What Is a Social Media Manager? Skills and Qualifications

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many organisations use social media to connect with their target audience. They hire social media managers who specialise in attracting followers and using these online platforms to increase business opportunities. Knowing more about this profession will help you determine if this role is suitable for you. In this article, we explore what a social media manager is, what they do and what skills and qualifications they need to be successful.

What is a social media manager?

A social media manager is a marketing communications professional who creates content, communicates with an audience and implements digital marketing strategies over an organisation's social media profiles. They tailor all posts and communications to their organisation's target audience with the aim of building and maintaining a strong online presence.

Some social media managers may work for individuals, such as public figures, and post on their behalf as well as maintain their online persona. They write posts, publish images with captions and communicate directly with the individual's followers. Depending on their employment type, social media managers may work:

  • As part of the marketing department of an organisation

  • As a freelance or independent social media manager for an organisation or individual

  • In a digital marketing firm that manages social media accounts for multiple clients

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What do social media managers do all day?

The responsibilities of a social media manager may depend on their employment type and how many social media clients and accounts they manage. These professionals can be in charge of a variety of social media management tasks, including:

  • Writing text posts that inform and engage audiences

  • Posting photos and graphics with captions

  • Including relevant hashtags to boost a post's visibility on a platform

  • Responding to comments on posts, directly engaging with followers

  • Holding special contests and giveaways that encourage followers to share, like, comment and repost an organisation's content, boosting visibility

  • Conducting customer service over comments and private messages, including handling customer issues or directing them to the proper department

  • Monitoring the success of posts by reviewing metrics such as comments, likes, shares, views and clicks

  • Creating social media campaigns around a specific theme, topic or advertising strategy

  • Marketing products, services and events on behalf of their organisation or the individual they post for

  • Collaborating with other marketing and advertising professionals to create a cohesive and consistent brand identity, including social media personality

  • Promoting brand loyalty and an online community of followers

What qualifications do you need to be a social media manager?

In the field of social media management, your work experience, creativity and skills will outweigh any formal academic qualifications you have. You are eligible to pursue a career in social media management, even if you do not have any formal educational qualifications. This being said, to get ahead of the competition, you should consider pursuing these things:

A professional degree in a related field

Employers may sometimes prefer candidates with a formal academic record, in fields related to social media management, like marketing, journalism, public relations and management. Popular courses in these domains are BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) and MBA (Master of Business Administration) in marketing, BA (Bachelor of Arts) in journalism and BA in journalism and mass communication. These bachelor's courses typically take 3 years to complete.

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Online certifications

Several platforms offer online certification courses for social media management. Certifications from recognised platforms hold value in the market as employers can use them as verifiable proof of your skills.

Work experience and portfolio

Social media management is a fairly competitive field. Hence, it is important that you showcase your skills and expertise through tangible work experience. Curate your best social media campaign work and the associated visual and/or textual content you have created to build a portfolio.

A strong online presence

If you have good knowledge about social media platforms and their underlying algorithms, you should also know that it is a valuable and marketable skill. Your own social media profiles and handles can be used to generate a strong online presence, which reflects your expertise in the field. Additionally, you can also collaborate with artists, digital marketers, start-ups or non-profit organisations and gain exposure in return for your services.

What skills does a social media manager need?

As a social media manager, you will have to develop a range of soft and hard skills to be successful on the job. Here are some examples:

Hard skills

These are some of the hard skills you can develop:

  • Written communication: there should be clarity in your writing so that diverse audiences can grasp ideas quickly. You will have to write catchy slogans and captions and informative texts. You must also account for the attention span of your audiences to make your writing concise and effective. When you work with a client over an extended period of time, they may also expect you to maintain a consistent tone or style in your writing.

  • Social media knowledge: to make content effective, you will have to understand the benefits and shortcomings of the social media platforms you use. For example, you would not ideally prepare long text posts for Instagram, which is largely an image-based platform. When you create textual content for Instagram, you may support it with visual elements to grab the attention of your audience and anchor them toward the text. On the other hand, you will have to work largely with text alone, on platforms like Twitter.

  • Digital marketing tools: you can find a wide variety of marketing tools like calendar plugins, performance index trackers and content management systems. Learning to use these tools will help you streamline your work processes and save time. Many social media platforms themselves provide tools like metrics trackers and options to schedule posts.

  • Graphic design: depending on the nature of your work, you may have to develop a working knowledge of graphic design tools. Even if you are not directly involved in the content creation process, you should develop a basic understanding of the workflow to be able to guide a team of designers effectively.

  • Project management: as a social media manager you will be working on a variety of tasks on a project. Tasks may include creating content, training designers to create content, collecting images, video and text materials, tracking performance metrics and responding to user comments and client feedback. It will take good project management skills to schedule and complete tasks, in order to meet deadlines.

  • Analytical skills: social media managers are also responsible for analysing data and metrics to evaluate the performance of the campaigns they lead. They must be informed enough to forecast trends and plan for future market situations. You will have to develop a good understanding of user behaviour, to make your campaigns effective.

Soft skills

Some soft skills that help social media managers with their responsibilities include:

  • Customer service skills: as a social media manager, you will have to be empathetic and patient with your audience/consumers. You are not only in charge of the content you put out but also how it is perceived. Social media managers are a key part of the chain of communication between a brand and its audience, and hence have to take on customer support roles also.

  • Creativity: your creativity will enable you to make your content more engaging and effective. When combined with a goal-oriented mindset, creativity enables social media managers to create innovative means to reach out to audiences.

  • Interpersonal skills: in this line of work, you will be constantly interacting with people within your workgroup and outside it. You must be able to build a rapport with a diverse set of professionals to be effective at social media management. Good interpersonal skills will help you work smoothly with a team of professionals and also interact well with clients and audiences.

  • Time management skills: in social media management, you may not necessarily clock in and out like regular employees of a company. This is also a job that is largely done on a remote/work-from-home basis. Scheduling tasks and meeting deadlines is crucial in social media management, so you should develop good time management skills to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

How much do social media managers make?

Your pay as a social media manager will depend on your experience, qualifications and the scale of your operations. The average base salary for a social media manager is ₹3,01,887 per year. A similar career avenue is that of a content marketer. On average, content marketers make a base salary of ₹5,27,015 per year .

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

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