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What It Takes To Become A Social Media Manager: A Complete Guide

As the name suggests, the social media manager is responsible for effectively managing a company’s account on different social media channels such as Social networking channels like Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, Microblogging channels like Twitter and Tumblr, Photo sharing apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, Video sharing apps such as YouTube and Facebook Live

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Unless you were living under a rock, it is highly rare to not know about social media. With nearly 50% of the world population using social media and a million more to join in years ahead, it is impossible to deny the power social media holds.

The digital platform once solely used to chat and share photos, videos, ideas, and information is now being aggressively utilized by sellers to market their businesses, organizations, brands, products, or services.


From bloggers to sale consultants to small and large brands, all need a “Social Media Manager” for social media management. This has created an enormous opportunity for people who love taking on challenges every day.


I know many of you must be unfamiliar with this term. Just type “social media manager jobs” on any employment website and you will find how huge the demand for this job is.



Most of you must be thinking it is all about writing content, posting memes, and videos. Well, this is also a part of the job but besides these, many other responsibilities also lie on the shoulder of a company’s social media account manager.


The main responsibility of social media managers lies in enhancing the online presence of a company by promoting it on different social media channels. Their everyday work involves writing and posting crispy and engaging content, creating and/or posting sharable videos and images, monitoring and responding to audience comments on the posts.


In short, they are representative of a brand or company across all social channels and are responsible for creating brand awareness and connecting with the audience through these channels.


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Key Responsibilities of a social media manager

With a diverse set of responsibilities, social media managers have to play versatile roles not only as a manager, but also as marketers, strategists, analysts, designers, copyeditors, and customer service reps. Depending on the scale of a company, they are required to perform some or all the following tasks/responsibilities:


  • Handling and promoting all the social media accounts of a company, including building out new ones
  • Developing and executing platform-specific strategies for marketing in tune with business objectives and goals.
  • Strategize and implement the digital campaigns of various scopes across social channels (awareness campaigns, contests, product launches, etc)
  • Collect, organize and analyze the data and statistics from these campaigns using various analytical tools
  • Working together with the designer and/or editorial team to create novel content (illustrations, memes)
  • Edit, approve, and schedule updates of all posts for all platforms
  • Tracking the growth, reach, and web traffic driven to the social media accounts
  • Be aware of the latest trends, tools, and technology
  • Networking and strengthening partnerships with various other brands, influencers, and social media companies.
  • Curating all the ideas, information, and content including images, texts, and videos
  • Overseeing all paid advertising including planning new ones
  • Keeping in touch with followers on social media channels
  • Using social monitoring and social listening to make well-informed decisions
  • Analyzing the performance of your content to create new strategies and/or contribute to the company’s PR policies


Now you know all about what exactly this job demands, some of you must be thinking about whether you can become one? What are the eligibility criteria or qualifications required?  Is there a specific degree you need to hold or a particular course or diploma you need to have? All these questions must be springing into your head.


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Qualification for a social media manager

Well, the happy news is you don’t need any specific qualifications to become one. But like many other jobs out there, a bachelor’s degree is usually required by many companies. Also, a degree in business management, marketing, media and communication, public relations, or digital marketing will work as icing on the cake.


Candidates with experience are preferable over others. So before applying for the position, work as a part-time or intern in some company or organization to gain some valuable insights.



There are also various certificate courses available such as Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification, HubSpot Academy Social Media Certification, Social Media Strategist Certification, and Facebook Blueprint. These are not mandatory but will surely add to your list of achievements.


But you see this job is not about just holding a degree, as it demands a diverse set of skills.


Skills needed to become a social media manager

You need to be a jack of all trades to be successful in this career. You should know all the basics of most popular social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and how each platform differs from the others. In knowing so, you can maximize the benefits from each of these social channels. Also, understanding and recognizing the audience on each medium will help you create platform-specific marketing strategies.


  • Excellent Creative skills

It is a job requiring one to create and develop innovative content and campaign ideas for the promotion of the company. It also involves coming up with short-term strategies to keep in trend with the market. Unique and buzz-worthy content creation is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is what makes a brand or a company stand out from the rest.


Look up AMUL’s Instagram account, you will get the idea of what I am talking about. Some tips regarding content creation are as follows:

  1. Develop novel content ideas
  2. Experiment with social campaigns with an out-of-the-box approach
  3. Avoid things that could lead to a social crisis
  4. Visually appealing, multimedia content works the best
  5. Sense of humor and ability to improvise is a must
  6. Do work on aesthetic details of a post, from images to text to formatting of the copy


Creating fun and relatable content with a good sense of humor can not only boost the number of followers but also promote sales. Take the example of Zomato, a food delivery platform. Being active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Zomato utilizes trendy topics and also domestic and global current affairs to spice up its content. A good sense of humor and sarcasm is pretty evident in their posts.


