A social media manager handles a business’ social media accounts by moderating comments, creating and scheduling content, analyzing performance, and managing digital marketing campaigns. They are experts in social media, and businesses hire social media managers so they can focus on other aspects of the business. A social media manager starts at $49 per month.
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What Is a Social Media Manager?
A social media manager is the person within a company who oversees and contributes to the social media accounts of their organization. An organization can represent a company or a public figure. Sometimes smaller companies have social media managers run digital marketing campaigns, such as Facebook ads.
Social media managers are known by many names. These include community manager, marketing manager, content manager, Facebook manager, Twitter manager, Pinterest manager, Instagram manager, and YouTube manager.
If you’re hiring a full-time employee through a job search engine like Indeed, social media manager salaries average $55,199 per year and don’t include costs of tools they might need. Alternatives to hiring a full-time employee include working with an agency or apprentice. You’ll want a community manager who has experience, or is coachable and willing to learn.
Companies hire marketing managers to take over the responsibility of their growing advertising and public engagement on media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. There are more costs to having a quality community manager—it’s not just salary—there are specialized tools that help them do their jobs. The best way for businesses to find them is through agencies because they can help select the most skilled employee.
Who Needs a Social Media Manager?
Hiring a community manager can be a big decision in particular for small businesses. Creating a consistent online presence also takes time and dedication. If you have a business with customers who use the internet, you’ll need someone to not only handle their inquiries online, but also help engage potential customers through marketing.
Organizations that need a community manager include:
- Small businesses that are losing business to competition
- Business owners who want to build an online presence
- Brick-and-mortar businesses that want to put their products online
- Ecommerce sellers who want to diversify their selling channels
- Any business that needs to reinvigorate customer interest
- Businesses whose owners are short on time
A community manager can wear many hats—it can be the evening retail clerk with a little extra time towards closing time who takes on this role. Or, you can hire a community manager whose full-time job is strictly managing your online presence. Most businesses can benefit from hiring a social media manager, provided they have the budget and resources to hire one.
Social Media Manager Costs
There are various costs to looking for a social media manager and hiring one, as well as ongoing costs for them to perform their job. These costs include things like listing the position, designing a test project, paying a salary, and purchasing programs to use. These costs start at $49 per month and can go over $55,199 per year with a salary and any tools your community manager needs.
The costs of hiring a social media manager include:
- Posting a job listing: Premium job listings with a site like Indeed start at $5 per day, but there is also a free option. You may also run pay-per-click campaigns where you’ll only pay when people click on your sponsored job post. You set your own campaign budget and adjust it at any time.
- Designing a test project: Many companies choose to test drive a community manager before committing to hiring one. They do this by giving a test project to candidates, and oftentimes these are paid projects. You’ll need to look at the time it takes to complete the project as well as the complexity to determine what you’ll pay.
- Paying a salary: Most social media managers who are employed in-house get a salary of $55,199 per year. If you’re sharing a community manager with other organizations through an agency, you’re likely to pay around $500 per month.
- Licensing programs: There are programs that community managers use to perform job tasks like scheduling posts and running ads. Some of these programs are free and go up to $799.99 per month based on the size of your company. Programs include Tailwind and Later.
Solo operations may find more value in hiring an apprentice or working with a social media marketing agency, as these are usually less than $500 per month. These community managers can use programs and tools to do their jobs without a ton of added expense—many tools are free or as little as $9.99 per month.
Tools Social Media Managers Use
Content managers use tools to help them do their job every day. These tools can schedule posts, measure analytics, and allow easy collaboration with other content creators. Tools include Hibu, Tailwind, and Later. Their prices range from $9.99 per month and go up to $30,000 per month for large organizations.
Hibu is a social media marketing agency that can run ads for your business. This allows your community manager to focus on other aspects of social media, like comment moderation and engagement. Pricing is completely custom and ranges from $100 per month to $30,000 per month, depending on the size of the audience you target, your available budget, and your competition.
With Tailwind, you schedule posts on Pinterest and Instagram. There are also Tailwind Tribes, which are groups of bloggers that share each other’s content. Tailwind is an official Instagram Partner, which means that it’s safe to use and users don’t have to worry about a third-party tool getting their account shut down. Prices start at $9.99 per month when paid annually for businesses less than 25 employees, and go up to $799.99 per month billed annually for large brands and agencies.
