Social Media Manager 101: Pay, Skills, and Tips for 2024

Social Media Manager 101: Pay, Skills, and Tips for 2024

Looking to go into social media management or hire a social media manager? Here’s what a social media manager does and how much they typically make these days – from a former social media manager turned career coach (and so much more.)

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Social media manager job description

As someone who spent years working as a social media manager, I’m tempted to make the social media manager job description just one phrase: everything. 😁

Of course, I’m joking (or am I?), but it’s definitely a job that requires many skills and qualifications and has many responsibilities. You don’t necessarily need a degree (though there are courses and certificates, plus getting a bachelor’s degree in something like digital marketing can definitely help to be considered as a qualified candidate.) 

Depending on your company setup and the industry you’re in, a social media manager job description might look something like this (feel free to use it as a social media manager job description template and adjust it to your specific needs and your company):

Social media manager responsibilities

  • Creating and executing the company’s social media marketing strategy in alignment with the overall marketing and sales goals (like increasing brand awareness, improving sales, or building customer loyalty)
  • Building and maintaining a brand’s social media presence
  • Managing a social media team and overseeing day-to-day social media marketing activities (if applicable) 
  • Planning, creating, and scheduling social media content
  • Moderating conversations happening on the company’s social media channels (or overseeing a social media moderation team)
  • Working closely with the entire marketing team and customer service team
  • Building relationships with industry influencers and content creators
  • Planning and developing social media campaigns 
  • Monitoring social media for brand mentions and conversation opportunities
  • Measuring and reporting on social media performance
  • Creating and applying insights based on analytical reports
  • Planning and executing (or overseeing the execution of) paid social media advertising
  • Staying up to date with new developments on social media and applying them to the company’s social media strategy
  • Building and maintaining engaged communities on social media
  • Managing social media budgets and timelines
  • Managing social media crises and building quick response workflows

Social media manager skills, qualifications, and experience

  • Experience in social media marketing in a relevant industry
  • Strong communication skills
  • Knowledge of the latest social media trends
  • Hands-on knowledge of social media marketing tools and content creation tools
  • Experience in content creation, editing and/or moderation
  • Ability to read analytics and draw relevant conclusions to improve social media marketing performance
  • Excellent relationship-building skills
  • Understanding of overall marketing strategy and tactics
  • An eye for design
  • Flexibility and readiness to tackle a variety of tasks on a daily basis
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How to become a social media manager

If you’re ready to do all of the above and have the skills mentioned in the above section, the only thing that stops you from becoming a social media manager is applying for a social media manager job and getting hired.

But if you’re lacking some of the skills or experience, here are some things to do first:

  • Get to know all the social media platforms and keep an eye on all the new platforms showing up, trends, and the way algorithms work
  • You can take some online courses in social media marketing (or individual social media platforms) to deepen your knowledge in certain areas
  • Read up on digital marketing in general – especially the role of social media marketing in the entire marketing funnel to understand the effective mechanisms in marketing

Some paths people take to become social media managers:

  • Going straight at it after graduating from college 
  • Pivoting from other areas of marketing
  • Pivoting from customer service (where you get a ton of experience in interacting with customers, and also have a great understanding of the problems they face with the product or service.)
  • Pivoting from copywriting or design (giving you strong skills in either or both)
  • Pivoting from literally anywhere else – project management, sales, HR, back office, wherever you get relevant experience and skills that can prove helpful in a social media manager’s job

What does a social media manager do?

social media manager job description - sm manager graphic

Here’s a possible typical day in the life of a social media manager:

  1. Start your day by checking the notifications on social media to see what’s happened since the day before. If you use a Social Inbox like the one in NapoleonCat, you can do that all in one place, even if you manage multiple social media accounts and channels. All the comments, questions, direct messages, and social media mentions will appear in one dashboard, which makes managing multiple social media accounts much more straightforward. 
social inbox dashboard
All your social media interactions in one customizable view
  1. Prioritize the comments and start responding or delegate comment threads to other members of your team. Again, using a social inbox will make it infinitely easier, because you do it all in one tool, without jumping to other project management tools to send the tasks. Plus, it’s easier to monitor the progress and team workload throughout the day.
  2. Check your internet monitoring tool to see if there are any relevant conversations about your brand somewhere else on the Internet and tend to those if necessary.
  3. Schedule content for the next day or the next week, depending on your workflow. The easiest way is to do it in a content calendar like the one in NapoleonCat, where you can also save drafts, send content for approval, or send it for creation to other creators/video makers and exchange feedback and comments. 
  4. Task the design team with all the necessary design assets like images and videos. You can also do it in NapoleonCat’s Publisher, minimizing the need for an external project management tool and making sure all graphics are connected to the right posts.
  5. Check if today’s content got automatically posted as planned. Again, if you’re using NapoleonCat’s Publisher, this will happen automatically, as planned.
facebook mockup
Scheduling a post to multiple platforms and accounts at once.
  1. Maybe record a couple of extra Instagram Stories, Reels, or TikToks. You can post some behind-the-scenes stories ad hoc to post throughout the day and help connect with your audience.
  2. Check the performance analytics to see how previous content is doing and whether to make any tweaks going forward to improve performance. Check how the post timings work, which post types perform better than others and what topics engage your followers the most.
social media manager job description - post engagement graphic
Best hours to post – NapoleonCat’s Analytics
  1. If it’s time – like the end of a month or a quarter – you’ll also probably be reporting your social media numbers, including follower growth, engagement, and reach. With NapoleonCat, you can do it really easily by creating a branded report with all the relevant metrics and then scheduling it to be sent automatically to designated email addresses (like your supervisor, the C-suite, or your client.) So if you have it scheduled, you technically don’t have to do anything (maybe look through the numbers before the report gets sent.)
  2. You’ll probably also be checking your social inbox multiple times throughout the day to keep replying or assigning tickets to team members and keep your response time as low as possible.
  3. To make the above easier, you can set up Auto-moderation rules to automatically reply to frequently asked questions or remove spam and save yourself some time. Creating Auto-moderation rules in NapoleonCat is really easy, and there are even some ready-made templates you can tweak so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Social Media Inbox - Simplify Instagram Management

