How to become a Social Media Manager

Social Media Manager

A social media manager uses applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to market their brand. They act as the voice of their company on these platforms and do everything from showcasing new products to answering customer queries.

A social media manager works on the various social channels of a brand to increase their presence and build a community. In recent years, many businesses have realised how much power this type of marketing has, and are now hiring an increasing amount of specialists in social media to work on their strategies across channels.

Social media managers might create Facebook ads, post a daily series of Instagram stories, and answer tweets asking customer service related questions, all in the same day. A social media manager may work alone, or have a team of people who they delegate tasks to.

The duties of a social media manager can differ depending on the company’s size, but they generally entail:

  • Strategizing across the main social media platforms, and working out how they can lever the platform to deliver their message in an impactful way (main social media platforms generally include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook).
  • Working out strategies for secondary social media platforms (such as Pinterest and TikTok) and considering which of these can be used to increase brand awareness, brand loyalty and sales.
  • Publishing thought-provoking, pre-planned posts across all social media channels (which is called proactive messaging).
  • Replying to comments on social media (which is called reactive messaging).
  • Creating and managing campaigns on social media channels.

A social media manager job description is thus very varied, but the role generally allows the employee to enjoy some creativity when fabricating posts and campaigns, while sticking to what has proved to work well for brands.

Tertiary education is not essential to become a social media manager; although some employers prefer either a degree or strong vocational experience. Relevant degrees include marketing, public relations, advertising, and media. It is also possible to enter the field in a social media assistant position and work up the career ladder.

Many social media manager vacancies require the candidate to have a strong social media presence themselves, and it’s often valuable if a candidate can offer one platform that they specialise in. Social media management is an easy field to get work experience in, as the candidate can simply create and grow social media accounts about topics that interest them.

Some candidates become a freelance social media manager. Most people doing this will have previous social media experience, whether that be from a previous in-house role or by creating strong social profiles independently. Businesses who are hiring a freelance social media manager will need to see excellent past examples and strategies that are proven to work.

Social media managers should have a dynamic personality and be happy to engage in conversation with strangers. Community-building is a key focus for social media managers, so candidates should have a friendly and inviting online persona. They also need to be organised and good at timekeeping, as they will likely be working across platforms.


What degree is most commonly held by a Social Media Manager?

  • Dip, BA or M of Marketing
  • Dip, BA or M of Communication and Media Studies
  • Dip, BA or M of Journalism
  • Dip, BA or M of Psychology
  • MBA
  • Dip, BA or M of Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia
  • Dip, BA or M of Communications
  • Dip, BA or M of Advertising

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: Medium
While jobs for social media managers are increasing across the globe, in both local and international businesses, and the knowledge required for the job is not normally country-specific, there are lots of applicants in each country who are willing to build up their own social media expertise and get qualified for the role. Therefore, companies are less likely to be willing to obtain a workplace visa for a foreign candidate. To secure a job as a social media manager in another country, candidates will need to have a lot of experience in the field and a proven aptitude, or potentially already be a resident in the country before applying.

What is the Salary of a Social Media Manager?

Experience Average salary | year
Social media coordinator / Social Media Executive 1-3 yrs $45,000 £24,000 $33,066
Social Media Specialist 3-5 yrs $97,000 £32,500 $38,574
Marketing Director / Head of Marketing 5-10 yrs $210,000 £70,000 $96,458

What skills are needed to become a Social Media Manager?

  • Social Media
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Microsoft Office
  • Customer Service
  • Facebook
  • Blogging
  • Public Relations
  • Copywriting
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Management
  • Editing
  • Advertising
  • Social Networking
  • Leadership
  • Digital Media
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Public Speaking
  • Event Planning
  • Microsoft Word
  • Marketing Communications
  • Research
  • Teamwork
  • Online Marketing

Social Media Management Courses

For those who are wondering how to become a social media manager, it’s a great idea to do some extra courses to get a solid grounding of what the career entails. At FutureLearn, we have courses such as Ethical Social Media and Digital Skills, which are perfect to get a head start in this career.
  • Create a Social Media Marketing Campaign

    Learn to plan and launch a successful social media marketing campaign with the Institute of Coding and the University of Leeds

  • Digital Skills: Social Media

    Learn how to use social media for business from creating a social media presence to measuring success

  • Social Media Analytics: Using Data to Understand Public Conversations

    How can you discover whats being said about the things that matter to you on social media platforms including Twitter

  • Digital Media Analytics: Social Media Research Plans

    Get to grips with social media analytics and prepare to launch your own social media analytics project

  • The Power of Social Media

    Explore the impact of social media on the world and learn how to put it to good use in everyday life

Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?

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