Nov 1, 2019

Digital Career Journeys: Social Media Marketing

Written by Dan Hughes

Whichever facet or umbrella of the digital marketing sphere you’re looking to specialize in, there is one common element that you must never overlook: to enjoy success and longevity, you must adapt, evolve and develop your skills on a continual basis.

In today’s climate, one of the most fast-paced, exciting, dynamic and potentially rewarding digital marketing career journeys available is social media – and due to a continual rise in mobile adoption worldwide, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

To put the importance of social media marketing into perspective, here are some key insights you should know:

  • Recent studies revealed that there were 3.196 billion global social media users in 2018, equaling 42% penetration
  • 95% of web users aged 18-34 follow a brand via social media
  • 71% of consumers who have had a positive social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to their peers, becoming invaluable brand advocates
  • Top brands on Instagram enjoy a healthy per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%

Social media marketing is an essential part of any contemporary brand or business’s promotional toolkit, and if you have the skills, passion and knowledge, a career path of this kind has the potential to be particularly rewarding, both personally and financially.

1. Social Media Executive

Behind every social media activity or action, there is a person with the expertise required to represent a brand or business in a way that builds awareness, generates leads and forges long-lasting B2B or B2C relationships. At its core, this is the role of the social media executive.

A social media executive is responsible for managing a company’s various social media channels and campaigns with the primary aim of engaging customers, expanding commercial reach and improving overall customer satisfaction. This demanding and ever-shifting role includes the curation and creation of content that drives the brand forward while conveying essential messages. Today, people are more connected than ever and it’s the job of the social media executive to leverage this thirst for social media-based interaction.

While, like the vast majority of digital jobs, the role of the social media executive can change according to emerging trends and technologies, here is a rundown of the key daily or weekly responsibilities:

  • Managing the company’s various social media channels, populating each platform with engaging, dynamic content and responding to various consumer or user queries, issues or requests in a timely, personable fashion.
  • Gathering vital insights and data through social listening and competitor research.
  • Boosting engagement and brand awareness by using a host of social media methods and strategies, in addition to participating in trending content and relevant conversations.
  • Helping with the development of social media strategies and campaigns.
  • Tracking the company’s social media performance through data analytics and keeping up to date with industry trends.
  • Helping the social media manager to engage the rest of the business in all social media efforts and activities.


The Skills

Here are some of the skills required to work as a social media executive:

  • Relevant experience or qualifications in social media marketing.
  • A working understanding of all key social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn.
  • An understanding of social media-based data analytics platforms.
  • Customer service and community management experience.
  • Basic copywriting knowledge and experience.
  • A demonstrable passion to remain abreast with the latest market trends.
  • A creative mindset and exceptional organizational skills.


Stepping Up

To move along the social media marketing career path with confidence, you will need to spend time actively participating as a social media executive and learning every facet of the role.

With so many exciting elements of the role to master, the progression to social media manager could take between two and four years, but in the meantime there will be a wealth of aspects to challenge you.

By keeping up to date with industry trends, being confident with your creative ideas and asking for more responsibility with key social media marketing campaigns, you will stand a good chance of accelerating your career progression.

2. Social Media Manager

In addition to the core skills and responsibilities you will acquire as a social media executive, you will be required to take more of a leadership role as a social media manager, helping to spearhead the development of the company’s ongoing social media strategy.

While you will still need to assist in the daily or weekly duties of the social media executives you manage, you will need to adopt a managerial position, communicating all social media initiatives, campaigns and updates with confidence and clarity. You will also need to delegate responsibilities strategically while managing budgets and working with other key departments to help deliver successful digital marketing campaigns.

Here is a list of the primary responsibilities of the social media manager:

  • Oversee and direct the creation and publication of relevant, original, high-quality social media content across channels.
  • Manage social media advertising budgets and develop cost-effective paid promotional strategies that deliver a positive return on investment (ROI).
  • Create and manage a regular publishing schedule.
  • Motivate staff and encourage the continued development of their knowledge base and skills.
  • Lead social media marketing strategies and campaigns, helping to ensure success from start to finish.
  • Liaise with other digital marketing managers to deliver on critical promotional initiatives and strategy.
  • Work with industry influencers to boost brand awareness and expand commercial reach.


