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The Social Media Marketing Breakdown: A Comprehensive Guide to Success

Technology has dramatically changed the way people communicate with one another. It’s undeniable. With average time spent on social media topping more than 2 hours per day worldwide, social media has become an invaluable tool for influencing consumer behavior. 

If you’re considering a career in social media marketing, it’s important to have realistic expectations surrounding the industry. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of social media marketing, career progression, day-to-day responsibilities, and relevant skills that will help you succeed in this industry.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is a branch of digital marketing that utilizes social media networks to promote a brand, product, and/or service. Depending on the size of your team, marketers in this vertical are typically responsible for developing social media marketing strategies, ideating and creating content, engaging with your community, managing paid ads, and analyzing data to improve social media performance. 

Social media platforms are often the most public-facing channel for companies and brands to connect to the masses. This ease of accessibility presents social media marketers with prime opportunities to increase brand awareness through exposure, connect with their target audience, build community, and drive traffic. As a result, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike are emphasizing social media in their marketing strategies. 

Careers in social media marketing

Career prospects in social media marketing have flourished over the past decade. The days of assuming interns are solely responsible for social media are in the past. Now, social media marketers have diverse opportunities for upward mobility, including manager and director positions. Even C-Suite roles are attainable!

Entry-level positions in social media marketing include roles like social media managers or content marketing specialists. From there, you may also have opportunities for specialized roles, such as strategy and influencer marketing.

Let’s take a closer look into these roles: 

Social Media Manager 

Social media managers are typically responsible for executing social media strategies. This may include content creation, scheduling, copywriting, community management, and customer care duties. Data analysis is also vital for social media managers to determine efficacy and areas for improvement.

Social media managers often have 1–3 years of industry experience. Depending on your company’s size, social media managers may be a part of a larger digital team or marketing department.   

Influencer Marketing Specialist 

Influencer marketing is a highly effective branch of social media marketing. People in these roles are responsible for executing influencer campaigns through outreach, account management, and securing partnerships with content creators or individuals with large social media followings. Having a thorough understanding of your niche is critical to the success of influencer campaigns. 

It’s common for influencer marketers to typically have 3–5 years of experience in social media or digital marketing positions. 

Content Strategist 

Mid to higher-level roles like content strategists require a more comprehensive view of a company’s ambitions and marketing efforts. Content strategists are tasked with tailoring promotional content to align with the needs of the overarching business and marketing strategies – as well as management responsibilities. People in this role often require extensive knowledge of a variety of marketing disciplines, like search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing.

Although a content strategist’s duties may include some degree of content writing or editing, the act of creating content is not a primary responsibility. 

Day-to-day Responsibilities

What does a usual day in social media marketing look like? Whether you’re a team of one or one of many, core duties can be quite similar. Everyday tasks can include creating content (text, images, videos), running paid ads, monitoring social platforms, and engaging with your audience.

Your social media marketing strategy will heavily influence your day-to-day tasks. Depending on your strategy, social media can support different stages of your target audience’s marketing funnel. For example, incorporating memes and entertaining content can be incredibly effective in boosting brand awareness and exposure. However, conversion-focused efforts may prioritize integrating in-app e-commerce opportunities to streamline the buying experience.

Ideating and creating content is a key element of social media marketing. Depending on your niche, you may be tasked with writing long or short-form text (like blogs, newsletters, and captions), designing ads, crafting graphics, and editing videos. Similar to creating content, social media marketers are experts at content repurposing. Using a content calendar to stagger your posts for different days based on platform allows more time to juggle other tasks. 

Compared to the novelty of creating content, data analysis can be overlooked by some. However, regular data analysis and reporting are invaluable to improving your performance. Testing your strategy and making data-driven adjustments can be the difference between an ‘acceptable’ performance versus a ‘stellar’ outcome.

Skills and Qualifications

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in social media marketing, your ability to adapt quickly is imperative to your success. Social media is constantly evolving. It’s spontaneous. Erratic. But with practice, you will learn to identify behaviors and trends in real-time. Already having a thorough understanding of internet culture and your niche will give you a significant advantage.

Regarding content, strong writing and communication skills are key traits for any marketing career. Whether you’re writing blog posts, copy, or short blurbs to accompany your social posts, writing is a core function in social media marketing.

Familiarity with graphic design and video editing are also highly sought-after skills. Previous experience with creating images and editing videos is practical for creating engaging content from the start. Regardless of your current skill level, you will continue to hone these skills through practice.

Is social media marketing right for you?

Is social media marketing the career for you? If you’re passionate about connecting with your audience, content creation, and Internet culture – and have the writing and analytical skills to support your craft – social media marketing could be a wonderful career path for you.


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