How to Learn Social Media Management

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Updated September 13, 2022

Find out how to learn social media management in various ways. We discuss the pros and cons of attending a bootcamp, earning a college degree, and self-study.

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Social media management is a versatile, evolving skill set increasingly in demand in many different industries. Learning social media management can prepare you for a new career or bring new opportunities in your current field.

This page explores how to learn social media management. We describe different education pathways for learning social media management and cover what social media managers do.

What Is Social Media Management?

Social media managers oversee and develop their organizations' social media plans, policies, and platforms. People with social media management expertise can work in this in-demand field without learning programming or other highly technical skills.

As more organizations, including government agencies, schools, and restaurants, recognize the value of using social media, social media management has become an important and in-demand skill. Effective social media managers can generate good publicity for their brands, protect companies from bad public relations, and build engaged customer bases.

Learning social media management can give you the skills and expertise to qualify for jobs in a new field. It may also help you qualify for promotions and increased salaries in your current field.

What Do Social Media Managers Do?

Social media managers develop marketing strategies, create content, and analyze data to engage with customers on social media platforms. Learn about common tasks and required skills for social media managers below.

Common Tasks

  • Create and Monitor Content for Social Media: Social media managers develop and post content for various social media platforms. They also monitor and respond to customer responses.
  • Develop Social Media Strategies: These managers create social media marketing strategies for brands and organizations. These efforts include setting goals and determining how to reach them.
  • Manage Brand Partnerships: Sometimes, companies collaborate to promote their products or services. Social media managers may execute campaigns or coordinate these partnerships.
  • Analyze Social Media Data: Social media managers monitor social media analytics to better inform their marketing strategies. Common analytics tools include Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Sprout Social.
  • Increase Engagement: Social media managers find ways to increase their brands' followers and encourage them to interact with content.

Skills Required

  • Social Media Expertise: Social media management requires experience with major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Learn to target your content to each platform.
  • Communication: Excellent communication skills can help social media managers excel professionally. This requires clear written and oral communication, along with knowing how to use images, videos, and music effectively.
  • Writing: Social media managers spend a lot of time writing content for various social media platforms and must know how to tailor their posts to different audiences.
  • Digital Marketing: Social media managers need to know how to connect a social media strategy to their organization's larger marketing plan.
  • Creativity: The best social media managers help their brands stand out from the competition and draw users' attention by devising new and different types of content.

Ways to Learn Social Media Management

Ways to learn social media management include teaching yourself, completing a bootcamp, or earning a degree. Keep reading for more details about how to learn social media management.

Self-Taught Pathway

You can learn social media management on your own by using free and paid online educational resources. The self-taught pathway offers benefits like flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Unlike a bootcamp or college program, teaching yourself does not require a specific time or financial commitment.

Self-study offers a low-stakes way to dip your toe into social media management. If you decide you want more formal training, you can always enroll in a bootcamp or degree program later. Self-taught learners can use tools like free tutorial videos, paid short-term online courses, and experiential learning opportunities, like internships or part-time roles in social media management.

  • Average Length: Varies
  • Average Cost: Varies

Pros:

  • Flexible and convenient education pathway
  • Potentially more affordable than a bootcamp or college degree
  • Low-stakes way to explore social media management without committing to a bootcamp or college program
  • Gives you time for experiential learning through a part-time social media job or internship
  • No admission requirements

Cons:

  • Requires significant self-discipline
  • Lack of structure and accountability can be challenging for some students
  • May not result in a credential that employers may require or prefer
  • Does not come with the same resources or community as a bootcamp or college program

Bootcamp Pathway

You can learn social media management by attending a social media management bootcamp. Bootcamps offer short-term, intensive training with the goal of preparing participants for new careers. A bootcamp provides more structure and support than a self-taught educational pathway. These programs also offer a shorter time frame and potentially lower costs than a college degree.

Bootcamps can offer a strong pathway for someone who already holds a college degree in another field but wants to switch careers or qualify for better job opportunities in their current field. This pathway may suit people without degrees who want to learn social media management skills as quickly as possible.

Some employers require social media managers to hold college degrees, so more education may be necessary.

  • Average Length: 13-24 weeks
  • Average Cost: $7,500-$13,950

Pros:

  • Fast, efficient education pathway
  • Can be more affordable than a bachelor's degree
  • Offers more structure, resources, and community than teaching yourself
  • Curriculum emphasizes career-relevant skills development and training
  • Easier to get into than a degree program

Cons:

  • May require an intensive schedule
  • Can be difficult to absorb all the information in the condensed time frame
  • Does not result in a college degree, which some employers prefer or require

Degree Pathway

Colleges offering associate and bachelor's degrees are an ideal place for learning social media management. Many employers require a bachelor's degree, but graduates can find some positions with just an associate-level education. Completing a bachelor's degree can open the most doors to career opportunities and higher salaries in social media management.

A college degree may cost significantly more than a bootcamp or a self-taught pathway. The cost of paying for a degree can be high and takes much longer to complete than a bootcamp. Attending a traditional college program also offers more support and resources than other options.

  • Average Length: 2-4 years
  • Average Annual Tuition: $3,900 (two-year public institution), $9,400 (four-year public institution), $18,000 (two-year private institution), $37,600 (four-year private institution)

Pros:

  • Many employers prefer candidates with college degrees
  • May include better access to learning and career development resources
  • Provides a formal structure and accountability which can motivate students
  • The longer program length gives students more time to absorb and process content and master skills.

Cons:

  • Long education pathway
  • Can be expensive and lead to student loan debt
  • May be an unnecessary credential for some employers
  • Must meet admission requirements

Common Questions About Social Media Management

How do I start a career in social media management?

You can learn social media management by earning a related college degree or completing a social media management bootcamp. Self-study through free online courses offers an alternative pathway.

What does a social media manager do daily?

Daily tasks for social media managers vary by position, employer, and industry. Typical duties may include posting content on social media platforms, analyzing data, monitoring comments, and engaging with customers.

Is social media management a good job?

Social media managers are increasingly in demand as organizations use social media tools more in everyday life. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10% job growth for marketing managers from 2020-2030.

What qualifications do I need to be a social media manager?

Requirements for social media managers vary. Some employers require a college degree, while others accept self-taught applicants or bootcamp graduates. If you have social media, digital marketing, and data analytics skills, you may qualify for some social media manager jobs.

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