This article on how to be a social media manager is a guest post by Julia.
My first mobile phone was the size of my forearm.
It came with a huge antenna and it was as thick as a fist. I was 12 years old and loved it. Today, I’m still in love with my mobile phone. It’s not the same one though. I replaced it with a slimmer version that doesn’t require a suitcase for itself.
That’s fortunate for two reasons:
1) I no longer have an abnormally large bicep from picking up my mobile phone, and
2) I am able to carry my office in my pocket which allows me to work and travel wherever I want.
In 2011, I quit my job to take a break and to travel the world. My plan was to spend six months solo-backpacking through Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. You can already tell that this wasn’t the brightest idea.
Six months was way too little time. I quickly realized that I needed more time to travel and to actually spend time in each place. I wanted to get to know the people and their culture rather than just come through like a tornado and leave.
I fell in love with traveling (*shocking*).
The only problem was that my budget was planned out for only six months.
How to Be a Social Media Manager
It all started when I didn’t want to go home…
Before I left my home country, I worked as a public relations consultant and editor in chief in a communications agency in Munich, Germany. I was responsible for a team of copywriters and graphic designers and together we published for different clients from all sorts of magazines and advertisements.
Shortly before I left, we also started to implement social media marketing into our portfolio. We tested the waters, and back in those days, only a few companies believed in the importance of a Facebook page. Instagram wasn’t even born yet. But, we had a few clients who trusted our recommendation and let us set up their social accounts.
For me, it was the beginning of understanding the value of social media on a professional level. These projects helped me learn, test, and play around, which a few years later helped me become a freelance social media manager all by myself.
It was my gateway to a whole new world. Thanks to my job as a social media consultant, I can now work remotely and travel full-time, which I have been doing since 2011. In fact, in 2019, I expanded my portfolio and now call myself a social media coach (more about this later).
I discovered the need for social media consultants right after I left my agency job and when I fell in love with traveling. I knew that I had to come up with a way to make money from the road. Remember, I didn’t have much savings but the last thing I wanted was to go back to my old life.
Luckily, I am not the first and only one who is working remotely in a field like social media marketing. This helps a lot because there is actually a huge variety of job offers for remote social media content managers. There’s no need to convince a company that you can do your thing from a tropical island.
How to Be a Social Media Manager With No Experience
There is a first time for everything. So, if you decide to become a social media manager with no experience, that’s cool. Think about it this way: You ARE experienced because I am sure that you have been using social media for your private life for years by now, correct? I thought so!
This means that you have at least a basic knowledge of how all the common features of the most common platforms work. That’s a great starting point. A man from planet Mars, for example, would be in a way worse position than you. Got it?
So, now comes the part where you want to add the marketing aspect to things. This, of course, requires a bit of effort. You’ll have to start learning and reading about this field. But, there are great resources out there.
Another thing that you can do is that you can take a look at how others are doing their social media marketing. Learn from their success, try to find good examples in your network by browsing big influencers or brands in order to see positive cases.
And, then, you can start offering to help your friends or family members with their social media growth for free.
This way, you’ll get a feeling for how it is when you are taking over someone else’s communication, and also you are learning to think like a marketer because not every friend will have the same audience or same goal. If you are doing a good job, these friendly tasks can result in a testimonial by the way.
How to Set Yourself Up as a Social Media Manager
The first thing I did was start a blog. In the beginning, I wrote about my travels. To be honest, I had no idea back then that my blog would become my number one marketing tool in the long run. But, as soon as I dove into the world of blogging, I realized how powerful a site can be to promote yourself.
Many companies that I have worked for found me through my website. You unite with others in your niche, and then this causes a chain of reactions resulting in great connections.
So, if you love writing and have a passion(s) for a field of interest that you can write about, then I suggest you start a blog, which is really just a way cooler portfolio.
You don’t have to be an expert as long as you know a little more than your readers. Consider your blog as the content hub, which you then can connect with all your social media channels and you’re set. You’ve just created your digital business card. Landing a gig as a remote social media manager will now be a lot easier.
