The Career Path for Social Media Managers

social media manager - behtash moojedi
Social media is instrumental in business to consumer (B2C). If we look at the statistics, a study from Pew research shows us that over 7 in 10 people using social media to be entertained, connect with others and engage with brands. Businesses are catching on to this, with many shifting the majority of their marketing to digital marketing in order to capture this increasingly large audience. The 2019 Global Communications Report, published by USC found that a large percentage of CEOs surveyed believed that social media and online influence would be the most important way of communicating to the public in the future.

However, digital marketing and social media marketing are not solely used for B2C sales. On the contrary, in fact, as business to business (B2B) sales can also hugely benefit from this type of marketing. This is because the majority of B2B client bases are already utilizing social media for their own brand. In a survey by IDC, it was discovered that over 75% of B2B buyers and an even larger number of executives use social media to help with purchasing decisions. This can be seen in real business when looking at the successful case study of Adobe, which now account around 50% of their sales to their LinkedIn presence.

This is why more brands are turning to social media managers to control their online operations and shaping the digital voice of the company. But what are the benefits of investing in a social media manager? And what are the different levels of employees within the social media field.

Keep reading this definitive guide to find out more.

How Do Social Media Managers Benefit Businesses?

A social media manager is vital for any business looking to be successful in the digital age. Firstly, the landscape and trends in social media are always changing and can be difficult to keep track of. Therefore hiring an expert in social media marketing is vital to ensure that a business keeps up with the latest digital marketing trends. By following these trends, businesses will see better engagement from potential customers instead of looking outdated and old-fashioned.

Secondly, a great social media manager will use their expertise to help establish brand trust and recognition, allowing businesses to expand their customer base and build trusting, lasting relationships with them so that they are returning buyers. Social media marketing can do this by interacting with customers, sharing content and listening to feedback.

One further advantage of social media managers is low cost, meaning that that the cost of employing them is relatively low in comparison to other forms of advertising. Employing the right social media team has been found to generate a great return on investment, increasing profits and sourcing loyal consumers. Businesses that choose to hire entry-level graduates will need to invest more in training and will lose time while the inexperienced staff member becomes familiar with the social media platforms, SEO content and marketing strategy. Social media managers, on the other hand, are experts in their field, having developed years of experience that they can draw on to improve the online media presence of the brand they are working for.

Finally, social media managers have the skills and experience to create increased traffic to a brands website, leading to increased sales and increased profit. Social media posts allow businesses to access a vast number of people at once, meaning that there is greater exposure for the brand’s products or services. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest allow users to also send and share content that they love to their friends, increasing the company’s reach even further. An experienced social media manager can come up with engaging and informative posts for these social media sites in no time, leading to a significant increase in engagement and traffic.

Levels of Social Media Managers

There are a number of different levels of social media manager, and candidates generally work their way up the ranks as they gain experience. Let’s take a closer look at each type of social media manager.

Junior Level Social Media Jobs

Junior positions within the social media manager field include job titles such as social media specialist, social media coordinator and social media strategist. Generally, to obtain these kinds of role, a candidate would have a Bachelor’s degree on their resume in a related field. The main role of junior social media specialists would be to post on social media platforms with text, images or videos. This, in turn, will lead to engagement with the potential clients or customers, which junior specialists would then continue through communication on the platforms. These actions help build brand recognition and establish a strong customer base.

Posts can include promotions of products or services, promoting positive reviews of their business or telling stories about their company, its founders or its products. This allows potential customers to relate to the brand, building a great online presence and solid reputation. Utilizing social media tools such as hashtags or video trends can also increase engagement as these types of tools increase the views and engagement with the specific posts.

To become an entry level, junior social media expert, you must have a number of different skills and qualities. First and foremost, a knowledge of multiple social media platforms is vital as this is what you will spend most of your time working on. Secondly, experience or knowledge of different tools that can be used to network effectively is necessary. For example, platforms that allow you to post messages to many different social media accounts at once can help better utilize your time. An awareness of current events is also a bonus as often posts will related to these events to make them more relevant.

Additionally, the ability to work within a team, responding to constructive criticism and positive feedback and communicating effectively is also required. Finally, any applicants must have the ability to work on and create cohesive marketing campaigns to boost the following of the brand.

Social media strategist general job description:

  • Develop, implement and manage our social media strategy
  • Define most important social media KPIs
  • Manage and oversee social media content
  • Measure the success of every social media campaign
  • Stay up to date with latest social media best practices and technologies
  • Use social media marketing tools such as Buffer
  • Attend educational conferences
  • Work in multidisciplinary team with copywriters and designers 
  • Collaborate with Marketing, Sales and Product Development teams
  • Track and analyze SEO in order to provide effective solutions for content optimization
  • Network with industry professionals and influencers via social media
  • Hire and train other in the team
  • Provide constructive feedback

Requirements: 

  • X years of experience as a Social Media Strategist or similar role
  • Excellent knowledge of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and other social media best practices
  • Practical knowledge  of SEO and web traffic metrics
  • Experience with doing audience and buyer persona research
  • Good understanding of social media KPIs
  • Familiarity with web design 
  • Outstanding multitasking skills
  • Critical thinker and problem-solving skills
  • Team player
  • Good organizational and time-management skills
  • Great interpersonal and communication skills
  • MA degree in Marketing or similar relevant field

Management Level Social Media Jobs

Management positions within the social media field include job titles such as social media manager and digital marketing specialist. Generally, to obtain these kinds of roles, a candidate would have a Bachelor’s degree on their resume in a related field or a Master’s degree to show further learning and specialist expertise. The main role of social media managers would be to lead a team of juniors who will post on social media platforms in order to increase engagement with potential clients or customers. To reach the level of manager, social media experts must have the skills and qualities listed above for a junior level and further experience within these fields. This level of job comes with added responsibility, with more involvement in developing marketing strategies and social media policy.

