Now, more than ever, having a job where you can be your own boss and work from the safety and comfort of your home is a huge want among most people, including myself. When I was browsing through what seemed to be an endless list of work-from-home jobs, I came across social media marketing, and I was very surprised to learn how easy it is to get into and make a career out of.
If this is something you’re interested in, keep reading to learn how you can join the thousands of people making a living off of social media marketing. Over time, you'll also see recaps of our thoughts on the trending “best social media marketing courses,” so please bookmark this page as we'll always have new insights posted as new e-learning courses come into play.
The Importance of Social Media Marketing
Before we jump into how you can make money in this specific industry, you have to understand the importance of social media marketing; why are people willing to pay so much for this service? Well, without it, businesses would have a very hard time getting their name out there and expanding their audience. A business, whether it’s big or small, needs to have some sort of social media presence to be successful. Because of this, social media marketing will never see a decrease in necessity because businesses are constantly being created, and there will ALWAYS be work for a social media marketer.
In addition to that, there are several other reasons why social media marketing is such an important tool.
Takes a Load Off of Business Owners
Typically, business owners are doing so much to run their business that they neglect their professional social media accounts. So, they’ll employ the help of a social media marketer to create and manage their accounts for them. This gives business owners the freedom to focus on other aspects of their business.
We are living in a beautiful and vast world of technology and memes, which means millions of people are spending a significant amount of time on social media each day. With that being the case, what better way to tell people about your business than with the various social media platforms that are available for FREE. Building awareness for a brand requires a thought out plan that consists of defining who the target audience is and what you hope to get out of this social media strategy. For example; Do you want your platform to attract women in their late 20’s? Do you want to reach people locally or nationally? The more specific your plan is, the better!
Separates the Rookies from the Pros
Let’s take a look at an example of this one. Sue just opened up a bakery, and she’s hired a social media marketer to create a Facebook page for her business that reaches a local audience. They have no plan or strategy to do this, and as a result, her Facebook page is severely lacking in information. When customer’s visit the page, they can’t find the official business website, business number, or description about the business and Sue. It’s obvious to the customer that not a lot of thought went into creating this page.
Now, let’s take this same situation, but instead, Sue and her marketer have a clear-cut and well thought out plan on how to market Sue’s business. When customers come to the Facebook page, they see a gallery of Sue’s products, a link to her website, a full and detailed description of Sue and her business, and much more.
Out of these two scenarios, which one do you think generated more consumer traffic and higher sales? The second one, right? That’s because customers can look at a business’s social media pages and easily tell within a few minutes if the business owner is serious about what they do.
No Social Media Presence = Red Flag
I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. One of the first things that consumers do when they learn about a new brand is look it up on social media. A good social media presence assures the audience that they’re investing in a legit business that’s active on multiple social media platforms.
Open Communication with Customers
Having a social media platform where customers can easily reach out to the business owner is beneficial for both the customer and the owner. For the customers, it gives them the ability to voice any questions, comments, or concerns that they have about the business. They’ll also get peace of mind knowing that their voices are being heard.
Conversely, having easy and open communication between the consumer and the business owner gives the owner a chance to see the criticism, compliments, and suggestions that his/her customers have. As a result, business owners can make changes to their company and products to please their audience and expand their business.
Social Media Marketing Jobs & Careers
The world of social media marketing is a very diverse one, and with so many different types of social media marketing jobs available, it’s very easy to find a job that fits your preferences and skillsets. In this portion of the article, I’ll be listing the top five social media marketing jobs & careers that people pursue.
1. Social Media Manager
Being a social media manager is one of the most common ways to get into social media marketing. Think of a social media manager as the voice of the brand they’re representing. Their job is to be the face of the company while maintaining open communication with consumers as well as creating content and campaigns for their employer. For example; creating a Facebook page for the business that’s being marketed would be the social media manager’s responsibility. In addition to that, the social media manager will also be in charge of guiding the business owner in the right direction to increase their online presence. To sum up the roles and duties of a social media manager, according to SproutSocial’s definition, you’ll be in charge of:
- Decisively communicating with customers on various platforms.
