What Defines The Role Of A Social Media Strategist
Analytics & Reporting

What Defines The Role Of A Social Media Strategist

Laura Dascau
Laura Dascau
Table of Contents

Becoming a social media strategist means being ready to wear many hats. If you believe this is a dream job, you have to know that it implies a lot of work.

Since the social media has become the space where everyone is searching for solutions to their problems, then companies decided to make use of social media strategists to empower their businesses.

As a brand, in a world driven by the online market, you need a specialist to survive and thrive. This is how social media strategists have become the most sought in the marketing industry.

Let’s find out more about the perks of being a social media strategist!

What does it mean to be a social media strategist

  1. What does a social media strategist do:
    1.1. Develop, implement and manage social media plans
    1.2. Define the most important social media KPIs
    1.3. Build an online community
    1.4. Run a competitive analysis
    1.5. Monitor brand mentions
    1.6. Measure the success of every social media campaign
    1.7. Oversee the social media content
    1.8. Be an early adopter of social media trends and technology
    1.9. Work in a multidisciplinary team
    1.10. Track and analyze SEO in order to provide effective solutions
    1.11. Network with industry professionals and influencers
    1.12. Hire and train others in the team
    1.13. Provide constructive feedback

  2. How to become a social media strategist

  3. What's the difference between a social media strategist and a social media manager?

  4. The toolkit of a social media strategist

  5. What is a social media strategist salary?

  6. What skills should a social media strategist have?

  7. Social media strategist's career paths

1. What does a social media strategist do?

To be confident and extremely effective, a social media strategist needs to have both creative and analytical skills.

Learning how to become a social media strategist is not easy. It requires a lot of work and patience to get inspired.

This role cuts across several departments, from marketing to product development and sales.

This job title means having skills like data measuring, planning, project execution, copywriting, graphic design, video production, and customer care.

Note! A social media strategist acts as a bridge between a company and the social media community.

If you work in a big organization, you need to focus on planning, strategizing and executing social media campaigns.

However, when working for a small business, you could be a one-man or one-woman show where you serve as a superhero, planning and executing everything that has to do with social media on behalf of the organization.

Here's a list of roles and responsibilities of a social media strategist:

1.1. Develop, implement and manage social media plans

One of the key roles of a social media strategist is to identify prospective customer’s demographics, where they act on social media, how they communicate, and what makes them tick.

Social media strategists analyze social trends and develop strategy plans to reach out to the right audiences.

When a plan is fully developed, you need to implement and manage it through social media campaigns.

1.2. Define the most important social media KPIs

After developing a social media campaign, the next step to take is to track the results. But how can you do it?

The answer is simple: Via social media analytics. (And if you choose a tool to ease your work - like Socialinsider - you will love the process)

Social media strategists should have an in-depth understanding of how social media works, always keeping an eye on the most important metrics that prove a campaign’s success.

Typically, people look at factors such as shares, likes, comments, and clicks.However, you cannot afford to dwell on the basic metrics.

Other KPIs such as web traffic, program sign ups, impressions, brand mentions, engagement, sales, followers, and leads are even more significant in establishing the efficiency of a campaign for a social media strategist.

1.3. Build an online community on social

Engagement for a social media strategist is not about the number of comments or likes. It's about building a community.

Even if numbers do matter, influence is more important.

As a social media strategist, you are supposed to build a community that is responsive and loyal to your brand. Different social media strategists employ different tactics when it comes to engagement.

Humor, storytelling, and polls are some of the most popular tactics. Regardless of the tactics used, you should also connect with audiences and establish a lasting relationship that goes beyond sales and leads.

1.4. Run a competitive analysis

In a fast-moving world, where the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds, businesses are definitely scrambling for audiences' attention.

A social media strategist needs to understand what differentiates its business from their top competitors. The difficult part is to learn how to translate these benefits to customers.

Your analytical skills can come in handy when analyzing the competitive landscape and their strategies.

For instance, if a competitor is using offers to attract leads and a huge following, the social media strategist needs to be aware of this.

Hence, you need to monitor competitors and ensure they're at the same level with you or that you are above them in terms of strategy.

1.5. Monitor brand mentions

A social media strategist's roles cut across customer care and PR in the digital space.

You have to monitor brand mentions in a bid to ensure you're creating a buzz among social media users.

This role is intertwined with managing the brand's image by ensuring negative myths are quelled before they spread.

After all, social media can be very toxic, and a campaign can end up eliciting very negative reactions.

1.6. Measure the success of every social media campaign

Social media marketing requires continuous effort. Being a social media strategist means living a never-ending story, with constant work while plucking creative ideas.

A good following and influence do not guarantee leads and sales in the future unless you maintain and improve statistics.

