It comes as no surprise that there's a lot of demand for social media managers these days. In the last 10 years, social media has become one of the most important communication channels of our time, and with billions of users, these social media platforms have become some of the most popular apps in the world. These days, we don't know that many people who don't check their social media every day - most of us do, right?!
With that being said, it makes sense that jobs in social media management are booming!! In our opinion, every single business or brand, no matter how small or big, that is offering products or services must have a social media presence. The benefits that social media can bring to a business can be tremendous if done correctly. The businesses and brands that are already doing social media well have realized the incredible impact that it can have, and the businesses and brands that aren’t active on social media will soon be left behind.
Social Media Manager is a creative, fun, and important role that mainly involves developing and managing a strategy with the main goal of converting sales through social media marketing and building a brand reputation through quality content. There are different social media management positions: you can simply be responsible for managing one platform like Instagram, or the whole social media strategy across multiple platforms including TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
And it doesn’t matter if you want to start working remotely, build a business that you love and have your own schedule, or if you are just looking for a side hustle to break up the monotony of your current work life - the great thing about working remotely as a Social Media Manager is that you can take on as much work as you want and it's a great way to create an online income for yourself. And together with Alex (@alephanti), one of our “Freedom Lab” students, we’ll walk you through what it takes to become a social media manager so that you can figure out whether or not it sounds like the right opportunity for you!
What a day as a Social Media Manager can look like
Before we get into the steps you need to take and the skills that you should have to become a social media manager, let’s see if you can imagine living such a life, with no set schedules and the freedom to plan your day as you wish. And to show you that this is not just a dream scenario, we asked Alex to tell us what a usual day in her life looks like.
Now, Alex actually has several clients already. She’s responsible for the social media activities of a software company but she also manages some other Facebook and IG accounts for a restaurant, a manufacturing company, an inventory/decoration store, and even a carpenter! (Tip: If you are just getting started as a social media manager, we suggest focusing on only one niche first. It might be hard to juggle so many different accounts that all require very different content).
But regardless of the industry, you want to work in, the tasks usually stay the same. Alex’s main tasks consist of planning and creating content, editing pictures, creating videos, writing copy, and researching specific topics. She also takes care of posting in the feeds and stories of each of her clients and she makes sure that the audience of each account stays engaged by replying to direct messages and comments.
Her favorite thing about her job is the freedom it brings her. “It is the perfect way to combine two of my passions: traveling and social media. In November I will actually be heading to South America to experience and live the digital nomad lifestyle and I cannot wait. With a usual 9-5, this would not have been possible.”
What you need to start as a Social Media Manager
Alright, alright. If you are still reading, then you are probably intrigued by the life of a Social Manager and you might be wondering what you need to land a job like that so that you can also live the life of a digital nomad. Now, you will obviously be spending a lot of time on different Social Media platforms, but it’s way more than just posting some pictures or Reels and liking a few comments. Using social media in the right way is crucial. You need to know exactly what your client's goal is and how to achieve it with the right social media strategy. So, let’s look at what it really takes to become a social media manager and if you are cut out for this role:
Sharpen your skills
If you're thinking about becoming a social media manager, you might be wondering what kinds of skills you need. While the job description can vary depending on the company, there are some essential skills that all social media managers should have.
COMMUNICATION - WRITTEN AND VERBAL
Firstly, you must be an excellent communicator – both written and verbal. Not only will you need to be able to communicate effectively with clients, customers, and maybe even with some of the other employees of the company, but you will also need to be able to write copy that converts because you'll be responsible for creating and sharing content that represents the brand. As a social media manager, being able to write captivating, clear, and concise captions that spark conversation is key.
Next, you need to be creative and have a passion for social media. Being able to design eye-catching graphics is a great skill set to have as a social media manager. Although you don’t have to be a graphic designer or photographer to succeed as a social media manager, it’s helpful if you know how to create content that stands out.
Tip: Being a social media manager usually does not mean being a content creator! If someone hires you as their social media manager, they should be providing you with the content, such as photos, videos, etc. However, that’s not always the case, just because they might not have the ideas on what to post. So it can be that you also need to think about what kind of content you will need and either give very clear instructions to the team, or you might have to step up and help with the creation process if you can (in that case you will want to make sure to charge extra!)
Thirdly, you really need to be organized and detail-oriented. As you saw with Alex, a social media manager may be responsible for managing multiple accounts, so it is crucial that you are able to stay organized. It is also important that you can work well under pressure and meet deadlines.
