If you want to understand what a successful social media specialist needs to do in order to stand out in the industry, then this guide is for you. In this article, we’ll uncover the social media specialist job description and explore the skills, qualifications, and experience necessary to excel in this role.
Social media is no longer an optional marketing tool. As businesses become more reliant on customer engagement through digital channels, having an experienced social media specialist on the marketing team is key to ensuring their message reaches its target audience. In fact, Statista estimates 92% of U.S. companies with a minimum headcount of 100 now rely on social media marketing for their communication campaigns, making the demand for social media specialists higher than ever.
But what exactly does a social media specialist do, and how can you pursue this career path in 2024? To answer these questions, we’ll explore the following topics:
- What is a social media specialist?
- Social media specialist job description
- How to become a social media specialist
- Summary and next steps
Feel free to use the clickable menu to jump to the parts you’re most interested in!
1. What is a social media specialist?
Social media marketing specialists use the power of social media platforms to promote businesses, brands, products, and services. They manage the company’s social accounts, develop social media strategies, and create social content and ad campaigns that:
- drive user engagement
- build customer relationships
- increase brand awareness, and
- generate leads and sales
Their expertise in understanding different social media channels allows them to analyze data and share meaningful insights that can help the company improve its digital marketing campaigns. As such, the social media specialist position is similar to that of a digital marketing specialist but with a more specific focus on the social media domain.
2. Social media specialist job description
If you’re serious about working as a social media specialist, taking the time to understand the job role is essential.
To save you time, we have summarized the most critical responsibilities listed in these job descriptions and the skills and experiences they usually require. So, here’s what you need to know:
Key tasks and responsibilities
The primary tasks and responsibilities of a social media specialist include:
- Social channel management: managing the company’s presence on various social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Content curation: sourcing or creating content that is engaging, relevant, and in line with the brand image
- Community management: responding to comments from followers or customers on owned channels to build relationships and foster engagement
- Monitoring and analytics: tracking conversations related to the brand on social media sites to gain insights into customer attitudes and preferences
- Campaign planning and execution: devising campaigns that promote product launches or seasonal sales events on social platforms; playing a pivotal role in developing social media strategies for growth
- Analytics reporting: collating data points from all sources—including web traffic referred from social sites—then producing regular reports detailing successes and areas for improvement.
- Content creation: developing creative ideas which engage followers on multiple social media channels; creating original content (e.g., graphics, videos) for each platform
- channel optimization: using various social media management tools to ensure posts are optimized for maximum reach; regularly testing new strategies for community engagement.
Key skills and experience requirements
In addition to fulfilling these tasks, social media specialists need a range of hard and soft skills, as well as relevant work experience, to be successful in this role. Here are the essential skills and experience requirements typically mentioned in social media specialist job descriptions:
- Knowledge of digital marketing trends: familiarity with the latest social media trends and knowing how to use them for business growth
- Strong communication skills: the ability to communicate effectively with followers and customers to build relationships and increase engagement
- Strategic planning abilities: knowing how to plan and implement successful campaigns across multiple channels
- Time management skills: the ability to stay organized and manage time effectively to ensure tasks are completed on schedule
- Copywriting skills: the capacity to write effective sales copy and create compelling content that informs and entertains audiences
- Creative thinking: the talent to come up with innovative marketing ideas for content and campaigns
- Basic design skills: having an eye for detail and the capacity to create aesthetically pleasing visuals such as infographics or videos
- Understanding of sales principles: knowing how to use social media channels to drive sales and generate leads; being able to apply simple sales techniques
- Analytical understanding: the capacity to interpret data correctly to inform campaigns and measure results
- Familiarity with analytics tools: knowledge of the most popular analytics platforms (e.g., Google Analytics) and how to analyze data from those sources
- Customer service experience: having prior experience handling customer inquiries and complaints on social media
- Experience with social media tools: knowledge of the most popular social media management tools and how to use them to optimize posts
3. How to become a social media specialist
There are multiple paths to becoming a social media specialist. Your exact steps will depend on your experience, existing qualifications, and the sector you’d like to work in. For instance, if you’re an experienced marketer looking to move into social media, you may not need any additional qualifications. By contrast, if you’re starting out and don’t have a relevant marketing degree, it could be helpful to enroll in a digital marketing course or gain some work experience in the field before applying for social media specialist positions.
The following steps should give you the best chance of landing a social media specialist job soon.
Utilize online tools and resources
Start your journey to becoming a social media specialist by taking advantage of readily available online resources. There are various ways to educate yourself on this topic, such as reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and trying out popular social media tools.
This collection of resources is a great place to start:
- Blogs: Read informative blog posts from Social Media Today, Future Buzz, Social Media Examiner, The Moz Blog, Socially Sorted, and Neil Patel.
- Podcasts: Listen to podcasts such as Savvy Social Podcast, Masters of Scale, and Social Pros Podcast.
- Tools: Learn about popular social media marketing tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager, HubSpot, Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, Buffer, and Sprout Social.
Build a strong portfolio
Once you’ve researched and familiarized yourself with the field, it’s time to build your portfolio. Collect evidence in the form of screenshots and stats to demonstrate your social media marketing knowledge and the successful campaigns you’ve run. Try to include as much detail as possible, such as your methods, results achieved, critical insights gleaned from analytics data, and client feedback. This is also an excellent opportunity to showcase your writing style and design skills to potential employers.
Need help putting together your portfolio? Consider taking our Digital Marketing course. It features a module on social media marketing which allows you to create a project based on your newfound skills and demonstrate your creativity and expertise in action.
Enroll into a digital marketing course
Enrolling in a professional online course is a fantastic way to enhance your knowledge and skill set, especially if you don’t have much prior marketing experience or relevant qualifications.
A digital marketing course can help you understand the fundamentals of this field and give you a comprehensive overview of all its components, such as search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, content strategy, and social media marketing.
Check out some of the best online courses to learn digital marketing in 2024 to help you decide which program is right for you.
Apply to entry-level jobs
The most important step: applying for jobs. Start by researching entry-level positions in the industry, looking out for roles that match your skills and experience. Check job boards such as Indeed and LinkedIn regularly, or follow digital marketing-related accounts on Twitter to stay abreast of opportunities.
And finally, when applying, tailor your resume and cover letter to each position by highlighting those aspects of your background that demonstrate your suitability for the role.
But don’t worry—while having a marketing degree or relevant professional qualification can give you the edge, transferable skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and communication are just as essential. So, simply stress these points in your applications and relate them to your portfolio pieces.
4. Summary and next steps
Social media specialists are important members of the digital marketing team. They are responsible for developing and executing impactful social media strategies that help brands grow their presence online and boost engagement with their target audience.
As our overview of the social media specialist job description has shown, this occupation involves a multitude of tasks, from content creation and management to analytics and reporting, requiring a mix of technical and creative skills.
To enhance your employability in this field, you can get up to speed with the latest trends and tools, build a strong portfolio of past projects, and—if you like—enroll in a professional digital marketing course.
Want to get a hands-on introduction to digital marketing but don’t have much time? Why not try out this free, 5-day short course?
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