A Guide to Social Media Manager Job Descriptions (and What They Really Mean)

Afoma Umesi, Contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

The role of the social media manager is increasingly pivotal—but what tasks and responsibilities does this job title actually entail?

If you’ve been browsing the web for social media manager jobs, you’ll have noticed that the job description varies from company to company. And, if you’re just starting out, this can be especially confusing. Where should you focus your learning and training? What do social media manager job descriptions actually mean, and how can you make sure you’re qualified to apply for them? 

To help you navigate the often confusing world of social media manager jobs, we’ve put together this guide. We’ve approached it from the perspective of aspiring social media managers, but we think you’ll find it just as helpful if you’re an HR manager or employer tasked with putting together a social media manager job description.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Why does the social media manager job description vary from company to company?
  2. What skills, requirements, and tasks can you expect to see in a social media manager job description?
  3. Social media manager job description examples
  4. Junior vs. senior social media manager job descriptions: What are the key differences?
  5. Best practices when applying for social media manager jobs
  6. Key takeaways and next steps

Ready? Let’s begin.

1. Why does the social media manager job description vary from company to company?

The social media manager job description may vary from company to company for several reasons:

  • Company size: For larger companies with a bigger social media marketing budget and team, the social media manager position may be more of an overseeing and strategic role. On the other hand, smaller businesses may need their social media manager to directly manage company presence on social media platforms.
  • Industry: Different industries use social media in unique ways. For example, a software company may focus more on creating educational content that also markets its product while a fashion house may use its social media platforms to drive sales directly. Industry requirements will influence the social media manager job description. For example, some job postings may stipulate responsibilities with a greater focus on writing than visual design.
  • Social media marketing goals: While many brands have a strong social media presence, others may focus on influencer marketing or community building, for instance. For such companies, their social media manager may be doing more liaising and moderation than the average social media manager.

Besides working as a social media manager, it’s worth looking into other career paths in social media marketing. Our article about social media jobs is a great place to start your research. Let’s now delve deeper into what you can expect in social media manager job descriptions.

2. What skills, requirements, and responsibilities can you expect to see in a social media manager job description?

Although there’s lots of variety in terms of what a social media manager might do, there are certain requirements, tasks, and responsibilities that generally come under the social media manager role. In this section, we’ll outline some of the core skills and tasks you can expect to see as you browse social media manager job descriptions.

Social media manager job description: Typical tasks and responsibilities

  • Developing and managing the brand’s social media identity 
  • Managing a social media content calendar
  • Creating written and visual content across several social media platforms
  • Increasing social media engagement across platforms
  • Building and moderating social media communities by responding to comments and keeping members engaged
  • Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs)—like link clicks, likes, and other metrics—of social media marketing campaigns
  • Monitoring and analyzing trends and competitor performance
  • Collaborating with agencies and influencers to improve brand awareness
  • Hiring and overseeing junior social media marketing employees and contractors

Social media manager job description: Common skills and requirements

  • Understanding of/proven expertise in social media marketing and social media platforms
  • Strategic thinking for developing effective marketing campaigns
  • Strong writing skills
  • Ability to study and interpret marketing analytics
  • Great organizational skills; ability to monitor multiple social media platforms concurrently
  • Good leadership skills to organize junior social media specialists
  • Excellent communication skills for reporting results and liaising with agencies and contractors
  • Adept at community building and keeping calm under high-pressure online interactions
  • Tech-savvy for creating visuals if necessary, and collaborating with other creatives

A social media manager sitting on a sofa, working on a laptop

3. Social media manager job description examples

Now we know what the social media manager job description tends to look like, let’s consider some real-world examples found online at the time of writing. If you’re an aspiring social media manager, this should help to further paint a picture of what the role entails and what employers expect. If you’re a hiring manager putting together a social media manager job description, these will serve as inspiration. 

Example of a social media manager job description: Chewy

A social media manager job description posted by Chewy

A social media manager job description posted online by Chewy

This social media manager job description for Chewy demands strong strategizing skills as well as community-building and liaising skills. The company also wants their social media manager to work with the content/editorial department writing and proofing content.

