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How to become a Social Media Manager

Twenty years ago, the role of social media manager didn’t exist. Yet today it has emerged as one of the most commonplace and, not to mention covetable roles. 

Whilst accessible – it doesn’t require a degree – there’s a lot more to the position than meets the eye. The ideal candidate must possess a unique combination of creativity, strategic thinking, technical skills – and, crucially, the ability to think on their feet. A successful social media manager must constantly stay on top of the latest trends and algorithm changes. This allows them to consistently refine their skills and be proactive to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. 

Let’s delve into what the role is and how to snare a social media manager position…

 

What’s in the Role?

Short Haired Social Media Manager Working on Computer in Office

A social media manager job is multifaceted and one that blends creativity, strategy, and analytical skills with fast-thinking.  The social media manager is the voice of a brand across all social media platforms. They are tasked with creating engaging content that will hook their target audience. They must deliver a combination of meticulous planning and scheduling along with tailored content. The tailored content will ensure social messaging remains aligned with the brand’s goals and values.

Beyond content creation, social media managers are responsible for monitoring trends and audience feedback. They can leverage data to refine their strategies for maximum engagement. They act as brand ambassadors, fostering relationships with followers and influencers to expand the brand’s reach and reputation. While fostering the relationship, they manage any crises or controversies that may arise. 

In today’s landscape, brands can no longer survive, or at least thrive, without the careful, strategic manoeuvring of a social media manager. Simply having a social media presence is no longer enough. Brands need an active strategy and online campaign to drive growth, create community, and establish brand loyalty with customers.

 

The Many Faces of Social Media 

Working in a social media manager job requires many hats. From the analytical to the creative, the strategic to the execution- and involves using both sides of the brain. Analytically, understanding metrics and insights is a crucial part of the role for gauging the effectiveness of campaigns to adjust strategies accordingly. Strategically, the social media manager must set goals, identify key target audiences. They can then devise plans to ensure that KPI’s and objectives are met. In terms of creativity, the social media manager must be able to craft engaging content. Content that resonates with brand target audience and stands out amidst crowded feeds is an exceptional quality to have.

As the name of the social media manager role implies, management skills are crucial for coordinating within the team, overseeing schedules, and delivering a cohesive and effective campaign. Whilst, the ability to engage with both consumer and other brands is key for building and maintaining relationships. The social media manager can build partnerships and respond to user comments online to foster a sense of community. The key to balancing these aspects is adaptability, understanding, and reacting to the ever-changing landscape of social media and its latest trends.  

 

Where There’s a Skill, There’s a Way…


As already discussed, a social media manager must possess a diverse set of skills in order to navigate the dynamic landscape of social media platforms. Here are the essential skills for a successful social media manager:

 

Communication:

As the name of the industry might imply, any role within comms requires this skill. The successful social media manager is able to craft compelling messages tailored to various audiences. 

 

Content creation:

Proficiency in creating engaging content is vital, whether it’s graphic design, photography, videography, or copywriting. 

 

Understanding of analytics:

Understanding and interpreting data to inform future strategy is indispensable to this role and necessary to optimise engagement and reach.

 

Adaptability:

The ability to refine and pivot strategies is key, as trends and algorithms naturally change all the time and effective content must reflect that. 

 

Community Management:

It’s key that social media managers have the skill of fostering meaningful interactions (with both consumers and other brands) and managing crises effectively.

 

Staying up-to-date:

It’s crucial for social media managers to be ahead of industry trends to ensure continued relevance.

 

Building Your Portfolio and Gaining Experience

Social media manager and team using digital devices during meeting, for new trends and brainstorming.

 

As with most things in life, experience leads to personal development – and how successful you are as a social media manager hinges on how much work you’ve put in behind the scenes. Building a portfolio and gaining experience as a social media manager is crucial to this, which is why, degree or not, it’s important to get stuck in with internships and work experience as early as possible when pursuing this role.

Why not seek freelance or volunteer opportunities for small businesses or non-profit organisations to learn on the job and bulk up your CV? Alternatively, you could offer your services at a discounted rate or in exchange for testimonials and referrals to snare future clients. The best way to learn and refine your skills is through hands-on experience, so it will ultimately pay off!

It’s important to identify your niche or any target industries you’re interested in specialising in. After you can start by practicing on your own social media accounts – by creating and curating content for your personal profiles, you’ll start to build on your experience as well as showcase your skills and expertise. 

As we already know, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices in the industry. Continuously educate yourself by attending workshops, webinars, and conferences, and pursue additional certifications where possible. By networking with other professionals in the industry, you’ll exchange ideas and opportunities and gain a wealth of knowledge from your peers. With time, as you accumulate experience and build a strong portfolio, you’ll better position yourself to land paid gigs and advance your career as a social media manager.

 

Networking Your Way Up to Excellence


Networking is pivotal for success in any social media manager job as it enables you to forge valuable connections within the industry, foster collaborations, and stay updated on emerging trends. Keeping engaged with peers on LinkedIn and attending industry events opens the doors to new opportunities and insights. Through networking, you will not only enhance your skills and knowledge, but you’ll stay on top of emerging social media tools and algorithms.

 

Landing Your First Social Media Manager Job

social media manager and teammate working on a strategy

 

We’ve learned about the social media manager role, but how can you get going? Here are some easy steps to follow that recap how to land yourself that coveted role: 

 

  • Educate yourself: Get familiar with various social media platforms, trends, and analytics tools.
  • Build your presence: Optimise your own social media profiles by showcasing your skills and expertise.
  • Gain experience: Do work experience or volunteer for organisations and small businesses to gain hands-on experience.
  • Network: Attend industry events, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and join relevant online communities to expand your network.
  • Develop a portfolio: Showcase your work by creating a portfolio of your successful strategies and social media campaigns, content creation, and community management.
  • Stay updated: Keep abreast of industry updates, algorithm changes, and emerging trends to demonstrate your commitment to staying current.
  • Customise applications: Tailor your resume and cover letter to emphasise your relevant skills and experiences for each application.
  • Ace the interview: Prepare for interviews by researching the company, practising common interview questions, and demonstrating your passion for social media management.

 

Final thoughts…

Although it doesn’t require a degree, becoming a social media manager requires a unique combination of skills. These skills help continue commitment to learning and adapting. From mastering different platforms and tools to understanding algorithms and analytics, there is more to the role than meets the eye. As well as the ability to process and interpret data to inform strategy. A social media manager must have strong written and verbal communication skills and the ability to engage and speak to an audience. 

Dedication to staying on top of emerging trends and innovations is crucial. As well as having a creative eye and ability to generate compelling and catchy content.

Social media managers must be able to roll with the punches and be ready to pivot their strategy in response to any changes or challenges.

Ultimately, those with that unique combination of knowledge, creativity, communication, and adaptability will be able to thrive in this challenging yet fulfilling role. 

 

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