Those with experience in the field of social media can also come from other areas such as those who have worked within other areas of marketing, been involved in video production or marketing analysis.

Additionally, the ability to lead a team of people, offering constructive criticism and positive feedback and communicating effectively is also required. Having the knowledge of how to deal with staff issues effectively will be an advantage within this position.

Social media manager job description: 

  • Develop, implement and manage our social media strategy
  • Define most important social media KPIs
  • Manage and oversee social media content
  • Measure the success of every social media campaig
  • Stay up to date with latest social media best practices and technologies
  • Use social media marketing tools such as Buffer
  • Attend educational conferences
  • Work with copywriters and designers to ensure content is informative and appealing
  • Collaborate with Marketing, Sales and Product Development teams
  • Monitor SEO and user engagement and suggest content optimization
  • Communicate with industry professionals and influencers via social media to create a strong network
  • Hire and train other in the team
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Adhere to rules and regulations
  • Present to Senior Management

Responsibilities:

  • X years of experience as a Social Media Specialist or similar role
  • Social Media Strategist using social media for brand awareness and impressions
  • Excellent knowledge of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and other social media best practices
  • Understanding of SEO and web traffic metrics
  • Experience with doing audience and buyer persona research
  • Good understanding of social media KPIs
  • Familiarity with web design and publishing
  • Excellent multitasking skills
  • Great leadership skills
  • Critical thinker and problem-solving skills
  • Team player
  • Good time-management skills
  • Great interpersonal, presentation and communication skills
  • BSc degree in Marketing or relevant field

Senior Level Social Media Positions

Senior positions within the social media field include job titles such as communications director, social media director or director of digital marketing. Like those at management level, they also tend to hold a Bachelor or Masters degree. Senior staff at this level oversee entire social media campaigns, as well as having significant input to campaign ideas. In smaller companies, senior staff may still be involved in carrying out the strategy and creating content, however in larger companies, they may be more distanced from this process with less involvement. Therefore, the role differs according to the business.

As well as managing their staff, senior social media staff also may have to work with other managers in the business and meet with potential clients or customers. They may sometimes have to be the face of the business, completing interviews or meeting important clients. As well as overseeing a social media team, staff at this level can move to a number of different departments due to their vast levels of experience. For example, a social media senior manager could move to a more specific role such as head of digital marketing or a broader, more general one such as managing director of the company. What is most important is their years of experience within the marketing field, allowing them to gain an understanding of what is required to run a successful business.

Alternative Career Choices in Social Media

There are many different career choices available within the social media field that may not be as well-known as a social media manager. Let’s take a look at some other career options to consider.

Community Manager

Community managers create and post social media content on their own social media accounts rather than that of the brands. They work as a brand ambassador and aim to increase engagement with the product or service, increasing its customer base. Community managers are effective as they are viewed by customers as being the ‘real face’ of the brand and are more relatable and approachable than a brand’s official social media pages.

Often the official social media pages are listed in their bio, however, they are very much posting as themselves rather than as the brand.

Social Media Analyst

While social media managers oversee the strategy of social media posts and the creation and posting of these, social media analysts use data to help determine the brand’s approach to social media and the impact of their efforts so far. To become an analyst, it is important to have the skills and experience in areas such as data mining and statistics as these will be heavily utilized as well as knowledge of programs such as Microsoft Excel. The aim of social media analysts is to identify ways to improve a brand’s return on investment and increase engagement with its content. Analysts work to uncover what types of posts are doing well and which do not generate as much engagement. This then helps shape future social media marketing campaigns.

Brand Manager

Brand managers focus not only on social media but the overall image and marketing of a product or person. This requires a lot of research in order to determine where in the market the product fits in. Part of this process involves analyzing competitors, looking at the features of similar products and evaluating budgets. Once the brand manager has an idea of the products potential, they are then responsible for working on all marketing and advertising strategies – including social media posts, other advertisements and the budget for these. Additionally, a brand manager will work on the layouts and designs for adverts, working closely with photography and image editors. Any promotions surrounding the product will also be dictated by the brand manager, who will work on sales and pricing for the product.

A brand manager requires a number of different skills. Firstly, communication is key as they will find themselves working with a number of different departments within the company, such as the sales team, creative team and digital marketing. Next, organizational skills are vital as you will need to coordinate whole campaigns and product launches, both of which are multi-faceted. Numeracy skills are also important as a brand manager is in charge of budgets and data analysis.

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