- Enhancing the development of brand identity.
- Managing social media platforms so that they’re visually appealing to consumers and reflective of the business’s brand.
- Providing expert advice on different promotional strategies.
- Maintaining engaged communication with consumers to improve consumer relationships.
- Coming up with ways to turn loyal fans into paying customers.
To be successful at this job, you must have great communication skills. You’ll also need to be able to create a social media presence for the business owner that’s engaging and generates more consumer traffic. Additionally, you’ll need a working knowledge of the latest social media trends across various platforms.
On average, a social media manager makes about $51,500/year.
2. Social Media Strategist
The Social Media Strategist is in charge of maintaining and expanding a business’s online presence. They’ll typically be working closely with the social media manager and sales team if there is one. As a social media strategist, you’ll be in charge of identifying the target audience that would be interested in said business and coming up with ways to effectively communicate to that audience. You must have a solid understanding of the different types of social media platforms that your business is using so that you can easily get through to their users. In addition to working with the social media manager, you’ll also be working with other social media marketing professionals to come up with efficient marketing strategies for the business you’re representing.
Years of developing an online presence and ample experience with social media outreach is one of the most important qualifications for this job. You’ll also need exemplary analytical skills and the ability to come up with strategy proposals that clearly outline budget scenarios and investment figures for marketing directors. Most of the time, business owners will require that you have a bachelor’s in marketing before applying for a social media strategist position.
On average, a social media strategist makes about $51,500/year. A senior social media specialist makes about $63,300/year.
3. Social Media Specialist
A lot of people tend to confuse the roles of a social media specialist with those of a social media strategist. To clarify, while the strategist identifies the target audience that the business owner wants to be reached, the social media specialist creates and delivers content on all of the social media platforms being used to the audience that’s already been acquired. In other words, they build and maintain the target audience they have by constantly creating customer engagement. The social media specialist knows what the audience wants and how they want it, so as one, you’ll typically be in charge of responding to customer comments and overseeing the creative designs across all of the social media platforms. Just to make sure you have it, the strategist attracts the audience, and the specialist keeps the audience engaged and happy.
To succeed as a social media specialist, you’ll need strong analytical and communication skills. You’ll also need a sharp eye for visual aesthetics and a growing knowledge of social media metrics to ensure that your social media strategy is working.
While in this role, you’ll most likely be working closely with the social media strategist, of course, to guarantee that your marketing goals are being reached. Specific roles and responsibilities for a social media specialist may include but aren’t limited to:
- Constructing long- and short-form social media messages that attract new customers and engage old ones.
- Analyzing data to see what is/isn’t generating good results.
- Working with designers and managing social media communities in addition to your other responsibilities.
- Using engaging and captivating social media interactions to convert loyal fans to paying customers.
On average, a social media specialist makes about $48,300/year.
4. Community Manager
Community managers are an essential piece of what makes up good social media marketing. They’re often confused with social media managers, and while they may share some of the same duties, certain roles set community managers apart. A community manager, as outlined by Social Media Today, is in charge of maintaining brand representation, engaging and exciting the audience, and keeping an eye out for future marketing opportunities. Think of a community manager as a customer service representative for the brand they work with. As one, you’ll be the person that the audience can trust.
Community managers will typically host giveaways for their brand across multiple social media platforms to increase consumer traffic. As a community manager, the audience will look to you to be relatable, transparent, and easy to talk to.
To succeed as a community manager, you’ll need exceptional leadership qualities. Strong customer service skills are also a plus, along with excellent communication skills and a personable personality. In addition to that, being able to consistently create an organized community management plan will help you and your team execute different marketing strategies as well as reach social media marketing goals in a timely and rewarding manner.
On average, community managers make about $46,300/year.
5. Brand Ambassador
Becoming a brand ambassador is one of the most common and easiest ways that people get into social media marketing. Now, more than ever, brand ambassadors are playing an important role in B2B, Business-to-Business, organizations. As a brand ambassador, you’ll be responsible for increasing brand awareness by using various social media platforms to promote your brand and its products. In doing this, you’ll increase consumer traffic and generate more sales. For reference, whenever you see and of a celebrity promoting a certain product or company, they are taking on the role of a brand ambassador.
