social media strategist playbook
Analytics & Reporting

Social Media Strategist Playbook: Key Skills & Jobs-To-Be-Done in 2024

A social media strategist can be a key member of any social media team. Discover the skills needed and the daily tasks for this role.

Elena Cucu
Andreea Udescu
Elena Cucu, Andreea Udescu
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 social media has become the space where everyone is searching for solutions to their problems, companies decided to make use of 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 good strategists have become the most sought in the marketing industry.

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

Social media strategist playbook

What is a social media strategist
Why is important to have a social media strategist on your team?
What skills should a social media strategist have?
What are the main jobs-to-be-done for social media strategists?
How to be a social media strategist

FAQs about social media strategists

What is a social media strategist?

A social media strategist is someone who creates and implements strategic plans for a brand or company’s presence on social media. This role cuts across several departments, from marketing to product development and sales.

Being a social media content strategist means having skills like data measuring, planning, execution, copywriting, graphic design, video production, and customer care. When you’re asked to define strategist for social media, these skills may help you better explain the social media strategist role.

Since we’re defining things, let’s make clear the difference between a strategist and a social media manager. Most people use these two terms interchangeably, but there are remarkable differences you should learn about.

In the social media strategist vs manager debacle, you should know that social media managers focus on daily activities, while engaging with customers and making sure they are satisfied.

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

Social media managers are likely to be found in digital marketing firms while professional 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.

The same goes for the social media strategist vs specialist comparison. Usually, social media specialists focus more on day-to-day operations than social media strategists, however they can assist with social audits and strategy when necessary.

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Why is it important to have a social media strategist on your team?

Social media strategists are a key part of any social media team.

Their role is essential for analyzing trends, understanding the target audience, setting goals, and creating content that engages users and promotes the brand's message.

They also help in monitoring social media metrics to measure the effectiveness of their strategies and make adjustments as needed.

Like we mentioned above, social media strategists think long term and have a broader picture in mind when making decisions concerning a company’s social media presence. Their decisions are usually based on extensive research and analysis.

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 in order to build a powerful social media strategist resume.

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

Great communication skills

As a social media strategist, having great communication skills can open a lot of doors and unlock unexpected opportunities. Being a good communicator helps you better strategize in more ways than one.

For example, it can help you better present and defend your ideas in meetings if your superiors are doubting you are on the right track.

Solid copywriting skills

Most social strategists wear many hats, so more often than not, your work will also include writing. So 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.

Social media savvy-ness

Being a connoisseur of social media platforms is a massive plus. This can easily be a line in a social media strategist job description for a company.

It is true that algorithms change with the seasons and 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 social media trends.

Basic graphic design skills

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.

Client-facing skills

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.

What are the main jobs-to-be-done for social media strategists?

Like I mentioned before, a certified social media strategist wears many hats, especially if they work in a small company. So their jobs-to-be-done list can get quite long.

That’s one of the reasons why it’s not hard to fill a social media strategist portfolio with impressive accomplishments - you’re doing so many things at any point in time!

Anyway, let’s find out what does strategists actually do and what are their main jobs-to-be-done:

Develop, implement and manage social media strategies

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. In other words, do a lot of customer and market research.

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

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)

Digital 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, 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.

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 their 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 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.

In Socialinsider, you can most easily do this through the Benchmarks feature:

brand benchmarks socialinsider

Monitor brand mentions

A social media strategist's roles cut across customer care and PR in the digital space. That’s why you should be monitoring brand mentions in a bid to ensure you're creating a buzz among social media users.

This role is intertwined with brand reputation management by ensuring negative myths are quelled before they spread.

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

Collaborate with a multidisciplinary team

We were talking earlier about how much goes into a social strategist job description and why they need to wear a lot of hats.

Well, if you are not doing all the jobs, 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 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.

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. Not to mention, platforms such as TikTok and to some extent Instagram are slowly becoming the new-age search engines.

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

Bonus: Discover a detailed list of TikTok analytics tools that can help you get performance insights and ideas of how to improve your strategy!

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 digital 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.

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

Measure the success of every social media campaign

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

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.

Whether we're talking about a TikTok hashtags campaign or an Instagram Story challenge (for which, by the way, you can gain inspiration by keeping an eye on the latest Instagram story ideas brands within your niche leverage), you'll want to know its impact in generating business growth.

If you spot a significant drop or stagnation over a certain timeframe, 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.

You can track campaign performance easily with Socialinsider’s Strategy tool:

campaign details socialinsider
Take a look at this 20+ list of social media analytics tools to see which platform could help you with your campaign's analysis. 

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.

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.

How to become a social media strategist

To kickstart a career as a 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 strategist for social media.

This is just the starting point for learning how to be a social media strategist and how to land good jobs in the field.

Here are a few strategies you can try out:

  • Attend conferences organized by influencers and digital marketers.
  • Join user threads and actively participate to understand what it takes to manage a brand on a personal level.
  • Read and subscribe to newsletters that analyze digital marketing trends.
  • Join social media groups and observe what people post about, how other users respond and the topics that call the most attention.
  • Be an early adopter of social media trends and tools.
  • Complete specialized courses to earn a social media strategist certification.
  • 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 your time being on social media and develop a passion for the job.

Final thoughts

As a strategist for social media, you have to be ready to wear many hats and multi-task day in and day out. But this role comes with a lot of perks and exciting opportunities.

Equipped with all the knowledge we shared in this guide, are you ready to take the first step into the social media strategist world?  

FAQs about social media strategists

What is the average salary for a strategist who’s working in social media?

A social media strategist may earn anything between $61,000 and $112,000 per year, depending on where they work, what studies they completed and the job's requirements.

For a senior strategist, the range changes to $69,000 - $121,000.

What are some alternative career paths for strategists in social media?

In case you need a change of scenery, a fresh start or simply a new career direction, you can always look for related jobs.

Here is a list of alternative 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

What are the most useful tools for a social media strategist?

Any social media strategist can benefit from working with a wide toolkit of useful apps, such as Buffer or Hootsuite for scheduling, Socialinsider for social media analytics, Ahrefs or Semrush for SEO and Mention or Brand24 for monitoring brand mentions.

Elena Cucu

Elena Cucu

Content Manager @ Socialinsider

Content & SEO Manager @ Socialinsider with 8 years of experience in marketing. I like to describe myself as a social butterfly with a curious mind, passionate about dancing and psychology.

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