What is a Social Media Manager?

 If you’re passionate about media trends and spend most of your time on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, you may be thinking about turning your love for social media into a career. The good news is that social media is one of the fastest-growing industries around and there are plenty of career opportunities available for those who are passionate about working in this field. A few of the most popular social media jobs include being a digital strategist, a community manager or a social media manager. Although these roles have several things in common, such as understanding how to engage an audience and create positive buzz around a company, if you’re interested in fully developing and managing the voice of a brand, then becoming a social media manager is the role for you.

We recently sat down with Juliette Dallas-Feeney, Senior Social Media Manager at Birchbox, to learn more about what it means to be a social manager and to get some tips on how to do it right.

What does a social media manager do?

A social media manager develops a company’s social media strategy and manages their social channels. This often includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest. In addition to being the voice of a brand, social media managers analyze the results of their campaigns by tracking engagement metrics such as likes, clicks and shares.

What are some of the responsibilities of a social media manager?

The primary responsibilities of social media managers include crafting engaging posts, analyzing campaign performance and communicating with people via the company’s social channels. For example, Juliette’s day-to-day responsibilities include making sure that the company voice is always consistent and that there is a strong community feel across all Birchbox’s social platforms. “I’m leading our entire social media strategy and figuring out how we can combine our marketing messages and make our community fall in love with us,” she explains. Working on those two things in tandem means always being aware of what users are looking for in a brand and being able to deliver that on all channels simultaneously.

What are some of the challenges social media managers face?

Since social media relies heavily on timely, relevant content, staying on top trends can be challenging. It’s what Juliette describes as a “24/7” job because it requires you to know what’s trending on your channels (and in your industry) at all times. One of the other challenges social media managers face is understanding how to use metrics effectively and how to optimize campaigns based on those metrics. But if you’re afraid that these challenges make social media management overwhelming or boring, don’t be. Juliette’s favorite part of her work at Birchbox? “Playing and experimenting all the time,” she says.

As a rapidly growing and changing field, social media is a great career path for those who are excited to uncover new trends and capitalize on them. If this sounds like a job you’d be interesting in taking on, then becoming a social media manager might just be for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for In an Internship and find answers to common interview questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here?

What Does a Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager Look Like?

If you’re thinking of becoming a social media manager, you might be wondering what your daily schedule will look like. Will you be spending all day posting on Facebook and Instagram? How much time will you need to dedicate to analytics and reporting? To help you understand the day-to-day experience of working in social media, we decided to break down the tasks social media managers tackle each day, focusing on both the more popular parts of the job and some you might not know too much about.

Here’s what the schedule of a social media manager looks like:

Morning: Checking Channels, Scanning News Sites, Creating Social Posts

Since social media runs on a 24-hour cycle, it’s important for social media managers to be aware of what’s going on with their channels at all times and to be on top of current news trends. “A lot of people think I’m just painting my nails and Snapchatting all day, but there’s so much more to it than that,” explains Juliette Dallas-Feeney, Senior Social Media Manager at Birchbox.

Checking channels

For most social media managers, the day begins with a quick check on what’s going on with all of the company’s social channels. If there are any questions or comments that require immediate responses, these are typically taken care of first thing in the morning.

Scanning news sites

Once all of the company’s channels have been checked and questions answered, social media managers normally scan news sites for breaking news stories or trending topics related to the specific industry the company is a part of.

Creating social posts

Having a handle on the day’s news is especially useful for crafting engaging posts, which is the next item on the agenda and usually wraps up a social media manager’s morning. Although this part of the day usually only takes 2-3 hours it’s one of the most important because this is the part that the brand’s community actually sees.

Afternoon: Analyzing Campaign Performance, Planning, Meetings

With social posts out of the way, social media managers generally spend the afternoon analyzing campaign performance and developing new strategies and campaigns.

Analyzing campaign performance

Tracking campaign performance is one of the keys to ensuring successful outcomes. In order to get a sense of how these campaigns are performing, social media managers use a mix of different analytics tools designed to measure engagement such as likes, shares and clicks. In turn, these factors correlate to website traffic and customer acquisition which directly affect a company’s revenue.


Strategizing and planning are two of the key areas of any social media job and something that social media managers always focus on. This part of the day generally includes creating content for current social media campaigns or planning out new strategies to test on both existing and emerging platforms.


Another key part of a social media manager’s day, and one that often goes hand in hand with planning, is attending meetings. These meetings are generally focused on ensuring that the company’s messages are consistent across all of its channels and that the social media strategy takes into account things like new product launches and company news.

As an innovative and fast-growing industry, social media offers great opportunities to represent a brand. In order to do that well, “It’s important to be able to wear many different hats and be really scrappy,” Juliette explains. By having a clear idea of what to expect in the role, you’ll be able to position yourself to land a job at a great brand like Birchbox. And when you’re ready to prepare for the interview, we have some great interview advice to help you put your best foot forward.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 5 Things You Must Do to Prepare for Your Video Interview and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Relocate?

