Life as a social media manager is super-fun and exciting, to say the least.
But what makes it even more fun is that it requires a mix of both an analytical and a creative mindset.
A few years ago, the social media manager role might not have even existed. The job is relatively new on the market and still generates confusion.
However, everybody is on social media nowadays, and maintaining a social media presence is a must for brands that take business seriously.
This is where social media specialists step in. They are the brand's digital voice and represent the company on their social channels.
But with the social landscape constantly evolving, the social media manager role has become much more than that.
So, what exactly is a social media manager, what does living in their shoes look like, and what skills are necessary to become a great social media specialist?
Read along to find out! 🤩
Everything there is to know about the social media manager job
1. What is a social media manager?
The social media manager role often involves managing social channels daily and other areas of expertise, such as community management, reporting and performance analysis, doing creative briefs, and more, depending on the company’s size.
If they work for a small company, a social media manager may act as a one-man show, doing even bits of copywriting, graphic design, or photo/video editing.
Within larger companies, they usually work with agencies or other colleagues who specialize in those areas.
But regardless of the company’s size and the resources they have available, one thing is certain: a social media manager has to juggle with different tasks and skills.
Because they wear so many hats, these social media wizards are known under different job titles: social media manager, social media specialist, digital marketer, social media content manager, social media expert, and many more.
📌 These are some of the most common social media manager job duties:
- Create content calendars and schedule/publish social media posts
- Create and curate content
- Community management: respond to comments on social media, engage with communities, and flag issues to other departments
- Do reporting: weekly/monthly/quarterly social media analyses
- Social listening: monitoring what people are saying online about the brand, monitoring keywords or hashtags, managing social media crises, etc.
- Create social media campaigns and monitor those constantly to see which ones are working and which ones can be improved
- Measure and prove ROI: set clear goals, measure, and report on them to track performance
- Support promotional strategies: provide insights into paid advertising, organic traffic, and influencer marketing
- Support the visual design strategies: write creative briefs and collaborate with copywriters, designers, video/photo editors, etc.
2. Daily tasks of a social media manager
Social media managers usually start their day by going through all the different platforms and ensuring they’re up-to-date with the trends, new formats, viral videos, or what the brands are talking about online.
After that, their daily activities are a mix of content planning, reporting, community management, social listening, customer care, and organizational activities, such as responding to emails or participating in meetings.
According to Socialinsider’s new report on the lives of social media managers, their primary tasks are creating content (50%), social media strategy (45%), and reports (45%).
The same study revealed that no work day is like another for digital marketers because the job is fast-paced and constantly changing.
Social media specialists might be needed for an ad hoc client meeting or brainstorming ideas for an urgent social media campaign.
It all depends on the period of the year as well, as some months are well-known in the industry for being busier than others.
Wanting to go even deeper and find out more details about the job of a social media manager, we also asked our respondents what their primary social media goals are.
Our report concluded that social media marketers’ most important goals are to increase brand awareness (85%), grow the brand’s audience (75%), and connect with the audience (61%).
Because a social media manager can’t be successful without resources, we also surveyed our respondents on what resources they need to make a more significant business impact.
The top three resources that came out are time (69%), video and photo editing resources (61%), and budgets for promotions (57%).
3. 10 skills social media managers must have
As our new report regarding the life of a social media manager has proven, there isn't one specific path to follow to become a digital marketer.
Successful social media managers can come from various backgrounds because there are a lot of skills used in this role.
Here's a list of the top 10 skills needed for social media marketing:
1. Communication skills
Social media is a communication channel at its core, so being a good communicator is a non-negotiable skill for social media managers.
Brands' motive for having a social media presence comes from the need to spread their messages to their audience and form valuable relationships with their communities.
A skilled social media manager needs to understand the brand's values and how to communicate those in such ways that they resonate with their followers.
On top of maintaining constant communication with the audiences, social media managers work with different people from various departments (product, graphic design, marketing, sales, etc.), so they must know how to share feedback, ideas, and take criticism.
Social media specialists are usually the company's image, so having good public speaking skills will help them get their message across clearly and engagingly.
And by being a people person and having excellent communication skills, making connections with other people from the industry will only come naturally.
Let's not forget that social media's bottom line is being inherently social.
2. Writing skills
While being a great communicator is essential, it all comes down to the written words at the end of the day.
Writing a good copy is crucial for a social media manager's job, from filling the company's profile information to coming up with catchy social media captions.
And because every social media platform requires different writing styles, social media specialists must be flexible and open to variety - on LinkedIn, the message should be more professional, while on Twitter, it needs to be newsy.
Driving engagement and clicks only with the power of storytelling isn't an easy job to do, especially when you have to convey the message within 280 characters.
To be successful on social media, you have to keep it short and sweet but be captivating and drive conversations.
Coming up with new and engaging ideas is a real struggle for social media managers. This is precisely what one of our respondents from The Life of a Social Media Manager report shared.
Writing also comes with editing skills because poor grammar or typos can damage a brand's online reputation.
