An increasingly requested figure, the Social Media Manager seems to be the one who manages the social media accounts of the brands (sadly for some respondents to that mythological figure who “manages Facebook pages”), but in reality, it requires many more skills than you think, in some cases even highly specialized.
Manage and moderate the community (Social Media Management), analyze the performance and conversations that develop around the brand (Social Media Analysis / Brand Reputation Monitoring), design, create and optimize paid campaigns (Social Media Advertising), design coherent plans and business-oriented editorials (Social Media Content Curation) and so on, in a broader micro-specialization that is increasingly in demand in large digital teams.
Many skills and micro-work areas are summarized for convenience in the amazing figure of the Social Media Manager.
As internet marketing expert Veronica Gentili eloquently explains:
“social media marketing is the art and science of making social media real business resources in a concrete and measurable way, providing relevant content to users“
So What Does The Social Media Manager really do?
In short, the Social Media Manager, far from being the one who “publishes things on social networks” is the one who is responsible for making social media real resources for brands, in a concrete way.
And if you want to stand out from the crowd of improvisers out there, you need to have 3 very specific things: passion, patience and a lot of desire to learn.
In addition to a great desire to bring results and not stop at likes and followers, of course.
How to Start to Work in Social Media Marketing?
Observe, begin to browse, and become familiar with the tools of the trade.
Create a Facebook page, even on your home slippers or on your cat (even better if it’s your interest or hobby), and try to understand how it works, what are the tools you need to manage it, how it is created. Open an Instagram account, start spending more time on it, exploring the various areas, voices, but above all, the dynamics.
What makes one post so successful and another not? What makes a profile so much more interesting to follow, while others are not lined up? Explore, first of all as a user. For hours, days, months. If you think it’s a waste of time, I’ll reassure you right away:
You can’t be a good SMM if you don’t first understand the dynamics of social media as a user.
Each social media has tones, methods of use and languages that are different from each other and if you do not first of all learn to understand and use them as a user it will be impossible to know how to do it well as a brand; take the time to understand and familiarize yourself with the various tools that social networks offer, you will need to be very familiar with the tools of the trade and you need time to make it happen.
I recommend that you immediately start taking care of your digital identity, starting from the blog and your social accounts (in particular Facebook and LinkedIn); whether you want to work for an agency, a brand or, better yet, as a freelancer, 9 out of 10 your employers will check you online before calling you. And you have to introduce yourself and tell your best.
Read a lot and take specialization courses
The good news is that today there are many courses (even remote) and books to choose from, I would say that they are born every day like mushrooms; the bad news is that, since there is a lot of demand for courses of this type, anyone offers them, even a lot of agencies and professional scoundrels. How to find the right course to follow?
Before choosing, carefully examine who the lecturers of the course are, but above all what are the opinions online about the people/agencies that offer them and those who have already followed that type of course; one thing is sure, if they promise to turn you into a full blown professional, an expert in 8 hours, run away.
You can choose to do a long specialization or master’s course to give you a solid foundation or maybe take more workshops and micro-courses, but I strongly advise you not to “train all by yourself”; following an ad hoc course will allow you to avoid mistakes, not to reinvent the wheel and above all to get to know those like you who have chosen this path.
“No, but everything is already online, for free”
Oh sure, online you can find a lot, maybe by putting together the pieces you find on the right and left you can create an advanced Social Media Marketing course that would otherwise last for years.
Yet there is nothing more stupid and shortsighted than relying only on free online training; why waste hours, days, months and reassemble a mammoth puzzle with the risk that in the end, you will miss some pieces, when there is already someone who, obviously paying, can save you all that effort and offer you already outlined thoughtful and well-constructed paths?
This does not mean that you should not benefit from the sea of contents that you find on the Net, on the contrary, they can be very useful.
Practice and networking for continued growth
Obviously the theory will be accompanied by practice; start with following small projects, but start as soon as possible, as soon as you are sure you are not doing too much damage, that’s it. You have to work in the field to understand how things work, beyond theory!
You will be making mistakes, there is no doubt about this, it is part of the growth path; the important thing is to learn from mistakes, not repeat them, but above all, do not promise customers something that you are unable to keep or an experience that you do not yet have; in this sense, internships allow you to learn from those who have more experience in the field than you, but of course be careful to be supported by those who really want to teach you and not have you making coffee and photocopies all day long.
Observe, comment, ask, there is no better way to learn.
Continuous education is essential
Every job, even the most static, requires training and continuous updating, but in Social Media Marketing, continuity is added to the speed, that of a world that changes tools, paradigms, environments every day. If you want to make this your work you will have to stay DAILY (yes, not monthly or weekly) updated on all the news and trends in the sector.
How? Get a good news reader (I personally use Feedly) in which to collect all the sources to follow; I advise you to start from those of American origin that are generally more up-to-date (ah, did I mention that knowing how to read and understand English is very, very important to do this job? In my opinion essential), such as Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, Hubspot, Marketing Land, TechCrunch.
Social Media Manager: more than a profession, it’s a journey
A week or a few months will not be enough to be able to say that you are prepared, but the experience and skills acquired over time will be essential, as happens for every job; in this specific, however, enthusiasm and interest are really necessary.
On the one hand for the continuous updating which is required, in the long run, if not supported by genuine interest, it becomes exhausting, on the other hand, because, being a new figure and being easily confused by “the young geek who knows about computers”, you may find it hard to legitimize your professionalism (and therefore the money you charge).
Don’t give up and show with preparation and results how important you are for any brand however small or big.
I hope you found some useful information on how to become a great Social Media Manager in this article. Feel free to share it with your friends.
Thank you and stay safe