How to Become a Social Media Manager
What is a social media manager?
A social media manager manages social media accounts for a company. This can include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. They are responsible for growing and maintaining engagement by posting on different channels, analyzing metrics and optimizing media strategies.
According to Juliette Dallas-Feeney, Senior Social Media Manager at Birchbox, the role is “the perfect combination of storytelling and analytics.” Social media managers are all about engagement, which means that their primary focus is to create social posts that will resonate with audiences across multiple platforms. Day-to-day, this involves staying on top of media trends and making sure that marketing messages are consistent across all channels. Another key part of the role is building a community around a brand.
What skills do you need in order to become a social media manager?
Social media management requires creativity and an analytical brain. The type of person who does best in this role possesses the following skills.
Crafting engaging posts is a key part of this role. This means writing copy that resonates in the brand voice and adapting that copy to fit different platforms. Whether it’s a tweet or a Facebook post, your writing should appeal to as many users as possible.
Being creative and taking chances is also important. “There is a ton of room for experimentation in social media. The key to being successful is trying anything and everything and understanding what sticks,” Juliette explains. This means brainstorming new strategies and testing them out to find the ones with the highest impact.
Social media managers also have to be analytical. “You have to understand metrics and be able to see what’s working and what’s not,” Juliette says. This is because social media relies heavily on analytics in order to test different ideas and find the best ways of communicating with users. You’ll also need to have experience with programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets to record and analyze the metrics provided by each of the channels you manage.
Last but not least, social media managers have to be well-versed in customer service. Social media platforms are often the first point of contact for many customers of big brands like Birchbox, so finding ways to address problems and highlight successes is one of the key parts of this role.
Pro Tip: Graphic design is another key skill for social media managers and knowing your way around Photoshop and Canva will make you stand out from the pack. If your design skills could use some help, try taking a free online class at places like Khan Academy or Open Learning.
How do you get started in the industry?
One of the key steps to landing a job in social media is to build your own social media brand. “Having your own social media presence is really important,” Juliette explains. This is something she looks for when hiring new members of her team at Birchbox. Your social accounts will serve as your digital portfolio, showcasing your creativity and communication skills for potential employers. To build your social media brand effectively, make your accounts public and make your voice a mix of professional and fun. Above all, be authentic. This is one of the key tenets of social media and something that companies strive to do when developing and maintaining their brand voice.
Once you’ve established a social media presence, offer to help businesses with their social media accounts. Start small and focus on building a portfolio and tracking success by measuring engagement and growth across platforms. After you have some experience under your belt (and some impressive numbers to share) apply for paid and unpaid internships or freelance projects within the field. These roles will give you the hands-on experience you need to land your first entry-level job, and will help you determine whether a social media job is a good fit for you.
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