A Guide To Jobs In Social Media

Because social media has become such a behemoth of an industry, multiple job roles in social beyond the traditional ‘Social Media Manager’ title have been birthed, all of which are varied, suiting a wider range of personalities and intellects. There’s also a lot more to working in social than posting videos on TikTok, as you’re about to find out. 
Which roles in social would suit you? Read on.

Jobs in social media

Within social media teams there is usually a four-tier hierarchy you can progress through – from intern/executive, to manager, to senior manager or Director, to Head of or Chief. Let’s take a look at the variety of jobs in social media. 

  1. Social Strategist

A Social Strategist’s job is to come up with a plan informed by data and insight on what a company should do on social media, who they should be, when they should post, who they should target and so on. This is a marketing strategy, which is not the same as a content plan. 

A Strategist acts as a compass telling the rest of the team which direction to go in.

The strategist takes news and data, what’s happening in wider culture and society, what the brand they’re working with wants to achieve, and creates a strategy based on this to help them reach their business goals. There’s a lot of frameworks, research, decks and presentations in a Social Strategist role. Strategists usually come from other marketing roles dealing with top of the funnel, or other jobs in social media.

They deal with social ideas and the philosophy, but are not involved in executing it across social media itself.

A Social Strategist role is:

  • Creative
  • Intellectual
  • Research-based
  • Conceptual
  • Top of the funnel
  • Niche
  1. Content Manager

A content manager is responsible for creating organic, influencer and paid content, as well as researching social trends, new formats and features, and emerging channels to capitalise on. A Content Manager’s job is less about data and more about content creation, making it a more creative role. They are often known as ‘Content Creators’ (more on this further down), and their jobs are more focused on content and creativity of a client’s social channels, rather than the management of it.

A Content Manager role is:

  • Creative
  • Imaginative
  • Relevant 
  • In-demand
  • Technical (learning new features, formats and mechanics on social channels)
  • Top and middle of the funnel
  1. Social media manager

A social media manager will do everything a content manager does, but they tend to be more involved in reporting, arranging collaborations and competitions, and general admin/management of their clients accounts, whereas a Content Manager is more focused specifically on the creative material that is posted on social media. A social media manager will oversee the content plan and deal with the requests of their social media marketing clients. SMM’s can come from or leave to go to broader marketing roles.

A social media manager’s role is:

  • Fast-paced
  • Varied
  • Reactive
  • Creative
  • Problem-solving
  • Organisational
  • Often broad
  • Administrative
  • Middle of the funnel
  1. Channel manager

A channel manager may do an amalgamation of social media and content manager duties but on one sole channel, such as TikTok, rather than across multiple. This is a great role for those who love a particular platform, however it can be an unreliable role due to how rapidly social media platforms peak, trough and shift.

A channel manager’s role is:

  • Niche
  • Relevant to what’s popular
  • Creative
  • Reactive
  • Focused
  • Time-limited (not all platforms remain popular – where is Tom from MySpace?!)
  • Middle of the funnel
  1. Community manager

Rather than content creation, social platform and channel management, a Community Manager’s job is to respond to social media users and drive ongoing conversations with them, as well as public figures and brands. They will respond to DMs but also add comments across relevant content to build an online community and increase social engagement for their client. 

A community manager’s role is hands on, communication-focused and conversational, and very important because they undertake social listening – which informs everything produced by the social team, even the Social Strategist, because social listening tells the Community Manager what the audience want and how they are feeling about a brand.

The Community Manager also must safeguard a brand’s personality, ethos, values, voice and tone, as well as implement tactics to drive customer loyalty.

A Community Managers role is:

  • Sociable
  • Reactive
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication driven
  • Inventive
  • Middle and bottom of the funnel
  1. Social Analyst

If data and numbers are more your thing than TikTok trends, you might want to look at roles in social analytics and performance, such as a Social Analyst. A Social Analyst crunches the numbers, uncovering what is working and what isn’t working by looking forensically at platform insights and data. 

A Social Analyst’s role circles right back to the Social Strategist and the rest of the social team because they inform them what is performing well and driving results as opposed to content that is flopping. A Social Analyst must also learn how to read deeper into social metrics and use third-party data tools, as well as setting up conversion tracking. 

A Social Analysts role is:

  • Data-oriented
  • Mathematical
  • Scientific
  • Technical
  • Bottom of funnel
  • More niche
  1. Paid Manager 

Also known as a paid specialist, a performance marketer or a planner, a Paid Social Media Manager doesn’t deal with organic and influencer content – their role is entirely focused on building paid advertising campaigns to drive particular goals for clients.

It’s a data-driven role, whereby you will build audience lists, manage budgets and forecasts, tweak performance, set up conversion tracking and lead generation, and deal with reporting.

A Paid Manager role is:

  • Mathematical
  • Scientific
  • Technical
  • Strategic 
  • Top and bottom of the funnel
  1. Influencer manager

An influencer manager is based outside the remit of organic content because they are responsible for sourcing influencers, briefing them and managing the process for their social media clients. An influencer manager may work for a social agency, a marketing agency, or a specific influencer marketing agency.

The role also involves negotiating around influencer fees and scope of work, as well as research when trying to find the right fit for clients.

