A few years ago, there was a Jack-in-the-Box commercial in which the spokesperson rolled his eyes talking about the new social media intern while a teenage girl snapped gum scrolling through her phone in the background. That seems to be the ideal stereotype when people with little-to-no real involvement with social media marketing think about social media as a career. 

You get to spend your entire day on Facebook? 

If you’ve spent anytime as a social media marketer, you know that is rarely, if ever, the case. And frankly, lots of careers are misunderstood from outside perspectives; that’s why the “what society thinks I do” memes have taken off, so what’s the big deal? 

In observation of Social Media Day, which falls on June 30 this year, the social media team at Simplilearn wanted to shed some light on some of the biggest challenges, perks, and misconceptions of social media marketing — not to show up your Uncle Dave, who may never understand what it is that you do — but to educate marketing aspirants who may find their dream job in this industry, and to help those just starting out in social media better understand their potential career trajectory. 

We reached out to other social media marketers who work in a wide variety of industries and on teams large and small to help illustrate the big picture of what these types of roles really entail.

Get transformed into an industry-ready social media marketer with the Advanced Social Media Course. Enroll now!

What Does a Social Media Marketer Do? 

The short answer is, it depends. A smaller company may have a long list of responsibilities for this position. In fact, your title may not have “social” in it at all. There are plenty of content marketing roles that encompass social media. There are also 1,000+ employee enterprises that have social media marketers for every channel. Here is a broad list of some of the things you may do daily as a social media marketer: 

Social Listening

Understanding what is being said about your brand, your products, your competitors, and trends that relate to your industry is important for every team to understand, and much of those conversations are happening on social media. 

Brand Reputation Management

Setting the record straight on what your company offers and addressing concerns and problems before they escalate is paramount to winning over new customers and improving relations with dissatisfied ones.  

Building Brand Awareness 

Social media marketers at a brand that’s starting from scratch have some challenging yet exciting tasks ahead. You’re in charge of determining where your audience is in the social media world and what the best ways are to reach them and educate them about the problem your brand aims to solve.

Account Management

If you’re working within an agency, you may not be overseeing one brand on the product, but several. The onus is on you to determine the appropriate publishing cadence, channels, and content types to achieve your clients’ goals. 

Campaign Management 

Many social media marketers worn hand-in-hand with product and content teams to deliver flawless go-to-market strategies and ensure your company is delivering ads to the right audience as efficiently as possible. This can include retargeting audiences to nurture them through the buyer’s journey and grow your lead pool and conversions. 

Optimizing Post Schedules

Successful social media marketers know what channels perform best and at what times of day to ensure the content that’s posted is being seen by as many eyes as possible. Optimal times can change over time and even seasonally, forcing these marketers to keep a close eye on trends. 

Continuous Education

Every week, a new feature is rolled out on a social channel and an algorithm has thrown a wrench in your plans. Reserving time for education, through blogs, webinars, ebooks, YouTube tutorials, and online courses is a must to stay competitive.  

Reporting and Data Analysis

You need to be able to answer the question, “What do you bring to the table?” without hesitation.  Proving social ROI continues to be one of the more difficult areas to measure, but knowing your analytics tools inside and out and how to read reports and spot trends makes it easier.  

Influencer Marketing

Research, outreach, and influencer management is an increasingly important part of social media marketing. Once you’ve identified and onboarded an influencer, the hard part is not over. Maintaining that relationship and ensuring content is consistent and quality tends to be an ongoing process. 

49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations on social media before making a purchase.

Read Why Influencer Marketing is the Key to Content Distribution 

Customer Service

Have you ever scrolled through the comments section of a social post just to see how the brand is handling an influx of questions? You’re watching a social media manager at work, and how tough questions are handled can have a huge impact on the brand’s reputation.

Video Directing 

This one may sound a little surprising if you haven’t been tasked with overseeing a Facebook Live session or an IGTV series, but as the video quickly takes over as the optimal content type, skills like directing, script writing and content ideation are major pluses to a hiring manager. 

Is Social Media Necessary for a Brand to Succeed? 

Lately, some brands have made headlines for ditching social marketing, fed up with the ever-changing algorithms and the rising cost of advertising. So is it possible this is a dying skill?

Social media is definitely evolving, but it isn’t going away. In fact, recent figures show it’s more important than ever in the consumer decision-making process. 

Read The Great Migration from Public Social to Private Social Media

54% of social browsers use social media to research products according to a study by GlobalWebIndex. If a user types your brand into a Facebook search bar and finds (a) that your brand doesn’t have a page or (b) it does have a page full of poor reviews and no fresh content, you’ve lost a lead in seconds. 

As of 2019, 42% of the global population is on social media; that’s 3.2 billion people. If your brand isn’t active on social media because millennials aren’t your target audience, you’re still losing out: 77.5% of Gen Xers are daily users, as are 48.2% of Baby Boomers. 

Advice to Aspiring Social Media Marketers

“[Don’t] cave into the pressure of campaigns not performing well; understand your customer's behavior and craft campaigns that would connect with the needs/aspirations of your customer.” - Samarth Singh, Senior Marketing Manager 

“Each and every channel is different from each other. Understanding the platform well and deciding the strategy accordingly helps go a long way.” - Vineeta Makhija, Social Media Marketing Lead

“Never stop learning.” - Metta Smith, Communications Coordinator


Room to Grow 

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media marketing is that it’s an entry level job with no room for growth. First, there are director-level social media marketing roles that oversee teams of marketers, handle extravagant budgets, and earn as much as $164,000 annually in the U.S. with an average base pay of $114,000. 

Second, we talk a lot about the value of T-shaped marketers here at Simplilearn, which is a marketer with expertise in multiple areas of marketing with a general knowledge of many more. If you get your start in social media with the goal of rising to a director in a general management position, you will have already built a foundation in analytics, writing, and campaign management that will translate to most other roles within marketing. 

If you’re looking to find an exciting, impactful role that requires many hats and a regular need for upskilling, social media marketing could be just what you’re looking for. Build a strong foundation with Advanced Social Media Marketing Training. And remember, the sky’s the limit.

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