So, You Want to Be a Social Media Manager? Here’s What It Takes to Be Successful

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a social media manager, there’s a lot you should know. Trust me, I was a social media manager for many years early in my career. In today’s technology-driven world, every brand and business must have a presence on social media. Social media provides a way to connect with customers, promote products and services and build brand advocacy.

When used effectively, social media marketing can help to increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty, and boost sales. However, to maximize the benefits of social media marketing, brands need to create exciting and relevant content for their target audience and stay on top of what their customers truly care about.

These are the social media skills you need to learn to succeed in this fast-paced digital ecosystem.

What is a Social Media Manager?

A social media manager is responsible for creating, managing, and executing a brand’s online presence and social media strategy. This involves creating content, engaging with followers, and monitoring conversations to ensure that the brand’s social media presence helps build a positive reputation. An entry-level social media manager might be responsible for community management and managing social media accounts–Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

More advanced social media managers will play an integral role in ensuring content creation and social media align with a larger digital marketing strategy. They must be creative and analytical and have excellent communication skills. They should also be up-to-date on the latest trends for all the emerging social media platforms and learn how to launch digital and marketing campaigns.

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Social Media Manager?

As technology continues to evolve and innovate, so do the capabilities and functionalities of social media channels. This may also affect how brands plan to engage and reach their customers. A social media manager must be forward-thinking, adapt to change, and utilize the latest tools and platforms to achieve a brand’s goals.

Social media managers must learn the art and science of social media storytelling. You must learn to connect the dots between a digital asset and social media post copy. A social media story should be compelling, entertaining, and informative. To create a successful social media story, you must understand how to use various storytelling elements, such as plot, characters, setting, and conflict.

Effective Storytelling for Social Media

In a world where users are scrolling through their feeds at lightning speed, capturing their attention and holding it for more than a few seconds can be challenging.

That’s where short-form brand storytelling comes in. Using creative visuals and concise copy, short-form stories can pack a punch, deliver a message and tell a compelling story in an engaging and impactful way.

Social Media Managers Must Have Polished Copywriting Skills

A social media manager is responsible for creating and curating content for a company’s social media brand channels. This often includes writing short-form copy–posts, captions, status updates, tweets, or long-form articles.

As such, social media managers need to learn the basics of copywriting. This involves understanding how to craft a compelling headline, use persuasive language, and tell a story that will captivate an audience. Additionally, social media managers must be aware of the different tones and styles that each social media platform requires.

For example, Twitter is known for its brief and snappy messaging. On the other hand, LinkedIn is a more formal network where longer content performs better. And TikTok is all about entertainment, creative visuals, and short videos. Social media managers can adapt their content and style to fit the platform and achieve the desired results by understanding copywriting basics.

Social Media Management Requires Creative Rigor

To be an effective social media manager, you should understand how to use the right creative when posting content on each specific channel. In addition, with the rapidly changing digital landscape, it is vital to be up-to-date with the latest trends and platform features to create content that resonates with users.

For example, short-form video content is incredibly popular on TikTok, so brands looking to reach this audience must create engaging and visually-appealing videos under 60 seconds in length. Additionally, Instagram Stories have become increasingly popular in recent years. Hence, brands need to consider using this format to share behind-the-scenes content, announcements, or product information that is fun and interactive. Integrating influencer content is also an opportunity for brands in the consumer and B2B space.

Finally, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for sharing long-form articles, so brands should produce high-quality, well-researched, informative content.

Social Media Managers Must Become Experts on Paid Social Media

As a social media manager, you must be an expert on paid social media. Paid social media is a form of digital marketing that uses Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote products or services using paid media.

Paid campaigns can be very effective, but they require a lot of planning and expertise to execute correctly. As a social media manager, you will create and manage paid social media campaigns across several channels. You will need to understand how these platforms work, the different ad types, and how to use them effectively to reach your target audience.

You will also need to track the results of your campaigns and make adjustments as needed. This means you will need to understand how to build a media plan and all the technical terms related to measurement–CPC, CPM, impressions, clicks, conversions, pixel tracking, custom audiences, etc.

Social Media Managers Must Be Data-Driven and Understand How to Use Social Listening

As a social media manager, you must embrace data. After all, without data, it’s challenging to know what’s working and what isn’t. But simply collecting data isn’t enough – you also need to be able to interpret it and extract valuable customer insights. NodeXL Pro is an affordable network analysis tool that students can use for exploring data.

That’s where social media listening comes in. By monitoring social media platforms for mentions of your brand, you can identify any potential problems or areas for improvement. You can also better understand your customers’ needs and desires and use that data to inform your content strategy.

More advanced social media managers will use audience analytics to drill down on the topic and themes they care about the most.

