How to become a social media executive

Are you always on top of the latest social media and digital trends? Do you want to make a real impact in how brands communicate to their audiences on social channels? And do you love a fast-paced, competitive environment, where everyday tasks are different?

If the above sounds like you, then this could be the start of a great career within a Social Media Account Management team, either in-house or within an agency environment. Still sound good? Great! Then, read on…

What is the role of a Social Media Executive?

As a Social Media Executive, your core role is to support the team. You’ll need to ensure you are an organised multi-tasker, working efficiently and proactively to meet your deadlines.

The aim of the Social Media Account Management team is to work together to effectively promote a brand’s product or service to its core target audience, and you’ll use a range of social media platforms, techniques and creative flair to meet your client’s objectives. For this, you’re going to need a lot of passion, outside-of-the-box thinking and a creative yet strategic mind.

What sort of salary can I expect?

Upon entering as a Social Media Executive you can expect to start at around £18,000 – £25,000, depending on location, company and experience. Career development is ultimately up to you and the company you work for, but showing a real passion for all things social media related, and being proactive and a quick thinker will get you far in this industry.

It’s a competitive market, so you will need to ensure that you’re on your game and working productively to support your team as a whole.

What qualifications do I need for this role?

The good news is that there are no mandatory qualifications to work as a Social Media Executive. Furthermore, agencies tend to hire a diverse range of employees to add to the diverse nature and creativity of their company, however, there are a number of degrees or industry certificates that may put you in better stead, such as a degree in Marketing, Communications or Business.

Alternatively, a CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) qualification can be useful, and could put you in a strong position for any interview you get invited to. If you don’t have either of these, you should have a strong experience-based background, and ensure that you’re clued up on all of the digital and social media trends, ready to impress!

What key skills will I need for this role?

As a Social Media Executive there are some transferable skills that you’ll need to possess. Social media is 24/7 and as such, you need to have skills that show your eye for detail and your ability to cope in a high pressured, busy environment. The key skills you should look to have and express in an interview are:

  • Passion for social media and  digital marketing , including knowledge on the latest technology
  • Competency using and understanding a range of social media platforms
  • A strong communicator, both verbal and written
  • Excellent organisation skills
  • Analytical and good with numbers
  • Strong English and IT capabilities
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to meet tight deadlines, whilst maintaining quality of work
  • A creative mind, able to add to ideas to form a campaign concept with the team
  • A creative flair, shown through editorial, design or strategy
  • Ability to work proactively

What work experience would be most beneficial?

As an entry starter in any career, it’s going to be beneficial for you to have some practical work experience, whether through a summer placement, voluntary work or internship. This will show passion, enthusiasm and a greater understanding for the social media industry and what it involves.

As you do this sort of work experience, you’ll start to develop a solid knowledge of the tasks involved, and how your skills can be transferred into the social media environment.

Describe a typical working day and key tasks involved?

As a Social Media Executive, you can be sure that no two days are going to be the same. From day one, you are going to be an integral part of your Account Management team and have responsibilities to adhere to. Office hours will vary, typically starting at 9-9:30am and finishing at 5:30-6pm.

However, due to the quick turnaround, campaign nature of social media, you will need to be a little flexible on these hours at times. Plus, your employer may ask you to work late on occasion. Your general responsibilities will include:

  • Tracking and reporting on brand’s social media platforms
  • Community management on various social media platforms
  • Analysing competitor activity
  • Attending meetings or events
  • Creating content calendars
  • Writing editorial briefs
  • Chatting with designers to bring your brief to life
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Attending internal meetings to discuss social campaign ideas.
  • Liaising with clients on a daily basis and answering emails efficiently

What are the next steps for this job role?

The sky’s the limit! Work hard and show enthusiasm for your job, as a Social Media Executive, and your next steps will be to move up to a Senior Social Media Executive and further onto an Account Manager. The more immersed in the industry you become and the more diverse the range of experience you gain, the more confident you will become in different situations.

Once you can show confidence in your opinions and leading the account, you can seek the promotional rewards. To become an Account Director, it typically takes five to ten years. It also depends on your experience, size of the company and passion to succeed.

The best part of this job role…

A role in the social media industry is exciting and extremely diverse. You’ll carry out duties ranging from managing communities and gathering insights from reports, to creating campaigns that really perform to your client’s objectives. You’ll be busy, but you will love every minute!

What to prepare for…

Firstly, the one truth about this job is that you’ll never know how to explain it to family and friends – no one will understand what you do! On a serious note, the job can be extremely fast paced and may involve quite a few late evenings, to work on your campaigns and meet client deadlines. At times, due to the tight deadlines, your team may become quite reliant on you, which can create a pressurised environment.

Key qualities

If you are an all-rounder then this is the job for you. You need to be social, creative, analytical, a good presenter and organised. You’ll need to build good rapport with your clients, teammates, and third parties. All while managing your weekly task deadlines and staying on top of social media trends. Most importantly, a positive, passionate, can-do attitude will really work wonders for you in this industry!

Browse our digital marketing jobs to see if you already have some of the required skills!