What Does a Social Media Manager Do?

social media, social media manager, social media business

Social media is taking over your life

So you’ve decided you need to outsource some of the tasks in your business, or take on another employee. Social media seems like a good place to start, it’s fairly self-contained and you know from experience it’s a complete time-drain. But can you afford a new employee or freelancer? And what does a Social Media Manager actually do? Well, it will vary of course, but below is a summary of what you can expect a Social Media Manager role to include, and what it doesn’t.

The rise of social media

The role of social media manager didn’t exist 10 years ago, and yet yesterday when I searched on LinkedIn there were 9000 jobs showing for this in the UK, and 60,000 in the US. Even five years after the launch of Facebook marketers were still wondering if it was a ‘fad’ but today I think we all agree social media marketing is here to stay in one form or another.

What does a social media manager do?

A social media manager is the gatekeeper to your online business, and as such needs to be skilled at much more than using social media. Marketing and communications strategy are essential, and an ability to avert a crisis as well as handle difficult customers will also be needed. Think of a social media manager as the online spokesperson for your brand, maintaining its online presence and engaging its audience.

So what do they do?

  • Tell your brand story, in your brand tone of voice on your channels in a way that’s interesting or entertaining to your customers.
  • Follow the brand social media strategy to make sure posts are optimised for the goals you have set. (If you don’t have a strategy, this is something that needs to be drawn up separately from social media account management.)
  • Plan a social media calendar so that all events and important dates are covered.
  • Engage with customers and influencers and build relationships.
  • Curate entertaining and instructing content from other sources (often the biggest task in terms of time).
  • Write great copy and design arresting graphics for marketing campaigns.
  • Make themselves aware of all the new developments in social media platforms and apps so that channels are always running at optimum efficiency.
  • Deal with a brand or social crisis in a professional manner.
  • Track the metrics for each channel so that they know what’s working and what isn’t, and present top line figures to you in an agreed format each month.
  • Undertake ‘social listening’ – keep track of what your competitors are doing on social media and what your customers are saying about you.
  • Always be testing to find better ways of running the channel – which times are best, which types of post are best, which visuals are best for your audience.


What DOESN’T a social media manager do?

  • Unless agreed contractually, a social media manager doesn’t handle customer service enquiries. This is a facility that needs so be constantly staffed if you want fast replies.
  • A good social media manager will not be spammy and post only about the client or try to sell all the time.
  • A social media manager is not a virtual assistant. (Yes, it seems obvious but believe me it needs to be said!)
  • Paid advertising within the channel – this depends entirely on the contract you have with your social media manager, but if you have a moderate advertising spend it can take time to manage it so it’s often not part of a monthly freelance contract but an extra.
  • Website development and SEO optimisation are not part of a social media manager role (though often a SMM may have skills in, for example, keyword research and may use these to inform their posts).
  • Undertake a blogger outreach campaign, unless this is something which has been specifically agreed. Again, this is a time-consuming task so on a freelance contract this would generally be an extra.
  • A social media manager may not write blogs or create video content particularly if they are freelance rather than a full time employee. Both of these are time-consuming and would be considered an extra by a freelancer unless their package specifically includes them and allows for the time taken.

Naturally there are exceptions to all of these rules, but it will give you some idea of what to expect if you are employing a social media manager for the first time.

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch here or on Twitter.

And if you’d like to read more about social media for your brand, read here.

Cathy Wassell
I help businesses with social media & marketing strategy and management.

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