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What is a social media manager?

Within just a few years, social media management has exploded. From a niche task within PR and digital marketing it’s now a full-time, highly sought-after role.  

It’s been forecast that there will be 50 million social network users in the UK by 2023. Businesses are increasingly reliant on having a social media presence. Now social networks are also vital for marketing campaigns and engaging with customers.  

However, it's just one of many careers you can do with a Digital Marketing Masters. So what does the person in charge of a company’s socials actually do – besides posting a few videos to Instagram? What are the duties and skills required of a social media manager? 

In this post we’ll outline the skills, responsibilities, and daily tasks necessary to succeed in this relatively new – but essential – digital marketing niche.  


Social Media Manager Responsibilities 

In reality, social media marketing involves much more than uploading a couple posts to TikTok or YouTube every week. A social media manager’s salary can start at £19,000-£25,000 and go up to £60,000 or higher. So they have to add real value to the organisation.   

Accountabilities of a social media manager - what does a social media manager do?

A social media manager is responsible for creating, editing, and uploading content across all social platforms. They engage with customers, plan and launch social media campaigns, and generally manage and improve an organisation’s online presence.  

Since so much business is now conducted online, companies have to represent themselves accurately and positively on the web. A social media manager oversees this online “voice”, portraying the organisation’s character, branding, and values to its audience.  

However, the role is about more than just protecting the brand’s style and reputation. A social media manager is usually hired to boost visibility, engagement, and ultimately leads and sales. A large part of social media management is about formulating and carrying out successful strategy.  

Social channels 

Social media marketing involves the management of several social platforms. These can include: 

  • Facebook 
  • Twitter 
  • Instagram 
  • TikTok 
  • Snapchat 
  • YouTube 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Reddit 
  • Pinterest 

Social media executives need mastery of all channels relevant to their organisation. 

Influencer relationships 

Social media is a powerful tool, but that power isn’t shared equally. Celebrities and online stars can have followers in the tens of millions, giving them incredible reach with every post. Forming brand relationships with influencers is a valuable subset of a social media manager’s duties. Effective influencer outreach and negotiating deals can yield great results.  


Budget management 

Modern marketing departments will allocate funds towards social media. It’s the social media manager’s responsibility to spend and oversee that budget.  

Facebook, Twitter, Google and other channels have mature business models, enabling paid ads and promotional opportunities to be seen by highly targeted audiences.  

It’s a social marketing manager’s job to ensure they spend the money in the right places, and see that there’s a solid return on investment (ROI).  

Essential Skills for Successful Social Media Management  

Besides detailed knowledge of Instagram stories and subreddit threads, a social media manager will need some very specific abilities to get through their day-to-day work: 


Most of your output on social media is in text. You’ll need to have great grammar and spelling if you’re going to be representing your organisation. But good copy skills require a natural flair with language too.  

A nimble turn of phrase helps, as does a sense of humour and personality that stands out. A novel way of looking at the world and your industry can go a long way.  

alt=""“look at this absolute unit.” – The Museum of English Rural Life’s tweet that went viral 

A more formal tone and lengthier post on LinkedIn is very different to a short, informal tweet. 

The ability to step into someone else’s shoes as a writer is also critical. Remember, most social media managers aren’t posting as themselves, but as the organisation they’re representing. This can be an even trickier task if you’re in charge of multiple handles, or even several companies via an agency.  

Organisation and strategic planning  

Managing social media isn’t just posting off-the-cuff. Managers are expected to plan social media campaigns in advance – to launch new products or services, increase traffic on certain channels or to ensure online visibility is maintained. 

Planning and writing social media calendars is a big part of a social marketing manager’s role. You should become familiar with social scheduling software such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. But compiling relevant images, hashtags, keywords, quotes and statistics is the real core of social scheduling. You must know what you’re posting, but crucially, why.  

Analysing social metrics 

In almost any digital marketing job, data is your best friend. If you’re able to understand the numbers behind your social media trends and interactions, you can use that information to improve your organisation’s performance.  

Effective social media managers will know Google Analytics and Data Studio, plus platform-specific analytics tools such as Facebook for Business and YouTube Studio. 

Proactive vs. Reactive 

As well as regularly posting to audiences’ preferred channels, social marketing managers must react to both positive and negative interactions.  

Tastefully engaging with a customer praising your products gives the sense that you care and appreciate them. However, you also need sensitivity, tact and timing to deal with negative posts, moderate threads and forums, and handle social media crisis comms should the need arise. 


The ability to think on your feet is one of the most vital skills a social media manager can possess. Sometimes a day will consist of wildly varying tasks that you’ll need to take charge of. You might be called on to write a post in a matter of minutes in light of company developments, or react to the latest news story, social trend or political furore.  

Social media changes faster than almost any area of digital marketing, so you have to as well! 


Social Media Management Reality 

Telling the Brand’s Story 

If you have the right skills and personality, being a social media manager can be very rewarding. You get to interact directly with your audience and put the organisation’s best foot forward every day. This can have a direct impact on sales, reputation, and the real-life experience of customers.  

However, there is a lot to learn in order to be really effective at social media marketing. It takes more than familiarity with social media networks and a flair with photo filters to bring true value to a social media management role. 

To become a desirable social media asset to a modern business, you need to have your finger on the pulse. That’s exactly what you’ll get from our Digital Marketing MSc at Northumbria.

In your first year you’ll get a comprehensive introduction to social media marketing in the Strategic Marketing in the Digital Era module. In Year Two you’ll explore social media campaigns in greater depth in an essential module called Digital Campaign Management and Media. By the end of the programme you’ll have an expert understanding of how to plan, implement and analyse social media marketing strategies to benefit any business. And you can learn everything you need to know without taking a break from your career, studying whenever and wherever works for you.  


Find out more about our distance learning Masters and take a step towards your dream social media manager job today.  

Enquire now. 


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