I bet you probably heard this a million times, but I’m going to repeat it for the people in the back: social media is fun, and it’s the perfect place to experiment and let your imagination go wild.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should post everything that comes to your mind, but letting your creativity sparkle is essential if you want to catch your audience’s eyes.
Improvising and allowing your sense of humor to come to the surface can help you develop exciting ideas for social content and design original social media campaigns.
Take a look at Innocent, a company that sells healthy drinks. They get very creative when it comes to presenting their products.
You have to come up with engaging, entertaining, educational content that works for your audience and stands out on the feed, especially in such a saturated environment as social media.
Designing and creating visual content is becoming more and more critical to social media managers.
Even though most of your work will be written, you’ll still need at least some basic design skills if you want to create aesthetic feeds and visually engaging campaigns.
Visuals play a crucial role in social media. People will want to see more video content in the future, as our report on the Life of a Social Media Manager has demonstrated.
Beyond videos, which are sure to be on the rise, your design skills might come in handy if you need to create a complementary graph or a fun meme to accompany your message.
5. Data analysis
A skillful social media manager is creative and analytical at the same. It’s like a left and right brain kind of way of thinking.
Their job is to look at social media metrics, measure social performance across channels, and report these findings constantly.
But their role doesn’t stop here. They need to understand the social media data in such depth that they can draw conclusions and improve the content that doesn’t perform well.
With social media platforms providing a staggering amount of data, it’s important to know how to navigate lots of data and concentrate on meaningful metrics.
Socialinsider is a social media analytics, reporting, and competitors’ analysis tool that can become every social media best friend.
Because it helps you to spot trends and extract insights without worrying about the tiring task of manually creating reports.
You can track your multi-channel performance in a single place and see how your clients perform compared to their competitors.
6. Customer care
Customer care is a broad term that involves customer service, people skills, and community management.
Social media is a place where customers often come to give their feedback or express their complaints.
As a social media manager representing your brand online, you have to learn how to listen to your audience, be proactive about what they say, and try to provide solutions if they have problems.
Taking your audience’s feedback can prove highly beneficial to your business, so try to identify why a customer is upset. By resolving their problem, they’ll become closer to your company.
7. Social media expertise
This may be an obvious must-have skill for social media managers, but it’s still worth mentioning since it encompasses several things.
Savvy social media managers need to love social media and be genuinely interested in the latest trends.
Memes, trends, challenges - social media grew on pop culture and current events.
how i sleep knowing i didn’t throw my monday away for a trending meme pic.twitter.com/eq0BsRvD6N— WorkInSocialTheySaid (@WorkInSociaI) March 28, 2022
Social media pros should be up-to-date with all that is happening in the world; both for knowing how to adapt those trends to the brand they represent, but also for knowing when to pause their social media presence in case of a crisis or a major world event.
Having a curious nature will help every social media specialist to develop and nurture this skill.
8. Behavioral psychology
Social media revolves around the consumer. All social media efforts of a brand are directed towards its audience.
I mentioned earlier how important it is for a social media manager to have an analytical mind to detect which posts are working and which should be improved.
On the other hand, behavioral psychology compliments digital marketers’ analytical skills by helping them understand why consumers prefer a certain type of content.
Understanding the audience will answer many questions - such as, Why do people engage with some posts more than others? Why do people share certain content?
If you don’t tailor the content you post on social channels to your audience’s needs, it won’t perform well.
Of course, this is a skill that comes with a lot of research and practice, but reading some basic marketing psychology concepts will sure help.
9. Organizational skills
I bet you’ve probably heard this before: social media never sleeps.
The internet is full of memes with social media managers working 24/24 from their weekends or holidays.
“where are you planning a vacation this year?”— WorkInSocialTheySaid (@WorkInSociaI) January 3, 2022
social media managers: pic.twitter.com/8sGVGDKpDT
While this is all fun and games, it also speaks the truth.
Social media is a busy place that is constantly changing and evolving, so social media managers need to be very organized and structured to keep pace with this fast-moving industry.
As a social media specialist, you have to manage social media calendars, post daily on channels, and ensure all assets are delivered on time and approved by all parties.
So having top-notch organizational skills are indispensable for someone who works in such a dynamic environment.
Last but not least, social media managers must be adaptable if things don’t go as expected.
From trends that appear overnight to changes in algorithms and new platforms emerging, social media managers need to be quick, test, and constantly observe and adapt their strategy.
The social media landscape moves so quickly, so being adaptable is necessary for social media managers.
You may have the structure put in place today, and tomorrow one social media platform may be working entirely differently, so you need to adapt fast and develop a new plan.
You must have the flexibility to try out new things. A/B testing will help you quickly determine which copy or image performs best for your company and which aren’t.
There are far more than 10 skills to master if you want to become a successful social media manager, but you're on the right path if you already excel at some of those.
Today’s digital marketers are just scratching the surface of what they can do with social media.
Working in social is a career of constant learning and development, so as you continue to improve and take on new skills, you’ll be able to unlock the full potential of social media.
It’s a thrilling journey, and we can’t wait to see how the social media manager job will evolve in the future and what impact it will have on businesses.
Social media managers: we see you, we value you, and we thank you.