A Complete Guide to Social Media Jobs

Rosie Allabarton, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

As the influence of social media marketing continues to grow, so too do careers in the field. However, despite the indisputable boom in social media jobs, the relative newness of the profession combined with the wide variety of positions out there can make it difficult to know which role might be the right one for you.  

In this article, we’ll be offering guidance to those looking to launch a career in this fast-paced and impactful industry, outlining what you might expect from a position in the field, and helping you find a role that suits the career you want to build.  

By the end, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to pursue a role in social media marketing that not only fits your skillset, but that can offer real longevity, career growth, challenges, and opportunities. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. What does a career in social media entail?
  2. What are some of the most common social media jobs?
  3. What skills and experience do you need to apply for social media jobs?
  4. What’s the best place to look for social media jobs?
  5. How to start your career in social media
  6. Key takeaways and further reading

Let’s get started! 

1. An introduction to social media jobs: What does a career in social media entail?

The value of social media 

The arrival of social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace in the early 2000s brought with them huge societal change. However, it took a few years before businesses began to pick up on the positive effects having a coherent social media presence had on their brands. 

Today, more than 90% of businesses utilize these sites, predominantly for branding, lead generation, customer retention, research and e-commerce. 

For most businesses, brands, and organizations in the current climate, managing a social media marketing strategy is a crucial element to their success. That’s because companies in all industries need to be able to connect with their target audiences and form strong communities if they want to stay in business. 

A well-executed social media presence:   

  1. Raises brand awareness
  2. Increases sales
  3. Boosts a company’s reputation within its specific industry
  4. Improves customer service
  5. Offers a channel to broadcast success stories 

When managed efficiently, a strong social media presence will ultimately increase a company’s overall valuation. That’s why, for those who work in social media, a great deal of responsibility—as well as rewards—comes hand-in-hand with the job. 

Working in social media 

Job requirements and responsibilities in social media can vary widely, and you may notice some ambiguity in job titles and descriptions when you begin your own research into the field. 

However, there are certain key tasks that tend to consistently fall under the social media marketing umbrella, irrespective of industry, company size, or seniority of position advertised.

Typical tasks associated with social media jobs include: 

  • Creating content, e.g. text posts, video, and images for social media
  • Promoting products, services, and content over social media
  • Scheduling posts 
  • Interacting with customers 
  • Developing strategies and campaigns
  • Managing a budget to be spent on promotional posts and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Analyzing the performance of posts and campaigns
  • Ensuring consistent branding across all departments

Don’t worry if some of these tasks look daunting now! Like any new career, succeeding in social media takes learning and commitment. Keep reading to find out how you can nail these skills and land a job you love in the field. 

A social media manager filming a story on their phone for Instagram

2. What are some of the most common social media jobs?

As we’ve mentioned, job titles and descriptions in this field tend to vary slightly from company to company. We’ve collected some of the most common social media job titles you’re likely to find on a typical jobs board, together with a short description of what you can expect from each role.  

Social media manager

As social media manager, you’re responsible for curating a brand’s online presence via its social media channels. The specific sites you work with will depend on your company and its target audience, but will almost certainly include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, while sites like YouTube, Reddit, Quora, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok might also play a role. As social media manager, your job involves monitoring, moderating, and responding to user comments, initiating and managing social media partnerships with other brands, and creating and/or posting shareable text, videos, and images. There are a host of tools out there to help you manage and schedule social media content—Hootsuite and Buffer are good ones to start off with! 

Your previous experience coupled with your seniority within the marketing team will determine if you lead or play a significant role in strategizing and executing digital marketing campaigns too. When a campaign is over, it might then be down to you to gather and analyze the data results from those campaigns and draw conclusions, establish or improve best practices and present your learnings to the team before the next campaign. 

Like the sound of this job title? Check out how much you could earn in our social media manager salary guide.

Community manager 

Many companies are beginning to realize that having a strong social media presence is not enough when trying to attract and retain the attention of their target audience. So while the social media manager is primarily concerned with cultivating that online presence, the role of the community manager is to build loyalty among customers and establish communities. 

Although there is significant overlap and collaboration between the social media manager and the community manager, the two roles have very distinct goals. While most social media managers focus on content, community managers promote audience engagement and build strong relationships both on social media and, where applicable, offline too. 

Social media strategist

Another role you’ll often come across when looking at social media jobs is that of the social media strategist. As we’ve seen, the social media manager tends to do the day-to-day running of different social media platforms. The social media strategist, on the other hand, takes more of a birds’ eye view;  planning, developing, and implementing a company’s overall social media strategy in order to support and improve the online presence of a brand. This can involve creating targeted ad campaigns and customer engagement strategies using social media, defining social media KPIs, gathering customer data, and measuring and reporting the success of every social media campaign. A good social media strategist will be an expert with tools like HubSpot, BuzzSumo and Google Analytics.  