Although Chewy mentions a university degree, the job description also states that they’ll accept commensurate experience in lieu of a degree.

Again, we see mention of video content creation and experience creating graphics for social media. The ability to work under pressure and multi-task effectively are other essential qualifications mentioned.

Example of a social media manager job description: The Fresh Market

A social media manager job description

A job ad for a social media manager

The social media manager role for The Fresh Market is not much different from the other two examples we’ve considered. The major difference is that it requires a Bachelor’s degree. The job description also specifies tech-savvy essential to the role, such as knowledge of SproutSocial and Salesforce Social Studio.

Additionally, this role requires inter-departmental communication, the ability to keep up with trends, and strong community management skills—all of which we mentioned earlier. 

In the world of social media management jobs, you might find some pegged as “junior” or “senior” roles. Let’s see how these differ.

4. Junior vs. senior social media manager job descriptions: What’s the difference?

If you’re on the hunt for your first social media manager role, you might wonder what distinguishes a junior social media manager role from a senior one. As with most marketing roles, it boils down to experience and responsibilities.

Junior social media managers often function as social media assistants—i.e. assistants to social media managers. They may also work as junior colleagues in the sense that they’re supervised by senior social media managers.

Typically, junior roles are filled by less experienced social media marketers. Their job descriptions will likely include more execution tasks than strategy or analytics, although they get a chance to see how those elements work by observing senior colleagues.

In contrast, senior social media managers strategize, delegate, oversee, and analyze the execution and results of social media campaigns. They set up processes to help junior social media managers manage the community and respond in a variety of situations.

As always, the best way to get a sense of how employers tend to differentiate between junior and social media managers is to explore real-world job descriptions. Search for “Junior social media manager” and “Senior social media manager” roles on job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed. What key differences do you spot?

A social media manager sitting on the floor, wearing headphones

5. Best practices when applying for social media manager roles

Feeling more confident about whether a social media manager role is right for you? It’s time to apply! Follow these simple yet effective best practices when applying for social media manager roles.

1. Craft a relevant resume

The number one resume tip to keep in mind? It’s not one-size-fits-all. When crafting a resume to grab the hiring manager’s attention, focus on matching your experience to the skills and qualifications outlined in the job description. If they don’t create large gaps in your resume, feel free to exclude irrelevant work experience that does not highlight the skills required in the job posting. You can learn more about how to write a winning marketing resume here.

2. Write a unique cover letter

Just as your resume is attuned to your prospective job, focus on writing a brief cover letter that proves you’re the best person for the job. Instead of focusing on what the job will do for you, highlight how your unique skill set matches the job description and makes you qualified to handle the key responsibilities highlighted therein.

3. Prepare well for your interview

They liked your cover letter and resume, and now it’s time to bring your personality (and smarts!) to the table. Shine by preparing to answer interview questions in a way that shows your expertise. 

Interviewers will likely ask you specific questions about how their company can boost its social media marketing efforts and generic questions about your prior social media experience. It pays to learn about the company, the current state of their marketing efforts, and ways you can help them grow.

To prepare for your next social media manager job interview, read our post about the most common social media manager interview questions (and how to answer them).

6. Key takeaways and next steps

Working in social media can be exhilarating and fulfilling, especially if you have the skills to excel in your role. Before you start sending out applications, it is wise to understand what social media manager job descriptions mean. Take note of the following:

  1. Which skills and requirements are needed (writing, design, organization, analytics, and leadership)
  2. Whether a junior or senior role best suits your experience level (junior roles are mostly execution-centered and best for newcomers, while experienced senior social media managers focus on strategy, delegation, and analytics)
  3. The best practices to follow when applying to a social media manager job (craft a relevant resume, write a tailored cover letter, and prepare well for your interview)

Want to learn more about becoming a social media manager? Why not check out our free, 5-day digital marketing short course? It’ll teach you the basics of how digital marketing experts work with social media, among other related skills and knowledge.

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