Social Media Strategist: Career Path Roadmap for Aspiring Digital Marketers [Everything You Need to Be Successful!]
Being a social media strategist is your entry-level access to the world of digital marketing. Let WriteForMe be your guide to the world of managing content.
Posting on social media for the sake of posting just won’t cut it anymore, especially if you’re goal is to build awareness for your business.
Random posts made at random intervals will leave viewers confused at best and indifferent at worst. However, employing the right social media strategist will ensure your content is consistently relevant and engaging.
Promoting your content on social media helps drive the global economy.
New social media users spring up every second and over half (4.74 billion) of the world population is online and growing by over 4% steadily. Capturing even half a percent of this market means getting the attention of 23.5 million potential customers.
Conversely, it’s easy for a brand to get lost in the collective noise of competing brands and products. Without a coherent social media strategy directed by a savvy strategist, companies can find themselves relegated to the sidelines.
What is a Social Media Strategist?
The social media strategist is often the driving force behind the content stream.
The most popular accounts on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and the like belong to meticulously cultivated persons or brands that regularly post content for a highly-receptive target audience to consume. Content-wise, these online powerhouses are masters of producing posts that elicit responses from viewers and followers.
Reaching this position requires an extensive background in modern marketing methods. The foremost requirement for this job is a natural affinity for all things social media. This means around-the-clock smartphone devotion and an insatiable appetite to consume content from any and all platforms.
The social media strategist looks for engaging patterns, picks up on emerging trends, and develops relevant strategies. They then blend these takeaways with equal parts of pop culture and psychology to pour up the next viral post. If not, they can buy themselves some time with a more traditional post that will instantly generate a few thousand likes.
While many real-world celebrities employ social media strategists to maintain their online profiles, the majority of social managers handle companies and brands. In the online world, businesses have the power to speak to customers directly.
Accordingly, a successful social media presence is often the hallmark of brands that manage to connect with their target audience.
What Does a Social Media Strategist Do?
For the social media strategist, both success and failure depend on how well the audience reacts to the curated series of content.
Did more users start following the brand’s social accounts? Did social metrics such as likes, shares, and comments go up? Consequently, these reactions should measurably influence the bottom line. Did people start flocking to the website or following the social media accounts? More importantly, did more people buy more products or services?
The job isn’t as easy as it seems. It means devoting entire days to consuming and digesting social media content across many platforms. It also means studying, analyzing, learning, and then strategizing from trending content. It also means picking up the lessons from content that ended up ignored or canceled. After all of that, it’s a matter of applying everything you learned to your brand’s social campaign—again and again, and again.
The Job Requirements
Of course, the job remains highly dependent on the person’s love for all things social media. If you’re the type of person who’s fine with getting consumed by social media, then it might be a great fit for you. You get to do just that while building strategies to promote brand awareness and foster public engagement. Granted, that’s the easy part of the job.
The hard part is the fact that, on top of living and breathing social media, managing the brand’s online persona requires wearing many hats. Specifically, social media strategists get to play alternating roles of brand marketing, project manager, data analyst, copywriter, graphic designer, video editor, and even customer service. This is often truest with smaller brands operating within the confines of smaller budgets.
In addition to amassing real-world marketing skills, the social media strategist will also need to learn about additional skills, like a rudimentary understanding of SEO marketing. Knowing how to make search engines work in your favor can help your brand enjoy better search engine rankings. In a saturated market, this can often make or break your chances of appearing on Google’s front results page. You know it as well we do: second-page clicks just don’t happen.
The Job Description
Once settled in, the intrepid strategist is now tasked to achieve the primary objective of conceptualizing, developing, and executing the social media plan. First, they’ll need to perform the following:
- Set out the various social media goals of the brand
- Create a corresponding strategy for each goal
- Identify the KPIs and metrics needed to measure performance and determine the success of each strategy
- Assess the present standing of the social community where the brand belongs
- Study competitor strategies and develop a differentiator
Once the strategist starts executing the media plan, they’ll also need to monitor performance using the earlier metrics and KPIs. This allows the brand to get a clearer picture of the objectives and see if they’re on track to be met. At the same time, they should also monitor and document all brand mentions. When you’re in the ground stages, nothing is too insignificant.
Managing Social Media Content
Managing content isn’t just about adhering to the content plan, but also doing so while sticking to a carefully planned schedule. Adhering to the content strategy allows the brand to monitor and measure campaign effectiveness and track its progress. When promoting an idea that holds importance to a brand, managers often employ curated content to bolster the idea. By scheduling the posting of a series of content on a related topic, the social media strategist helps encourage learning on the subject. At the same time, it also helps spread the information—and the brand by association—across a wider net.
