Fifteen years ago, the thought that social media would be so valuable for businesses that entire careers would revolve around community building and on-platform ad management was unthinkable. The field is now thriving alongside the boom of social platforms, so the career growth opportunities here are extraordinary.
Careers in social media marketing are booming to the point where they’ve made CNN’s top 100 careers with big growth, and with the increasing importance of organic and paid marketing on social channels, this isn’t something that will be changing anytime soon.
Curious what exactly this career growth looks like and if it will be consistent enough for you to venture into it? In this post, we’re going to take a look at everything you should know about the expanding social media career growth patterns in terms of prominence, popular position titles, and even what you could reasonably expect to make.
How Expansive Is the Growth of Social Media Careers?
We’re not kidding when we say that social media careers and all the potential surrounding them are booming. Businesses across all industries need to be able to connect with their target audience and form strong communities if they want to be able to actually stay in business. This is what leads them to social media practitioners, which is a valuable form of marketing and community building all in one.
All the data out there supports this, too, showing social media marketing as a rapidly growing career option across the globe.
We’ve already mentioned that CNNMoney added social media marketing positions to their Top 100 careers with big growth, noting a 9% increase in job growth over a 10-year period. According to LinkedIn, there has been an unbelievably 1357% increase in social media positions listed on the platform since 2010, which shows an even more rapid growth over the past decade.
In 2016, Burning Glass reported that there were 174,141 postings calling for digital marketing skills, which made up 39% of the 443,440 marketing positions overall. Jobs with “social media” in the description have also tripled over the past year.
That’s not all, though; it’s important to note that marketing factors that include social media are growing faster than other types of marketing positions. Digital marketing has grown about 30% faster than other marketing positions. This aligns with Forrester Research’s predicitions, which protected that digital marketing will tip $100 billion and account for a total of 35% of all marketing spending by the end of 2019.
Social Media Salaries
Right now, social media marketing jobs are increasing pretty rapidly in number, as we discussed in the section above. These jobs aren’t just a temporary boom; they’ll be stable, because social media has changed how businesses market with their consumers, so there will be a permanent need here, no matter what the economic landscape looks like.
And we’ve got more good news, too: social media marketing positions can come with great salaries to entice qualified applicants into the field.
We’re talking specifically about social media marketing, too, not just general marketing; there’s evidence, after all, that digital marketing skills can yield around a $7,000 salary premium compared to other marketing roles.
Salaries will depend on a number of factors, including your specific position, your experience in the field, and the type of company you work for. If you’re promoted all the way up to a position like Chief Marketing Officer for a major company or run your own successful social media freelance agency, it goes without saying that you’d naturally be making more than an entry level social media worker who curates data for high-profile clients’ feeds.
No matter where you’re at, though, the salary is a good one. Some reports estimate that the average salary will be AU$61,648, while others put it at AU$77,299. This aligns with global numbers, too, for our non-Australian readers, sitting around USD $74,522.88 globally after a few years of experience. This is obviously a big range, and true entry-level positions at larger companies may come with slightly smaller paychecks, but the growth potential to increase income is absolutely there.
The 8 Most Common Social Media Jobs
If you’re hunting for jobs, typically typing the search phrase “social media marketing” will pull up plenty of listings that are a relevant match for your skill set. This gives you a big advantage, and a potentially very wide pool of jobs to apply to, which is always excellent.
There are a few specific roles, however, that you’ll see mentioned again and again. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
As we’re going through our list, however, note that a lot of these positions have some massive overlap; the distinctions are subtle, and brands using the terms may be looking for similar qualities, skills, and responsibilities to doll out depending on their specific needs.
1. Social Media Strategist
Some jobs are just looking for a “social media worker,” but if you see “social media strategist” in the description, that’s a sign that they’re looking for someone who can help develop and execute cutting-edge strategies to liven up or maintain their social media. Strategists may be responsible for proposing ideas like pitches for contests or suggesting to launch a Story campaign or branded hashtag to generate awareness.
Strategists may have the head honcho in their department, though they’ll often report to someone else for approval depending on the location.
2. Social Media Manager
Social media managers are typically going to be involved in being hands-on in social accounts doing everything from scheduling posts to handling engagement and monitoring reports. This title is sometimes given to a lead in an internal department, but it can also be given to someone working for an agency where they’ll be handling plenty of client accounts.
