mentions, fostering authentic and meaningful conversations with the audience. 

Engaging with followers in a personal and relatable manner is crucial for building brand loyalty and fostering a positive brand image. 

However, handling a vast and sometimes demanding online community requires exceptional communication and customer service skills.

3. Keeping Up with Platform Algorithm Changes

Social media platforms frequently update their algorithms, affecting the organic reach and visibility of content. 

Staying informed about these changes and adapting strategies accordingly is essential for maintaining organic growth and maximizing the impact of social media efforts. 

Continuous learning and staying updated with platform policies and algorithm updates are essential aspects of being an effective social media manager.

4. Dealing with Negative Feedback and Online Crisis Management

In the fast-paced world of social media, negative feedback or even full-blown crises can arise suddenly. 

Social media managers must possess the skills to handle these situations diplomatically and professionally. 

Responding promptly and effectively to negative comments, reviews, or sensitive issues is crucial for preserving the brand’s reputation and preventing potential PR disasters.

5. Measuring and Proving ROI

Measuring the effectiveness of social media efforts and demonstrating a clear return on investment (ROI) can be a challenging task for social media managers. 

They need to track key performance metrics, such as engagement, website traffic, conversion rates, and leads generated, and correlate them with specific business goals to showcase the tangible impact of their strategies. 

This data-driven approach not only justifies social media marketing expenses but also helps in optimizing future campaigns.

6. Time Management and Workload

Social media management involves juggling multiple platforms, content creation, scheduling, and community engagement. 

Effectively managing time and workload is vital to maintain consistency in posting schedules, respond to interactions promptly, and avoid burnout. 

Utilizing social media management tools, scheduling content in advance, and prioritizing tasks can help social media managers streamline their workflow and achieve a better work-life balance.

Wrap Up

Becoming a social media manager can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice, offering opportunities to shape brands’ online presence, engage with diverse audiences, and drive impactful results. 

To embark on this journey, consider obtaining a degree in marketing or public relations, building strong social media skills through personal branding and networking, and gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions. 

Aspiring social media managers should focus on developing a well-organized portfolio, staying updated with industry trends, and obtaining relevant certifications to showcase their expertise and dedication to continuous learning.

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