Coming up with a post like “How I ate your butter” from How I met your mother or “Games of cones” from Games of thrones- Zomato has used master strategies to promote themselves on different platforms.


  • Good communication skills

Communicating with customers

Fluent communication skills both verbal and written are an absolute necessity. Social media managers have to engage with people, answer their queries, and respond to their comments as fast as possible. It is not always positive interactions; they should also know how to manage a dissatisfied and/or grumpy customer complaint smoothly. Also, thick skin is vital to handling blasts from trolls.


Present loyal customers, target audiences, and every person who interacts with your brand either directly or indirectly online make up a community. Satisfactory customer service and successful community management to build a strong bond with the consumers influence the reputation of the brands on social media platforms.


Usage of emojis, video, GIFs, pictures, stickers adds fun to the conversation and also gets your message across clearly and engagingly.  Social platforms with limited writing space require knowledge of acronyms to not exceed certain numbers of words or characters.


Communicating with the boss and other teammates

It is not only about conversing with the brand followers and customers but strong communication is also needed for other reasons such as:

    • Explaining ideas to stakeholders of the brand
    • Conversing with your boss, colleagues, and collaborators across teams
    • Sharing feedback on the performance of a product with the product team
    • Presenting data and statistics of performance


  • The Mind of a Researcher

Extensive research and a habit of continuous learning not only result in authentic content but also brings something new to the table. Market research, audience segmentation, finding the right stat, or just fact-checking is something that is needed to be done before publicizing any content.


Also keeping in touch with the daily changing world of social media is required. Whether it is the latest trendy topics, viral videos, memes, songs, or latest industry news, anything can inspire an idea, so keeping a tab on these sources is important.


Buzz-worthy information can be passed along to spark discussions and engagement.

  • Writing skills

Writing unique and engaging content is also a skill that is a requisite of this career. Crispy and concise content promotes attracts public attention often leading to an increase in sales.


Writing skills also require a person with a vast vocabulary and a strong grasp of grammar. Tailoring the content keeping in mind the different audiences of social media is the quality of a good writer.


For example, analysis of data(Sprout social) showed that the most engaging length of Instagram captions is between 138–150 characters, although a limit of 2,200 characters is given.  Also, editing the content thoroughly to check for any spelling or grammar mistakes, typos, obnoxious emoji is needed.


Knowledge of tools and tech is also important. Make use of tools such as Grammarly, Hemmingway, and Word hippo to make your content crisp without any mistakes.


  • Planning and Organizing expert

A short- and long-term social media strategy is needed for the efficient management of social channels. The everyday task includes posting several times a day across multiple channels, observing and responding to comments, conducting social listening, staying on top of trends, and more.


All these tasks require pre-planning and scheduling. Listing and organizing a brand’s text, images, and videos is also important. Keeping a separate time box for replying to comments or certain tasks surely helps effectively move things.


Creating a Social media calendar and using social management tools to automate processes such as scheduling posts will not only reduce the workload but will also save lots of effort and time.


  • Good judgment and decision-making skills

As the voice of a company, it is a must to uphold the reputation of the company and prevent any kind of bad PR to avoid a social crisis. This is done deftly by a social media manager.


Not every comment goes through the process of vetting; therefore, good judgment and decision-making skills in a wise and timely manner are also desired. Social media managers should have the ability to prioritize which comments need replies, how to respond, and when it is best to keep quiet.


  • Social Media Strategist

A social media strategy is a pre-planned summary of everything you are going to do and the goals you hope to achieve in social media. The reason for hiring a manager for social media accounts is mainly to gain followers or customers. This can only be done with a planning strategy in accordance with the platform and audience persona.


Marketing and promotion of a brand using different methods like paid advertising and campaigns and developing new strategies are all part of their job.


Take the example of the marketing strategy of Swiggy, an Indian food delivery platform. Swiggy promotes its campaigns using multiple social channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram). Some of the famous campaigns include Secondtomom, #DiwaliGhayAayi, #SingwithSwiggy, and Know your food series of pictures and food walks in a local area.


Even they are quite active on their Facebook page with around one post a day. Not only do they promote themselves through these channels but also engage with the consumer from taking their feedback to addressing the grievances.


Zomato, a competitor of Swiggy, on the other hand, also uses paid advertising to enhance its presence across social channels. Running Search ad campaigns and mastery in SEO have made Zomato a worthy competitor.


  • Ability to Network and Build Connections

This job includes networking and establishing new connections wherever possible. Humanizing your company or brand enables you to relate with your customers and finally leads to improved customer relationships through engagement.