Skills That Help You to Become a Social Media Content Manager
So, the little girl who used to be in love with her phone will turn 38 this year (that’s me). Yikes. But, the fact that I’ve become older doesn’t change the fact that I still enjoy playing with my phone, like, ALL THE TIME. But, the best part is that today I get paid to play with my phone—life isn’t bad.
While that sounds like all fun and lollipops, this is actually hard work. Not the physical type of work, even though your thumbs will surely get buff, but mentally, like most “regular” jobs out there. My job can be absolutely exhausting at times but in a good way. You know, the type of exhaustion that actually feels great?
When you’re a social media manager, it’s your job to spend time on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
If you want to be a social media manager like me and you love spending time with your phone AND like to use those finger muscles of yours a lot, then consider a career in social media marketing.
Social Media Content Manager Skills:
- You know how to write in a captivating style.
- You have excellent organizational skills.
- You’re awesome in keeping track of your tasks.
- Research is something you do quickly and thoroughly.
- Creativity is your middle name.
- You love to share your thoughts.
- You like to stay on top of things and read about new trends.
If that sounds like you, perfect! Now, let me explain a little bit more about what it takes to make money from managing social media channels. Because like I mentioned before, it is not all that easy if you really want to be successful with it.
The best part, if you are good or even great at it, you can, like me, turn it into a whole new job profile and start your own social media marketing coaching business after a while.
How to Be a Great Social Media Manager
First of all, you need to LOVE and understand the different platforms.
I think I’ve covered the love-part by now. The next thing you’ll want to focus on is how exactly Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok and Twitter work, and you need to examine them thoroughly. I suggest you take it as seriously as an exam at university. You’ll have to study the ins and outs of each platform to understand which of your moves cause what.
As a successful social media content manager, you want to always be on top of things, know about new trends and gadgets, and understand exactly what those mysterious algorithm changes mean to you and your clients’ business.
In the end, they hired you to rock their social media channels, so they are your babies even if you are posting in the name of someone else. Got it?
There are many Facebook groups that are great to browse for trends and hot topics but also where you can find advice and support for your projects. They are also awesome to network in. Many of my clients come through word of mouth.
Working as a social media content manager gives me the freedom to travel.
Here are my favorite Facebook groups for networking and finding remote work:
- Remote Work & Jobs for Digital Nomads
- Digital Nomad Jobs – Remote Jobs @ letsworkremotely
- Digital Nomad Jobs: Remote Job Opportunities
- NomadX – Support Community for Remote Workers
- Digital Nomads Around the World
- SMM: Facebook Ads, Selling, Closing, Getting Results, Building a Team, Scaling
- Social Media Marketing Support Group
I suggest you join them all. The first five groups listed are good to find remote gigs, network with like-minded people, and get support with your digital nomad questions. In the last two groups, you’ll be able to stay on top of your social media marketing know-how and great to get advice and support.
What Are the Main Tasks of a Social Media Manager?
Here are the basic tasks of being a social media manager:
- You create a content plan.
- You create the content for the content plan.
- You schedule all the content that is not related to a specific date.
- You and engage and interact with the followers who reacted to your content.
- You engage and interact with potential customers and their content.
- You evaluate what worked.
- You repeat all of the above.
A content plan is like the roadmap to a successful road trip. You need to know where you are going and how to get there. Otherwise, you’ll get lost.
To put it into the context of social media marketing, each and every single post you publish needs to contribute to your overall mission.
This could be getting more followers, causing more engagement with existing customers and followers, promoting a new product, and showcasing your customer’s new business.
Whatever it is you are trying to reach with social media marketing, you need to have a crystal clear vision of it. Everything you do and communicate has to have an overall connection.
For example, as much as you love puppy pictures or cute cat videos, they won’t do your channels any good if your client is a company that sells insurance.
Well, okay, I just had an idea how an insurance company possibly could use funny cat videos to show that their insurances are the answer for every downfall in life. But, that’s not necessarily the main type of posts they want to use. Do you get my point?
Content is queen and context is king.
