What Does a Social Media Manager Do? Duties and Importance

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Social media managers manage and maintain the digital interaction between an individual or an organisation and their target audience. Social media is an effective marketing and communication tool, and a skilled social media manager can maximise its effectiveness. Learning more about this career could help you determine if it's right for you. In this article, we explain what does a social media manager do, and we provide important information about this career, including the typical work environment, helpful skills and average salary.

What does a social media manager do?

A simple answer to what does a social media manager do is that they communicate with an audience. Social media managers are marketing and digital communications professionals who manage the creation and curation of social media content. They use social media platforms to communicate directly with the target audience for the client or organisation they work for, tailoring content for this target audience. They are responsible for devising and implementing marketing strategies that aim to grow this audience and build and maintain a strong online presence.

Their responsibilities can vary depending on their employment type or the number of clients they work with, but their main tasks typically include:

Writing posts

Social media managers write text posts across various social media platforms. These posts aim to be informative and engaging for the target audience. Social media managers are skilled at producing this type of written content quickly, sometimes in response to events that are happening in real-time, to ensure the content is relevant and maximises engagement. Social media managers also remain aware of audience engagement with their content, responding to comments on posts and engaging with the audience directly.

Posting visual content

Many social media platforms are tailored to visual content, such as photos and graphics. Social media managers are also responsible for posting this content to social channels, captioned in a way that engages and informs the audience. Social media managers often produce this content and post it, taking the photographs they post and posting them in real-time, or working closely with design teams to produce graphics content.

Optimising visibility of content

Social media managers are responsible for ensuring the content they post is seen by as many people within their target audience as possible. To ensure maximum visibility, they use relevant language and handles in their posts.

Social media manages are also responsible for coordinating special contests and giveaways that help boost the visibility of content. These contests encourage engagement with content, incentivising followers to comment, share, like and repost social media content.

Handling customer service

Social media gives customers direct access to brands. Social media managers can perform customer service duties, such as communicating with customers through private messages and directing customers to the correct department to handle their queries if necessary. Social media managers may also keep an eye on public posts to identify any customers who may have issues, possibly initiating direct message contact with them to help resolve these issues.

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Monitoring content success

Social media managers may review engagement metrics for the content they produce, such as likes, comments, views or shares. In this way, they can measure the success of their posts. By learning what approaches are successful, they can make plans to maximise the reach of future content.

Creating social media campaigns

Social media managers may devise and implement digital marketing campaigns using social media platforms. Their work may involve both creating the content for the campaign, or working strategically to analyse data from previous campaigns and closely monitoring metrics for the current campaign to ensure it's effective. They may coordinate campaigns while working in partnership with other brands to focus on marketing a specific product or service.

Growing their online community

The main focus of all of a social media manager's work is to grow their client's social media audience, growing the number of potential customers the client can engage with. The social media manager works to create content that attracts, engages and ultimately retains online followers. Retention of their social media audience is vital in creating brand loyalty for their client.

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Working environment of a social media manager

With digital marketing and a company's online presence being important in virtually all industries, there are wide and varied working opportunities for social media managers. Virtually any company with a dedicated marketing or communications department can employ a social media manager to manage their public outreach. Social media managers may also work for individuals, such as public figures, to post on their behalf and generally manage and curate their online persona.

Social media managers may work as direct employees for an organisation, as freelancers engaged with one or multiple clients, or as part of a digital marketing firm that manages accounts with multiple clients and assigns social media managers to these clients. The average salary for a social media manager is $18,103 per month, but the earning potential for a social media manager can vary depending on factors such as experience, education level and whether they work as a salaried employee or a freelancer.

Why are social media managers important?

In the field of modern marketing and communications, there are many reasons why a social media manager is an important asset to an organisation or individual, including:

Direct interaction with their audience

Social media allows for direct, instantaneous communication with an audience. This allows a marketing team to spread news quickly and efficiently for any time-sensitive events, products or services. This real-time communication between brand and audience also allows for a feeling of a more direct, intimate relationship with the brand. This connection can help to foster brand loyalty.

Diversity of marketing channels

Social media managers allow their clients to diversify the way they market and advertise themselves and their products or services. The social media landscape is a very diverse one, with a wide array of social media platforms with different specialisations and features. Social media professionals can take advantage of this, allowing them to target content to their desired audience, grow their client's digital presence and ultimately boost engagement across a diverse portfolio of social media platforms.

Stronger brand presence

Effective social media management allows an organisation to have a consistent and strong brand identity across all aspects of its online presence. This continuity of a recognisable brand identity, with content that is in keeping with this identity and helps reinforce it, can help boost engagement and cultivate brand loyalty. The nature of social media means that a social media manager can be dynamic and efficient in any rebranding exercises, reestablishing tone, voice, style and other aspects of brand identity within the always accessible, real-time social media space.

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What skills does a social media manager use?

To be an effective social media manager, you may use a diverse set of skills, including:

Writing skills

Social media managers are efficient, effective writers. They can write informative and engaging content that is consistent with the overall tone and identity of the brand they manage and targeted to the brand's audience. They are also adaptable to working within the confines of the social media platform they use. They also tend to be skilled at producing quality content quickly, sometimes virtually in real-time, to ensure it's relevant and likely to have maximum engagement.

Social media literacy

Effective social media managers tend to be knowledgeable of the various platforms they may use. They understand the features of these platforms and how best these features can be used to maximise content visibility and engagement. They also understand any limitations each platform may have to ensure they're using the right platforms for the content they're producing and curating.

Experience with other relevant applications

Successful social media managers may have experience using graphic design software, for example, to help them produce dynamic, engaging visual content. Skills like this may be common among freelancers as a way to demonstrate their value to potential clients. Social media managers may also have experience using digital marketing tools to track, manage and schedule content and monitor analytics. Many social media platforms have their own analytics tools that a skilled social media manager would be proficient in using.

Analytical and project management skills

Quality social media managers are as skilled in managing their work administratively as they are in producing it creatively. They try to produce content that has an objective of engagement, so understanding how to interpret metrics and data on social media activity and translate this into strategies for growth is important. They are also skilled in prioritising and scheduling work. As they may also interact directly with their audience through direct messaging, being able to look at things analytically ensures that they don't take criticism too personally.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.