Becoming a Social Media Marketing Manager: Career Overview

April 4, 2023

Most of the modern world operates online.

So, a social media marketing manager is integral to many businesses, ranging from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. 

This is a relatively new field of work, meaning not everyone will be familiar with it.

In this short article, I will cover the basic responsibilities of a social media marketing manager, what kind of education you need to get your foot in the door, what a good portfolio looks like, and tips on how to succeed when you get hired.

If you are interested in finding a job as a social media marketing manager in the US, one tool that can be particularly helpful is Lensa. Lensa is a job search website that uses artificial intelligence to match job seekers with the most relevant job postings. It also allows you to see the exact skills that every job is requiring, which can help you tailor your resume and cover letter to match the job description. With Lensa, you can increase your chances of finding the right job in social media marketing, whether you are just starting out or looking to advance your career.

The following information can be applied to your career whether you want to work for a company or are interested in being a freelance social media marketing manager.

Let’s start with the basics.



Basic Responsibilities of a Social Media Marketing Manager

If you are interested in pursuing this career is that as a manager, you will constantly collaborate with a team of people. Additionally, the importance of this role in business decision-making has become increasingly important.

Everything mentioned below should be looked at with the knowledge that this is not an independent, cubicle-style profession, but all about teamwork.


1. Researching Marketing Strategies

You are responsible for thoroughly researching the most effective advertising and marketing strategies and compiling data and statistics on social media channels, influencers, and your target demographic. 


2. Defining and Communicating Goals

In collaboration with company directors, define the goals of the social media marketing campaign and then communicate them to your team. The goals are meant to improve the appeal, reach, engagement, traffic, and brand loyalty.


3. Finding and Collaborating With Online Influencers

Determine which influencers would be the best fit for the brand, and contact and collaborate with them to help meet your marketing goals.


4. Content Creation

You are responsible for determining what content is made, overseeing its creation, and the posting schedule.


5. Monitoring the Day-To-Day Operations of All Social Media Channels

You need to constantly verify your outreach strategy’s effectiveness by monitoring data such as likes, clicks, shares, follows, engagement, and possibly purchases.


6. Engaging in Discussions Within Social Media Communities

Respond to social media posts on brand-related topics, facilitate and encourage discussion, and present a positive brand image.


7. Budget Management

You will work closely with the finance department to ensure your team’s vision can be carried out according to a predetermined budget.


8. Training Staff on the Use of Social Media

Set guidelines and help the team better use social media per company objectives.


Qualifications of a Social Media Marketing Manager

You can qualify to be a social media manager in one of two ways: through training and education or experience.


1. Basic Training and Education

Entry-level marketing jobs rarely require a university degree. However, having a degree can be a big plus on your resume.

The following fields of study are of particular interest to recruiters looking to hire a social media marketing manager:

  • Business management
  • Communications
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Public relations

In addition to (or in lieu of) a marketing degree, many courses dedicated to social media management look good on your resume.

Check out our curated list of tech and tools. Those resources and our How-Tos provide an excellent jumping-off point.


2. SEO Training

A good social media marketing manager should have at least a working knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization).

This means the social media marketing manager should understand how to make the content created for the brand more appealing to search engines and thus more likely to rank high in search engine results.

A good crash course on SEO can be obtained (for free) by the many apps and software systems dedicated to helping SEO professionals.

Check out these popular SEO tools and explore their free courses and tutorials:

  • Surfer
  • Ahrefs
  • Answer the Public


Social Media Marketing Manager’s Portfolio

Recruiters and prospective employers prefer seeing visible, tangible evidence of qualifications rather than a list of references on a resume.

In fact, your social media marketing portfolio, when done right, can replace your resume, as it covers all the information of a resume and more, all in a more visually stimulating fashion.


What Should Your Portfolio Consist Of?

Firstly, your social media marketing portfolio should consist of all the pertinent information that your resume contains:

  • Your contact information
  • Your objective
  • Mission statement

Additionally, it should have a visual representation of your work samples.

It should show that you have experience as a social media marketing manager and that your work gets results. In contrast to a traditional resume, the focus of a portfolio should be on its visual appeal. 

Examples of Content Included in a Social Media Marketing Portfolio

Treat your portfolio as a sort of case study, focusing on the formula: goals -> process -> results. And adhere to the popular writing adage: show, don’t tell.

Remember: Check your NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) from any brand or company you’ve previously worked with. You can even show your portfolio to past clients and ask for their permission to include images of or references to the work you did for them. In most cases, past clients who were satisfied with your work will be happy to help you further your career.


How to Make a Social Media Marketing Manager’s Portfolio


Beyond displaying who you’ve worked with and to what marketing campaigns you’ve contributed, make sure to emphasize the results.

You can either create a portfolio and have it hosted on a portfolio site or create your own website dedicated exclusively to your portfolio.

You can also use many free tools to create a visually pleasing social media marketing portfolio. I recommend, especially, these two:

  • Canva – The site includes tutorials and templates
  • Copyfolio – For creating a website specifically for your portfolio


Portfolio Examples for Inspiration

Top Tips to Be a Social Media Marketing Manager

If you’ve never worked in this field, you’ll have to start from scratch.

Begin by managing social media accounts. You can start with an internship or manage your own social media account or the accounts of others for free.

This is an important first step.

Before getting a serious position as a social media marketing manager, you must demonstrate that you have experience, i.e., you’ll need to show a portfolio.

Here is a step-by-step set of instructions for becoming a social media marketing manager. 

Remember to document all your steps visually (for example, through screenshots and downloads of analytics).


1. Gain Experience

  • The formal route: internship, assistant position, mentorship program.
  • The informal route: Create social media accounts (personal profiles, fan clubs, common interest communities) and start developing your following.


2. Learn From the Experts

Research reputed social media marketing managers (on LinkedIn, for example) and see what kind of content they post and where. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is also an excellent tool for learning a craft (more on this below).


The Bottom Line

Being a social media marketing manager is a fun and potentially rewarding career that allows you to highlight your media skills, team-working abilities, and creativity.

As a social media manager, it is crucial to know how to create content that will resonate with your audience and keep them engaged and analyze data to change or modify your strategy as needed.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need a university degree to be a social media marketing manager?

No, you don’t need a university degree to be a social media marketing manager. A degree in business, communications, public relations, marketing, or journalism would help. More so than a university degree, recruiters are looking for result-based experience. And they want to see an impressive portfolio.


2. What kinds of companies hire social media marketing managers?

All companies in all sectors of activity hire social media marketing managers, either as full-time employees or on a contracted freelance basis. This includes universities and NGOs, as well as multinationals and start-ups.


3. How can I gain experience in social media marketing?

The best way to gain experience in social media marketing is to take some online courses, create social media profiles, and apply what you’ve learned.


4. What skills do I need to be a social media marketing manager?

A good social media marketing manager should possess:

  • Good communication skills
  • An eye for detail
  • An eye for visual aesthetics
  • Organizational skills
  • The ability to analyze data
  • Writing skills
  • Photo editing skills
  • Basic video editing skills
  • A basic understanding of SEO principles


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