Simplify Social Media
Management with One Tool

  • Manage & reply to comments and DMs in one place.
  • Monitor ad comments from multiple accounts.
  • Automate answers to repetitive questions.
  • Schedule posts to multiple accounts, on desktop.
  • Analyze performance and monitor hashtags.
  • Keep track of your competition.
  • Create or schedule in-depth reports in seconds.
Try 2 weeks for free (no credit card required)

How much do social media managers make?

This depends on a lot on things like:

  • your location in the world
  • your industry
  • your experience. 

Obviously, the more experience you have, the more you can typically charge.

But let’s look at some examples of the pay a social media manager can count on.

  • According to Indeed, the average annual salary of a social media manager in the US is a little over $58,000. Bear in mind that all this means that there will be people making much more and much less than that. For example, Indeed cites the maximum as around $95,000.
  • Glassdoor mentions a $45,000 to $81,000 range in a social media manager role.
  • When it comes to European salaries, Payscale lists a range of EUR 20,000 to EUR 57,000 with an average of EUR 37,355.
  • And here’s the European breakdown by country by Statista.
  • cites a median of GBP 35,000 for social media managers in the United Kingdom. (A media means that half of social media managers in the UK make less than that number, and half make more.)

To see a relevant range for your location, Google “social media manager salary in [your country]” and you should find relevant numbers. 

What you can do to make more as a social media manager

Definitely, look into tools that will help you save time – the more you can do in the same time, the more you can typically earn (especially as a freelance social media manager.)

  • ChatGPT for research and creating content drafts. As a copywriter myself, I strongly encourage you to treat the AI-generated content as a starting point, though not the finished product – for reasons ranging from copyright considerations all the way to creative, on-brand messaging.
  • Canva for creating simple designs. You can have your designer create templates for different types of content helping you save everyone’s time with content like Instagram text carousels.
  • A scheduling tool to bulk schedule content in a calendar and have it automatically posted to your social media accounts while you do other things (because it’s not like you have too much time on your hands as a social media manager.)
  • A comment moderation tool to get all your comments and messages in one place. Ideally, one tool that includes both scheduling and comment moderation (plus analytics and reporting, just like NapoleonCat does.)
  • A social listening tool that helps you monitor conversations around the internet (and often beyond just social media – on forums, blogs, and other websites, too) and research trending topics to inspire your content. 
  • An analytics tool – not just for social media but also to connect your social media marketing campaigns to website conversions and other important metrics. And to be able to demonstrate the impact your work has for the company – something that will definitely help you justify charging more. 

We highly recommend you test NapoleonCat for free – no credit card required 😉

Frequently asked questions:

How do I price myself as a social media manager?

Definitely consider the factors that impact the pay, including:

  • where you live
  • where you want to work (because these days, these don’t have to be the same thing)
  • how much experience you have
  • the type of company you work for (for example, startup vs. enterprise, the differences in pay can be significant even in the same country)
  • the way you want to work (freelance paid hourly vs. a full-time position, etc.)

Then look at the job ads that fit your criteria and see how much they pay (more and more ads today disclose the salary) and look at pay reports (you’ll find some of the links above in the article.)

If you want to be a freelance social media manager, you’ll have more freedom to adjust your pay expectations to what you actually want to be making, so definitely define clear financial goals. You can charge hourly, monthly, or on a project basis – so pick a way that fits your work style. You can mix those, too, depending on your clients and project types. 

How much to charge per post on Instagram?

If you’re charging per post (which is one of the ways social media managers earn), what you can charge also depends on the factors I mentioned above as well as whether you post it as a social media manager for a brand or an influencer on your own channels (and these will be two wildly different charges.)

As a social media manager, you could be making anywhere from $15 to $150 an hour or more, so a cost per post depends on how many posts you can create within that timeframe. You can also create monthly packages with a certain number of Instagram posts included, so make sure you take into account the time it takes for you to create them plus whether any extra responsibilities are included such as comment moderation.

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