How to Become a Social Media Manager?

The rise of social media has changed the internet landscape. A lot of new social media jobs have emerged including social media specialist, social media manager, social media planner, social media intern, and several others.

The social media manager is one of the best jobs in the market with an average salary of $51,423 per year. If you want to become a social media manager and want to excel in your career, the following step-by-step guide will show you how to start your career.

1. Get a Relevant Degree

The first and the most important thing you have to do to become a social media manager is to get a degree in marketing or a relevant subject. There are several online undergraduate and master’s programs that are ideal for professionals. Enroll in an online degree program with a flexible schedule without leaving your current job.

edX and Coursera are the two leading platforms for online degree programs. Additionally, almost all the universities in the US are offering online degree programs. Purdue University, for example, offers a lot of online bachelor’s and master’s programs in all the leading faculties:

Purdue University screenshot

You don’t have to take on-campus classes with an online bachelor’s or master’s program and you can set your own study time.

2. Choose a Niche

Having a degree in marketing isn’t just enough to become a social media manager. Your education won’t help you stand out from the crowd, your niche will.

Selecting a niche that you want to target is important for diversification and gaining expertise quickly. You need to target a specific industry or market e.g. hotel and restaurants, small businesses, ecommerce, attorneys, and so on.

Specializing in a specific industry, field, or niche improves your targeting. You know what type of clients to target and it doesn’t just help you acquire clients quickly but you can develop a highly customized resume, cover letter, and proposal.

It always pays off to specialize and master a niche than doing something of everything. Think Southwest Airlines, it is the world’s largest low-cost airline. It developed its own niche and excelled in it. If you have to travel in a low-cost carrier, you’ll go with Southwest Airlines without even comparing prices.


Because it specializes in low-cost travel.

That’s what you have to do. Pick a niche and become a leader in it.

3. Develop Your Portfolio

You need a portfolio of projects you have completed. Skills and education don’t show how capable you are, your experience does.

If you don’t have the experience, use one or more techniques to build your portfolio:

  1. Start managing your own social media accounts and build a case study out of it
  2. If you completed a degree in marketing, add your project details to the portfolio
  3. You can take a social media management course with a project to build your portfolio
  4. You can work for a small company in your niche for free and see how it goes.

There are so many ways.

Here is a how portfolio looks like:

marketing portfolio example

Choose a free or premium marketing or social media manager template.

Alternately, you can create your website or blog. This works best as it is more credible and professional. It will cost you under $100 to create a professional website where you can add your details, bio, portfolio, resume, and anything that you like.

You need a domain name, hosting service, and a professional theme. The domain name comes with yearly pricing, hosting costs you under $10 per month, and a decent theme will cost you less than $100. 

If you create a website, you don’t have to create a portfolio separately. Either go with a portfolio or website.

4. Acquire Skills

There are several must-have skills that you must possess to become a social media manager. It includes both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are easier to acquire that include social media related skills such as the ability to use social media tools, writing, marketing, customer care, analytics, managing social media accounts, running social ads, etc. You can showcase these skills via your portfolio.

Soft skills, which are more important than hard skills, are tough to acquire. Even if you possess soft skills, it isn’t straightforward to showcase these skills. Here is a list of the top soft skills that employers seek:

  • Communication and collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Time management
  • Innovation
  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • Analytical skills

Here is a snapshot of a real social media manager job from Glassdoor:

social media manager job screenshot from glassdoor

These are all soft skills and you’ll see similar kinds of skills in every other social media manager job post. There isn’t any easy way to acquire these skills as these are traits and part of your personality. However, you can polish these and many other soft skills by taking training courses.

Besides, you also need to learn tools and polish your hard skills. The best way to showcase your skills is to get certifications. Check Udemy, Lynda, and other platforms where you can take courses, learn new skills, and get certificates at a minimal cost.

5. Hunt Jobs

Now that you have everything ready, it is time to start hunting for social media manager jobs. Nobody will reach out to you and offer you a job, you’ll have to take the pain.

There are several platforms where you can look for jobs:

  • Online job portals such as Glassdoor and Indeed
  • Freelancing websites such as Upwork
  • LinkedIn where you’ll find hundreds of social media manager jobs
  • Company websites where they post open vacancies.

Perhaps the best method to get hired as a social media manager is to reach out to target companies. Send them customized proposals. Conduct a quick social media audit of the target company, identify strengths and weaknesses, identify problems and things they aren’t doing right, offer a solution to their problem, and tell them why they should hire you.

This technique works great.


Becoming a social media manager is a time-consuming process. You might have to work at different levels before getting your dream job. You might have to work as a social media intern, social media associate, social media assistant, etc. to gain the necessary experience.

Not everyone follows the same path to become a social media manager. Some candidates get hired as a manager as soon as they pass out without prior experience. It depends on the company, its requirements, budget, your skillset, and several other variables.

You never know what’s waiting for you out there. So, keep trying…

Featured Image: Pexels

More from Jesse