Therefore, you need to assess every campaign’s evolution individually to ensure the performance improves continually. Monthly tracking of KPIs is also necessary to ensure changes don’t go unnoticed.

If you spot a significant drop or stagnation, you have to conduct a cause-effect analysis and change your marketing strategy, if needed.

Besides looking at all the main metrics, you also have to keep count of the latest trends among users and social media algorithms.

screenshot from wholefoods with a golden retriver licking a jar of peanut butter

1.7. Oversee the social media content

It is clear that content is your brand’s main attraction. Just like a monkey is for a circus show. That is why you have to make sure the content produced is not only top quality, but in accordance with your brand’s goals.

Without content, audiences cannot engage with brands. Moreover, no one wants to view sales pitches and adverts on their social media feed every day.

And this is when social media strategists were invented. Your job requires developing solid content strategies that comply with your audience’s needs and the market’s trends.

1.8. Be an early adopter of social media trends and technology

Social media strategists need to be trendsetters. The digital world is fast-paced. That is why you cannot ignore changes since they can lead to extreme losses.

Therefore, you should be among the first to implement or try out new tools, even when their success rate is not proven.

1.9. Work in a multidisciplinary team

We were talking earlier about the fact that a social media strategist needs to wear a lot of hats. Well, if you are not doing all the job, then you need to closely work with your team to manage the entire process of developing a campaign.

In case you are a solo rider in your organization, it’s essential to consult with other experts.

A  social media strategist works with copywriters and designers, and collaborates with marketing, sales and product development teams.

A lot goes into strategizing and executing campaigns and when one ingredient is left out or overused, a lot could go wrong.

You need to be an excellent team player as well as keep an open mind. You should be able to handle criticism and accept ideas from other team members to excel in their approaches.

1.10. Track and analyze SEO in order to provide effective solutions

Even if you are a social media strategist, not a SEO specialist, you still have to learn a little from every aspect related to content developing.

You need to make sure your content (both images and text) are optimized for all search engines and social media platforms your brand is using.

Moreover, by constantly checking your SEO performance, you will ensure everything works as planned.

1.11. Network with industry professionals and influencers

As mentioned above, the digital landscape changes faster than you can dream it.

Networking is, therefore, necessary if a social media strategist wants to keep up with trends and standards.

You should have several influencers' contacts on speed dial. Influencers can easily change the fate of a campaign gone bad or a campaign that refuses to take off.

In a nutshell, the social media strategists' network is almost equivalent to their career success.

1.12. Hire and train others in the team

You are not only responsible for your job, but also for your team’s results. Since you work with content creators, designers and other specialists, you need to learn what to search for when recruiting new employees.

Social media strategists know what skills are needed and the kind of personality that would coincide with an organization’s brand.

You may also offer training sessions to new members and ensure a brand’s identity on social media lives or even when you delegate duties.

1.13. Provide constructive feedback

Besides answering your customers’ concerns and requests on social media, you also have to provide feedback for your colleagues.

By proving that you are there to offer your support and answer all their questions, you will be able to raise a strong team.

Offer your colleagues and managers constructive feedback to obtain better results as a team, being able to fix whatever is not working with patience.

Every member of the organization needs to be aware of what’s happening online, just as they’re aware of offline activities.

2. How to become a social media strategist

To kickstart a career as a social media strategist, you first need to learn everything you need about all social media platforms.

With a good understanding of how each platform works, the user demographics and the kind of content suitable for every media channel, you're one step closer to being a social media strategist.

This is just the starting point to land good jobs in the field. Here are a few strategies you can try out:

  • attend conferences organized by influencers and digital marketers and create a rich network
  • join twitter chats and actively participate to get a gist of what it's like to manage a brand on a personal level
  • join social media groups and observe what people post about, how other users respond and the topics that call the most attention. You may also market small businesses in such groups as you work your way up the career ladder.
  • read and subscribe to blogs that analyze digital marketing trends
  • be an early adopter of social media trends and tools. This will boost your confidence and help you establish yourself as a trendsetter
  • network with influencers to establish your personal brand as well as offer you insights on where to be and how to land gigs or jobs
  • enjoy being on social media and develop a passion for the job. If you can't enjoy responding to audiences and crunching data, then you'll definitely not enjoy working as a social media strategist.

3. What's the difference between a social media strategist and a social media manager?

Most people use these two terms interchangeably, but there are remarkable differences you should learn about.

Social media managers focus on daily activities, while engaging with customers and making sure they are satisfied.

On the other hand, social media strategists think long term and look at the broader picture, developing extensive research, reports and marketing plans.

A social media strategist has a broader scope of responsibilities, while social media managers focus more on the day-to-day social media activities.

