How To Become a Social Media Manager

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: September 1, 2021  •  11 min read  •  Business
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Do you love social media? Are you on it regularly and do you want to turn it into a career? You might be the perfect candidate to learn how to become a social media manager.

As a social media manager, you will help other people and companies expand their reach. You will become an expert in everything that has to do with social media. Let’s look at the job duties of a social media manager and what you need to do if you want to follow this career path.

How To Become a Social Media Manager

Job Duties of a Social Media Manager

As a social media manager, you can work for an employer or for yourself. Working for an employer will put you in charge of the social media profiles for your company. If you work for yourself, you can work with multiple clients and take over their social media platforms.

This is a fast-paced type of job and all about marketing. You will need to understand how news cycles work and understand your clients or company very well. The main job duties of a social media manager include:

Social media managers make sure companies or their clients gain a larger audience on all social media platforms. They work with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and many other social media channels.

How To Become a Social Media Manager in 6 Steps

Step #1 – Understand the Knowledge You Need

Many younger people think they can simply become a social media manager because they understand social media. While they might be great at posting pictures and pleasing their followers, there’s quite a bit more that goes into the social strategy for a brand.

If you want to become a social media manager, it’s a good idea to figure out what a company will want you to understand. Speak with small business owners or other social media managers to get a better idea of this career. You will need to understand business objectives and how to create brand awareness on social media.

Each business is different, so a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. You will need to be able to adjust your strategy for your clients or the company you work for. Real world experience will help you become a social media manager.

Step #2 – Get a Degree or Gain Some Experience

You don’t have to have a degree to become a social media manager. However, without a degree, you will need to find a way to gain some experience. If you plan to get a degree, majoring in marketing, advertising, business, communications, or public relations makes quite a bit of sense.

Without a degree, you may need to start with an entry-level position and work your way up. You can take courses to further your skills from Udemy, Google, Coursera, and other online platforms.

Step #3 – Prove Your Abilities

The best way to land jobs or clients as a social media manager is to prove your skills. Why would anybody hire you, if you cannot even build your own social media following?

Show you can do the job by growing your personal accounts and your business account (if you have one). Do a case study on your own accounts using specific strategies. If the results are favorable, you can use this case study to land clients or even land a job as a social media manager.

Step #4 – Become a True Expert in Social Media

There are plenty of online resources you can use to become an expert in social media. You can take courses on different platforms, marketing strategies, graphic creation, and much more. The more skills and knowledge you gain, the better off you will be in this career.

It’s also helpful to learn the analytics and data. You will likely run advertising campaigns on Facebook and Twitter for clients. You want to understand how to show them the ROI from the work you’re doing for them. When a business sees you are creating a profit for them, they will continue to use your service or employ you.

Step #5 – Build Your Portfolio

If you plan to work freelance as a social media manager, you want to build your portfolio. Show off posts you’ve created, accounts you’ve managed, case studies, and more. Anytime you have the ability to show the success of your efforts, it should be added to your portfolio.

You can create a website for your business or just for you. This is a great place to store your portfolio and show it off, whenever necessary.

Step #6 – Learn from the Best

Following top companies and social media accounts can help you see their strategy. You can learn from the content they share, when they share it, how they engage their audience, and more. Pay attention and you can learn quite a bit just by watching how top companies use and interact on social media.

What Does a Social Media Manager’s Day Look Like?

As social networks continue to grow and evolve, the possibilities are endless. The increasing demand for social media managers spreads across nearly every industry.

To find out what a social media manager does day-to-day, we decided to just talk to one. Luckily we got some answers from Madison Poole, the social media manager at SixSurgery Clinic, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Centre in Toronto.

Remember, I mentioned above that the possibilities are endless? Let’s dive into the world of live-streaming surgery!

What does your typical day look like?