Managing her time wisely is actually one of the things Alex still struggles with a bit. “At the moment I am still figuring out how to manage my time better. Sometimes I have to cancel dates with friends and family due to work, which makes me sad at times but luckily they are very supportive.”
Aside from being organized, you will also need to be incredibly flexible. There might be last-minute changes in content, footage that doesn’t arrive on time, or simply a change of plans which will require you to switch up a post and create a new one quickly.
Lastly, and probably the most obvious one, is that you will need to have a good understanding of social media platforms and how they work. This includes knowing which platforms are most relevant for the brand you're representing and understanding how to use each one effectively. You’ll need to know how to analyze the data, understand the insights and adapt accordingly.
And not to forget, you need to be up to date with all the trends and updates of the different platforms. Especially Instagram has been doing a lot of changes to the app lately, and as a social media manager, it’s your job to be aware of all of them. Alex’s tip to staying on top of things: try to read important newsletters, watch educational videos and subscribe to the right accounts (we suggest you follow Mosseri, Head of Instagram, since he is always the first to share news related to Instagram).
Steps to becoming a Social Media Manager
If you can say that you have all these skills, it’s time to give it a go and offer your services as a Social Media Manager. Of course, we’re not going to leave you hanging without some tips on getting started.
CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE TOOLS TO WORK WITH
As soon as you get your first client you will need to be able to deliver good work, which means you need to be organized from day one. For that, we suggest you already research a few tools that you could use. To give you an idea about what’s out there, here are the most common tools and platforms that we use:
- Notion: we use it to jot down to-dos, collect ideas, save important passwords and pages, collaborate on team projects, and keep a calendar to ensure we are on track with our deadlines. Another option would be Asana or Trello.
- WhatsApp: this is our main tool to communicate within our team, however, it can be hard to differentiate between your work and private life that way. Other options could be Slack or Chanty
- Canva: this is basically Illustrator for beginners. If you already know that you will be creating templates, graphics, or anything else, it would be great for you to take a look at this platform. We use Canva daily!
- Planoly: even though we always post our content manually, as a social media manager you may want to be able to schedule posts ahead of time. For this, you can find a bunch of tools online, such as Planoly, Later, or Loomly for example.
PREPARE YOUR PROPOSAL AND BUILD A PORTFOLIO
Once you are ready to reach out to brands, you need to get your proposal ready. Show your potential clients your level of professionalism by creating a winning proposal - make sure it outlines objectives such as the potential goals and concrete plans on how you will achieve them.
And if you already have a bit of work experience, you should prepare a portfolio that you can share with your new potential clients so that they can get an idea of the work you do. If you haven’t worked with clients before, you can always use your account as an example. Or you can start by offering your services for free in the beginning in exchange for a testimonial and permission to add the work you’ve done to your portfolio.
Alex’s Tip: "To get new clients I either use an agency that I freelance for or I simply approach the business’ owners myself. I present them with my skills and a concrete plan of what I could do for them. This usually works best!"
FIND AND FOLLOW BRANDS YOU ADMIRE
Next, we suggest you spend some time finding brands that have successfully created an engaged audience. If you already found a client, try to find similar accounts to theirs. If you don’t have any clients yet, look for other brands that are in the niche that you are most interested in.
Whether it’s their content that stands out or their captions that convert well, there’s a lot you can learn about how they’ve managed to build their community simply by following them. Also, check which trends they hop on and how you could maybe recreate them.
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT AS LONG AS YOU LEARN AND ADAPT
Lastly, and as we already mentioned above, you really need to stay up to date with trends and tools as a Social Media Manager. Social media is ever-evolving and rapidly changing. If you want to do a great job, you need to be ahead of the game and know about the newest trends, features, and updates on the major social networks and social media platforms. But also, don’t overthink it. You don’t need to be perfect to get started. As Alex said “You don’t need to have it all figured out at the beginning. Just make sure that you keep up with changes and be consistent. Have fun playing with the trends and formats and improve your technical skills constantly: editing, writing engaging captions, changes to the algorithms, etc.”
And there you have it! Everything you need to know about becoming a Social Media Manager. Of course, there are many more jobs that you can do if you want to work remotely. If you want to learn more about the many opportunities that are out there, join us in our FREE LIVE WEBINAR on the 3rd and 4th of September.
We hope to see you there!
Your Club Life Design Team