Brand ambassadors have significant influence and can easily make or break the social media presence of a brand. Why? Because they work to establish long-lasting and trustworthy relationships between the business and its loyal customers.
To summarize an article on Ambassador.com, you’ll need these six characteristics to be a successful brand ambassador:
- Working knowledge about social media marketing and its core principles.
- A well-established online presence to reach as many people as possible.
- A high level of professionalism is a MUST because you are the face of the brand and have a strong influence over the customer’s perception of said brand.
- Strong leadership skills because people tend to flock towards those who radiate confidence.
- The ability and desire to build, maintain and grow relationships between customers and your brand.
- The ability together and process customer feedback, both positive and negative, and provide helpful insight.
On average, brand ambassadors make about $32,100/year.
Social Media Marketing Tools
Social media marketing tools are key components that can make a huge difference in a business’s chance of succeeding or failing. The right social media marketing tools will give your brand an edge and will help to keep your business goals, marketing strategies, and audience engagement aligned. To give yourself a higher chance of successfully executing your marketing strategies, these four tools are a must-have.
1. Scheduling Tools
Social media scheduling tools are all designed to help you save time. Managing and transitioning between multiple platforms can be overwhelming and draining. With a social media scheduling tool, you’ll be able to efficiently schedule and track your social media messages across every platform. These tools can also give you the ability to post content automatically on each profile you have simultaneously. Also, you can organize all of your content into a calendar to stay on top of your social media schedule. Again, these tools are all about saving time. The top three social media scheduling tools include:
1. Hootsuite: all-in-one social media monitoring, scheduling, and analytics
2. Buffer: simple social media scheduling and customization
3. SproutSocial: team collaborations for effective social media management
2. Analytical Tools
Social media analytical tools are used to accurately analyze each piece of your marketing strategy to ensure that all of the pieces are coming together nicely. By using analytic social marketing tools, you’ll be able to keep track of all of your profiles, see which content and messages are generating the most attention, and track the growth and engagement of your competitors. All in all, these analytical tools will allow you to track and monitor the progress of your social media presence. The top three social media analytical tools include:
1. Awario: analyzes online mentions of your business
2. Keyhole: provides real-time analysis of campaign-specific hashtags on Twitter and Instagram.
3. Snaplytics: primary focus on analytics for Snapchat and Instagram stories. Also, looks at metrics and completion rate to monitor story engagement peaks.
3. Engagement Tools
Social media engagement tools serve as the center of your brand’s online presence, engagement, and efficiency. With tools such as these, you’ll be able to maintain the growth of customer loyalty and keep engagement between your brand and the customers organized. Engagement tools also work to track online mentions of your brand. The top three social media engagement tools include:
1. Missinglettr: automatically creates social media content from your existing articles.
2. Crowdfire: helps you manage and schedule content on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest.
3. AgoraPulse: allows you to publish content, monitor, and engage customers from one place.
4. Facebook Marketing Tools
If your primary way to reach new and old customers is through Facebook, then having the right Facebook marketing tools will guarantee that your Facebook marketing strategy is on point. These tools will give you everything you need to create and publish content, engage customers, and analyze the results of your marketing strategy. In addition to that, Facebook marketing tools make it easier to work past Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms. You’ll also be able to track the progress of your competitors to see how you’re doing compared to them. The top three Facebook marketing tools include:
2. Pagemodo: lets you customize your Facebook business page with unique tools to generate customer engagement.
3. MobileMonkey: helps to generate more customer engagement through Facebook messages, and creates automatic responses to comments on your Facebook posts.
Looking to learn Facebook Advertising? Check out Facebook Ads Ninja Master Class.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Social Media Manager
So, you want to know how much money can you make as a social media manager. The short answer is there’s no set amount. Your pay as a social media manager will mostly depend on how much experience you have. Payscale is a credible source that uses advanced technologies to compile a thorough breakdown of how much someone should be getting paid in their chosen profession. Using the information that Payscale has gathered about social media managers, we can determine, based on experience, how much money you can potentially make as a social media manager.
