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Job profile: Social media manager

Today’s blog is another in-depth look at one of the digital jobs we frequently recruit for. What’s it like being a social media manager? What do you actually do? How much will you get paid?

WHAT DOES A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER DO?

Ok, so maybe it sounds obvious. You manage the social media output and engagement of a particular organisation. Simple, right?

What that looks like in practice varies hugely. You might be in charge of the full social media portfolio for a company, incorporating multiple different channels, or, for a large organisation, you might be part of a team that works on, say, Twitter alone.

Your role might have a strong focus on generating new content to use on social media – in which case you’ll probably have a website copywriting strand to your job – or you might be more of a customer service executive, focusing most of your energies on responding to customer questions interactions. You might work in-house, as the sole social media manager or as part of a team, or you might work in a digital marketing agency, looking after multiple clients.

Yep, social media management is a far more varied area to work in than you might think, which means there’s plenty of flexibility to hone in on the channels and skills that you like best.

What all social media jobs have in common is that you are responsible for part of a brand’s outward-facing communication. As such, you have to be absolutely in tune with your employer’s or client’s tone of voice, key messaging and brand.

WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL SKILLS?

Social media managers are part of organisations’ communications and marketing functions, so the key skills to be able to demonstrate are your ability to communicate clearly, concisely, on brand and under pressure.

Social media management is both proactive and reactive. The proactive elements require you to plan, think strategically and build social media content that reflects your company’s brand and builds towards its goals.

The reactive elements require you to think on your feet, be cool-headed under pressure and generate clear, on-brand content extremely quickly.

Work in social media management for a large online business and you may find yourself fielding social media questions, compliments and, inevitably, complaints on a minute by minute basis.

You’ll have to be able to demonstrate good writing skills – many social media managers have degrees in arts or humanities subjects, though this isn’t essential. But you’ll also need to be numerate enough to make sense of social media analytics, and tailor your work accordingly.

Social media managers use specialist tools and platforms to schedule social media content and manage their engagements, such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Sprout Social. Training in one or more of these will usually be provided in junior roles, but as you get more experienced you will be expected to bring these skills to the table as a matter of course.

Social media is a very popular area of digital marketing to work in, so you’ll also need to demonstrate a real passion both for a range of social media channels, and for the brand you are applying to work with. Needless to say, you should be a passionate personal user of social media too!

HOW MUCH DO THEY GET PAID?

Social media executives who are new to the game tend to start on salaries similar to other junior marketing executives – a range of around £18k through to the early twenties. You may find that in-house roles start on slightly higher salaries – though of course you won’t be exposed to as much of a variety of clients.

Social media managers usually earn around the £30k to £38k mark. From there, career paths really depend on the size of the organisation they work for.

In a massive organisation with a large social team, social media managers can move to fairly senior positions without diversifying a great deal. However, in many positions, and especially agency-side, it is common for senior social media managers to also be covering other aspects of digital marketing, communications or ecommerce. This opens up the possibility of eventually moving into heads of digital marketing positions, at upwards of £70k.

Interested in learning more about a career in social media marketing? Give our specialist creative and marketing recruitment team a call on 0161 714 0600, or email info@instinct.co.uk.