The Skills

Here are some of the key skills required for the role:

  • Strong social media marketing experience as a social media executive.
  • Exceptional analytical skills and a good understanding of all key social media tools and platforms.
  • The ability to motivate staff and set targets, as well as strong communication and leadership skills.
  • Experience in paid social media advertising and an ability to manage budgets.
  • A proficiency in content marketing theory and application.
  • Solid creative copywriting skills.
  • The ability to work successfully and deliver results under pressure.
  • An ability to build and foster professional relationships both online and offline.


Stepping Up

The reality is that not everyone will take that final leap beyond the role of social media manager, but with the right mindset as well as passion and dedication, it is a genuine possibility.

To give yourself a competitive advantage and propel yourself to greater heights, showcasing a demonstrable track record of excellence, fortified by campaign results and data while putting highly-creative, forward-thinking ideas and initiatives into action, you will increase your chances of further promotion.

3. Head of Social Media

As the head of social media, it will be your sole responsibility to oversee the entire department, becoming one of the company’s pivotal digital marketing professionals.

As the head of social, the future of the company’s social media-based success boils down to you, your actions and your vision. As such, you will work with your social media manager (or managers) to communicate strategic direction while spearheading the business’s various social media marketing campaigns from the very top.

You will be responsible for formulating strategies that optimize the company’s social media content and delivery across channels, communicating these initiatives with your social media manager(s), while allocating data-driven targets and marketing budgets.

Fundamentally, as the social media director, your primary focus will be on leadership, collaboration, communication, innovation and opportunity management. On top of this, strategic analysis is required to grow, evolve, develop and boost the company’s social media presence, success and ROI. It’s a critical role with a major level of responsibility and resilience required for success.


The Skills

On top of the skills required as a social media manager, here are some other key attributes you will need as your organization’s head of social media:

  • Impeccable leadership skills and experience, with an ability to speak publicly with confidence, communicating vital messages to stakeholders throughout the organization.
  • An ability to inspire, lead, motivate and guide your team to success.
  • A deep working knowledge of the platforms, software and tools that drive social media success.
  • Comprehensive experience of data analytics from various sources and platforms.
  • Impeccable organizational and interdepartmental communication skills at senior level.
  • The ability to set key goals and allocate budgets for various social media marketing activities.

Being the head of social media could be stressful, demanding, exciting, challenging and rewarding in equal measure. By stepping up the social media career path progressively, taking the time to build your confidence and hone your skills along the way, while developing your approach in line with ever-evolving industry trends, this is a role you can thrive in for many years.


Stepping Up

If you do climb to this level and you want to progress further, you can take the necessary measures to become the head of digital marketing. However, if you decide that being in charge of social is exactly where you want to be, you will no doubt have an incredibly rewarding career nonetheless.

Key Takeaways

  • To successfully negotiate your career path as a social media marketer, you must master some key base skills.
  • Your progression will not only depend on your experience in each role, but your ability to evolve with industry change, while showcasing your ability to inspire and innovate.
  • Getting to the very top will depend largely on your collaborative and communicative skills, in addition to your creative abilities and technical knowledge


Related Articles

Webinar: The Social Media Influencer Marketing Blueprint (with Neal Schaffer)

5 Ways You Can Leverage B2B Influencer Marketing

Exclusive Lecture Video: Introduction to Influencer Marketing

The Growing Trend of B2B Influencer Marketing - 10 Brands Doing it Right

How to Kickstart Your Social Media Marketing Career

Interview Preparation Toolkit for a Social Media Marketing Interview

Dan Hughes
Dan Hughes

Dan is a content writer specializing in digital marketing, emerging tech, music and looking after a toddler. You can find out more about him and his work by visiting his Catchy Space.

Upgrade to Power Membership to continue your access to thousands of articles, toolkits, podcasts, lessons and much much more.
Become a Power Member

CPD points available

This content is eligible for CPD points. Please sign in if you wish to track this in your account.