Think about your favorite brand on social media. Perhaps they’re funny, witty, inspirational, or just plain real. The fact is, whatever you love about them is probably exactly what they wanted you to respond to. Behind some of the most memorable brand accounts are social media managers who are activating their strategy in every post—even the ultra-authentic ones. And with a social media manager of your own, your brand can become the one that your target audience falls in love with.
The best brands on the internet are planned. Consider the most followed product brands on Facebook—names like Samsung, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Netflix. They’re not just posting anything and everything. Each post falls in line with their brand voice, brand identity, and online presence as a whole—and that’s thanks to the social media marketing managers guiding them.
Social media management, as you can see, isn’t as simple as blasting out content on the fly every day. It’s a well-rounded process that often makes sense for a person (or even a team) to take on full-time. Whether you’re ready to hire a social media manager or you’re looking to become your own, here’s what you need to know about the role.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Social Media Manager?
- How Social Media Managers Help Business Owners Succeed
- 5 Essential Social Media Management Tools
What Is a Social Media Manager?
A social media manager is the person in charge of building a social media marketing strategy, putting it into action, and measuring its results on behalf of a person or organization. People in this role are brand builders who are constantly adjusting the strategies and tactics they use to better connect with their target audience, based on what’s trending in their industry and what their customer base responds to most.
On a day-to-day basis, a social media manager job description may entail:
- Planning, creating, and scheduling social media posts
- Building and budgeting for ad campaigns
- Responding to comments and direct messages
- Tracking and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Identifying and researching new trends and competition
Though some social media managers also function as community managers in small businesses, these will usually become two distinct roles as your brand grows. Whereas social media managers work behind the scenes, community managers tend to work on the front lines (as themselves) to represent and build relationships on behalf of a brand. Community managers connect the company and its audience, while social media managers are the company.
How Social Media Managers Help Business Owners Succeed
Great social media managers make it easier for a brand to meet its broader business goals. When building a social media strategy, they select the tactics that allow your company to achieve the brand awareness, recognition, and loyalty you need to grow your customer base and improve your bottom line.
Social media specialists work in conjunction with your marketing team to ensure they can help meet KPIs—like engagement rates and link clicks—that feed into broader initiatives (like increasing your market share).
Once they’ve created a strategy, these pros are also the ones who make it happen. They create, launch, and manage social media campaigns so your team can focus on their roles and function more efficiently.
5 Essential Social Media Management Tools
As with pretty much all branches of digital marketing, strong social media marketing relies on the help of a number of online tools and resources. Managing a brand across social media channels can be hard work, but with the help of these tools, strategists are able to streamline their planning and execution for greater productivity.
1. Content Calendars
A social media content calendar is a posting schedule that tells you exactly what you’re publishing—including captions, images, hashtags, and more—on each social media platform. In addition to helping managers post consistently from week to week, it’s also the ultimate plan-ahead tool that turns content creation into a step-by-step process that can easily be replicated over time.
Content calendars can take many shapes and forms. For example, you can organize with task management systems like Asana, or you can take the simplest route and create one with Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Every business organizes their calendar a little differently, but a typical calendar may include key details like:
- What platform you’re posting on (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
- What type of post you’re creating (i.e., carousel posts, Reels, or Instagram Stories on IG)
- Exactly when your post should be published
- Your caption
- A link to your visual elements
Social media managers often create a set of post categories to tag each entry with, too. By having a few buckets that your content can fall into—like “promotion,” “contest,” or “education”—you can ensure that every post actually aligns with your social media goals.
2. Graphic Design Tools
Visual content is key to driving engagement on pretty much every social network. Social media managers may not be graphic designers by trade, but part of the role is getting familiar with the basic principles of design and your brand’s design aesthetic, so they can ensure your social media accounts fully reflect your brand identity.
You don’t have to use the graphic design tools that the pros use to create eye-catching designs. Tools like Adobe Spark offer thousands of beautiful templates for anything from Instagram posts to Snapchat geofilters. Social media managers can customize templates for your brand in as little as a tap. Try it out now by tapping the template below!
As your business pages grow and design becomes a key part of your social media strategy, you can always upgrade to pro-level tools like those included in the full Adobe Creative Cloud, which still gives you access to Adobe Spark when you need a quick turnaround time.
3. Stock Photo Sites
Whether you need photos for your graphics or want to curate an image-heavy Instagram grid, stock photos are essential for social media managers to continue blasting out high-quality new content from week to week. There are dozens of free-to-use photo sites on the web that are great resources for downloading images for commercial use.
Alternatively, if you’re creating social media graphics on Adobe Spark, you’ll be instantly connected to hundreds of thousands of stock photos from Adobe Stock, Unsplash, Pixabay, and other resources. Just tap “Add,” select “Photo,” and search for the type of image you want. Then you can drag and drop professional photos straight into your template! Tap this template and try switching out the three images yourself:
4. Scheduling Tools
Once the visuals and captions are ready and the content calendar is fully filled out, social media managers don’t sit around waiting until it’s time to publish. Instead, they use scheduling tools like Sprout Social, Buffer, Tailwind, or CoSchedule to upload their posts to a queue and automate the posting process—just make sure the one your company chooses is compatible with your brand’s social networks.
Some social media platforms, like Facebook and Pinterest, also have built-in scheduling tools. If your brand is only on one or two platforms, your social media manager can always use these on-platform features. However, scheduling tools are helpful for streamlining your scheduling process and collaborating as a social media team. They also frequently offer extra features that help you follow hashtags, manage your mentions, respond to direct messages, and more—all in the same platform.
5. Social Media Audit Tools
Your social media strategy may be extremely effective, but without the metrics to prove it, you’d never know it. In order to ensure the tactics you’re using are actually working—or to know when you need to re-strategize—social media managers always need to keep an eye on your brand’s performance across social media accounts.
Most platforms have built-in metrics trackers, but social media experts typically use third-party tools like Klear that collect more detailed insight into your KPIs, all in one place. Plenty also use rich analytics features that are built into their scheduling platforms (usually available with pro plans or upgrades).
With these five tools, you can set your social media manager up for success (even if that social media manager is you!). And when you can reach your audience across multiple platforms—whether you’re using graphic design tools like Adobe Spark or scheduling tools like Buffer—your team will be much closer to achieving its business goals.