Try to be the answer to every question your audience has. Always be one step ahead and offer solutions.
That’s why I initially said that being a social media manager can be exhausting at times. It really takes some brains to not only know who your audience is and what they want but also what they might want in the near future.
The Best Social Media Manager Tips and Tricks
Schedule Your Content but Don’t Sound Like a Robot
This isn’t as bad as it may sound. Once you’ve figured out your content plan (which you should always discuss and even brainstorm with your client to know exactly what he/she wants), and after you’ve done the biggest part of your job, the content creation, you’ll be able to switch to autopilot. Use those really great and helpful tools out there to schedule your content!
Make sure you automate as much as possible but as only as little as necessary. What I mean by that is that you have to be careful to not sound like a robot. Sometimes sudden events and news in your industry require a bit of an adjustment of your posts.
Engage and Be Super Social
Now that you’ve posted your news, article or product update, I’d say the most important phase is the engagement phase. You cannot expect that you’ll be seen as soon as you shout out into cyberspace – especially because there are 3.8 billion people on social media who share their content too. 3.8 billion! It’s tough to stand out and to be seen.
But, if you are a social cyber warrior and help others to spread their message and if you have answers for others in groups and forums—you’ll be seen.
Be authentic, not salesy. Be honest and transparent. People will soon remember and recognize you as an expert in your field.
No matter what news is currently dominating the media, I still do my part of the job and research all the interesting and necessary topics in my client’s field of interest in order to come up with content related to their product or solution. Try to be always one step ahead of others. Be a leader, not a follower.
Don’t Lose the Fun Part of the Job
Don’t lose the fun part of the job. It can happen that you desperately want to skyrocket those numbers, like today, not tomorrow. And, it might get to that point where you lose your patience and want to send Mark Zuckerberg an email yelling at him all your frustration about how slow it has been lately to get those numbers up. Don’t blame him (although it’s mainly his fault).
Instead, try to think outside the box and come up with new ways to get the attention of your audience. This could be even funny or silly things like creating an inside joke involving a cat between the account and the readers on a Facebook page. My point is to try out new things, play around, and HAVE FUN!
Make a Plan
Perhaps, this is contradictory to what I just suggested but in a way, it’s not. I really am a big fan of plans, lists, and schedules. Being structured and organized about your communication on social media helps me big time when it comes to continuity and consistency. It will also help you feel less exhausted when you should be the person on top of things and not the one chasing just another social media task. There are also great tools to help you manage your daily chores.
Where to Find Gigs as a Social Media Content Manager?
I listed the Facebook groups above, but there are also other websites like Upwork, Freelance, and Fiverr that you can check out. Personally, I have never found any remote jobs through these sites and I feel like they are too big and anonymous to get through.
That’s why I love Facebook groups where you get to chat with the person who posted an offer and you’ll see an immediate response.
Another way of getting new gigs or expanding your network is events. I try to attend at least one or two per year. This year, I went to Chiang Mai, Thailand to give a speech about how to use social media marketing to create your online profile. I made truly valuable new connections and it boosted my own online reputation as a social media coach.
If you prefer to look online for new online gigs, check out Nomadlist.They have remote jobs listed and are a great resource for popular places for digital nomads. They have a paid membership option if you are interested in joining their chat, but if you only want to have a look at their job board, you can go with the free version.
And, that’s it. The young girl who once fell in love with her mammoth phone and traipsing the globe found the exact perfect job to fulfill her life dreams of strong thumbs and passport stamps!
I hope you found this post on how to be a social media manager helpful. Are you up for being a social media manager? Let us know in the comments below!
Julia Jerg is a full-time digital nomad from Germany who works as a remote social media coach and copywriter. She has lived, worked, and traveled to over 90 countries since she left home in 2011. On JeyJetter, she writes about her location-independent work-life and her passion for traveling. In 2017 and 2019, her two sons were born. Since then, she is on a mission to debunk the myth that the digital nomad lifestyle is only for singles without kids. She successfully travels with her little family and provides now family travel tips and digital nomad advice for (aspiring) travel families on her blog.
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