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How to Become a Social Media Manager in 5 Simple Steps

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Do you need help breaking into the dynamic social media marketing world?

Well, you’re not alone. Becoming a social media manager is a dream job for many people.

And with the constantly evolving social media landscape, now more than ever, brands need social media managers to market their business.

If you’re looking to start a career as a social media manager, now’s the time to do that. But building a successful brand is easier said than done.

Don’t worry, though! We’ll walk you through how to become a social media manager, step by step.

An Overview of Social Media Management: A Primer

vector graphic showing an illustration of how to start a social media marketing agency

One of the primary goals of a social media manager is to help build a brand’s online presence.

They promote a brand through several online marketing strategies, but their main focus is social media platforms.

Their goal is to increase followers and drive engagement on these accounts by creating and publishing content that aligns with the brand’s identity and goals.

A social media manager job is dynamic, and sometimes, you’ll have to wear many hats.

Some of your daily tasks could include:

  • Setting up a new or optimizing an old social media account for clients
  • Developing and executing a social media marketing strategy to drive engagement
  • Planning and creating compelling content across social media platforms
  • Monitoring key metrics and performance indicators to measure success
  • Engaging with customers and followers on social media channels
  • Collaborating with content managers, editors, and marketers
  • Creating reports based on analytics, etc.

How Much Do Social Media Managers Make?

According to career expert Zippia, social media managers in the US can make $70,287 per year, meaning around $33.79 per hour. The salary ranges between $50,000 to $98,000 a year.

Salaries can depend on your location, education, and experience level.

What You’ll Need to Become a Social Media Manager [& Associated Costs]

Like any marketing role, becoming a proficient social media manager demands many skills.

Here are some of the basic things you should consider if you want to succeed in social media marketing:

  • Education and Experience: A college degree is not a strict requirement to become a social media manager. But it can expose you to a wide range of opportunities, increasing your chance of getting hands-on experience in a professional setting.
  • Strong Communication Skills: Being a social media manager means constantly interacting with people. Building a successful social media campaign is based on collaboration. Good communication skills allow you to respond to customer queries and share ideas with stakeholders effectively.
  • Social Media Proficiency: You must have a good understanding and knowledge of all social media platforms and social media management tools. You should also have strong analytics and marketing management skills.
  • Content Creation and Editing: Above all other skill sets, writing engaging content is at the top of the list for being a successful social media manager. Apart from writing the copy, you’ll likely need to review the work of other team members.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Social Media Manager?

The costs to become an in-house or freelance social media manager can vary greatly depending on your location, scope of work, experience level, and the skills you bring to the table.

You can expect to spend a few hundred or even thousand dollars on anything from software expenses to advertising, marketing, and website management.

If you plan to work from home, you can rule out office expenses like rent, transportation, and utilities.

Is It Hard to Become a Social Media Manager?

This job can be challenging because of the ever-changing technological and social trends. And the increasing competition makes it more challenging to get desired results.

But social media managers work in every industry, making it a great career move long-term.

It will take time, effort, and persistence. But the great thing about this industry is you can land a small social media manager job early, even before you finish training.

You can volunteer at local NGOs and manage their social accounts to get practical experience.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Media Manager?

If you have a background in marketing, business communications, or a related field, you may have a good head start and can focus your efforts on learning specific social media skills.

It could take you only a couple of months to get started.

Remember, no two social media manager jobs are alike. If you’re starting from scratch, you could go for a relevant bachelor’s degree, which can take three to four years.

A degree is not always a requirement, though. You can take social media courses or certifications to expedite the process.

How to Become a Social Media Manager in 5 Simple Steps

Follow these steps to learn how to navigate the industry and become a social media specialist:

Step 1: Consider a College Degree or Certification

A bachelor’s or associate’s degree in business communications, marketing, public relations, or journalism will help you master the social media game.

It’s optional, but it can provide a solid foundation on communication theory, branding, marketing, and more.

There are also many free courses and certifications that you could take as a beginner. Add them to your resume or LinkedIn to show you have what it takes to become a social media manager.

Step 2: Build a Strong Online Presence

Build your own brand before you start promoting other brands. Showcase your expertise by managing your own social media accounts.

Nothing shows you know the game better than your social media presence.

Make sure you’re active and have a sizeable following on your personal social media platform, including Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

Build a strong presence by engaging with your followers and maintaining an online community before you start crafting social media strategies for others.

Step 3: Stay Updated on Industry Trends and Best Practices

Social media is a dynamic industry and constantly evolving. It’s crucial to stay informed about the latest trends, algorithms, and digital marketing best practices.

The constantly changing social media landscape makes it easy to fall behind. You can join community forums, attend webinars, read blogs, and participate in social media events to improve your knowledge.

Step 4: Network with People, Both Online and In Person

Networking is instrumental in establishing credibility and building a strong online presence.

The key is to connect with people you already know, you should know, and you’d like to know. It helps to build meaningful relationships and gain potential referrals.

You can start by following the big brands you admire and commenting on their posts to drive engagement. Connect with like-minded people in your field through social channels, such as LinkedIn.

You can also join professional associations or organizations to expand your network.

Step 5: Take Internships or Entry-Level Jobs to Gain Experience

You should gain practical experience to showcase your expertise and land more clients. Apply for internships, volunteer gigs, or entry-level social media marketing jobs to get some practical experience.

You can look for relevant positions on popular job marketplaces, company websites, and professional networking platforms like LinkedIn.

This helps you navigate the complex dynamics of the field and develop essential skills as you climb ladders.

And remember to add everything you do to your online portfolio. Over time, you can grow it and start to attract better-paying social media jobs.

Reasons to Consider Becoming Social Media Manager

Working as a social media manager offers many great benefits, such as:

  • Doing something you love: Social media is all about communication and collaboration, and a great deal of that collaboration is through written words. If writing and storytelling are your passions, that makes this gig even more fun and interesting. 
  • Flexibility and creative freedom: As an independent worker, you can write and develop social media campaigns from anywhere you want. This can lead to a great work-life balance. You can also enjoy the creative freedom to choose the type of projects you want to work on.
  • Increasing demand and work opportunities: With the constantly evolving social media landscape, there’s a high demand for skilled social media managers. It also offers future opportunities for personal development and professional growth. 
  • Reach and Influence: You get to work with some popular brands or businesses and have the power to shape their social media presence. You connect with many professionals, build communities, and engage with your audience. This helps you expand your reach globally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Social Media Management a Good Career?

If you enjoy creating content and love engaging with people, social media management is a good career path to turn your knack for digital marketing into a money-making gig.

The creative freedom, flexibility, and many opportunities make it a viable career choice.

How Can I Become a Social Media Manager Without Experience?

You can start working on your social media skills and building a strong portfolio to market your services to small businesses, non-profit organizations, or clubs.

Start small and build a brand for yourself as you gain experience.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

If you’re looking for other similar opportunities, you can try to:

  • Become an Affiliate Marketer: Looking for a low-risk and low-cost business model to help you make money? Affiliate marketing might just be the right career path for you.
  • Become a Content Creator: If you’re good with words and have a knack for compelling storytelling, you could become a content creator and put your creativity to use.
  • Become an Instagram Influencer: If you want something different and creative and already have a strong online presence, you could become an influencer. This allows you to expand your reach and make more money.

Wrapping Up

To become a successful social media manager, you need a combination of communication skills, social media knowledge, and experience building brands.

By following our step-by-step guide, you can build a solid foundation and build a successful career in social media management.

Sound off in the comments below, and let us know your thoughts and if you’re considering a career in social media. Feel free to also share this guide if you enjoyed it!

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