How to Become a Social Media Manager

Social Media Text

Social media usage among Americans and worldwide users continues to climb each year. Businesses realize the importance of social networking and great social media managers are in demand.

Job Prospects and Earning Potential

As more businesses use social media, the need for social media managers grows. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that growth in the advertising, promotions, and marketing managers field, which includes social media managers, is expected to rise faster than average through 2026. The average national salary is approximately $54,000 in 2018.

Becoming a Social Media Manager

Do you enjoy communicating with others in the digital world? If you can navigate social media apps with ease and have marketing savvy, managing social media for a business may be a perfect career for you.

Your Skills

As a social media manager, you will work to promote your employer's business to the world using platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. It's a fast-paced job requiring constant monitoring of consumer responses and the ability to promote your message in short posts, tweets, snaps, images, and video. Good social media managers tend to have the following skills:

  • Some proficiency with graphics software such as Adobe Photoshop, as well as a solid grasp of design fundamentals.
  • Technological acumen with setting up new accounts using scheduling programs and great Google research skills.
  • Excellent writing skills and the ability to write in your company's "voice."
  • SEO knowledge and how it affects your company's overall digital strategy.
  • The ability to analyze data as you will be constantly be reviewing the performance of your plan and revising it.


There is no one "set" path to becoming a social media manager. While not all social media managers have a marketing or advertising background, experience with both can be a plus, particularly when working with ad targeting services like Google Adwords. Working in a customer service job can also be very helpful as you will need to know how to handle angry customers with a calm, professional attitude since the world is watching your interactions online.


Most social media managers tend to have at least a college degree. There are presently no full Bachelor degree programs exclusively for social media management, but there are programs through universities. While many social media managers have no formal social media education, a good professional will pursue continuing education opportunities throughout his or her career. Some good options are:

  • Coursera offers a series of courses in Social Media Marketing. If you take all six and complete a project you can receive a certificate. The courses are $49 per month until you complete them.
  • Georgetown University offers an online and in-person Certificate in Social Media Management. The certificate takes three semesters to complete and tuition is $4,165.
  • Southern New Hampshire University allows you to have a concentration in Social Media with their online Bachelor of Science Marketing program. The degree program is 120 credits total at $320 per credit hour, although financial aid is available.
  • Rutgers offers a "mini-MBA" in social media marketing. The course covers 10 modules and can be done online for $3495 or in-person for $4995.
  • The social media management company Hootsuite offers online certificate programs. Some courses are free while others are priced from $249 to $999.
  • Other places you can find courses online are Udemy,, and Elephant Academy. There are many online courses, but these vary widely in quality so make sure you research them thoroughly before paying your course fee.

Where to Look for Jobs

Business hire full-time social media managers but there are also many who work freelance. There are several good sources for social media positions:

  • Mashable has a job board that lists positions in digital marketing and social media.
  • LinkedIn is a good source for both job listings and networking with others to find employment and freelance work.
  • Jobs in Social Media bills itself as the number one social media job posting board in the U.S.
  • MediaBistro is dedicated to marketing and advertising jobs. It lists both full-time and contract positions.
  • Flexjobs lists telecommute-only full-time and freelance positions.

Freelancers will often have to network on their own to find positions that may not be posted on job sites. Others will use their background and success in social media to convince companies that they need a social media manager. Social media itself, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, are often sources for referrals and networking to find freelance positions.

A Career in Social Media Management

Social media management is a career that is still in its infancy, which makes it an excellent place for someone with the drive, digital skills, and love for social media to succeed, regardless of his or her background. Taking courses and building more experience, either with your own social media or for others, will help you to follow this exciting career path.

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