- Entry-level Social Media Manager: An entry-level social media manager is someone with less than one year of experience. On average, they make about $40,000/year.
- Early Career Social Media Manager: An early career social media manager is someone who has at least one to four years of experience. On average, they make about $48,700/year.
- Mid-Career Social Media Manager: A mid-career social media manager is someone with at least five to nine years of experience. On average, they make about $60,500/year.
- Experienced Social Media Manager: An experienced social media manager is someone with at least 10 to 19 years of experience. On average, they make about $60,500/year.
- Late-Career Social Media Manager: A late-career social media manager is someone with at least 20+ years of experience. On average, they make about $54,000/year.
The compensation for a social media manager can also vary depending on where you live. Typically, social media managers who live in San Fransisco, CA, New York, NY, and Seattle, WA tend to get paid more than those living anywhere else.
Social Media Marketing Strategy
If you’ve gotten this far and you’ve decided that becoming a social media marketer is something that you’re interested in, that’s great! Now you just need a few fundamental tools to create marketing strategies that will ensure success for you and the business you represent.
1. Set Goals!
This is the first thing you should do before executing any sort of marketing plan. By defining your goals, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking to gain out of social media. The best way to set your goals is by using the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework.
- Specific: The more specific your goals are the better. Ask yourself, what social media platform will I be using. How will I be using it? What do I hope to gain by using the platform this way? By being as specific as you can, you up to your chances of reaching your goals
- Measurable: This includes things like, increase customer traffic or generate customer engagement. By outlining this, you can come up with a way to track your improvement to ensure that you’re meeting your goals.
- Attainable: While it’s nice to reach for the stars, your goals should be realistically reachable. Otherwise, you’ll be setting goals that are too high to reach, and it’ll feel like your strategies never fall through.
- Relevant: This involves determining which platform you’ll use to market your business and knowing how using that platform will benefit it.
- Timeframe: Deadlines help to keep you on track with meeting your goals, and they also hold you accountable for doing so.
2. Do Research on Your Target Audience
The worst thing you can do as a social media marketer is assuming who your target audience and what they’re interested in. That’s like blindly preparing a speech for children and then finding out that you’re actually talking to adults. The tools we discussed for effective social media marketing would be useful here because they can gather all of the information you need about your target audience without you having to do a ton of research. With that, I offer a word of caution about solely basing your social media marketing strategy off of general demographics. While they’re helpful with giving you a general idea of who you’re targeting on each platform, they don’t offer any valuable information about the loyal customers you already have, and you need that to maintain brand loyalty.
Data, data, data. No matter who or what you’re representing, your marketing strategy should be data-driven. Facebook and Instagram likes are not enough to determine if your strategy is producing the results that you’re working towards. It takes real data to figure to truly figure out what works and what doesn’t. As a social media marketer, here are a few key metrics that you should keep a close eye on:
- Reach: This is the number of followers who have seen your post. With this, you’ll be able to see how far your posts are going and track who’s seeing them.
- Clicks: This is the number of times that people click your content, name, or logo. Monitoring this will give you insight into what is attracting customers and generating the most attention.
- Engagement: I’ve mentioned this a lot in this article. Engagement is the number of social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This shows you who and how many people have interacted with your posts.
- Hashtag Performance: Checking his will show you how many people used your hashtag, which one of your hashtags is the most popular, and which ones generated the most customer engagement.
- Sentiment: This will show you how customers are reacting to your content. Then, you’ll get the gist of what people think about your brand.
Popular Social Media Platforms
To have a successful career as a social media marketer, you’ll need to stay up-to-date on the popular social media platforms that are available to you.
According to Statista, Facebook currently has over 2.6 billion active monthly users. It is the biggest social networking site available. Facebook was originally designed to be used by college students, but as popularity grew, anyone over the age of 13 could create an account. Here are five reasons why Facebook is such an effective social media marketing tool:
It’s the most popular social network available, and if you’re just starting out, you almost can’t afford to not have a marketing strategy for Facebook due to its enormity.
It encompasses every demographic so you’ll almost always be able to reach your target audience through Facebook.
