Job guides

How to get an entry-level Social Media Marketing job?

Role Basics: What is Social Media Marketing?

Build a following; craft tweets, posts, videos and more that represent your brand; engage users, and answer questions – a social media marketer typically lives in the Brand Marketing team and is responsible for representing the brand through social channels – Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and more. 

Flavors of Social Media Marketing roles: 

Most social media roles are more “creative” in that they’re really focused on the voice and/or aesthetic of posts, rather than specific performance metrics. At some companies, however – especially early-stage companies without a huge existing following, brand equity or a big paid marketing budget – social media roles can be more performance-oriented, focused on specific quantifiable outcomes. 

Example projects in Social Media Marketing:

  • Create a co-marketing campaign with other complimentary brands, aimed at cross-promoting your accounts (gaining followers) and products (gaining customers/users)
  • Plan out a social media campaign, where you compose and pre-schedule a series of thematically related posts
  • Create a “listening campaign” to notify you whenever someone mentions your brand’s competitors, so you can respond
  • Collaborate with your Brand, Communications, and/or management team to decide how to respond on social to a crisis or high-priority news event
  • Collaborate with your Brand marketing team to develop and/or revise brand guidelines for social media

Common activities in Social Media Marketing:

  • Create posts 
  • Generate media assets (images, GIFs, Videos, etc.) for posts
  • Respond to posts that mention your brand
  • Engage with posts from other individuals brands
  • Review engagement data from past posts, and analyze to see what your audience likes
  • Manage a content calendar

Social Media Marketing metrics: 

  • Engagements
  • Follower growth
  • Click through rate
  • Subjective “quality” of content produced

Social Media Marketing compensation: 

Entry jobs pay $40-60K. Some companies can pay more: many companies don’t prioritize social media, but a few recognize the importance and will pay a lot for exceptional talent. 

Social Media Marketing career path: 

For people who love social media, this can be a great first role. It naturally leads into more senior Brand Marketing (and occasionally Product Marketing) roles.

How accessible are Social Media Marketing jobs?

  • Time to learn. 100 – 500 hours. This really boils down to whether you enjoy social media. If you love social media, and enjoy writing and creative communication, it can be simple. But if social feels like a drain, this is probably not the role for you.
  • Selectivity. Moderate. Social media is pretty transparent – hiring managers will look at your personal profiles, a portfolio of work you’ve created, and your past accomplishments. It’s not a super high-status role, so if you’re great, you don’t need credentials.
  • Ease of working remote. Very remote-friendly.

Job Requirements: What you need to be competitive for social media management roles?

Key skills for Social Media Marketing:

  • Good writing. 
  • Deep knowledge of social media norms (i.e. you LOVE and personally spend time on the platforms you’re managing). 
  • Humor 
  • Basic graphic design (i.e. photo editing, meme creation, video editing for video-focused platforms)
  • Understand planning and analytics tools (e.g. Sprout social)

Professional background for Social Media:

  • This is usually an entry-level role (at least, in a marketing team)
  • Prior social media management experience 
  • Other careers: Comedy, journalism, creative writing

Prior accomplishments to be competitive for Social Media Marketing:

  • Built a social media account from scratch to 5-10K followers
  • Success managing other companies social media: 5-10K followers added, or 1-2K followers per month

Personal characteristics for success in Social Media Management:

  • LOVEs social media
  • Into pop culture
  • Don’t mind context switching; your ideal workday is NOT spent in deep, uninterrupted work

How to prepare for and get a job in Social Media Marketing? 

Projects to learn and prove yourself:

  • Build your own social media profile / persona to 5-10K users
  • Manage another business’s social media profile, and grow it by 5-10K users
  • Create an inspiration board of social posts you really like and for mistakes to avoid; include analysis of what works and what doesn’t
  • Create “portfolio” including posts and campaigns you would implement for different brands that you could show (including the brand you’re applying for)
  • Analyze the landscape of individual influencers and brands in the industry you’d like to work – figure out the different types of posts they use that really work (i.e. get a ton of engagement, create value for users and will earn brand equity, account follows, and URL clicks)

By Taylor Thompson

Taylor is a co-founder at Purpose Built Ventures, where he helps launch mission-driven companies. Before Purpose Built, Taylor led growth at Almanac, strategy for Curious Learning, and product at PharmaSecure. His work helps 100,000s of people collaborate at work, 4 million children learn to read, and protects billions of medicines from counterfeiting. He has hired dozens of people, helped raise more than $50 million, and contributed to as a researcher with Clay Christensen. Taylor is an Echoing Green Fellow, and he has degrees from Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School.

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