What are the Differences Between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager?

A social media manager is responsible for creating and managing a company’s social media presence. This includes developing strategies, creating content, administering channels, and engaging with the community.

They need to understand effective copywriting, have a firm grasp of paid social media, and be data-driven in their approach.

On the other hand, a community manager is responsible for developing and managing relationships with online communities. This includes moderating forums, responding to user inquiries, and managing customer support.

While both roles require excellent communication skills and a deep understanding of social media, they are distinct roles that serve different purposes. For example, a social media manager focuses on helping a company build its brand and reach new audiences. In contrast, a community manager works to support and grow an existing community of users.

Is Being a Social Media Manager The Right Path to Being a CMO?

While a Social Media Manager can become a CMO eventually, it is not necessarily the most direct path. A CMO typically has more experience in digital marketing, P&L, brand management, and team leadership.

Social media managers who want to advance in their careers should consider pursuing a more traditional marketing role, such as a Digital Marketing Manager or Brand Manager. These roles will allow you to develop a well-rounded skill set that will make you better equipped to become a CMO.

How Much Do Social Media Managers Make Per Year?

While the responsibilities of a social media manager vary from company to company, they all require a deep understanding of how social media works and how it can be used to achieve business goals. In some cases, social media managers will be responsible for communicating with C-suite executives and being able to communicate effectively with senior people.

In other cases, social media managers will be responsible for managing a team of social media specialists, so having experience in management and leadership is critical. In either case, social media managers typically have a four-year degree in marketing or communications.

Regarding salary, social media managers can earn anywhere from $45,000 to $80,000 per year. The average salary for a social media manager is around $50,000 per year, although this figure will vary depending on experience, location, and other factors. Social media managers in larger companies or with more experience earn higher salaries than those in smaller startups.

Many digital marketing and PR agencies also manage social media for their clients. Although they may hire candidates responsible for social media, their job descriptions don’t necessarily say social media manager.

How to Become a Social Media Manager

Social media has become an integral part of modern life, and businesses of all sizes are using it to reach new customers and build relationships with existing ones. As a result, there is a growing demand for social media managers responsible for creating and executing a company’s social media marketing strategy. If you’re interested in this career path, there are a few steps you’ll need to take.

First, it’s important to understand how social media works and the fundamentals of all enterprise social networks. This means familiarizing yourself with the different platforms and how they can be used to achieve business goals. You’ll also need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

Next, you’ll need to develop strong writing and communication skills. Social media managers need to communicate effectively with both customers and senior executives.

Finally, you’ll need to build a portfolio of your work. Many social media managers start by managing social media accounts for school projects.

As you can see, a lot goes into being a social media manager. If you’re pursuing this career, you must be passionate about social media and understand the various online platforms. You must also be an expert on paid social media, data-driven approach, and have excellent communication skills.

Of course, social media is constantly changing, so it’s essential to be adaptable and always willing to learn new things. It’s a rewarding career with lots of growth potential.

If you decide to pursue a career in B2B, I would recommend subscribing to the Sword and the Script, MarketingProfs, and LinkedIn Collective.


Q: Is social media management part of public relations?

A: While social media management is similar to public relations, it is not the same thing. Public relations focuses on building relationships with the media and other influencers, while social media management engages with customers and fans on social media platforms. However, it’s critical that you brush up on some public relations skills because it applies to just about anything you do in marketing.

Q: Do I need a degree to be a social media manager?

A: While a degree is not required, it is becoming more and more common for social media managers to have a four-year degree in digital marketing, communications, or data science.

Q: Are social media management and social media marketing the same thing?

A: No, social media marketing is a subset of social media management. Social media managers are responsible for content creation and executing a company’s social media strategy. In contrast, social media marketers focus on using the channels to achieve specific business goals, such as increasing sales or growing brand awareness.

Q: What is the best social media marketing platform to manage a brand’s online presence?

A: Sprout Social or Hubspot is great for content creation and social media marketing for startups and smaller companies. For larger enterprise companies, Sprinklr or Salesforce are more effective.

Q: What social networks are the most effective for brand marketing?

A: The answer to this question depends on the goals you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are a good fit. On the other hand, if you’re focused on driving sales, platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are worth considering.

Q: How big is a social media team?

A: The size of a social media team can vary depending on the company. For example, a small startup might only have one or two people managing its social media accounts, while a large enterprise company might have a team of ten or more.

Q: What is the difference between an in-house social media manager and an agency?

A: An in-house social media manager is an employee who manages the company’s social channels. An agency is a third-party vendor that provides social media management services to businesses.

Q: How many social media manager jobs are out there?

A: There are a ton of social media jobs available today. Check here.

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Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.