An aspiring social media manager sitting at a desk in side profile with a laptop, applying for social media jobs

3. What skills and experience do you need to apply for social media jobs?

You’ll need to be able to demonstrate a wide range of skills when applying for your first job in social media marketing. However, even if you’re new to the field, you’ll notice a great many transferable skills on this list that you may have utilised elsewhere. 

Analytical skills

Analytical skills should be second nature to a social media marketer. Whether you’re gathering and measuring data, comparing the success rate of different campaigns, or studying user behavior, the ability to analyze results and learn from your findings will ensure your brand’s social media presence continues to get stronger, and attracts more (and more targeted) users.  

Efficiency and flexibility

Achieving maximum productivity while juggling multiple tasks is a key attribute in this field. You’ll be expected to switch quickly between different jobs, react at speed to customer enquiries and run multiple channels simultaneously. This is a role where you’ll need to have a cool head in a crisis. 

Understanding trends

What’s going viral, how competitors are using their social media and how users are behaving will underscore your own social media strategy and planning. If you’re curious about what makes people tick, then a role in social media is a great way for you to harness that interest and turn it into a career. 

Communication

You’ll be at the forefront of communication with users, influencers, and other brands, so good communication skills are essential. Crucially, you’ll also be helping to define the voice and tone of your brand on social media, so researching and understanding the right approach for your specific users will be an integral part of your role.  

Creativity

People who work in social media tend to have a creative streak. That’s because finding inspirational and unique campaign ideas that really catch the imagination of your audience takes some out-of-the-box thinking. You can have fun playing around with different ideas before testing which ones work best to meet your company’s goals. 

Time management and prioritization 

Having good time management skills will be a blessing in this environment. If you can manage your time efficiently while jumping between scheduling posts, meetings, and deadlines, then the battle is half won. A good understanding of priorities will make this easier, as you will know what can be left until the end of the day and what has to happen RIGHT THIS MINUTE! 

A social media manager holding a phone, posting something online

4. What’s the best place to look for social media jobs?

As demand for experienced people with this specific skillset continues to grow, you’ll start to notice jobs in social media beginning to pop up all over the place. We’ve put together a list of reputable places for you to start your search, and to get an idea of what the job market currently looks like. 

Company websites 

One of the best places to start your search for social media jobs is with companies which you already like and admire. If you’re following a company on social media already and you love what they do, take a look at their website and see what jobs they’re advertising. If they’re not currently trying to fill a social media marketing role, send a prospective email anyway. Starting a conversation with someone in the team and demonstrating real interest will make you an obvious first choice when they are looking to hire their next social media marketing star. 

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn has blown up in recent years when it comes to finding a new job or starting a new career. There’s a simple search function for finding new jobs, while alerts will send new job postings straight to your inbox. The site is also a great way to get to know other professionals in your field, while simply having a well-written profile will significantly increase the chances of your discovery by companies looking to hire people based on your skills and experience. 

Job boards 

Using a jobs board to find a new role may be a more traditional approach, but these sites are still very reliable sources of new job opportunities. From established sites like Monster, StepStone and Indeed, to more specific startup sites like Berlin Startup Jobs and UK Startup Jobs, you’ll find these sites host an assortment of social media jobs for you to choose from. Other sites that might help your search include Glassdoor, which is great for getting an insight into the experiences of previous employees, and AngelList which supports the world’s largest startup community.  

5. How to start your career in social media

Before you start browsing social media jobs, here are some steps you can take to learn more about the field.

Do your research! 

The best way to start your career in social media is to do your research. One way of doing this is to find a marketing campaign that you like and study how it’s been put together. 

Ask yourself: 

  • What is the voice and tone of the text? 
  • What graphics have they chosen? 
  • How regularly do they post and at which times of day? 
  • Who do you think is their target audience? 
  • What is their end goal? 
  • What could they have done better? 

Looking at the campaign from the marketing side, rather than just the user side will help to give you some insights into how the team has worked and what you might be doing in a similar position. 

Take a digital marketing course 

A digital marketing course will teach you how to strategize, plan, gather, and analyze data as well as teach you the day-to-day tasks of a social media manager. You’ll get expert guidance on how to measure your success, the best ways to use social media to meet long term company goals, and it gives you the chance to ask questions directly to those who have excelled in this field. A digital marketing course will also look great on your CV or LinkedIn profile when you do start applying for positions! 

Build your own social media presence 

Demonstrating your social media savvy using your own social media channels is a fail-safe way of making a good impression with future employers. It’s a great opportunity to practice too. Try out some of the techniques you’ve researched, or utilize the tools we mentioned previously (many offer free trial periods) on your own social media sites to get some hands-on experience before you start doing it for someone else. 

6. What next?

We hope our guide to social media jobs has whet your appetite to find out more about launching a career in this influential field. Whether you choose to take a digital marketing course, promote your personal brand on social media, or try out some of the latest social media marketing tools, it’s an area that is only going to continue to grow, offering fantastic opportunities for anyone savvy enough to take the plunge. 

Keen to learn more? Check out the following: