Social media is the preferred method of communication for young people, especially when it comes to brands. In fact, 90% of 18-29 year-olds use social media as their primary means of interacting with companies. So, businesses need to re-examine their traditional marketing strategies.
The social media landscape is constantly evolving. If you've ever had to interact with a single one of the big platforms' algorithms, you'll get it. Light a candle under the full moon, run around the earth three times, and donate a huge sum of money to the Zuckerberg Friends Fund, and maybe you'll get a slight uptick in views.
So, introducing a specialist into this environment makes sense, so you can keep ahead of the curve. This unknown frontier has led to an increase in job openings for social media marketing professionals who are flexible and adaptable to constantly changing situations.
But what is a social media specialist? What are their responsibilities? What will the role look like in the future? Let's find out.
What is a Social Media Specialist?
A Social Media Specialist has a few main responsibilities, the most important one being the creation and publishing of content on all social media platforms. The aim of this is to grow an audience, build brand awareness, and boost sales.
This individual may also oversee site metrics, interact with readers, and be responsible for creative design. They should also learn and understand the target audience for each social media platform. Developing this understanding means they can create persuasive content that strikes a chord with that audience, and also create specific campaigns that work on that platform.
They may also be responsible for developing strategy, community management, creative directing, customer service, copywriting, and analysing data.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Social Media Marketing Specialist?
A professional in this position is responsible mainly for planning a brand's social media strategy, and all the tasks that fall under this umbrella. This means building a cohesive plan that matches company goals, developing tactics to achieve these goals, and testing different channels and plans to suit a brand's audience.
So, as a social media specialist, an individual will:
- Oversee a company's social media strategy
- Work with copywriters and designers to create social media posts
- Monitor social media metrics to optimise future performance
- Stay up to date on trends, tech, laws, and best practices
- Respond to user comments and build community
- Use social listening tools to hear what people are saying on social media about the brand
This means a social media manager's responsibilities can fall into three categories: social media strategy, social media advertising, and social media management.
- Social media strategy. This means defining, developing, and incorporating a social media strategy for a brand. It'll involve identifying elements of a social media audit and competitor analysis, articulating social media goals, and distinguishing content pillars that will guide strategy. They will also determine which social media platforms will be optimal for specific strategies.
- Social media advertising. “Social media has now become a ‘pay-to-play’ arena, if you’re not paying, you’re not playing,” Kiara Havenga, Head Tutor UCT Social Media Marketing says. “It’s crucial for a business to have a social media advertising budget in place, and an expert with the know-how to put it to use on various platforms.”
- Social media platform and tools management. Due to the constantly changing landscape, social media marketing specialists need to have agile awareness of how trending features can be used to help develop a company's strategy. Trends and fads are quick to come and go, so a social media specialist needs to be aware of these, and weigh up whether they're worth investing time and energy into.
Right, now we know what one is, let's find out what a social media specialist is not.
A Social Media Specialist is Not...a Community Manager
A community manager is a role which often gets confused in the definition of a social media marketing specialist, but the two are different. A community manager identifies, builds, and nurtures relationships within the social channel community.
On the other hand, a social media specialist focuses on the logistics of delivering content to various social channels, such as managing a content calendar, writing copy, and scheduling posts. Both of these roles, although separate, often overlap.
A Social Media Specialist is Not...a Digital Marketing Manager
Social media is a subset of digital marketing, making these two roles separate positions. The social media marketing manager or specialist tends to work for the digital marketing manager. Then, the digital marketing manager would probably work for the VP of Marketing or a similar position.
Both are different roles, but the digital marketing manager can include the responsibilities of a social media marketing manager.
How Do You Become A Social Media Marketer?
Number One: Learn social media marketing skills. These include:
- Social media. It is pretty darn crucial for an SMMS to understand a variety of social media platforms well. These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn and others. You'll need to know which posts do well on what platform, and the different audiences for each
- Analytical tools. social media marketing analysis tools are used to track performance, analyse trends, and mitigate digital risk. These can include Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and Hubspot.
- Content Creation. This varies based on the social media platform. But it is vital for an SMMS to develop their design and writing skills.
Number Two: Look for Entry-level opportunities. In your job search, keep an eye out for entry-level titles such as:
- Marketing intern or social media intern
- Social media coordinator
- Social media specialist
- Social media associate
- Social media analyst
Number Three: Expand your professional network. Join social media professional groups on LinkedIn or Facebook. This can expose you to different job postings, make you more familiar with the job landscape, and help you research how people landed the jobs they have.
Why Is Social Media Marketing Important For Businesses?
Social media marketing management and strategy are essential for businesses that want to reach out to customers who are not familiar with their products. By posting engaging content on social media, companies can build relationships with potential customers and push them towards action.
Plus, social media can be used to measure marketing campaigns' effectiveness and track customer behaviour. By using social listening, and monitoring customer behaviour, a company can learn which strategies are effective, and which are not.
You can also encourage employees to interact on social media too. By posting encouraging messages on social media, firms can encourage employees to feel engaged and show them that they are valued.
What Does The Social Media Marketing Specialist Look Like In The Future?
We spoke to Dragon’s Den’s Steven Bartlett on the future of social media, and how he sees it shifting in the future. He personally sees the space changing rapidly.
All this stems from Steven's ability to understand community. He acknowledges and analyses existing groups, where they live online, and how they interact and grow. And community has never been more important than now.
When he started, it was all about building public communities, building followers. The big shift over the last ten years has now moved from the building of public followers on Facebook, to dark social private communities. Brands that understand this, and try to capture this opportunity today, will own the future of social media, according to Steven.
But what does this mean?
“Reddit,” says Steven.
“I’ve got a telegram group where almost 10M people follow me, that I can text everyday. There’s no middleman deciding how much reach I get there”.
People are choosing privacy, people are choosing anonymity. That’s a macro shift, he says. There's a move from the days where every message between friends was posted on their wall, for the world to see. Brands need to understand this shift, and develop strategies that keep this development in mind, of private, close communities.
“I would love to see a brand build up their community on discord or telegram”
So, a social media marketing specialist isn't just someone sitting in a room sending a tweet a day. It's far more complicated than that. They keep up with trends, and listen to customers, allowing a company to remain on the front foot. No candles or donations required.