What is a social media manager? (SMM)

social media manager, smm

In today’s digital age, the role of a Social Media Manager (SMM) has become increasingly vital for businesses of all types. But what exactly do SMM do? But what responsibilities does this role entail, and what skills are essential for success? If you’re considering a career or volunteer opportunity as an SMM, this article aims to provide some (hopefully) useful information to guide you on your journey.

The role of Social Media…

Social media encompass platforms that enable the creation and sharing of content. This category includes blogs, newsletters, and well-known social networks like Facebook and Instagram. You’re likely familiar with these.

Today, social media have become integral tools in our daily lives, and some people have even chosen to make a career out of them. You might have heard of this profession: in industry terms, it’s known as the job of a Social Media Manager. These professionals manage these channels and assist companies in transforming them into effective marketing tools.

…and Social Media Managers

A Social Media Manager doesn’t only post pictures and videos on company and organization profiles. The job starts with setting goals in line with the client’s objectives, which might be enhancing local recognition, attracting new customers, or driving traffic to physical locations.

Based on these goals, an SMM analyzes competitors, market trends, and the target audience. Decisions about what content to post are made after thorough research.

SMM is a strategic planner

An essential part of the job involves creating a content calendar or Editorial Plan (EP), outlining what to post and when. This requires understanding which types of content (like videos or images) work best for each product or result. The SMM then crafts and schedules posts accordingly.

These posts are typically “organic”, meaning they are not boosted through paid promotions. However, an SMM also engages in advertising (ADV), creating sponsored content to reach a specific audience with a set budget.

The skills of a Social Media Manager

SMMs need to have adaptability, as social media platforms and technologies evolve rapidly. For instance, TikTok‘s recent rise demands that SMMs continuously learn new skills and adapt strategies.

Writing skills are crucial too. With attention spans waning, it’s important to convey messages concisely. Also, being comfortable in front of a camera is increasingly important as social media becomes more personality-driven. For clients hesitant to be on camera, an SMM must find creative solutions.

Technical skills in video editing and graphic design are also beneficial. AI and online interfaces have simplified many tasks, but proficiency with more complex software can be a significant advantage.

Differences between SMMs and Content Creators

They are often used interchangeably, but these roles are distinct. Creators focus on producing content for their personal profiles, often with their unique style, even when promoting third-party products.

In contrast, SMMs adapt their communication to align with the business’s tone and style. They might incorporate personal elements but always in service of the company’s brand and values.

Social Media platforms to master in 2023-2024

Today, several social media platforms are crucial for any aspiring Social Media Manager to learn, use, and understand.

  • With its vast user base and diverse demographic, Facebook is almost indispensable for any digital marketing strategy.
  • Instagram is next in line, celebrated for its visual appeal and ability to engage younger audiences.
  • TikTok has risen in popularity, particularly among Gen Z. It offers a space for creative, short-form video content.
  • LinkedIn is essential for professional networking and B2B marketing.
  • Platforms like “X” (ex-Twitter), with their real-time nature, are critical for quick updates and direct audience engagement.

Each platform has unique features and user demographics that are important to master, in order to reach and engage your target audience successfully.

Know your audience generation

For a Social Media Manager, knowing the audience’s generation is extremely important.

Simply put, generations are groups of people born around the same time, often sharing similar cultural experiences.

  • The ‘Baby Boomers’ are the post-World War II generation, typically born between 1946 and 1964. They often value traditional media but are increasingly using platforms like Facebook.
  • Generation X,’ born between 1965 and 1980, is known for its adaptability, balancing traditional and digital media, making them reachable through platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • The ‘Millennials‘ or ‘Generation Y,’ born between 1981 and 1996, are digital natives, heavily relying on social media. They are most active on Instagram and “X”.
  • The youngest, ‘Generation Z,’ born from 1997 onwards, are true digital natives and trendsetters, highly active on platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.

Don’t abuse Artificial Intelligence (AI) โ— ๐Ÿค–๐Ÿง ๐Ÿฆพ

The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in social media management has ushered in efficiency and innovation. AI tools can facilitate content creation, audience analysis, and even some aspects of interaction. However, a common mistake among many Social Media Managers (SMMs) is overusing it.

Excessive reliance on these technologies can lead to undesired consequences, such as a lack of personalization and authenticity, elements that are important to build meaningful connections with audiences. After all, AI programs lack “the human touch”.

Furthermore, AI algorithms, even though extremely advanced, do not always align perfectly with a brand’s voice or the subtleties of human emotions and cultural contexts.

Social Media Managers need to use AI as an aid, not a replacement, for human creativity and judgment. Social media strategies should remain grounded, relatable, and genuinely engaging. This is why is important to balance AI with human oversight.

The perfect SMM Toolkit ๐Ÿงฐ

Interested in becoming a social media manager? A proficient SMM often carries:

  • A high-end smartphone for quality photos and videos
  • A reliable internet connection
  • A notebook and pen for on-the-spot ideas and notes
  • A microphone (infrared or Bluetooth) for clear sound recording
  • A stabilizing gimbal for steady shots
  • Good lighting equipment for enhanced photo and video quality

The role of a Social Media Manager is not an easy one and it is often more difficult than what it sounds. Multifaceted and dynamic, it requires a blend of creativity, adaptability, and technical skills. As digital platforms continue to evolve, so too will the demands and responsibilities of this important role in modern marketing.

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Author: Rebecca

Adventurous volunteer, shutterbug extraordinaire, and citizen of the world! ๐Ÿ˜„ With so much out there to explore, my mission is simple: discover and share all the awesome things life has to offer! ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒˆ

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