Later is a marketing program used to schedule social media posts. You upload images and videos, drag and drop them into a visual calendar, and automatically schedule posts. Later is also an official Instagram Partner. There are also analytics to measure results as well as shoppable post integrations. Prices start at free and go up to $49 per month.
Where to Find a Social Media Manager
Hiring a content manager is done through a variety of avenues. These can include a matchmaking service, Indeed, Freelancer.com, and Upwork. It doesn’t have to be expensive to find one, either. Posting a job listing on Indeed can be free, and most matchmaking services are free, too.
Methods for finding social media managers include:
1. Matchmaking Service
Social media marketing agencies sometimes train thousands of social media marketers and provide a matchmaking service for free. This benefits not only businesses, but also helps those who’ve gone through the proper training to find clients. You can find these by searching for social media courses and asking the creators for recommendations from their pool of course graduates. While it doesn’t cost anything to be matched, you will need to pay the community manager that you hire. Many accept a monthly retainer, usually around $500 per month, while others prefer to be hired full-time.
Indeed is a search engine specifically for finding and posting jobs. Premium job listings start at $5 per day, but there is also a free option. You may also run pay-per-click campaigns where you’ll only pay when people click on your sponsored job post. You set your own campaign budget and adjust it at any time. Candidates can apply right on the site.
For short-term needs, businesses turn to sites like Freelancer to assign projects to community managers. Projects fees start at 3% or $3, whichever is greater. If you have a creative project that requires any design or advanced visual work, such as a branding video, running a contest is a great option. This is where you set a budget, describe the project, and invite freelancers to participate. The duration of contests is typically three days, and during this time you’ll receive submissions from freelancers.
You’ll want to give feedback and suggestions while submissions come in so that other freelancers can see what you like and don’t like about the submissions. At the end, you can award the prize and work with the chosen freelancer to touch up anything on the project. This is a cost-effective way to get a visual social media project done.
Another freelancing network to use is Upwork. What you pay your freelancer is up to you, but you’ll also pay 3% of that fee to Upwork. They also have monthly plans to increase the amount of invites you send to freelancers that start at $49.99 per month and go up to $499 per month.
While community manager freelancers typically do project work, there are many looking for more than just a one-off project. With any freelancer network, establishing an on-going working relationship is a huge benefit because you don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for the right freelancer.
Should you prefer to hire a full-time content manager, Indeed is the way to go. With the ability to have premium job listings, candidate filtering, and application management, it’s a favorite of many businesses. Get started for free today.
Employee vs Freelancer: Which Is Best for You?
Having a content manager as an employee lets businesses have full access to an expert without sharing them with other companies. Employees integrate within a team and often are responsible for each marketing avenue. Duties include things like social media management, customer service, digital marketing, and outbound marketing. With a salary and benefits, this option tends to cost more—$55,199 per year plus benefits.
A marketing manager as a marketing freelancer typically works remotely and with many companies at a time. This allows businesses to keep costs low since they don’t pay a salary and don’t include benefits. Freelancers usually get paid a retainer—often around $500 per month—to provide services each month. These management services can be on a per-project basis or even hourly. This is an attractive option for businesses that are solo operations with limited budgets.
“While I see value in each of these decisions, I highly recommend going with a marketing freelancer. The key is to find someone trustworthy and who communicates well with your style and preferences, and to over-communicate expectations. It can also be helpful to ask to see their work, see a website with proof of deliverables, and be specific in your contract with a freelancer. Above all, trust your instincts.”
– Rachel Pedersen, Founder & CEO, The Viral Touch
Write a Social Media Manager Job Description
It’s important to recognize that the best job listings not only provide a succinct yet thorough job description, but it also highlights why that community manager should want to work for your company. If you’re offering a salary much higher than the industry norm—say so. Similarly, if you provide free daycare onsite, that’s a huge perk.
A good social media manager job description includes the following:
- Duties: Write what a typical day looks like for your content manager. Duties include responding to questions on social media, running ads, creating social media content, sharing posts across platforms, and writing blog posts. They will also perform analysis of their efforts and tweak things to increase conversions.
- Key performance indicators (KPI): List how you’ll measure the progress of your content manager. KPIs include things like audience growth, conversions, engagement rate, and leads.
- Requirements: These requirements include job experience, schooling, and familiarity with programs like Tailwind, Canva, Hootsuite, and Later.