3. Community Manager
Community managers are often held responsible for establishing and growing a community, sometimes online and offline. A community manager for a local gym, for example, might come up with challenges to entice participation and social proof, and they’ll foster a Facebook group just for members by offering up valuable training tips and health information that their audience would love.
4. Social Media Consultant
Social media consultants are typically freelancers or employees of agencies (making it hard to find official job listings for this exact title), and they’re most frequently going to be offering consultations around strategy. Consultants may or may not be hired by clients on an on-going basis, and they’ll often spend a lot of time working with clients who are either brand new (and choosing which platforms and strategies to use) or those who are ready to scale to the next level.
5. Brand manager
Brand managers are typically going to have responsibilities inside and outside of social media. They’ll work with other digital marketing workers, too, to help define or refine a brand across every touch point users may encounter the business on. This includes your website, your email campaigns, and of course, social. They often play a heavy hand in strategy, but the big focus is on creating and enforcing a brand audiences will love.
6. Social Media Analyst
Social media analysts (sometimes called “brand analysts” if the job goes beyond social) are all about the data. Typically, these jobs are going to be focused on looking at current and past campaigns and assessing how effective they may be. They’ll look at everything from on- and off-platform engagement to get a feeling of what’s working and what isn’t.
Analysts typically offer suggestions in addition to just creating reports about how to improve campaigns moving forward, and they’re particularly important once expensive PPC campaigns and a lot of ad dollars come into play.
7. Digital Marketing Specialist
Digital marketing specialists can end up wearing a lot of hats, including social media practitioner. They’ll often be responsible for executing multiple cohesive campaigns at once, which may involve things like content marketing campaigns, PPC campaigns, and organic social campaigns that all weave together well.
8. Chief Marketing Officer
If you work hard to rise in the ranks, you can make it up to a company’s chief marketing officer position. These positions are prestigious, and you won’t just be overseeing social media marketing work; you’ll have to look at how all the puzzle pieces fit together, including SEO, PPC, email marketing, content marketing, overall web presence, and more. Social will still be an important part of the job, but you’ll likely be handing off a lot of the duties and actual social media work to others on the team.
Tips to Break Into the Social Media Marketing Field
Have we made our field of work sound appealing enough yet? Social media marketing is growing quickly, making it appealing and sometimes resulting in a little bit of competition to get the best jobs out there.
In order to break into the field, we recommend doing the three following things…
Get the Education
You’d be surprised how many people claim to be social media experts, but they have no idea about why Instagram’s engagement rate can be more important than a follower count outright, or what types of Facebook Ads will be most effective.
Get the education and certifications in social media marketing. We offer two different certified social media marketing courses– our Not only will having those diplomas help you stand out from your competition, making you more appealing to potential employers, but you’ll also have a lot more strategic, technical knowledge than most of the people you’re up against.
Which brings us to step number two…
Too many self-proclaimed social media marketers are happy to just slap together random posts because they sound nice and upload them to the platform. This isn’t enough, however, to drive actual results with social marketing.
Prove that you have the knowledge to do something different and engage and nurture leads on different platforms. During an interview, offer examples demonstrating your strategic knowledge, like explaining how you could use in-feed organic posts to send traffic to Stories campaigns that willl have links to send users to your site.
Small examples of strategic knowledge can help you get new work, whether you’re applying to a full time job or are trying to win a freelance contract.
And this brings us to step number three..
Get Some Samples
It’s hard to start when you don’t have a lot of work experience, but do what you can to build a portfolio so that you can show potential employers samples of what you can do, both in terms of posts you’ve created but also campaigns that you’ve run.
Though many might not be paid or may not pay well for first-time workers, you can typically find fast and easy freelance gigs that will give you some room to build a portfolio early on. You could also start your own social media channels so that you have full control, and an instant link to send clients or employers to if they ask to see samples of your work.
Social media marketing careers have grown unbelievably fast in the past decade, keeping up with the rapidly growing platforms and their rapidly evolving audience members, too. With brands increasingly realizing that they can’t hire a 16-year old intern to tweet into a void in order to get results on social, more are turning to both in-house and external social team members to help them connect with their customers in meaningful ways.
This is a field that’s growing quickly, but if you’re adaptable and agile, there’s so much room to grow within it. Being quick on your feet, having a basic understanding on human psychology, and having a passion for staying up to date with the latest and greatest in marketing trends and technology could make you an outstanding fit for these jobs. All you have to do is start with the right education, and then we can help you take it from there.
Thinking about a career in social media marketing and want to know everything you need to rock the job? Check out our courses here!