How to Be a Successful Social Media Manager

Working in social media requires a mix of creativity, analysis and knowledge of media trends. In fact, according to Birchbox’s Senior Social Media Manager, Juliette Dallas-Feeney, combining these three things effectively is the key to a successful career in social media. “You have to be creative and thoughtful and be able to adapt quickly because it’s such a fast-moving industry,” she explains. The best way to do this is by having in-depth knowledge of your channels and maximizing their potential through the effective use of testing and analytics.

Here are some things to focus on if you want to maximize success.

1. Be an expert on your social channels

Being successful as a social media manager starts with knowing your channels. This means understanding the most effective use of each channel and setting goals that are specific to each one. For example, if Facebook is the biggest traffic driver for your website, knowing what drives engagement on this channel (and how to capitalize on that) should be your main priority.

Pro Tip: Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does work so be sure to keep a close eye on your campaigns and optimize your results by testing.

2. Know what your competitors are doing

As well as being an expert on your own channels, being successful means knowing what others in the space are doing. Are they designing campaigns based on trending news stories or using paid ads in a specific way? Those are both great things to be aware of. Although you don’t need to imitate your competitors, it’s important to understand what they’re doing and why. This will give you a sense of how to streamline your own campaigns and what you should be testing on your channels.

3. Set aggressive but realistic goals

Once you have a full understanding of your channels and your competitors, the next step is setting goals that are aggressive but achievable. In order to do that, it’s important to understand how your channels are performing and to develop goals based on previous performance. For Juliette and the Birchbox team, this means focusing on engagement as their primary goal. “Our main goal is to be engaging as many people as possible every single day,” she explains, emphasizing Birchbox’s interaction their community. Doing so will not only improve your relationship with your existing community but will also help the continued growth of the brand.

4. Use analytics effectively

Few things are as important for optimizing social campaigns as understanding what’s working and why. “There’s a ton of room for experimentation in social media and that’s really key to being successful,” Juliette says. The best way to experiment effectively is by tracking every test you run and using metrics from analytics tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to optimize your campaigns as needed.

5. Learn the basics of graphic design

Although graphic design skills aren’t a “must-have” for a position in social media, having them will definitely help you do your job more effectively, particularly since graphics are becoming increasingly important for engagement. This means using tools like Canva or Buffer to design graphics that can be used across all of your social channels and creating unique memes and gifs to show off your brand’s unique personality.

Although there’s no magic formula for being a successful social media manager, by following these steps you’ll be sure to maximize engagement and increase awareness for your brand.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 5 Things You Must Do to Prepare for Your Video Interview and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Relocate?

Top Locations for a Social Media Job

You’ve decided that you want to become a social media manager and you’ve researched interview tips to help you land the job. Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, the next step is to consider the top locations for this industry and find one that suits you.

Here are the top locations for a social media job.

1. New York, NY

New York is considered the hub of digital media for a good reason. It has more than double the number of social media jobs of any other city in the country. This includes everything from digital strategists to copywriters and social media managers. With so many available jobs, there’s a lot of opportunity to advance quickly in the field, making it a great place to start your career.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in New York is $49,000, 15% higher than the national average.

2. San Francisco, CA

With its bustling tech startup scene, the Golden City comes in second when it comes to social media jobs. Like its East coast counterpart, San Francisco offers great opportunities for those just beginning their careers. The increased demand for social media positions in the city also ensures that you’ll be able to find more advanced roles as you advance in the field. Added bonus: San Francisco has the highest paid social media jobs in the country.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in San Francisco is $55,000, 33% higher than the national average.

3. Chicago, IL

Another city with a thriving digital media industry, Chicago has plenty of opportunities for college students and recent grads who are interested in helping brands manage their social media presence. If you’re interested in combining your social media skills with a passion for other industries, this city also has opportunities for social media managers in the financial and medical fields.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in Chicago is $43,000, 3% higher than the national average.

4. Los Angeles, CA

Known as the birthplace of the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is one of the best places to be if you’re interested in social media marketing for news outlets, celebrity magazines and luxury brands. The city also has an emerging startup scene, meaning that there is a lot of opportunity to manage social channels for innovative tech companies too.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in Los Angeles is $44,000, 6% higher than the national average.

5. Washington, DC

If you’re interested in politics, chances are you’ve already thought about moving to Washington D.C. after graduation. And that’s great news because the city has plenty of social media jobs available, especially for news outlets and political organizations.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in Washington D.C is $48,000, 15% higher than the national average.

Landing a great social media job or internship doesn’t just involve building your personal brand and preparing for the interview. It’s also about knowing what kind of lifestyle you want and where you want to live. By knowing which locations offer the best jobs, you can ensure that you’ll find a role that’s right for you in a great location.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Networking Offline and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Different Types of Public Relations Jobs?.