What Does a Social Media Manager Do?

We’ve all seen it before; a brand knocks it out of the park with their marketing campaign or witty reply on social media.

Or perhaps they fall short somewhere, leaving their community to question them.

Whether for good or bad, there’s a good chance that the replies to the Tweet or post will include something along the lines of the following statement.

Yet the reality is, social media managers have become one of the most essential marketers out there.

Over the last few years, nobody’s role has changed quite as much as the social media manager’s — thanks to the ever-evolving landscape of the internet. Let’s take a look at what this title has turned into, what it takes to become one, and what tools are necessary to be the perfect social media manager.

Today’s Jill of all trades: the social media manager.

‘Jill of All Trades’ used to be a description that came with a negative connotation, but social media managers have proved time and time again that having a multitude of skills is something to be proud of.

Social media managers create, communicate, analyze, and experiment. In our oversaturated digital world, they create buzz.

In the past, social media managers were an add-on to marketing teams, almost as if they were an after-thought. Smaller groups with tighter budgets thought they could simply assign the millennial intern to the role.

But just like millennials have grown up and dominated the workforce, social media has matured to be a vital marketing and sales channel.

Social media managers need to be:

  • Proactive and organized
  • Creative
  • Analytical
  • Strategic
  • Tech-savvy
  • Excellent community managers
  • Confident communicators
  • Great writers
  • Filmmakers
  • Storytellers
  • Empathetic and humorous
  • Understanding of customer journeys and multichannel touchpoints

Social media managers create campaigns, videos, and written content. They initiate and maintain relationships with other social media managers and digital marketers. They analyze and generate reports on KPIs and ROI on social media campaigns.

They are a bridge between marketing and sales for brands that use social platforms for social selling.

Of course, there’s another aspect to the job of social media manager that often gets forgotten by hopeful candidates and hiring managers alike: customer service.

Social media managers play a huge part in making sure customers experience consistency from top of the funnel on downward, which includes post-sale customer care. Social media managers will need to be familiar with social listening and the tools available to prevent and curb crisis — and also make happy customers even happier.

Social media managers will play a part in the conversations of how to drive your brand’s reputation forward with brand advocates, employee advocates, and more.

What to look for in a social media manager

We’ve covered the many hats that the social media manager wears and all of the different areas they need to be well-versed. But what does that translate to for an employee?

Or, if you’re looking to become a social media manager yourself, what skills should you be working on to become one?

  • Social Media Savvy – You don’t need to hire someone with a following, but having a thorough knowledge of the social media platforms out there helps a ton. Knowing how they work, how people use them, and what their demographics are interested in will make a big difference.
  • Marketing Knowledge – This can come from experience or a degree, but marketing knowledge is a must. There is a lot at stake when managing a brand’s reputation on social media platforms. It is necessary to understand traditional marketing theories and analytics to drive a brands’ reach.
  • Creativity – This is a must-have for any social media manager moving forward. With the ability to create amazing campaigns and plan content-focused feeds, you’ll want someone with a passion for creating fantastic content for your followers.
  • Customer Service – While social media masters don’t need to be masters of sales or to interact with angry customers directly, having the empathy and patience that comes with a customer service background will help. The chances are that social media managers will interact with their fair share of customers or community members at some point and they need to be empathetic, kind and able to represent your brand well.
  • Data-Driven – A great social media manager knows how to use data to make informed decisions on their strategy. They know how to extrapolate information out of reports to understand how specific social networks are performing. They take a data-driven approach to measure goals and understand how to track their progress continuously.

Tools of the Trade for Social Media Managers

Social media management is a craft and, at the same time, somewhat technical.

Social media managers need to know which tools will help them curate, schedule and analyze the content that is most important to their strategy.

Here are a few types of tools managers can use to make being a social media manager more manageable:

  • Project Management and Collaboration Platforms: Social media managers do not work alone. They need a space to coordinate with their team to create engaging content and make sure everything is running up to speed.
  • Social Media Publishing Tools: Brands can keep their content steadily flowing when posts are scheduled ahead of time. Social media managers are often managing multiple accounts across different channels. These tools ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Social Analytics Tools: Social media analytics tools enable managers to analyze trends, followers, engagement and ROI.
  • Social Listening Tools: The voice of the customer is what matters most. Social media managers can say what audiences are saying to build on positive experiences and to put out fires as they come.
  • Employee Advocacy Tools: Employees are your most valuable asset on social media. Their posts are trusted more than branded accounts and reach far more people. Employee advocacy is hard to achieve without a tool because employees won’t know what content to share or feel motivated to participate in. To learn more about employee advocacy, read our guide here.

Of course, the social media manager is not going to create all of your content moving forward — there are specialists for video, content writing, design and advertisements. The role of the social media manager is to see the whole picture and bring all the different pieces together.

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