In the last decade, social media marketing has become integral to any brand’s marketing strategy. With more than 4 billion people projected to use social media in 2025, and platforms like TikTok transforming the landscape, organizations are investing more resources into the medium. As a result, the social media manager has become a critical position supporting multiple teams throughout a company.
The role of social media managers has expanded to touch several business departments, including marketing, commerce, and care. Social media managers must wear many hats — the strategist, the storyteller, the community builder, the customer care whiz — all while inspiring followers to become customers.
In this 5-part blog series, we’ll share valuable insights from some of the leading minds in the field on topics ranging from technology to skillset. They’ll also offer advice to young professionals aspiring to start their social media careers. Be sure to view them all here!
In 2021, over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost six billion in 2027.
Users are not just using social media to connect with family and friends. Recent Emplifi research uncovered that when given only one choice, consumers were more likely to choose social media as their preferred channel to engage with brands – above other channels like email, phone, website chat, and visiting a physical store. In fact, up to 68% of consumers use (or want to use) social media at key moments throughout the customer journey - before, during, and after the purchase process.
Social media professionals are responsible for managing a brand's social media presence and influencing customers to make a purchase. Their role goes far beyond posting an image with the perfect caption to Instagram. From planning the strategy to analyzing data across multiple platforms to running paid advertising campaigns, the duties of social media managers come with great responsibility.
Given the impact social media can have on a brand's reputation, businesses want individuals with proven experience developing and implementing in-depth social media strategies. So, what skills do successful social media managers consistently possess?
We asked our social media superstars to share the top skills you need as a social media professional. Here is the ten that stood out to us.
Stephanya Correa, Digital Insights Coordinator, NBC Universal LATAM: "Curiosity, intentionality, not eating whole, creativity, I feel that they are key skills to undertake a journey towards social networks. There you learn, create, analyze, and many more paths that enrich when you know how to use them with intentionality."
Some of the most creative social media content touches a customer's heart, not just their mind. By being willing to experiment, you can develop creative content that pushes limits.
Citlali Amaranta del Valle Alonso, Insights Manager, The Hershey Company: "[You must] be flexible to explore new ways of obtaining information. I will also add that he/she has to be comfortable with change as this is the only constant thing in this new world of information."
Social media is constantly evolving. If you work with different clients, you need to be ready to adapt your strategy to incorporate the social media platforms and content types for different audiences. For example, Instagram and TikTok are notably more popular among younger age groups, particularly Gen Z (65% and 51%, respectively), while Facebook is notably more popular among Gen X (76%) than Gen Z (43%).
3. Organizational skills
Erika Apellaniz, MarTech Lead Middle Americas Zone, Anheuser-Busch InBev: "Planning, administration, organization, communication skills, and of course to think out of the box."
In a 24/7 world, social media professionals can have long and busy days at work. They often work with different departments, including product, customer service, and sales, on top of coordinating with graphic designers, video editors, and more. Having daily and weekly to-do lists and creating a social media calendar ahead of time will help to stay organized.
4. An appetite for knowledge
Boris Israel Lizana Barrios, Social Media Analyst, Entel: "Constant learning and removing bias from the analysis. I believe that today's digital professionals have to have this as an input within their work, so the results become much more accurate and precise, and above all, useful to improve the performance of digital channels."
5. Storytelling skills
Hussein Abdallah, Senior Product Manager, Department of Tourism and Culture of Abu-Dhabi: "Storytelling, attention to detail, looking out for opportunities to subtly promote your brand, and a strong meme game."
Social media specialists are the main voice behind companies' social channels, and half of the job is about educating people about the brand. As a gatekeeper for content efforts, strong writing, editing, and storytelling abilities are crucial to setting the right tone across platforms that truly represent the company.
6. Deciphering analytics
While analytic tools will provide the data that measures social performances, social media professionals need to understand what the data means. Keeping KPIs top of mind, they can make informed decisions to develop further tactics and determine where to invest in future content.
Eduardo Caldera, Social Media Manager, DiDi Mexico: "A mix of being creative and data-driven. In social media, you need your creativity to be backed by data in every project to know where you are standing and where you're headed."
7. A strategic mind
Whether inspiration is driven by ambassadors, influencers, branded content, or paid ads, marketers need to know on which channels to focus their time and money. Knowing where customers turn for purchase inspiration will help marketers shape social strategy. Overall, YouTube (71%) and Facebook (67%) see the highest daily usage levels of all the social platforms.
Juan Manuel Farías Salas, Director of Communications, Betterware México: "You have to be a strategic thinker, think like the audience, and have a piece of creativity. Also, if you have to be ahead of the game, read, listen, and analyze everything you come across."
8. A positive attitude
Stacy Oularis, Social Media Community Manager, ANZ: "A positive attitude is a big one. Staying positive can be hard when dealing with a crisis or difficult situation, but keeping that positive mindset, and looking on the bright side of life, really helps to get you through those difficult days!"
David De la Garza, Social Media Coordinator, Grupo Xcaret: "Regarding patience, a lot of people will want to see the immediate results of your social media strategies. Learning to deal with the changes of algorithms may become a good skill in a social media role."
10. A team player mindset
Aura Antonia García, Creative Manager, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial México: "Most important: being a team player, there is no way social media is a solo career. You depend on so many people to make things happen, but it's also great: you get to make lots of friends along the way."
Joseph Tlachi, Media & Digital Marketing Manager, The Hershey Company: "Build relationships with your teammates. Communication and interaction are really important and help show you the value of every person on your team."
It takes a village to optimize a brand's social accounts and maximize its potential. Social media requires a set of complementary skills and expertise. While one person may be responsible for creating a high-end visual design, another team member is tasked with generating a clever caption to accompany it.
Speaking of villages, we asked global teams to describe their team in three words. Notice any similarities?
As consumer expectations and the role of social media in the customer journey continues to grow, social media marketers and managers must continue to adapt to elevate and scale CX across social media channels. This could include AI-driven solutions that can quickly flag high-priority posts and even help identify the content that will resonate most with a brand's audience.
With the right skills, tools, and strategies in place, social media managers can help brands deliver on ever-expanding customer expectations and, most importantly, create deeper connections with their customers at a time when switching brands is easier than ever.
Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud has helped top brands elevate their social media game and drive business results. Want help becoming the social media superstar you're meant to be? Book a demo today to speak with an Emplifi expert.