Let’s compare the expectations and realities of a social media manager job, so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
When you apply for your first social media manager job, you might not know exactly what to expect. What does a social media manager do anyway? What skills will you actually use on the job? How will your day usually look? What kind of results can you reliably get?
No matter what the job listing says, your assumptions about being a social media manager won’t always align with your experience on the job.
Here’s an overview of what you might expect and what the reality is.
Whether you’ve worked in social media for a few months or a couple of years, you might anticipate solely of being charge of key tasks like:
In reality, becoming a social media manager means having a much longer to-do list.
In most cases, you also have responsibilities that involve …
Content creation and publication
Research and analytics
Reporting on social media ROI
If you manage social media for a large company, you might work closely with colleagues specializing in key areas. For example, you might partner with a social media strategist, a graphic designer, or a video editor.
But if you work for a small organization or at a small social media marketing agency with more limited resources, you may have to oversee these areas yourself.
To your to-do list, you’ll have to add extra tasks like:
As you prepare for a social media manager role, it’s easy to assume that your boss expects you to bring technical know-how to the table.
You might anticipate needing skills like:
That makes sense, doesn’t it? A social media manager needs to know, well, social media.
But wait, there’s more …
It’s true that social media managers need technical skills. Yet the range of practical knowledge you need might be wider than you thought.
You also need to know how to use:
Most social media managers also have soft skills that help them excel at their jobs.
To rock your new social media manager job, you need qualities like:
(And that’s just a quick overview of what skills social media managers need!)
Whether you work remotely or in an office with your team, you probably expect to have a regular schedule. It might be typical 9-to-5 working hours, or it could include some weekend hours. Either way, you probably anticipate some consistency.
Technically, you might have a standard work schedule. But if you’re running a major campaign or if your pages always receive a lot of engagement (especially if you work at a social media marketing agency), you might be tempted to put in some extra hours.
After all, it isn’t easy to ignore that constant stream of notifications.
If you find yourself working many more hours than you’d planned, consider setting some boundaries at work:
You can do anything when you put your mind to it. So, you might expect to achieve any results your team requests, no matter how unrealistic they seem.
Instead of agreeing to your boss’s impractical requests, it’s your job to set clear expectations.
Talk through your goals in advance, and prepare reports after the fact to update everyone on your progress.
Here’s how to handle some goal-related scenarios you’ll probably encounter:
Everyone says organic reach on social media is steadily declining. To compensate, you might assume that a paid social strategy automatically leads to more conversions.
But is your assumption correct?
It’s true that organic reach can be very low on platforms like Facebook. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get anywhere with an organic approach. Instead, learn what affects the algorithm and use best practices to grow your pages.
Though you may be able to increase conversions with paid social media, advertising may not deliver the results you expect. So, you need to review your ROI regularly.
Make sure the conversions you get generate the value you want.
Ultimately, most social media strategies work best when they include organic and paid tactics. But there isn’t a magic formula to follow. Instead, you have to try different approaches and learn from your results to find a combination that works for your brand.
Like any job, a social media manager position is bound to have at least a few surprising aspects. But if you’re looking for a challenging, collaborative role that requires you to exercise both the creative and analytical sides of the brain, a social media manager job could be ideal for you.
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