Main image: How to be a social media manager

Mrwa Abbas, Content Marketing Manager

How to be a social media manager

Social media has become a fundamental fabric of business. Organizations now market, sell, care for, and support their customers on the ever-growing array of social media platforms, messaging apps, and social networks. The role of the Social Media Manager has evolved tremendously from the early days when "posts", "likes", and “shares” were everything, to now becoming an essential, critical, and very strategic position within a company.

Table of contents

What does a social media manager do?

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.

Strategic expectations of a social media manager

  • Create actionable plans to both grow and maintain an audience through various social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

  • Collaborate with other teams, like marketing, sales, and customer service to ensure brand consistency.

  • Analyze the company’s social media strategy to identify any weak points and make recommendations for improvement.

  • Research the latest social media trends and techniques in order to stay relevant to the company’s marketing initiatives.

  • Determine key performance indicators for social media campaigns to track the effectiveness of the overall social media strategy.

A day in the life of Emplifi’s social media manager 

A step-by-step guide to leveling up your social media career:

Step 1: Keep up with social media trends 

The best part about the ever-changing nature of the social media space is that new updates and features tend to be in favor of the brand while still making the consumer’s life a little more convenient each time. The key is to be able to keep up with the relevant social media predictions and trends and ensure your brand continues to align with what’s new and improved. Listening to social media podcasts, following social media gurus, and reading social media blogs can help marketers stay in the loop at all times.

Step 2: Get certified

Social media management is a relatively new field, and while there are plenty of certifications and courses out there to gain a fundamental understanding of social media marketing, the development of degree programs is still in progress. Most social media managers today come from a background in Communications, PR, Journalism, or Marketing.

If you’re looking to enhance your social media skills and knowledge, we recommend the following courses:

  1. Social Media Management - Coursera

  2. Social Media Management - Udemy

  3. Social Media Marketing - Brain Station 

  4. Social Media Marketing - Meta

Step 3: Hone in on your social media skills and techniques 

We know by now that social media management isn’t just about posting and sharing content. There’s a lot of strategy behind the scenes that contributes to a brand's social media success and business impact. Therefore, in social media management roles, fluency in all marketing techniques is very important. This includes writing skills, communication, and the ability to foster an online community and create engaging content for your audience. 

Step 4: Create a social media portfolio

In any creative field, creating a portfolio to showcase your work will go a long way when in search of your next opportunity. A portfolio allows you to demonstrate your skills and expertise through your past work so that potential employers or clients can get a clear understanding of you as a social media manager.

To get you started, here are some handy tips to start building your social media portfolio. 

Step 5: Think about what direction to take your social media career

As brands continue to rely on social media for a successful business strategy, social media management has naturally created different career paths for social media managers to follow.

For more information on how you can level up your social media career, check out our guide, "How to Grow your Social Media Career", featuring insights and advice from social media superstars across many different industries.

Six must-have skills to become a social media manager

Today’s social media professionals bring with them an array of capabilities and skills, from communications and creativity to analytics, strategy, and technical expertise. They tend to possess a balance of both Intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) when it comes to working with thousands (even millions!) of vocal, energetic, high-expectation consumers.  

1. An aptitude for knowledge

The social media space is constantly changing with new platforms emerging and older ones evolving with new features. In order to excel, social media managers must be flexible and open to learning on the fly, staying innovative, and sharing their knowledge with their team. 

2. Storytelling skills

Social media specialists are the main voice behind companies’ social channels, so most of their time is spent building a brand voice so strong your audiences want to interact and stay engaged. Social is special because it's a two-way communication channel. As a gatekeeper for content efforts, strong writing, editing, and storytelling abilities are crucial to setting the right tone across platforms that truly taps into the value and interests of your audiences.  

3. A strategic mind

Whether inspiration is driven by ambassadors, influencers, branded content, or paid ads, marketers need to know which channels to focus their time and money on. As the social media manager, it's important to advocate to stakeholders and upper management to have a presence on the channels that matter to your audience. Knowing where their customers turn for purchase and entertainment will help marketers shape social strategy. 

4. 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. Every channel has different metrics, and hopping from one to another is time-consuming. Luckily there are social media analytics tools that allow you to easily create custom dashboards to zero in on the metrics you need to track.

5. A positive attitude

It's tough having a job that is so visible in which everyone can have an opinion because it's often hard to separate yourself from the brand. While a lot of time, effort, and resources can go into a social media campaign, the reception may not always be what you expected. Remaining positive, learning from your mistakes, and redirecting your goals is imperative for success. 

6. A team player mindset

It takes a village to optimize a brand’s social accounts and maximize their 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. Working across departments is crucial — social is the billboard of your company, and it's your job to connect the dots on what you want to say, from hiring to promotions.


What other skills make for a successful social media manager today? Check out our guide, "How to Grow your Social Media Career", to hear directly from a number of different social media superstars.


Are social media managers in demand?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that advertising, promotions, and marketing manager roles are expected to increase by 10 percent between 2020 and 2030 in the US. Social media careers have been on the rise in recent years, with several related skills landing on LinkedIn's list of the highest-growth marketing skills today. And, with the increasing importance of organic and paid marketing on social channels, this won't be changing anytime soon. 

Word of mouth is a massive driver of people's buying habits, across various age groups. Because of this, some industries excel more than others. While almost all industries have created a social media presence, there are some industries that make better use of social media managers and teams to run their social media channels. Industries such as Travel, Recruitment, Lifestyle, Beauty, Retail, Health/Wellness, and Real Estate have found natural success in social media marketing, and therefore have a higher demand for social media marketers and social teams to drive their business strategy.

Where can social media take you?

Nowadays, successful brands understand the value of social media marketing and how far it can take your business from both a business and branding perspective. This has expanded social media from an individual contributor role to an entire team composed of director- and senior-level team members.

So what can await you career-wise? On the one hand, you can move up the ladder from a Social Media Manager to a Director or VP role, still primarily working on the ins and outs of your brand's social media channels. And on the other hand, your social marketing skills can be transferable to roles such as Digital Marketing Manager, Community Manager, Content Manager, and many more. Overall, there are so many avenues to take a social media career as it continues to expand to customer care, commerce, brand, and product. 

As consumer expectations for stellar social media experiences continue to grow — along with the role of social media in the customer journey — social media professionals have to find ways to adapt, often with very little notice. Most importantly, they need to find ways to continuously elevate and scale the customer experience across social media channels. 

With the right skills, tools, and strategies in place, social media managers can help brands deliver on ever-rising customer expectations and, most importantly, create deeper connections with their customers at a time when switching brands is easier than ever.

Emplifi’s AI-powered tools, automation, and real-time insights improve the entire process of social media content creation, management, and analytics. Turn to the social media solution thousands of marketers count on to help their brand stand out from the crowd. 

See how Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud can help you take your social media game to the next level. Book a demo today!

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