What does a social media manager do?

You’d be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t at least know what social media is.

With over 2.85billion people on Facebook and over one billion on Instagram, social media presents a huge opportunity for businesses to reach potential clients.

So much so that businesses are hiring people to be on social media for them.

Enter….the Social Media Manager.

As attractive as it sounds to spend your whole day browsing through social media, there’s much more to the job than that.

If you think it’s something you’d enjoy, you should know a bit more about what the job entails and how you can get there.

What is a social media manager?

To put it simply, a social media manager is the person trusted with handling the social media presence of an organisation, or even an individual. This involves posting on, monitoring, and analysing the social media accounts they operate.

You might liken the whole process to a mixture of a job in public relations and marketing. A social media manager is responsible for controlling the voice of the company and managing any potentially negative situations, all while working towards a bigger goal – usually more leads and sales.

What does the role entail?

As with any role, this will vary depending on the particular business involved and what the social media manager is asked/required to do.

The role will usually entail a mixture of the following tasks:

  • Creating and managing promotions for the brand
  • Managing marketing campaigns across various social media platforms
  • Monitoring the analytics of each platform using a variety of tools
  • Talking to the audience in the comments, messages, etc.
  • Produce new content regularly and consistently to create a brand presence
  • Working with other parts of the business such as marketing and sales to ensure that any ongoing campaigns are all aligned
  • Keeping on top of anything in social media that’s “trending” and using this in the strategy if appropriate.

What skills does a social media manager need?

You need to know how to work the Instagram algorithm like the back of your hand. You’ll also know what a good engagement rate is and how to plan a content calendar.

It’s also important to know how each social media platform works differently so that you can build a strategy that gives you traction across each one you use.

Additionally, knowing your audience will help you to plan the content you produce.

Some specific skills that are useful in the social media manager role are:

  • Customer service skills. This is essential when it comes to engaging with your audience (both the compliments and the complaints!)
  • Time management. It’s a busy and demanding role that needs you to use your time effectively
  • Impeccable grammar and writing skills. Constant typos can quickly diminish a brand’s reputation
  • Analytical skills. A desire to observe and improve how your content is being received by your audience is key to this role

What technical knowledge do you need as a social media manager?

Copywriting Skills

Writing great content is not as simple as just putting something together and hoping it works.
Social media marketing often requires the skills of a copywriter for it to be great. A social media manager position is a great option for a seasoned copywriter.
Copywriters know how to write content that converts.
While you may traditionally associate this with blog posts and landing pages, the copy on social media posts is equally as important to building relationships and creating leads.

Analytical Skills

The ability to critically analyse your social media metrics and your content conversion rates is essential to finding success in this role.
You need to understand what’s working, what’s not working, and why.
If your social media strategy is to get people across from one platform to your website, an in-depth knowledge of how to use Google Analytics will be crucial in measuring this.
Each social media platform will also provide you with its own analytics of how well your account is performing.
Knowing how to use this in line with the overall “big picture” of the company is vital.

Graphic Design

If you’re responsible for designing the posts that go up on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, some skill in graphic design will help you massively.
People prefer to consume imagery and video over written content so this needs to be engaging.
Experience using software such as Canva and Photoshop will help with designing click-worthy graphics.

Marketing

Having an understanding of, and background in, marketing gives you a head start in succeeding in this role.
It helps you to understand the overall goal and purpose of what you are doing and how to plan your content according to a well thought out strategy.
It also assists in working alongside the marketing team to make sure that all streams of marketing across the business are working in alignment.

SEO

At least a basic understanding of SEO is necessary for social media managers.
It is important to know how to write and optimise your content to ensure it is found by search engines like Google.
A good SEO strategy will help you to get more organic traffic across to the business’s website.

Paid Ads

If your business is running paid ads on their social media platforms, this will generally be part of the social media manager’s role to manage.
Having experience in how to run ads successfully is needed for them to work. You ideally should know how to test and analyse paid ads to use them efficiently and to make a good ROI.

What tasks will you be expected to do?

As touched on above, a social media manager’s role is so much more than hanging around on Instagram all day long. In fact, the role can be incredibly varied, and you’ll be expected to be a jack of all trades.

Let’s break it down into everyday tasks and long-term strategy.

