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What Is a Social Media Manager?


A social media manager (SMM) uses social networks like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and more to connect with audiences, tell a brand’s story, and raise brand awareness. 

Today, standing out in digital noise to connect with a brand’s audience is harder than ever. As a social media manager, you have the opportunity to represent a brand and help create strategies that connect with audiences. If you’re looking for an exciting career where no two days are the same and you’re able to stretch your creativity muscles, consider a role in social media management.


What Does a Social Media Manager Do?

Planning and creating content is a key piece of social media management. Since every network is different, social media managers need to ensure captions, formats, and images align with platform requirements. Here are some common SMM responsibilities:

  • Own branded social media channels. Social media managers are well-versed in a variety of different social media channels and are often required to oversee and run each one. Additionally, if new platforms arise, SMMs need to adapt and learn new platforms if relevant to the brand. 
  • Create social media marketing strategy. From lead generation to customer conversions, marketing aims to meet relevant business goals. Based on these goals, SMMs create a multi-channel marketing strategy to meet customers on various social platforms.    
  • Develop social and ad campaigns. SMMs working for an eCommerce store may run campaigns as a part of a product launch. SMMs working for a non-profit might run campaigns to drive fundraising or open-house visits. No matter the organization, social media and ad management can work together to meet business goals, and SMMs help make that happen. 
  • Oversee approval and scheduling for all platforms. SMMs often supervise team members and approve content. Or, they might work with a handful of freelancers to get the job done. Either way, being an SMM means editing and guiding others to meet content expectations. 
  • Monitoring social and ad performance. Along with overseeing various platforms and a team of content creators, SMMs need to have an understanding of social media analytics. Tracking and reporting performance helps organizations allocate funds and adapt campaign strategies accordingly. 


How Do I Become a Social Media Manager?

Because social media is such an important part of so many different businesses and organizations, every path to social media management is unique. Some go straight into social media after graduating college. Others discover their love for marketing after working for a year or more in a different role and go on to work in social media in a similar industry.

Here are some of the most common steps to becoming a social media manager:

Step One: Get your bachelor’s degree.

As far as degree requirements go, many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree to start. But the good news is: because social media is still a newer field, you have options for what you can study. Typically employers require a degree in journalism, communications, marketing, or public relations. 

Step Two: Build your portfolio.

Whether at an internship, through a freelance role, or an entry-level job, you’ll want to start building your portfolio to demonstrate your social media marketing abilities. Grab screenshots, gather analytics, and keep track of your campaigns and progress so you can share with future employers or clients. 

Step Three: Become a social media coordinator.

To become an effective social media manager, you need first-hand experience. Employers want to know you have a proven track record and the ability to create engaging social media content. 

While many marketing and public relations positions can lead to an entry-level social media role, more often than not you’ll need a year or more of experience before shifting to a managerial role. However, if you have managerial experience in other fields, you may be able to shift sooner with the right portfolio and experience. 

Step Four:  Advance to social media manager.

Creating and implementing marketing strategies will be a significant part of your role as a social media manager. As long as you can demonstrate your strategy, planning, and content creation abilities, you’ll be on your way in no time.

Best Degrees for a Social Media Manager

Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 71% of graduates finish within 40 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 total courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing and PR manager
  • Director of marketing and communications
  • Director of publications
  • Customer intelligence manager
  • Marketing sales manager

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.

Marketing – M.S.

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on either...

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on either digital marketing or marketing analytics.

  • Time: 72% of graduates finish WGU master's programs in 24 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program
  • Program Options: Students choose from two degrees to focus their marketing studies on digital marketing or marketing analytics.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Marketing director
  • SEO manager
  • SEM manager
  • Email manager

A marketing master's degree will help you prepare for a wide range of exciting marketing careers.

How Much Does a Social Media Manager Make?


Entry-level social media managers with less than a year of experience can expect closer to $56,213 According to PayScale, the average base salary for most Social Media Managers is $51,585, with the range for mid-level social media managers falling between $63,000 and $85,000. 

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects managers in the marketing field to grow by 6% from now through 2029. As organizations expand their social media marketing efforts, the need for social media managers will continue to grow to spread brand awareness online.


What Skills Does a Social Media Manager have?

From small companies to massive corporations, nonprofits to colleges, social media management is needed across industries. Social media managers help organizations communicate and engage with their audiences (whether customers, donors, students, or clients). 

The world of social media moves fast, so acting on your feet and adapting to changing trends are necessary skills for success. Other qualifications for social media managers include:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Comfortable articulating ideas and expressing thoughtful perspectives  
  • Strong time management and prioritization skills
  • Creative skills for developing unique campaigns, posts, and strategies
  • Comfortable with learning how to use different software and technologies
  • Strong copy-editing and proofreading abilities 
  • An eye for design and the ability to carefully consider the aesthetic of images and copy  
  • Knowledge of digital and traditional marketing fundamentals 
  • Deep understanding of various social media platforms
  • Strong interpersonal skills to build relationships both in-person and online

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No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

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Interested In Becoming a Social Media Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.