In a company, a social media strategist works on bridging the gap between offline and online activities.

Social media managers, on the other hand, may strategize campaigns, but their focus is on execution.

They monitor engagement on a daily basis and oversee the success of individual campaigns.

Social media managers are likely to be found in digital marketing firms while social media strategists are likely to work in organizations as in-house experts or as account managers in marketing agencies.

In reality, the two professions may overlap depending on an organization’s size, resources, and structure.

4. The toolkit of a social media strategist

Here's a list of tools you can use in your day to day activity as a social media strategist:

Schedule content and collaborate with other teams:

Measure your campaigns' performance and analyze your competitors' social media actions:

Track the SEO results

Monitor the brand's mentions:

5. What is a social media strategist salary?

Based on Glassdoor data, here’s how it looks for the other similar job titles and their salaries across the United States:

A social media strategist may earn anything between $45,000 and $90,000 per year, depending on where they work, what studies they have and the job's requirements.

6. What skills should a social media strategist have?

Besides the studies you need to have in fields like communication, business or marketing, you also need a set of skills and a thick portfolio.

The skills that transform a social media strategist into the best social media strategist can be learnt along the way, due to the experience you accumulate in time.

Here are some of the top notch skills for a social media strategist that could really change the way they are perceived:

  • Have good communication skills

When all you do is talk and listen, it is very important to learn how to communicate with your audience to make yourself heard.

Having good communication skills can open a lot of doors for you, while unexpected opportunities may appear.

If you also develop the content for your social media campaign, then you need to ace the communication game to increase the number of leads.

Establishing your tone of voice, learning more about your audience and owning your goals can help you develop quality content that really takes your message forward.

  • Have copywriting skills

And yes, besides managing others, your work mostly implies writing. Isn’t this the best part? Otherwise, why would you be here?! Having copywriting skills is a must.

Since you will be developing marketing plans and brand strategies, you need to establish what your focus is by looking at the goals of your business.

Sure inspiration is important, but you also need to learn the “how to” that lies at the foundation of content writing.

These writing skills will propel your brand on the way to success.

  • Use social media platforms extensively

Being a fan of social media platforms is a plus. This can easily be a line in a job description for a new social media position in a company.

Learning how to navigate every social media platform, knowing what tone to use in your posts according to the type of audience you have and finding out what is the best posting time are tricks that could help you get to the depths of social media.

And when you manage to learn all social media channels’ secrets and puzzles, then you are worthy of becoming a social media strategist.

It is true that new updates emerge every day, but the main thing is to keep up with the evolution of every social media platform. You need to make sure you follow the latest trends.

  • Work on graphic design

When you want to work as a social media strategist, you know you have to look at the bigger picture. And speaking of pictures, it could be a great advantage for you to have some graphic designer skills.

Even if you are working with a team of specialists, you still have to learn the basics of graphic design to show your colleagues what you expect from them.

This way, it will be easier for you to facilitate communication with your team.

You can use your artistic flair and vision to develop the infographics and charts for your new studies of blog posts without the help of a graphic designer.

  • Manage clients

If you work as a freelancer or in an agency, you have a portfolio of clients that you are responsible for.

Managing your clients and their social media campaigns relies on your planning skills.

Knowing how to distribute your efforts and resources to develop effective campaigns for the brands you manage is an art.

You need to pair perfect timing with good communication skills and top notch content.

This way, you will be able to prevent and eventually solve any problem that may occur with your clients. Managing clients leads to a better time-management for yourself.

7. Social media strategist's career paths

Having the studies that recommend you for the social media strategist job doesn’t always lead to occupying that position. However, you should not lose hope.

There are plenty of other jobs in the same industry for which you could be a good fit. In case you need a change of scenery, a fresh start or simply a new career direction, you can always look up for related jobs.

Here is a list of other career paths for a social media strategist:

  • Content Strategist
  • Senior Manager of Marketing
  • Director of Strategy
  • Creative Director
  • Content Manager
  • Media Supervisor
  • Junior Social Media Strategist
  • Associate Social Media Strategist
  • Digital Analyst
  • Digital Marketer
  • Digital Strategist
  • Online Marketing Manager

Final thoughts

A social media strategist’s working life looks like the life of a jogler at the circus, learning how to do it all while also in perfect balance.

The best part about it is that all this effort pays off when you know you can use your creativity and connections to make magic happen for the brand you are working for.

The satisfaction is huge when you see the results of your social media campaigns while you also understand the importance of teamwork.

This could be a dream job if you are ready to commit and transform your passion into a way of living.

Laura Dascau

Laura Dascau

Content Writer @Socialinsider

I am a curious, focused learner born to tell stories to win over readers' hearts. Always embracing vulnerable authenticity.

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