Like any senior marketing role, becoming a good Social Media Manager requires you to have a wide range of skills to create engaging social content that converts followers into loyal customers.
The role and skills of a Social Media Manager have evolved over the years to become more complex. Skills required in the role now include social media outreach, social customer service, platform expertise, and influencer marketing. The part played by AI in digital marketing is also having has an impact on the channel, and will be something to watch closely.
If you're an aspiring Social Media Manager but aren’t sure where to start, this article will help you identify the essential skills to acquire and hone for a successful career in social media management.
In this blog, we will cover:
A Social Media Manager is trusted with monitoring, executing, filtering, and measuring the social media presence of a product, brand, corporation, or even individual.
This role is often seen as the ‘voice of the company’ and may also be referred to as ‘Community Manager’ (although this title has become slightly outdated) or ‘Digital and Social Media Manager’.
Social Media Managers create and maintain brand promotions, company information, and marketing campaigns for their company across several social media networks.
They also know the best social media metrics to focus on and use tools and respond to questions and comments according to the company’s voice and guidelines. Social Media Managers work daily to produce new content, constantly innovating to push new ideas and formats and measuring how well those ideas perform.
They may report to a Social Media Director (in larger organizations) or the Head of Content or brand and collaborate with other creative groups such as marketing and public relations, as well as the sales department to drive lead generation campaigns that convert into revenue. A key part of the role is to keep up with new trends along with company and industry news.
An in-demand role, Social Media Manager positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations, or similar. According to Glassdoor, Social Media Managers earn an average salary of over $57,000 in the U.S.
The role is fast-paced and varied involving many tasks in the space of a day! Some of the tasks a Social Media Manager might do are:
These are just a few examples of tasks that you may need to do. But remember, each day can be different, so keeping on top of your content calendar and social campaigns is crucial to online success.
Now that you know what the role involves, let's look at what skills a Social Media Manager should have.
Social media managers do a lot of writing, sometimes more than a dozen posts each day. Plus, each social network requires a slightly different style of writing.
For example, LinkedIn requires a more professional tone, while Facebook can be more light and fun. SEO copywriting knowledge is also very helpful to know about. (More on this later!)
You must be able to create messages that are quickly understood by your audience and promote a positive sentiment. Through writing, the Social Media Manager should enhance their brand and become ‘the voice’ of the company.
Some important types of writing include:
Useful resources to help boost your writing skills
Social media managers must stay up-to-date with the ever-changing world of social and digital media. This includes new measurement/analytics tools, industry and world trends, and tracking what your competitors are doing, even on a daily basis.
Great Social Media Managers set up Google Alerts on popular topics and use tools like Feedly, Ahrefs and BuzzSumo to keep up with trending content.
The Twitter Trends sidebar and the TikTok ‘Discover’ tab are useful, while hashtag research can also help identify topics to tap into.
Useful resources to help boost your research skills
According to research by Khoros, about half of consumers who engage with brands on social media are reaching out about customer care concerns.
And engagement differs on platforms as shown in this graphic (although for many users, social media offers the easiest and quickest way to get a response from a brand, so Social Media Managers should be vigilant across channels).
Customers often look to social media for help with answering questions or to complain (or rave) about their experience, especially with platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger available. So, if nobody is there to respond (even on nights and weekends), their impressions of that brand could sour.
Here are some stats collated by Hootsuite on the importance of customer service and social media. Highlights include:
Helpful resources to boost your customer service skills
Search Engine Optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO in marketing circles has become an integral part of content marketing and social media.
In fact, SEO can have a great impact on your social media content. A good Social Media Manager knows this and strives to integrate SEO into writing copy for social networks. When you embrace SEO as part of your strategy, you can attract a larger audience with an interest in your products or services, leading to more potential customers.
When thinking about combining SEO and social media, ask yourself the following questions:
Resources to boost your SEO knowledge
While a lot of the content you’ll put on social media will be written, creative visual content is also crucial (especially for platforms like TikTok and Instagram). The right image, video, gif, illustration, or photo can be shared hundreds or even thousands of times, and you need to understand how to create platform-specific social media content.
It’s valuable for Social Media Managers to have a knowledge of design to create visually appealing graphics to complement posts. Know Your Meme can be helpful in keeping up with the daily development of new memes (if appropriate for your company).
Video is also an essential component of your social media strategy, so if you can gain skills in that area, it will be extremely helpful. With so much video content out there (YouTube is reported to have 3.7 million videos uploaded daily), it's important to be creative in your video marketing and tap into what your audience likes and wants.
With the meteoric rise of visual platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, the quality of your videos is hugely important. Make sure you use brand storytelling on social networks to speak to your audience and give a clear message about your brand.
'Life brand' Pleasing, founded by musician Harry Styles uses a distinct and consistent color palette to promote its range of products from nail varnish to lipsticks on social media. Here's a glimpse of its Instagram account.
Great resources to boost your design and creativity
If you’re putting time and effort into driving awareness and engagement through social media platforms, it’s crucial to know if what you’re doing is working! That’s where data comes in.
Analyzing your social media data will help you to draw insights not only on each platform but also on the content you’re sharing. Questions you could answer are:
Along with the analytics feature available on each social network and GA4, there are a number of great tools you can use to track data to get social media post metrics, conduct a competitive analysis and monitor conversations - social listening. These include SparkToro, BuzzSumo, and Hootsuite.
Useful resources to conduct data analysis
It may seem obvious, but a Social Media Manager needs to have great social media skills! Although these can be learned over time through research and experimentation, if you’re aiming for a job at a large company, you’ll need a few years of experience under your belt.
The type of knowledge you’ll need to outshine your competitors includes:
The graphic below from 'The 2023 Content Benchmarks Report' shows the types of content that marketers believe are the most engaging and help to achieve their social media goals.
Resources to ground your social media expertise
It’s important for a Social Media Manager to understand how to plan and manage a budget across social networks for organic and paid media.
The types of things you need to budget for include:
Your budget should not be set in stone, you should review and analyze it on a regular basis to make sure you’re putting your funds into the activities that will help meet your KPIs (whether that’s to drive leads or boost brand awareness).
Useful resources for budgeting
Flexibility is important in any marketing role, but even more so in social media management. The social media landscape moves so quickly that adapting is a necessity.
It’s not enough to schedule posts. You must be able to try new features and change things based on trends and the continual testing and analytics that you should run on your posts.
Once you have the analytics, you also need the flexibility to try new things to make your social media work best for you. A/B testing (writing posts in multiple ways, with different images) can help you quickly determine which types of images and copy work for your company - and which don’t.
Use this A/B Testing Toolkit and Video to get advice and tips on how to optimize your posts.
Resources to boost your adaptive skills
The best way to become a successful social media manager is to have the most up-to-date knowledge and skills available. Our Specialist Diploma in Social Media Marketing can help you learn everything you need to know to succeed including social customer service, social commerce, social content, and social strategy along with an insider's view of all the most popular platforms. Get started today to become a Certified Social Media Marketing Specialist!