According to BusinessInsider, most Facebook users spend about 20% of all time on Facebook, which is more time for them to check out your business.
Advertising on Facebook is affordable and easy to do.
Although it’s the biggest social network out there, it’s still growing, meaning there will be even more possibilities to generate consumer traffic.
As of 2020, Twitter has over 330 million active users monthly. It was founded in 2006 and works similarly to Facebook, except posts are referred to as Tweets, and people can see these tweets without having an account, but they can’t interact with them. As an effective marketing tool, Twitter is best suited for businesses that are fast-paced, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only type of business that can thrive on this platform. Also, Twitter gives businesses the chance to be personal and show personality.
Currently, LinkedIn has over 310 million active monthly users. It may not seem like one of the most popular social media networks, but it’s a great way to connect your business to elite professionals. LinkedIn is best suited for social marketers who’s target audience is made up of top tier business owners. Also, if you’re looking for a great and sure-fire way to make connections, then LinkedIn is the platform that you’ll want to use.
Instagram currently has over 1 billion active monthly users. It was launched in 2010, and it’s a unique platform that inspires creativity in business owners, marketers, and its users. If the business you’re marketing is product-based, then Instagram is the place where it’ll thrive. With that being said, Instagram does have a specific demographic, so you’ll want to do some research on that before executing your marketing strategy.
What are the Best Social Media Marketing Courses?
1. Social Media Marketing by Northwestern University
This course is one of the most popular and best social media marketing courses available. It’s offered at Northwestern University through Coursera. The class is divided into six sessions and is taught by Professor Randy Hlavac, the CEO of Marketing Synergy Inc. It covers the basic principles of social media marketing as well as how to maintain your social media following.
2. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
This is a free course that’s offered on Google Digital Garage. It teaches about social media, SEO, mobile marketing, and Web optimization. The goal of the course is to give you a better understanding of how to create your web pages so that consumers can find your business/brand easily. After you’ve completed the course, you’ll receive a digital certificate that can be added to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
3. Social Media Marketing Course and Certification by Hootsuite Academy
This is a free course that’s offered through Hootsuite Academy. It was designed by Eva Taylor, the Senior Social Media Marketing Manager of Hootsuite, and other Hootsuite marketing consultants to teach you all there is to know about social media marketing. With this course, you’ll be given the social media marketing skills that are needed to enhance customer engagement and brand development.
4. PPC 101
PPC 101 is a course that’s offered through Wordstream. It’s 100% free, and it’s geared towards helping you develop your social media skills and teaching you how to use ads as a marketing strategy on social media. With this comprehensive course, you’ll be able to define PPCs, identify keywords, and learn the ins and outs of conversion rates optimization, text ads, and ad groups. You’ll also get an in-depth walk-through of Google AdWords. In addition to that, you’ll gain access to advertising software that’ll connect you to thousands of accounts that are willing to spend good money on PPC ads. This is honestly a great and cost-effective way to learn how to manage your social media ads to generate income.
5. Understanding the Basics of Digital Advertising by Hubspot Academy
This is another free course that’s offered through Hubspot Academy. The goal of the course is to offer detailed instructions on how to create, enhance, and use digital advertisements on your various social media platforms. It’s also designed to inspire you to stay on top of your digital advertising to maximize your social media presence and get the best use out of how and when your ads are advertised. This course is best suited for beginners who need to brush up on their advertising strategies.
Social Media Marketing Tips
After reading this article, you may be feeling geared up and ready to go, or you might be a bit hesitant and some guidance to break into the world of social media marketing. Either way, I’m going to give you several social media marketing tips that will help you comfortably take the first few steps into this w
1. Define Your Goals
No matter what platform you’re using, how you’re using it, or why you’re using it – before you create an online presence for your brand, you need to define what your goals are for doing so. This is the most crucial step to setting yourself up for success. Y
our goals should be short-term and long-term because they’ll be what encourages you to execute your marketing strategy. They should also be specific. The more specific your goals are, the better chance you have of coming up with a successful social media marketing plan.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re setting attainable goals. Reaching for the stars is great, but it won’t do you much good if there’s no way to reach them. Lastly, you should have a way to measure your goals so that you can track your progress and see what changes need to be, if any, to your marketing plan so that you can achieve the goals that you’ve set.