“When you are looking into hiring a social media or marketing manager, you’ll need to decide what your overall goals are before you hire the right person.
“Typically, you’ll want to drive customers to your store, increase lead generation, and ultimately increase your revenue. Social media is an excellent tool for these things, and hiring a social media manager could be the best thing for your business.
“You want to see evidence that the person you are hiring has a proven track record of the results you’re looking for. This will either be on their own account or their clients.”
– Rachel-Yvonne McIntosh, Influencer & Coach to Women in Ministry, RachelYvonne.com
Social Media Manager Skills to Look For
A community manager’s skills can help or hinder a business’ online efforts. You need someone with talent, experience, tact, and diplomacy. Finally, you need someone who’s coachable. While these are tenets of most good employees, it’s even more important for customer-facing positions.
Skills you may want to consider when hiring a community manager include:
- Talent: The more talent your content manager has, the more you’ll have to pay them. If you don’t have a very big budget, you may need to train someone.
- Coachability: Your content manager has to be coachable. When someone is willing to get coaching, they’re more willing to learn.
- Experience: Familiarity with the major social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) should be a basic requirement for this position.
- Tact and diplomacy: Content managers will likely deal with some of the same questions every day, and some of those questions might be pretty obvious to most people. There will be times where the customer is wrong too. Your community manager will need to know how to navigate these conversations.
- News-savvy: Community managers who stay current may experience better success posting relevant pop culture references and news updates on social media.
Pros & Cons of Hiring a Social Media Manager
A business hires a community manager because they don’t have the time to do it themselves and want to create a consistent representation of their brand. Not only that, but they desire to hire someone savvy enough to engage well with customers. There are costs that can be prohibitive for businesses, particularly those just starting out. Additionally, there’s the potential that a marketing manager may not know the voice of your brand and can damage its reputation.
Pros of Hiring a Social Media Manager
These are the pros of hiring a community manager:
- Time: When you don’t have to manage your business’ online presence, it frees you up so you can do the things you’re good at.
- Consistency: A marketing manager is paid to manage your social media so you’re showing up and getting visible. Your clients and potential clients will know what to expect.
- Brand engagement: Community managers can respond quickly to any PR issues and to current and potential customer inquiries.
Cons of Hiring a Social Media Manager
Here are the cons of hiring a community manager:
- Cost: Some businesses do not have the money to pay for a marketing manager.
- Your voice: It can be difficult to teach someone how to speak in your voice and tone, particularly for personal brands. This is easier if it’s a small business.
- Misrepresentation: There’s a potential that an unsavvy marketing manager can misrepresent a business, in turn creating a public relations problem.
Alternatives to Hiring a Social Media Manager
Brand new businesses may not have the budget or desire to hire a community manager. In this case, managing social media yourself is an alternative as long as you’re consistent and have the time. You can also hire an apprentice for as little as $49 per month, or create a business listing on Google.
These are the alternatives to hiring a social media manager:
Manage Social Media Yourself
The best social media sites for your business will depend on who your customers are and where they hang out online. Not only that, but the industry you’re in can also play a role in where to have an online presence for your business.
For example, a lawyer working exclusively with CEOs might have better luck on LinkedIn instead of TikTok. No matter where you show up online, you will want a consistent posting schedule to keep your customers updated on different offerings and behind-the-scenes looks at the process of creating your product.
Hire an Apprentice
An apprentice is someone who you train to manage social media for you. You’ll pay around $49 per month when using a program like GenM to work with an apprentice. It’s important to understand that there may be a steep learning curve when working with brand-new apprentices because it’s not like hiring an employee who already knows how to do the job. It will take patience and the ability to teach to have success working with an apprentice.
Use Google Listings
If you decide not to have a presence on social media, at the very least you need to have a listing on Google. It’s easy to claim your business by going through Google Maps. This way, potential customers will know your hours and where you’re located. They can also leave reviews—you will want to respond to both the positive and negative reviews you get.
Social media managers help attract and retain customers through a business’ social media accounts. By hiring a marketing manager that’s coachable, skilled, and diplomatic, your online presence can increase your revenue and customer service. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to hire one, either.
Hibu is a marketing company that runs your social media ads so that your social media managers can spend more time engaging with customers and fans. Ads target your dream clients, and they retarget those ads to keep them in front of your top prospects. Hibu starts at as little as $100 per month. Get started with Hibu today.