I work at the SixSurgery Clinic as the Social Media Manager. This is definitely a unique section of the social media industry that became really popular in the last 5 years! Dr. Martin Jugenburg (known online as RealDrSix) is famous for snapchatting uncensored, LIVE consultations, procedures, and follow-ups at the clinic daily. My role is to orchestrate and organize that process. There is no ‘typical day’ in this role, every day there is a new surgery to film and new plastic surgery news to discuss!

Surgery Days

On OR days, I come into work for the first procedure at 7:30am. I log into the “Snapchat Phone” which is a dedicated device that we use for social media. After that, I answer questions from patients, direct them to the correct sources on our website, and ask Dr. 6ix to answer on video while he is operating. People love watching these live procedures, so it is always exciting for me to interact with our viewers, many of whom are considering plastic surgery and have tons of questions! Throughout the procedure, Dr. 6ix will take viewers on the operating journey. He shows them the step-by-step process of the surgery, from first cut to suturing. We also post a more censored version on Instagram stories. In the operating room, I always have to make sure that I am staying safe and away from any sterile areas while still getting the best footage. I snapchat most of the procedures, with patients who have consented to sharing their procedures online, and wrap up at the end of the surgical day with a little recap from Dr. 6ix.

Getting Creative

On days that I’m not in the OR with the SixSurgery team, I have to get creative with my content. That includes interviewing our admin and nursing teams, featuring our injectables, and talking about plastic surgery in the news! I am responsible for all of the content we post across all our social media platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, etc) so I am constantly brainstorming new and interesting ideas for content, and editing them for each platform.

Bet you didn’t see that coming when you started researching how to become a social media manager. This is definitely a job where the only limit could be your own imagination.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Social Media Manager

How much can I make as a social media manager?

If you work as a social media manager for a company, you will earn an average salary of about $50K per year. Top employers will pay more than double this if you’re good at what you do. Some locations also tend to pay a higher salary, such as Los Angeles and Austin.

Those working for themselves can take on more than just one client. The earning potential is a bit unlimited, as you can build a team to help serve more clients. You can even develop your own social media marketing firm as a social media manager. For some, this can be very lucrative and earn you more than $100K per year.

What type of benefits can I gain as a social media manager?

If you work for yourself, you can work from home. Some social media managers working for companies can also work from home. It’s also common to gain access to health, dental, vision, and life insurance. A flexible schedule is another common benefit of a social media manager.

Some social media managers will gain access to a 401(k) and paid time off. Others may get a gym membership or some type of employee discount.

Which platforms will I manage as a social media manager?

It’s common for a social media manager to spend most of their time managing Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You will also work with LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and potentially a few other platforms. There are newer social media platforms coming up all the time. You might need to work with Gettr, Gab, or another smaller platform, depending on the company or client you work for.

Will I be posting for my clients if I work on a freelance basis?

Yes, you will likely create a content schedule and post for your clients. Often, social media managers will use scheduling tools. This allows for content to be created ahead of time and go live on a specific schedule.

Which industries hire or use social media managers?

Social media managers are found across all industries. Some are more likely to hire someone in-house, while others may prefer a freelance social media manager. You can work in multiple industries as a freelancer.

It’s common to find social media managers at digital marketing firms or advertising firms. They are also found in many industries including healthcare, food service, travel, construction, transportation, hospitality, and many others.

Do I need a degree to become a social media manager?

No. However, about 77% of social media managers working for an employer have a bachelor’s degree. Another 6% have an associate’s degree with 3% holding master’s degrees. Only 14% of social media managers don’t hold a college degree at all.

What type of skills are important for social media managers?

You need to have good visual design skills, spelling and grammar skills, and time management. As a social media manager, you will create or oversee the creation of graphics for posting. You will also write or edit the messages going along with the posts. It’s important to schedule posts on time, as well. These three skills will be very important for this career.

If you want to enjoy working on social media as a career, learning how to become a social media manager is a great idea. This is a rewarding career and can often be very lucrative. Use the steps above and you can become a social media manager.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.