Everyday tasks

Posting (or delegating and approving posting) content across each social media platform the business uses
Content creation (i.e. making new graphics, new post captions, etc.)
Cultivating relationships with your followers through engaging with people in the comments and through messages. Answering questions and offering advice are just a couple of ways to work on building this relationship.

Long term strategy

  • Planning and building a strategy with actionable targets and goals to meet
  • Working with other departments in the organisation to build a company-wide strategy
  • Building a brand identity, brand voice, brand image, and building a genuine relationship with a loyal audience
  • Analysing the growth of the accounts and targeting any areas of strength or with room for improvement
  • SEO of content to bring in organic website traffic
  • Re-building social media accounts where they have not been used for some time, or have been used without strategy or focus
  • Boosting sales numbers
  • Turning followers into customers!

Why do businesses hire a social media manager?

They could just do it themselves, right?

Possibly, but there are a number of problems with taking this approach. There is a reason why social media managers exist and that is because, to do this work properly, it can be a full-time job.
Failing to see the value in leveraging social media properly will lead to the following:

  • An inconsistent approach that can be damaging to building a trusted brand image
  • Leaving money on the table due to not creating the number of leads you could be if using the accounts properly
  • Not incorporating social media into your overall marketing strategy and therefore not making as many sales as possible

Do you need specific qualifications?

There are no specific qualifications you need to be a social media manager.

If you have a relevant degree in an area like marketing, journalism, or business studies, this should set you in good stead as what you’ve learned will transfer well into the role. Due to the rising popularity in the profession, there are more vocational options available to help people get into the field.

What experience do you need?

In the social media field, it is arguable that experience is so much more valuable than any particular qualifications you might have. Businesses want to see that you can provide them with results and if you can evidence doing this, you’re in with a fighting chance. The first, and most important thing, you’ll need is a love for everything social media-related. As your whole day will revolve around it, it’ll be a struggle to do well in the role if you don’t enjoy being there.

Having your own personal social media accounts will be a big help in getting started as you’ll have learned exactly how each platform works.

Relevant experience

As for relevant experience, you will be expected to have some, if not all, of the following:

  • Some marketing knowledge and an understanding of how to successfully market a brand
  • An in-depth understanding of each social media platform and how each one can be used as part of a wider strategy
  • Prior experience working in the social media field for other brands with demonstrable results
  • Experience in analysing how well a strategy is working and using analytical tools like Google Analytics to help with the process
  • Evidence of successfully building customer relationships (both online and offline)
  • Experience in handling negative press or dealing with crisis management in the event this is ever needed

How do you get started as a social media manager?

If you’re serious about a career as a social media manager, there are plenty of courses out there to get you started. Don’t underestimate the power of working on your own social media accounts. Think of your accounts as your own personal portfolio and put the work into building them up and growing them.
If you’re looking for a job in social media, you can be sure that the company you’re applying to will check out your accounts before hiring you!

  • Learn about each platform.
  • Test what works and what doesn’t.
  • The knowledge you’ll gain through doing this is invaluable.
  • Keep a track of how well your accounts are doing and document these stats as evidence of how well you’ve managed them.
  • It takes a bit of a mindset shift from thinking of your social media accounts as somewhere to post nice pictures into building a business and a personal brand.

Are there similar careers in the area?

There are many different career options in social media and digital marketing. When you’re just starting out, you might look for a social media assistant level job.
You would probably be working under a social media manager who will delegate some tasks to you such as drafting and posting some pieces of content. This is a great way to get some “on the job” experience.

If you’re looking for progression from the social media manager role, businesses will also often advertise for social media account executives and department managers. This will generally involve leading the social media team and as such will be ideal for someone looking for management experience.

If you would like something that is more marketing-focused, you could look for online marketing manager positions.

This gives you the opportunity to do some work in social media while also using some of the more traditional marketing techniques you have experience in. Once you have experience working in the field, you can also consider going freelance to work as and when suits you, and often for more money.

Get out there

The social media manager role is a busy but varied one, offering you the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of different things. You’ll learn more about marketing, gain analytical skills, and have the ability to engage with your audience in real-time.

Get in touch with Monarch today on 1300 738 955 to learn more about our marketing courses.