- What does a social media manager do?
- Social media manager career path
- Social media manager salaries
- Qualifications and training
- Social media manager skills
- Pros and cons of being a social media manager
- Social media manager work-life balance
- Social media manager employers
- Related jobs
- More information
Do you enjoy posting on social media? Are you good at coming up with exciting and interesting ideas for your posts? If you’re looking for a career using your creative flair to build a brand’s image, then working as a social media manager could be perfect for you.
Are you interested in working in social media? Explore the opportunities in marketing and PR available right now.
What does a social media manager do?
Working in social media means having a clear understanding of the brand or company you’re working for. You then use your creativity and expertise to portray the brand or company to the consumers in the best way possible. Here are some tasks that you might expect to do when working as a social media manager:
- Have meetings with your team to understand the direction of movement for the company or brand
- Discuss new ideas for content with members of your team
- Answer customers’ questions through social media platforms
- Design, write and create content which may involve working with copywriters, media designers and marketing executives to produce top quality content
- Publishing content on social media
- Collaborating with sales departments to understand new products
- Maintaining a brand’s image is an important part of being a social media manager. You can learn more about how to build a brand’s image with this Bright Network Academy Sector 101 module on Branding, led by Nestlé.
Social media manager career path
There are several career paths that you can work towards in social media. After gaining experience, you may decide to take a side step into a more general marketing role rather than working exclusively in social media. You can still have a successful career in social media itself. To become a social media manager, here are the steps that you should follow:
You start your career as a social media assistant or intern. These jobs can include reporting on how well viewers interact with the posts and the number of views it has, suggesting and making original content for the social media platforms and responding to comments and questions from customers.
In mid-level positions, you could choose to create the content, both written and video, or manage the content that the company releases. Jobs like social media specialist, coordinator, planner or content creator are responsible for making the actual content that you see on a daily basis. You may work with film producers and editors to make more complex content or produce your own written content.
An alternative option is working as a social media manager. Instead of producing the content yourself, you come up with ideas and campaigns to put on social media. Your job is recognising what has worked in the past and suggesting new directions for the content to go in.
Smaller organisations may combine these jobs so your work would be analysing the past content to understand what works well and producing the content itself. Read the job description carefully to understand the scope of the job and what your daily tasks would be.
With years of experience, you could progress to director of social media. As director of social media, you have similar responsibilities to social media managers but with more responsibility and influence over the content. This includes recognising trends in social media and suggesting relevant content. You should understand the demographic that the brand targets very well so you can create and suggest content that directly appeals to them. As a director, you lead your team, setting the standard for the work your team produces and providing motivation if the work falls below the standard you expect.
You have the chance to work in executive positions in a company like chief marketing officer. This job tends to be more general than just working with social media. You head the marketing team to decide what the future content of the company is and how to implement it.
Social media manager salaries
If you have great ideas and a positive track record, your career in social media could take you high in a company. Whilst the specific number may vary based on your location and the company you work for, here are salaries that you might expect at different points in your social media career:
- An entry-level job in social media like a social media associate or social media intern you earn between £22,000 and £24,000 per year.
- Depending on the path that you choose, mid-level jobs include social media manager and social media coordinator. Social media managers earn between £27,000 and £32,000 per year. Social media coordinators earn between £25,000 and £27,000 per year.
- More senior jobs include director of social media, earning between £50,000 and £60,000 per year.
- Executive-level social media jobs include chief marketing officer which could see you earning an average of £100,000 per year. Working in this executive position includes far more than just social media and requires you to have many more marketing skills.
Qualifications and training
Having the right education and experience can help place your CV at the top of any hiring manager’s pile. Here is what you need to work as a social media manager:
Many social media managers have undergraduate degrees. This could be a specialised degree in marketing, communication or advertising. Some people have more general degrees which give you transferable skills that are useful for social media work but aren’t directly related, like journalism, English language or literature.
Having a degree isn’t the only way into a social media manager role. You could complete an apprenticeship in social media or content creation. This gives you the relevant skills and experience specifically for the job that you don’t get from a degree. If you decide to pursue an apprenticeship rather than a degree, be aware that some higher-level jobs prefer degrees and progression could be tricky without one.
Completing an internship is another form of work experience that you can do. This may be alongside your studies or whilst working another job. If you’re interested in work experience, explore Marketing & PR internships available to you right now.
Social media manager skills
- Creativity. Any social media manager job requires a level of creativity. This is so you can come up with new and innovative ideas for content.
- Resilience. Your job includes pitching your ideas to the social media or marketing teams. Some of your ideas may be rejected in the meetings. Being resilient helps you keep pitching your ideas despite having some rejections. It also helps you continue working with social media. You may come into contact with negative comments or negativity in your work. By being resilient, you can reduce the impact that the negativity has on you and maintain a positive working experience. Learn more about this key skill with this Bright Network Academy module on resilience and taking feedback.
- Eager to learn. Your job requires you to know exactly how a brand wants to portray itself to potential customers or users. Being eager to learn means you can understand the developments in the brand so you can keep your viewers and followers up to date.
Pros and cons of working in social media
Social media may be a fun hobby for you, but there is a difference between posting for fun and as part of your job. Here is what you should consider before starting your career in social media:
- There is a lot of work available in social media and marketing.
- You have the potential to reach thousands of people on a daily basis.
- You have endless opportunities for being creative in the content you make or manage.
- You may receive positive feedback for your work from many, many people.
- Lots of social media jobs need you to make new content on a daily or weekly basis. You could get burnt out from having to think up new ideas so frequently.
- Leaving work in the office may be difficult if you use social media in your private life.
- The content you create is accessible to anyone who uses social media platforms so if your team makes a bad marketing decision, there could be negative backlash from the public.
- You may be exposed to negative comments from members of the public.
Social media manager work-life balance
In any social media job, you work typical office hours of 9am to 5pm. This may vary depending on the company and whether you’re given flexible working hours. You may work overtime around deadlines or on more tricky projects. Most of your working life is within an office with very little variance. You might occasionally attend any events which the organisation runs so you can post about it. However, some organisations might just ask you to post about it without attending.
Maintaining a good work-life balance can be difficult for social media managers. By using social media all day, you might not enjoy using the platforms for personal use which had initially encouraged you to take the job in the first place. Additionally, you will probably have the organisation’s social media accounts on your phone or laptop. This means you literally bring your work home and switching off from work is difficult if you receive notifications throughout your time off.
Social media manager employers
Since the majority of organisations have some form of social media presence, there are many social media jobs available and lots of companies that hire graduates. Here are some top companies that you could work for in social media:
- Mountbatten Programme
- McCann Manchester
- The British Library
Jobs related to social media
Are you interested in a career in social media? Explore the current social media jobs available right now.
Do you want to learn more about what social media content creators do? Find out about Bright Network member Kim and her work as a content creator.