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How To Become A Social Media Marketer (A Practical Guide)

Published January 18, 2024
/ Updated February 2, 2024

A social media marketing career is rewarding, especially if you love interacting with people.

In this guide, you’ll find out how to become a social media marketer by learning from the career journeys of other successful social media marketers.

Social Media Marketer Overview

Social media marketers manage an organization’s social media accounts. They create compelling content, manage posting schedules, analyze audience data, and interact with followers to provide support and build stronger connections.

Many brands have long seen this role as an intern’s job. Today, social media marketers enjoy greater recognition. Some even hold senior positions in their companies, such as VP and CMO.

According to The 2023 CMO Survey, companies allocate 17% of their marketing budget to social media — and experts predict this figure will increase to 26.4% in five years. This trend suggests a social media marketing career has many growth opportunities.

What Does A Social Media Marketer Do?

Below are some of your potential job duties in the first three years as a social media marketer.

Social Media Strategy Development

Developing a social media strategy will help you define the process and metrics for growing your social media traffic, leads, and community. Questions to answer include, “Which social networks should we focus on?” “What type of content should we create?” “How often would we share content on our preferred social networks?”

Content Creation

Creating social media posts that resonate with your audience and drive business results is a core part of your job. Here, you may produce written content, video content, or graphics.

Content Scheduling & Posting

This involves using social media calendar tools to schedule posts on your organization’s social media accounts.

Tracking Social Media Analytics

Monitoring social media metrics such as likes, shares, followers, and comments is vital. Analyzing these data points to draw insights for refining your marketing strategy is even more important.

Community Management

Many brands encourage prospects and customers to join their social media community. As a social media marketer, you need to moderate the community, promptly respond to questions, and ensure the community remains interesting. The goal is to foster conversations and nurture your brand’s connection with followers.

Monitor Industry & Internet Trends

Internet and industry trends evolve quickly. By staying updated on these trends, algorithm changes, and industry updates, you remain relevant to your company and its customers.

Skills & Requirements Needed To Be A Social Media Marketer

Excelling as a social media marketer requires a combination of skills. Below are seven fundamental skills and requirements to set you up for success.

Social Media Expertise

To be a fantastic marketer, you need to learn how to develop a social media strategy that builds brand awareness, grows followers, and drives leads. You should also master creating content that grabs your audience’s attention and keeps them informed or entertained. Plus, understand how to use social media analytics to refine your strategy.

Ability To Prove Social ROI

According to a Sprout Social report, proving ROI is the second biggest problem for social media teams. Knowing how to prove your social ROI will help you stand out and be more valuable to your team.

Technical Skills

Social media marketers rely on specific tools to be effective at their jobs. Software like CoSchedule Social Calendar, Hootsuite, and Canva are essential tools to be familiar with.

Creativity

We all possess creativity. The real work is unlocking your creative genius at will when you don’t feel inspired to create content. Here’s a pro tip: Keep a swipe file of creative social media campaigns that resonate with you and dig into them when you need inspiration.

Strong Research Skills

Strong research skills help you find expert opinions to solidify your claims. It also helps find ideas to inspire your creativity. Content creators who do deep research have a tremendous advantage because most people don’t want to go the extra mile.

Teamwork

Social media marketers don’t work in a vacuum. You’ll probably collaborate with designers and peers. Your aim? Regularly seek opportunities to show your commitment to the success of your team and organization’s goals.

Excellent Communication

The ability to communicate clearly and listen to team members with an open mind is an important skill. Learn to pay attention to your tone of voice, choice of words, and body language to ensure your message is well received.

How To Become A Social Media Marketer

You can become a social media marketer regardless of your current experience or educational background. Here are four simple steps you can apply to do this:

Acquire Relevant Skills & Certifications

Many marketers in the field studied something unrelated (like Music or History, to name a few) in college, yet are working today in social media. The point? A marketing-related degree helps your chances, but it’s not required to launch a social media career.

If you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree, focus on taking courses that help you develop relevant social media skills. You may start with a free course like HubSpot’s Social Media Certification and take our advanced Social Media Strategy Certification course once you’re ready to put more skin in the game. Our course teaches you how to create great content, develop a data-driven strategy, and provide templates and tips to ensure you’re efficient as a social media manager. Once you’re done, you’ll also have a certificate to prove your skills.

Gain Real World Marketing Experience

The easiest way to prove your value and stand out to a potential employer is to present your previous results as a social media marketer. So, how do you provide results if you don’t already have a job? You have two options.

The first is to sell your services as a freelancer on marketplaces such as Upwork. Many clients on these platforms are open to hiring freelancers with work samples, even if they lack actual results. Alternatively, consider starting a passion project. For instance, you could build an Instagram or TikTok page around a topic of interest and monetize with affiliate offers.

Build Your Personal Brand

A personal brand isn’t just helpful; it’s essential. As marketing expert Mike Myers said, “If you can’t develop your own brand, people might not have the confidence that you can help them develop a company’s/product’s/agency’s brand.”

A personal brand helps you differentiate yourself and grow trust and credibility, making it easier to land your dream job or clients. Need a jump on how to build your personal brand? Lachlan Kirkwood’s insights will give you a head start.

Network With Other Social Media Marketers

A study revealed that 85% of jobs are filled via networking. Networking is how Bari Rosenstein, social media manager at Auntie Anne’s and Jamba, got her first social media job. Chi Thukral, now Social Media Team Lead at HubSpot, also landed her previous role at Yanko Design through networking.

Networking is even more critical if you’re a freelancer. Marketers with rich networks are more likely to land better-paying opportunities and get referrals from peers. Building genuine relationships with other marketers and business professionals is a high ROI investment.

Revamp Your Resume & Apply

A strong resume is crucial if you want to work in-house. With a compelling resume, you increase your chances of getting an interview and landing your dream job. If you’ve applied your skills in the real world and generated impressive results, you have what you need to craft a winning resume.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Become A Social Media Marketer

What Is Needed To Become A Social Media Marketer?

Competence in social media strategy, content creation, and analytics are the foundational skills you need to become a social media marketer.

How Do I Start A Career In Social Media Marketing?

Acquire the foundational skills, apply your knowledge to the real world, and revamp your resume to include your results. Next, leverage your network or job boards to land a freelance or in-house social media marketing role.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Social Media Marketer?

There’s no definitive answer to this, but you can gain the relevant skills and experience in less than 12 months.

Do Social Media Marketers Get Paid Well?

PayScale says the average salary for social media managers is $57,004. Top earners make up to $85,000.