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No, it’s not about fixing a problem with Facebook, getting other people verified on Twitter, becoming an influencer and yes – it’s a real job.
Social media didn’t exist 15 years ago. The industry skyrocketed, millions of new jobs have been created and all of them with some unique twist. There are many job titles in the industry that it’s hard to keep up – like community manager, social media producer, social media manager, social media strategist. What about social media specialists? Let’s find out.
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It’s a specialist with expertise in strategy, as a core part of their job. These are people that are connecting the dots by bringing social media closer to other marketing departments.
The strategy is done after the candidate carefully analyses and learns the brand objective, mission, plans, current products, services, and upcoming trends. Also, they’re likely to start with an audit to identify the current weak and strong points of the current social media presence of the company. Afterward, they perform a competitor analysis to investigate better the industry and find niche topics that they can capitalize on with posts and campaigns.
It’s important to note that there’s no universal strategy for all social media channels. Each platform has its unique characteristics and “language” its users speak. That’s why, it requires lots of research to develop multiple strategies for each platform, craft the message, tone of voice, select the right type of content, and be natural.
After performing the primary duties of researching the brand, social media platforms, and competition the candidate will work with a variety of people, and departments.
As a social media specialist, it’s crucial to collaborate with other departments. Usually, a social media specialist will work with marketing managers, social media managers, designers, copywriters. However, they also need to be in touch with the legal team, product managers, salespeople, and the executive branch.
Social media specialists need to know what’s happening in the company short, and long term, what are the upcoming promotions, and campaigns and how this can will integrate into the content calendar. Depending on the size of the company, there might be other duties involved such as these.
Content calendar creation
As Hubspot says “Content creation is the process of generating topic ideas that appeal to your buyer persona, creating written or visual content around those ideas, and making that information accessible to your audience as a blog, video, infographic, or other formats.”
Social media specialists live and breathe marketing collateral every day. You’re providing useful information to the audience, generating leads for the sales department, and building brand awareness. Also, you’re creating a significant ROI for the company.
Analytics and reports
It is one of their responsibilities to gather reports and analytics on their efforts to understand how the company is performing on social media and meets goals or objectives. After identifying KPIs – social media specialists are tracking their numbers and make sure they stay on track and iterate quickly on new data.
Analytics tools will provide all the data they need. However, it is their duty to decipher them and translate them into work. This way, their own decisions will be backed by experience, intuition, and data.
There are a few social media analytics tools that they might use:
Social media monitoring
I believe these specialists should entertain, inform, and help their audience achieve better results. It helps the brand become more human. So social media specialists will monitor their audience online on all the available platforms and then efficiently engage with the community. Also, here are a few tools on monitoring, so you don’t get lost:
Since the role of a social media specialist is changing each year with new platforms and updates, it’s hard to mention only a select number of skills. The marketing game is changing very fast, and that’s the one skills they all need to have – adaptability.
“The knowledge of cognitive psychology would come in handy too. A social media specialist needs to understand what processes in a human brain make people like, believe, or remember this or that content type. Using all those principles of storytelling, semiotics, and persuasive writing right, specialists can trigger desired emotions and encourage the desired action from their social media audience.” says Lesley J. Vos, a freelance copywriter.
As a social media specialist myself, I’ve been trying and learning through a variety of skills. Some of the skills that you could add to a social media specialist job description are:
- Community management
- Strategy planning
- Campaign Tracking
- Competitive Analysis
- Critical Thinking
- Social media engagement
- Content creative
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Marketing
- Campaign Creation
- Content Strategy
- Creative writing
- Creative Thinking
- Media Creation
- Community Building
- Content Marketing
- Media Implementation
- Photo Editing
“The ability to generate engagement on social media is great but a background in digital marketing and strong business sense are both incredibly important too. As a result, you’ll be able to see how social media fits into the marketing puzzle. And use those insights to drive meaningful growth for your clients (or employer).” says Adam Connell, Founder @ Blogging Wizard
If you’re working as a social media specialist freelancer, here’s a proposal guide to pitch your potential client.
I guess you’re already intrigued and looking to get started. Let’s analyze what’s the social media specialist salary. According to Glassdoor, the typical average wage is around $54,115 / year with an additional cash compensation of $3,533.
Also, I double-checked this with PayScale, which shows an average social media specialist salary of $43,281.
“The best thing about being a freelance social media specialist is the ability to increase your income with ease. From a moderator to a strategist, there are many ways to earn money as a social media specialist. And if you want to grow your income fast and start charging $150/hr for social media consulting, you need to invest in your personal brand reputation – write for digital marketing blogs, collaborate with niche influencers, and build your social media marketing portfolio.” says Hugh Beaulac, SMM Manager, and Content Strategist at MC2
With this abundance of social media today – you’ll never get bored. However, here are some tips on how to excel at this:
- Read news & what’s happening in the industry
- Write regularly
- Analyze your efforts
- Iterate on feedback
- Speak the voice of your brand
- Understand your KPIs
- Curate other people’s content (if it makes sense for you)
- Network with other professionals
Dive deeper in the data
When it comes to learning – data is the key. However, it’s not about how much data there is, but how you use it. To become a badass social media specialist, you need to analyze the data, understand and live by these numbers. By doing that you’ll be able to reverse engineer strategies and techniques of your competitors. Here’s a great guide to get started.
It’s your next step. Paid advertising will bring you to the next level as a social media specialist. You’ll be able to create both organic content and ads for the platforms that you’re managing. Therefore, more freedom to experiment with your brand on multiple platforms. Here’s how to get started:
- Learn more about targeting and customizing audiences
- Understand Facebook Insights
- Learn more about experimenting with different formats and how to improve performance
Empower yourself with technology
You don’t have to do this alone. There are so many tools out there that can help you at any possible step – analytics, content creation, collaboration, approval processes, scheduling, improving performance, etc. I’d recommend testing these platforms to see what fits you best:
- Planable for content creation and collaboration
- Notion for notes, ideas, and planning
- Socialbakers for analytics and data processing
Connect with other professionals
As a digital marketer myself I think that the best part of my professional life was connecting with other marketers. There are hundreds and thousands of communications out there of like-minded people – so why not use it?
Whenever you have a question or frustration openly ask a community to find out more about unfamiliar areas of social media marketing. You’ll gain confidence in your abilities and learn new strategies.
Stay up to date with what’s happening.
When social media is what you did when you got to stay informed, things are changing swiftly, and it’s hard to keep up with all the information out there – platforms are ever-evolving.
To become the best specialist out there stay up to date with industry issues, valuable content, and various updates. There are widely available podcasts, websites, blogs, and news pieces around the internet.
It might seem like a big list of qualities and skills that you need to learn, however becoming a better social media specialist is a journey, not a sprint. Prioritize what you like and want to build the career path you desire. Set goals, and work through them.