  • Data analyst

They are data-driven rather than making assumptions. They should have the skills to understand both qualitative and quantitative data to get a wholesome picture of the performance of the company. Here is a list of ways in which one can be one step ahead of their competitors:

  • Social media analytics can provide information such as who your followers are, where they reside, and their interaction with the brand on social media.
  • Social listening is used to track, analyze, and respond to conversations about the brand on social media and also to keep an eye on the competitors.
  • Conducting a Competitive analysis also helps identify and evaluate the company’s competitors, their strengths, and weaknesses.


These are frequently used to get an idea of what is expected in the industry and how to spot an opportunity and grab it to gain maximum profit. The ability to use these analytics to prove the Return on investment and create meaningful social media reports is a key skill this job requires.


  • Superior Customer Service

Identify and learn about your audience

Knowing your audiences, who they are, and what do they prefer is an integral part of developing a social customer service strategy. Finding target customers and knowing details about them such as age, location, average income, typical job title or industry, and interests is important.


Engaging with your audience

Also, responding to messages and emails as soon as possible is an everyday task. Engagement with followers is necessary to provide superior customer service. Asking questions directly from the brand followers not only gives an idea about what they want but also personalizes the experience This will convert followers into customers.

If there are multiple people on a social media team, a consistent voice, tone, and style on the account is helpful to keep the content on-brand.


  • Constant learner

If you are planning to run long in this race, keep on learning. Familiarize yourself with Search engine optimization (SEO), website designing, graphic designing, backlink campaigns, Google Adwords, WordPress, Facebook Ads.

Canva OR Buffer can be used by non-designers to improve graphic design skills.

A Knowledge of advanced marketing skills is the icing on the cake. These are:

  1. Optimization of YouTube videos with descriptions, tags, titles, annotations, etc.
  2. Webcasts, Google+ Hangouts, email capture forms, etc.
  3. Custom Facebook apps
  4. Custom Twitter and YouTube headers
  5. Hashtag marketing


  • Keep an eye for the latest trends

Keeping in touch with the latest photography trends is also important. For example, Gillette Venus has done an amazing job of sharing unretouched images of women that include stretch marks or body hair with their #MyHairMyWay campaign. This trend is great for brands that want to build their reputation for honesty and trustworthiness.


Also, the “no edit” trend is quite famous in 2020. People nowadays prefer photos that look real. A little texture and imperfection are more interesting than a flawlessly edited and whitewashed image.


  • An eye for aesthetics

Whether it is choosing the right type of filter and/or getting the correct color contrast is something that requires one to have a basic idea of photography, video, and design.


If you have these skills or are ready to learn them you too can become a social media manager.



  • Build your profiles in major social media channels

The first step to building an online presence is to create an account on various social media platforms. You must also become familiar with blogging, email- marketing, a bit of graphic designing, and most importantly SEO.

Work on your profiles to have a thriving social media presence. This will make it easier to find clients.


  • Create a website

It is crucial to have a website where your clients can get your contact details and information about the services you provide. Start promoting it on your social media accounts.


  • Make an online-portfolio

Your profiles on websites and social media channels and your personal blogs can also be used as an online portfolio when applying for a viable company. It will portray your interest, enthusiasm, and experience with the social media world.

  • Volunteer to bolster your resume

If you aim to finally land an amazing job in a company, how about building your experience first. You can volunteer o manage the social media accounts for a non-profit organization or a school.

This will provide you with valuable experience and also help the organization to advocate its messages.

  • Network

Once you have done all the above-mentioned tasks, it is time to find clients. It is a difficult task especially at the starting of your career. You have to identify and learn where your potential clients spend time online and distribute your content there.

It is all about making connections and personalizing your brand.

  • Keep learning on your own

Being curious and eager to learn constantly will definitely help to stand out in a crowd as a social media manager. Try reading famous industry blogs, building connections with other SMMs online, and checking out the occasional social media conference.

Do check out the SproutSocial series of free social media webinars.

Make a list of companies and brands you admire, check out their accounts on social platforms, and learn from them.


  • Manage your money and time

Know your value and charge accordingly. Get an idea by finding out how much money your competitor charges.

Since managing accounts on different channels takes a lot of time- you cannot afford to lose it. Do not scroll aimlessly through the news feeds. Multi-tasking is necessary.


Conclusion on social media manager responsibilties

Managing accounts on several social platforms is not something everyone can do. It requires a lot of effort and time along. Using your brain to create original and exciting ideas, develop marketing strategies, engaging with customers, there is not to handle. If you are someone who loves diversity in their work and have no problem handling multiple tasks at a time, go for this career.

But it will also require you to work overtime someday, and be agile all the time.

Now you have learned everything you need to know about ta social media manager, it is up to decide whether this is the path you want to choose or go another way.

Recently completed my Post graduation in Environmental Science and currently working as an intern at IIM Skills. I love writing especially about environmental issues.

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