How to Become a Social Media Manager in Three Steps
Do you consider yourself social media savvy? If so, you may want to consider learning how to become a social media manager. Social media management has grown tremendously over the past few years.
Just how popular are social media channels? Consider some of the following statistics:
- There are 3.499 billion active social media accounts, with the average person owning 7-8 accounts.
- Between April 2018 and April 2019, social media users increased by 202 million.
- Over 80% of small and medium businesses use at least one social media platform. Of this, 94% do so for marketing purposes.
Many small and medium business owners have begun outsourcing their social media marketing efforts to professionals who specialize in this area. That’s where you come in.
In this article, we’ll detail how to become a social media manager. We’ll cover what social media management is, the perks of the industry, and other basics. We’ll then outline three essential steps to become a successful social media manager.
What is Social Media Management?
The business of social media management is rather straightforward. It’s the process of monitoring and controlling a company’s social media presence. Managers do so by:
- Forming a social media strategy
- Creating social media content
- Scheduling posts
- Analyzing data to determine what works
- Engaging with other companies on social media
The most common platforms social media marketers use are:
Social media management falls under the umbrella of “digital marketing.” Digital marketing is the use of marketing through digital technologies on the internet. Not only does it include social media channels, but it may also include things such as phone apps and display advertising.
Having said that, social media management is a very specific niche in digital marketing. We know what you’re probably thinking — I have my own social media profiles, so I’d make a great manager!
This might be the case, but making this a career involves more than just knowing how to use the platforms. A good social media manager stays connected on a daily basis in case users reach out. They also understand the basics of marketing and keep up-to-date on the latest social media trends. Let’s take a look at some of the skills that you’ll need to succeed in a social media job.
What Skills Do Social Media Managers Need?
To be the best social media manager, you need to have a basic understanding of marketing. You’ll be doing much more than uploading a few pictures and posts each day. Instead, you’ll be in charge of a company’s social media presence. This means knowing how to craft and execute a marketing strategy.
Social media managers often have writing and design skills, too. You may find it useful to have some experience with graphic design, as this can help you craft posts. Similarly, you should understand things like search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing, as you’ll need to be strategic when writing blogs and captions.
As you might expect, you’ll also need strong time management skills since you’ll have to balance multiple clients at the same time. You can use software to schedule tweets and other social media posts, but you need to stay on top of everything to ensure you don’t miss a beat. Social media never sleeps.
Lastly, successful managers should have strong communication skills. For one, you’ll need to know how to communicate with people online — that’s a given. But even more important, you’ll need to know how to communicate with people in person. Whether it’s speaking with someone to purchase Facebook ads or recruiting potential clients, you’ll need to handle yourself professionally.
How Much Can Social Media Managers Make?
As a freelancer, you have a bit of flexibility in how much you charge companies to manage their social media. As a new social media manager, you can expect to make anywhere from $15-$50 per hour. As you become more experienced and your portfolio grows, you can expect to make upwards of $100 per hour.
However, tracking social media management hourly can get tricky. Many managers prefer to charge by post. As you gain experience, you should have a better understanding of how long it takes you to produce a post for each social media platform. For instance, writing a lengthy LinkedIn post will probably take you longer than filming a 10-second Snapchat video.
The other thing that you’ll be able to do as you gain more experience is provide specific metrics measuring your performance. You can use key performance indicators (KPIs) to say things like, “I gained X new followers” or “I increased web traffic by Y percent.” The better you perform, the higher the rates you can charge.
Pros and Cons of Social Media Management
Working as a social media manager has its perks, but it may not be for everyone. Consider some of the following pros and cons.
One of the biggest perks of working as a social media manager is that you have a lot of room for creativity. Companies may give you some guidelines, but other than that, you’ll often have free rein to craft a social media strategy to match your vision.
And if you already love social networking, then this job is for you. The average person spends 74 minutes on social media each day. As a manager, you’ll get your “social media fix” as part of your job. You’ll be able to interact with people online and post multiple times per day across various platforms.
Lastly, if you’re someone who loves real-time feedback, then this role is for you. Not only can you measure things like pageviews and growth, but you’ll also receive short-term satisfaction through things like comments, likes, and shares.
Although social media management offers numerous perks, there are some other things that you’ll want to consider before diving in.
For one, it’s hard work. You’ll need to learn how to juggle comments across multiple platforms, responding quickly to those who engage your company online. At the same time, you’ll also need to craft new posts for diverse clients. If you don’t have strong time management skills, you could quickly find yourself overburdened and stressed.
Plus, there’s such a thing as too much social media. Studies find that overdoing social media can lead to:
- Social isolation
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of sleep
- Lower self-esteem
To combat this, you’ll need to know when to set boundaries and how to separate work from your personal life.
Lastly, working as a social media manager requires excellent attention to detail. Small mistakes like typos are seen as unprofessional and sloppy, which could cause customers to leave a brand. Large-scale mistakes could end up going viral, ruining a company’s reputation.
Even something like a comment could be misconstrued, blowing up quickly on the internet. You’ll need to be vigilant with what you put out there.
How to Become a Social Media Manager
If you think that you’re cut out to be a social media manager, you may be curious about the next steps to take. Here are three to get you started.
1. Choose Your Niche
If you are entirely new to the industry, we recommend that you find a niche. Instead of trying to focus on a company’s entire social media management, pick one or two things that you’re exceptionally good at and go from there. For instance, you could work in online ads management or as a social media graphics creator. As time goes on, you can develop your skills in other areas to become more well-rounded.
2. Receive Training
Obtaining a certificate could help set you apart and make you appear more credible to potential clients. It could also teach you valuable skills about the industry. Consider enrolling in courses within the niche that you choose to help get you started.
3. Build a Portfolio
Companies will want to see examples of your work before hiring you. Start building a portfolio of work that you can show when you apply for jobs.
If you are targeting a specific company, consider crafting content as if you were already working for them. This will allow the company to see precisely what you can do for them. And if the company hires you, you’ll already have some posts lined up and ready to publish.
Is Social Media Management Right for You?
If you have a marketing background and a creative mind, then social media management could be just the career for you. As a social media manager, you’ll be able to set the strategy and voice for companies to improve their online presence and help them connect better with users.
If you’re looking to learn more about the role and time commitment it can require, get a head start on learning the best times to post on social media.