Social Media Marketer: Where to Start + How to Succeed
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Social media marketing is a relatively new discipline within the field of digital marketing. This makes for an exciting and ever-evolving profession, where social media marketers are rewarded for being nimble and adapting to changing social media trends. But the profession’s newness also means that it is often poorly understood.
While the job title of social media marketer might suggest a professional who simply runs a company’s social media accounts and posts social content, it’s actually a much more complex and strategic role. Social media marketers have to be knowledgeable about audience engagement, social media analytics, social media auditing, and content creation.
Want to learn more about how to launch a career as a social media marketer? Then keep reading.
What Is a Social Media Marketer?
A social media marketer is a type of digital marketer who specializes in social media strategy. In practice, this means having intimate and up-to-date knowledge of social media platforms, understanding which social networks are best suited for different marketing goals, developing methods for growing a user base and reaching potential customers, using social channels to increase conversions, and tracking the results of social media marketing efforts to improve future campaigns.
The Role: What Does a Social Media Marketer Do?
In addition to steering a company’s social media presence, social media marketers have many other responsibilities. These include:
Oversee a Social Media Strategy or Channel
Social media marketers are responsible for both managing a company’s social media channels (i.e. maintaining login information, keeping track of all old, new, active, and defunct accounts, and publishing social media content) and overseeing a brand’s larger social media marketing strategy. Depending on the size of the digital marketing team, a social media marketer might be responsible for developing and implementing the digital marketing strategy for social media platforms, or they might be responsible for just a portion of the campaign.
Related Read: Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing
Contribute to Social Content Planning and Execution
Social media marketers have a strong understanding of a company’s marketing goals and are able to create different kinds of content, social media posts, and campaigns to help an organization reach those goals. In addition to content planning and development, social media marketers also create and maintain content calendars and oversee the execution of social media campaigns.
Grow and Engage Followers
The best social media marketers have their finger on the pulse of consumer behavior, social media trends, and the movements and interests of their target audience. Using this data, they are able to reach and engage potential customers through publishing and sharing content that is most likely to connect with customers, whether it’s user-generated content, blog posts, memes, or directly responding to customer questions and feedback.
Define and Track Social Media KPis
Any digital marketer worth their salt will define a campaign’s goals and identify the social media key performance indicators (KPIs) so that the campaign’s efficacy can be measured. Social media marketers are no different—in addition to setting clear goals, they use social media management tools and analytics platforms to track metrics such as growth, reach, engagement, brand awareness, and conversions.
Perform Regular Audits of Goals and the Competition
Social media audits are an important responsibility of social media marketers. Using a combination of competitor analysis, social media analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite, and checking different platforms for visual and tonal consistencies, social marketers can identify the strengths and weaknesses of current and past campaigns and make improvements for future campaigns.
How Much Do Social Media Marketers Make?
A social media marketer’s salary will vary depending on their years of experience, level of education, location, and industry.
Entry-level social media marketers with up to three years of experience can make around $68,000 a year, according to Glassdoor.
Social media marketers with more than three years of experience can make around $81,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. In larger markets such as San Francisco and New York City, social media marketers can make more than $100,000.
Social media marketers with more than eight years of experience can make around $88,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. In larger markets such as San Francisco or New York City, social media marketers at this level can make around $150,000.
Social Media Job Titles: Is There a Difference?
Some organizations use different social media job titles interchangeably, but there are distinctive differences in the roles and responsibilities of different social media professionals.
Social Media Marketer
A social media marketer is the broadest job title within the discipline. It typically refers to someone who has expertise in social media platforms and trends, and who applies that knowledge toward social media marketing campaigns, content development, managing a social media calendar, tracking social media analytics, interacting with customers over social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and identifying ways to improve a company’s social media marketing strategy.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Social media managers are a type of digital marketing manager. Depending on the organization they work for, they might have duties similar to that of a social media marketer (planning, producing, deploying, and tracking social content), or they might manage a team of social media marketers, oversee the entire social media marketing plan, and be responsible for measuring a campaign’s return on investment.