Sticking to the scheduled dates of content release is another crucial factor when managing social media accounts. Specific content usually follows a prescribed schedule so that viewers get enough time between posts to appreciate the material. Releasing posts too often can overwhelm the market’s appetite, which can contribute to audience fatigue. Meanwhile, posting too far in between opens the door for competitors to create their own buzz and leave you in the dust.
In addition, brand strategists should offer some flexibility in their content schedules to accommodate market changes. If the strategy works, brands can choose to amplify their message by increasing the frequency of exposure. On the other hand, if sales continue to drop despite a new social media campaign, it might be time to pull the breaks altogether.
Managing Brand Relationships
Working on social content for companies means entering into collaborations and partnerships with different stakeholders. For example, companies often join or sponsor communities of users who use their products generally without being prompted. This leads to authentic experiences for members, which can also then lead to authentic interactions, reviews, and testimonials.
In addition, the social media strategist will often collaborate with influencers to promote the brand. Influencers who have a longstanding relationship with the target market provide the needed credibility for endorsements.
How to Become a Social Media Strategist
The job of social media strategist offers different challenges to different types of people. Most see the position as getting paid for what many people do every day for free: checking their phones for new social media posts. While technically true, most people don’t really go beyond consuming content and engaging based on their reactions. They like the posts they like, forward the content they want to share, and comment on the posts they feel warrant a written reaction.
Conversely, the social media strategist looks at content through a wider lens. Part of their job is to spot emerging trends before they hit their apex. If they catch the trend on time, they’ll be able to get their brand on board before missing the wave. This means that the brand gets to bask in the benefits of a suddenly-viral campaign. At the same time, social media managers will also remain on the lookout for any movement that can spell trouble for the brand or its current campaign.
Apart from heavy expertise in social media, the social media strategist should also possess firsthand experience in the following areas:
- Project Management
- Content Creation
- Analytics and Insights
- Social Media Networking
Establishing a Foothold in Social Media Strategy
To develop a well-rounded appreciation of social media marketing, strategists should always look into expanding their network. This includes looking into attending, following, and/or visiting the following:
- Influencer networks and confederations
- User communities and trade groups
- Thought leaders’ blogs and websites
On a professional level, a Bachelor’s Degree in digital communications is a great way to begin your career in social media strategy. This education provides you with the basic foundation that can help you navigate not just social media, but the entirety of digital marketing. You can put your learnings to the test by creating and managing your own personal brand. Building up this brand to attract a sizable following can help you collect firsthand experience.
Armed with both education and personal experience, you can proceed to apply for entry-level positions. This can provide you with the real-world training skills you’ll need to climb the career ladder. Along the way, continue absorbing as much knowledge as possible by enrolling in certification courses or taking refreshers.
Social Media Strategist Career Path
An entry-level position in Social Media Marketing can land the social media strategist higher-ranking and more rewarding jobs down the line. Digital marketing is a relatively new field compared to traditional marketing, after all. As the global market continues to shift from the traditional to the fully digital, social media marketing jobs will continue to propagate.
Once paying your proverbial dues and learning the lay of the land, the social media strategist can venture into the next logical succession: the social media manager.
From Social Media Strategist to Social Media Manager to Communications Director
With this next-level position comes a set of new responsibilities. Instead of managing the day-to-day upkeep of brands, the Social Media Manager now focuses on establishing the brand’s specific goals of social and engagement strategies across various channels. At the same time, the SMM will need to take the lead in establishing a brand’s voice and unique selling proposition. The position also requires reviewing all social media performance scores and holding each against the established benchmarks.
Once the social media manager completes a full round of management tours within the company, the coveted position of Communications Director peaks through the clouds. This job requires the CD to look beyond the year. Instead, the senior executive should aim to devise long-term company objectives. External communications like Public Relations (PR) and event management matters will also fall under the Communication Director’s jurisdiction. Note that completing the journey from social media strategist to communications director will require an extensive period of preparing for the role. At the same time, undertaking the journey doesn’t always guarantee the same end result.
Be the Best Social Media Strategist You Can Be
Digital marketing is already taking over industries historically dominated by traditional marketing. As more and more sectors are transitioning to always-online status, the need for digital marketing professionals will only continue to grow.
In the era of rapidly advancing technology, it’s never too late to lace up for an early start. Regardless if you’re establishing a new career as a social media strategist or developing a comprehensive content marketing program for your company, a little help goes a long way. WriteForMe is a professional content marketing team that delivers custom content guaranteed to engage your customers and grow your business.
WriteForMe will be happy to get in touch with you and learn more about your company’s unique needs.
We’ll put our money where our mouth is by providing you with a free customized marketing playbook. That’s right, free—there’s literally no harm in trying. So, what are you waiting for? Contact WriteForMe today!
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