How To Start Influencer Marketing

An Influencer Manager’s role is:

  • Administrative
  • Organisational
  • Planning orientated
  • Varied
  • Communication-based 
  • Middle of the funnel
  1. Influencer

An influencer does not typically work for a marketing agency, instead they work for themselves and they are their own brand, so to speak. The more clout and engagement they can garner online, the bigger their audience trust, so that they can entice brands to hire them for sponsored content/work.

To become an influencer you must hit a platform in its hey-day, honeymoon, rising star phase – for example, TikTok experienced gargantuan growth due to its early ability to send anybody viral, whereas on Instagram it’s not as easy to generate followers as it was years ago – you can read more about the shifts in the Instagram algorithm here.

An influencers role is:

  • Varied
  • Creative
  • Flexible
  • Self-rewarding
  • Uncertain
  • Always-on
  • Top and middle funnel
  1. Content Creator 

Whether you are a Content Creator for an agency or for yourself – read more about UGC creators here – your job is literally to create content. Sounds fun doesn’t it? However, you need to be on the ball and have the ability to assimilate trends before they peak to stay relevant. This means you need to pretty much always be on your phone! 

You also need to be really talented at video creation and photography, and know all the hacks on social platform features and formats.

A Content Creators role is:

  • Technical
  • Artistic
  • Conceptual
  • Varied
  • Inventive
  • Imaginative
  • In demand!
  • Middle of funnel
  1. Head of Social

A Head of Social oversees all of the above and has usually been in the game for a fair few years. They may be involved in pitching to win new social clients and will be responsible for delegating roles and responsibilities for clients across the social team. They must keep their eyes on shifts and updates in the marketing industry, as well as client competitors. They will be in charge of what goes out on a platform and what gets removed. Usually they come from broader Marketing roles, choosing to focus on a particular area of marketing.

A Head of Social role is:

  • Broad
  • Organisational
  • Visionary
  • Directorial 
  • All of the funnel

Other jobs related to social media:

  • Photographer/Videographer – food photography, retailer photoshoots and videography are an essential part of social media content creation
  • Researcher – you can be employed to look at consumer trends, data and insights that inform how you approach marketing for clients, such as social media listening tools or think tanks.
  • Copywriter – for longer form content as well as social media captions, some companies employ copywriters to focus solely on writing copy for clients.
  • Designer – for graphic design assets used on social media.
  • Client Account Manager – a role whereby you do not carry out any social media tasks but rather you look after the client and handle their requests with the rest of the social media team.

Where can you work in social?

Jobs in social media marketing are obtained at marketing or social-specific agencies, where you serve multiple clients, or in-house, where you look after the social media of the company you are working for. 

Alternatively, you can go it alone as a freelancer (usually in more creative, top of the funnel roles in social) or set up your own social media marketing agency looking after your own roster of clients. Some social media industry natives do this after they have accumulated a few years of experience and contacts under their belt, often using LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube as ‘personal brand platforms.’

How to get a job in social media

Typically, you’d need a C+ GCSE grade in Maths and English as both subjects are employed when working in social, or you could just be an ideas person who is really, really good at video creation and editing. You can choose to do a University degree, a college course or start an apprenticeship in a Communications or Marketing role to help get your foot in the door. 

Most social media roles require work experience within the field, so you could volunteer to help a local organisation or charity with their social media, or create your own portfolio on your chosen social channel to showcase what you can create. Some social media marketers started off by developing their own voice and creating valuable content online, building an audience they can showcase to potential clients and employers, but often this isn’t necessary providing you can show enthusiasm for the industry.

What are the cons of working in social media?

Think of print marketing – it’s pretty much dropped off in comparison to the authority it once held, but like any role in marketing, the nature of the industry and your marketing job will shift and evolve with the times. Many print marketing companies migrated to digital marketing with no issues, as did their employees. 

So, whilst some could argue that social media has a cut-off date, you will build an impressive skill set that is adaptable to any role. Afterall, we couldn’t have predicted the jobs that are around now twenty years ago, so we definitely can’t fathom what jobs there will be in the future, so you should do what you enjoy!

However, cons of working in social media tend to be:

  • Demand to stay up to date with social trends, cultural news and platform updates – meaning you kind of have to be ‘always-on.’
  • It can be stressful trying to plan, get sign off and schedule a large volume of creative content, but if your team is organised and efficient, it isn’t going to be a problem.
  • Working to deadlines – but that is pretty much a given in any role.
  • Competitive – but again, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it!
  • Harder to migrate to a broader marketing role than it is to niche-down on a social role from a marketing one.
Pros of working in social media

Now we have looked at the cons, let’s look at the pros of working in social.

  • Social media experts are in demand 
  • Creative, inventive and non-traditional role
  • Various routes within social media to explore 
Key Takeaways About Jobs In Social Media
  1. There are roles in social media to suit all skill types and personalities.
  2. There are so many more roles in social media than ‘Social Media Manager’
  3. You can work in social for an agency or in-house at a company – giving you plenty of options.
  4. Opportunity to be self-employed with experience and contacts.
  5. You can migrate across to a social media marketing role from a more traditional or broad marketing job.
  6. You can progress to management level, director level and Head of Social
  7. Although social media will change, the skills gained from social media roles are very transferable.

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