Related Read: How To Become a Social Media Manager With No Experience
Social Media Consultant
Consultants are typically hired to audit a company’s social media marketing strategy, support a marketing team for the launch of a campaign, or fill in any social media expertise gaps an organization might have. Social media consultants usually have expertise in social media trends, strategy development, and audience growth.
Freelancing Social Media Marketer
Similar to social media consultants, a freelance social media marketer is a social media specialist brought on to support a team, assist with a campaign, or fill a knowledge or expertise gap. They often work with multiple clients at a time, although it’s not unusual for a company to keep a freelancer on retainer and have them run the organization’s social media strategy. While freelancing typically offers less stability than being in-house, freelance social media consultants have the benefit of job flexibility and being selective about the clients and projects they take on.
Where to Start: How Can You Become a Social Media Marketer?
Ready to start your career as a social media marketer? Follow these steps:
Pick a Channel or Industry That Interests You
Social media marketing will require you to create, promote, and share content about a company, product, or service. The ultimate goal is to grow a brand’s customer base, which will hopefully translate to an increase in sales. In order to stay passionate and excited about the work, choose an industry that interests you, or find an area within social media marketing that you enjoy in which to develop expertise.
Look for Entry-level or Related Roles
If you don’t immediately land a social media marketer, don’t despair. There are many entry-level digital marketing jobs and digital marketing adjacent professions that share essential skills with social media marketers, such as content strategy, public relations, customer service, SEO, influencer marketing, and customer experience. All relevant work experience can help you become a better social media marketer.
Build (and Grow) Your Own Channel or Profile
One of the ways to prove to hiring managers that you have what it takes to help a company expand its customer base and increase audience engagement is by doing it for your own channels and profiles. Find ways to attain audience growth, keep track of the different types of content produced for different channels (i.e. visual content, blog posts, memes, and infographics) log your KPIs, and be prepared to explain how you achieved social growth.
Work on Your Own Processes for Audits, Content Planning, and KPI Tracking
Given the relative newness of social media marketing, the processes of tracking social media metrics, managing social media accounts and profiles, and developing effective marketing strategies are constantly evolving. This means that you can experiment on your own and come up with your own processes. You don’t have to wait until you land a job in social media marketing before you play around with auditing tools, content planning, or KPI management.
Visualize Everything in a Resume or Portfolio
By this point, you’ve likely done a lot of work in your own time to develop the skills and relevant experience needed to be a social media marketer. Don’t let it go to waste—make sure you visualize everything you’ve achieved in a resume or portfolio. This means creating charts and infographics based on your own case studies that show the measurement of key metrics, the growth of KPIs, and the ways in which you used different social media platforms to achieve your goals.
Related Read: How To Get Into Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketer FAQs
Still have questions about what it takes to become a social media marketer? We have answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
Is Social Media Marketing a Good Career?
Yes! Social marketers are in high demand, with employers looking for marketers who have experience in paid social media, analytics, and social media advertising. With strong job growth, competitive salaries, and opportunities to work on the cutting edge of digital marketing, social media marketing can be an exciting and rewarding career.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Media Marketer?
The time it takes to become a social media marketer can greatly vary. Those who pursue a college degree in marketing will spend four years in a program compared to those who enroll in a comprehensive online bootcamp, which might only take eight weeks to complete. It is also possible to get a foot in the social media marketing door without marketing experience or training.
Can You Become a Social Media Marketer Without a Degree?
The short answer is yes, you can become a social media marketer without a degree. Many digital marketers train for their professions with the help of free online marketing classes or by enrolling in an online bootcamp that teaches everything they need to know to get started, such as the soft skills required to excel in social media marketing, the technical skills needed to run successful campaigns, and the fundamentals of content digital marketing strategies.
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