Want to Become a Social Media Manager in 2024? Follow These Tips

Tagging. Posting. Linking. Tweeting. Sharing. Following. With the swipe or tap of a finger, you likely take part in some or all of these actions every day. But have you ever imagined getting paid for it?

In 2024, marketing is no longer limited to print or television ads. Companies are in vital need of social media managers in order to stay relevant and connect with customers.

How can you get in on this fun, fresh, and sought-after career path? We’ve got the deets you need below.

What Social Media Managers Do—Understanding the Responsibilities

Today, social media is ubiquitous—it touches every part of our lives. As such, it has become a valuable channel through which companies expand their reach, interact with customers, and enforce their brand identities.

According to Forbes, social media managers have four primary tasks:

  1. Creating social media-based advertising strategies that harmonize with the brand’s personality.
  2. Posting content and engaging with users; this may include writing content copy, taking photos, editing graphics, and responding to comments and direct messages.
  3. Staying up-to-date on social media trends, including changes to social media algorithms, what’s going viral, and compliance with best practices.
  4. Analyzing results and making reports. This includes quantitative data, such as engagement or conversion, as well as qualitative data, like what users are saying about the brand or its competitors in comments or in their own posts.

Social Media Manager Job Prospects and Requirements

Many social media managers have studied marketing or communications. Some positions, but not all, may require a bachelor’s degree. A degree will be more important when seeking in-house positions than when freelancing or starting your own business. For the latter, a strong portfolio and deep understanding of social media may be all you need.

Because of the broad reach of social media, managers are needed in virtually every industry. Even non-profits, public figures, and government entities maintain a social media presence. A background in a given industry may be as relevant as a marketing degree.

Each social media manager position will naturally have different responsibilities and requirements. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each one. You can use a free online resume builder, putting your computer and marketing skills to use.

One Career, Many Paths

The field of social media management is constantly evolving, so there is not just a single path you must take to get there. Forbes, mentioned earlier, advises three potential stepping stones no matter where you’re starting from.

Get a Degree

As discussed above, large companies and marketing agencies may require that new hires present a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Therefore, university studies are one path to a social media marketing career. Marketing, communications, public relations (PR), psychology, and journalism degrees to consider. 

Alternatively, you might decide to pivot from another industry. In that case, do not worry about a marketing degree. Likely, your understanding and existing education in your field will suffice. You may take online classes or get a certification to bolster your communication, technology, or marketing.

Gain Hands-On Experience

Whether you’re fresh out of college or mid-career, experience in social media marketing is the next important step.

Likely, you already maintain your own social media accounts. Use what you’ve learned to gain followers and boost engagement. These are the same tasks you will undertake as a social media manager. You can also volunteer to manage the account of a club or non-profit or pick up a few paid gigs.

Your first job in social media management will likely be an entry-level one. You might start out as a digital content creator, marketing assistant, or social media associate before moving on to a managerial role.

Build Your Portfolio

Your portfolio will speak volumes about your skills. Over time, collect screenshots and links to such features as:

  • High engagement rates (anything above 5 percent)
  • Increases in followers, views, or likes
  • Successful, memorable campaigns
  • Increased conversion rates
  • Well-known brands you’ve worked with

You can also summarize your portfolio in a one to two-page media kit. Such kits are often brightly colored and full of graphics, highlighting your design style. They portray your most useful statistics.

Additional Skills to Consider

Because the field of social media management is growing rapidly, there are plenty of niches to explore. For example, if you speak more than one language, consider specializing in multilingual social media content. Today, many companies do business internationally, and they need social media content translated to connect with consumers outside the United States. Even U.S.-based companies may desire to engage foreign-language speakers within their current markets.

Other valuable niche skills may include but are not limited to video animation, drone photography, scuba diving, and underwater photography. These uncommon skills can provide the basis for unique content.

Key Takeaways

Social media marketing is a growing field. If you understand and love using social media, there’s a place for you in it, whether you’re on a college path or learning through experience.