2. Determine Who Your Target Audience Is
Knowing who your target audience is will help you make decisions on how to execute your marketing plan and who you should direct it towards. For instance; if you know that the business you represent has a target audience of young adults between the ages of 16 and 27, then you’ll have a better idea of what social media platforms to use to draw in more customers that fit that demographic. In addition to that, because you’ll know who you’re marketing to and who engages with your content the most, you’ll also get ideas for giveaways, specific messages, and posts.
3. Choose Your Social Media Platforms
Choosing your social media platforms is crucial because if you just choose one at random without researching who uses those platforms, then you run the risk of marketing to people who couldn’t be more interested in what you represent. Research the demographics of the platforms that you’re interested in using, and then focus on the ones that are used the most by your target audience.
4. Make a Plan!
Once you’ve got your goals written out, your target audience determined, and social media platforms picked out, then it’s time to create a marketing plan that will produce great results. Doing this is essential to making your social media marketing plan a reality. Your plan should be perfectly aligned with your goals and target audience.
One way to create a decent marketing plan is to come up with a content theme that your customers can familiarize themselves with. That way, when they see that type of content, they’ll associate it with your business.
You should also come up with a list of hashtags that you consistently use on different social media platforms. I was taught this in my entrepreneurship class in college, and I was told that creating a hashtag for yourself or a brand is an easy and great way for people to generate consumer traffic and be seen by people all over the world. This is because everyone uses a hashtag, and popular hashtags will trend and gain millions of views, so this is a vital step to coming up with your marketing plan.
5. Make a Calendar
If you don’t have a schedule set, and I’m currently learning this, then your plan will almost always fail. Not because it’s not good, but because you’re doing so much to manage all of these different profiles that you can easily find yourself caught up in a messy cycle of figuring when to post, where to post it, what to post, how to post, and so on. Organization and having a schedule is an excellent way to keep yourself on track so that your plan doesn’t needlessly fall apart. If you’re working on a team, having a content calendar is essential and beneficial to both you and your teammates.
6. Use the Tools!
Earlier in the article, we discussed a few of the different types of popular marketing tools. These tools are designed to lighten the load that comes with being a social media marketer and using them will make the marketing process so much easier. If you create the content, the schedule, and the target audience, you can let the tools do the rest. As a beginner, you do not want to take them for granted.
7. Be Real
When customers check out your social media profiles, they expect to see the over the top posts to promote a certain thing, but they're also looking to see the real person behind the business. Give customers the chance to see what goes on behind the scenes every once and a while. By doing so, you'll appear more relatable, and both returning and new customers will feel comfortable investing in the business that you're marketing.
If you are really into writing and being creative, a career as an affiliate marketer could be for you. See how you can become a Super Affiliate like John Crestani.
Social Media Marketing Course Reviews
This section will be updated once we get a chance to evaluate courses. As a general rule of thumb, we don't weigh in on courses we haven't personally combed through.
Social media marketing is the use of various social media platforms to create an online presence for your business, brand, or product. Becoming a social media marketer is easy enough, but it does take thought, research, and a bit of hard work to be successful. After reading this article, hopefully you have a better idea about social media marketing and what it means to be a social media marketer. Key takeaways include:
Knowing why so many business use social media marketing to promote their themselves.
How you can make a living as a social media marketer and what types of jobs are available for a social media marketer.
Having a basic understanding of the various marketing tools that you can use to successfully initiate and manage a marketing strategy.
How much a social media manager makes depending on their experience level and location.
Coming up with effective ways to create a successful marketing strategy so that you generate consumer traffic and encourage customer engagement.
Choosing the proper social media platforms to produce content for your target audience.
Knowing what social media marketing courses are out there, including free ones that teach you the ins and outs of social media marketing.
If you put in the work, your plan will succeed. At the end of the day, all social media marketing is is knowing who you represent, how you're going to represent them, and what who you're marketing to. Remember, don't forget to set goals your plan!