The Arkansas State online Master of Science program in Media Management, Social Media Management prepares graduates to enter a fast-growing, increasingly important field. But what exactly is a social media manager? What are their career and earnings prospects, and what are their roles within marketing departments?
This article will answer the questions you have been asking, and the answers provided may tip the scales for you as you decide whether or not to make social media the focus of your career.
What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
The roles and skills of social media managers are becoming more and more diverse. Social media managers research and understand audience niches and then use this knowledge to curate and create content as well as plan promotions that engage audiences and encourage them to share. They then monitor and respond when individuals do engage. What social media managers say in these "moments of truth" is just as critical to a brand's image as the carefully worded messages in company advertisements. Yet, they must respond without the benefit of time, oversight and many rounds of edits. The social media manager enjoys autonomy, and while they must be highly creative and passionate voices for their brands, they must also be vigilant, exercising prudence and discretion. Loose cannons need not apply.
You may be familiar with the most widely used social websites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, as well as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. These are rapidly evolving platforms, and social media managers must stay abreast of the best ways to leverage them.
Social engagement through mobile use is on the rise and social managers must be able to utilize mobile technologies to reach potential consumers where they are and when they are most receptive. Moreover, the ongoing addition of new social platforms that offer unique advantages present the challenge of keeping up for social media managers. At any given time, there may be hundreds of options to consider, but most will not prove durable over time. A social media manager must discern which platforms have the most promise and best match the company's marketing and communications objectives.
What Are the Social Media's Manager's Specific Responsibilities?
While social marketing and advertising are integral to online marketing strategy, social media is about people, conversations and the development of leads and sales from those relationships.
A social media manager administers the company's social engagements which includes content and promotion planning, goal setting and strategies for building and developing leads and converting them to sales. From the first sale, customers need to be cultivated, and the social media manager must understand their needs and take them through the customer journey. Part of that process incorporates segmenting customers by maturity levels, products purchased and interests. As these areas branch out over time and databases grow, the social media manager must oversee an increasingly complex set of individual audience niches. This is analogous to turning a small garden into a 100-acre arboretum.
Depending on the size of the organization, the social media manager may perform many of these functions solo, or he or she may work closely with content marketing managers, customer experience managers and even specific community managers.
Career and Earnings Prospects
The field of advertising, promotions and marketing is projected to grow 10% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average, and managers in this field currently earn a median pay of $132,620 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Salary.com provides specific data for social media managers and reports an average salary in the United States of nearly $100,000 per year as of May 2019, with a range of $84,000 to $121,000. Compensation ultimately depends on a number of factors including certifications, education and industry experience.
Social media is changing the world, and social media managers find themselves operating at the heart of a thriving movement. If you have a passion for connecting people with businesses, enrolling in an MS degree program with a social media management track may be a wise career decision.