What Does a Social Media Director Do?

Symbols representing social media

Nearly 60 percent of the world uses the internet. What’s more, three-fourths of them are on social media. The length of time customers spend on mobile devices is driving an increase in spending on digital advertising, which is expected to reach $517 billion by 2023. Digital marketing is no longer a tool for younger customers, but is now a necessity across all target audiences, and one of the key components to a successful digital campaign strategy is social media marketing.

With shifting digital trends, companies need digital marketers who understand all aspects of social media marketing. Below, we’ll discuss the exciting career path of a social media director.

What a social media director does

Social media directors carry the important role of representing businesses and brands on various social channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A key component of this role is ensuring a company’s voice is consistently carried across all social channels. Social media management is part of a larger digital marketing team effort to create a strong and authoritative online presence. Social media directors oversee these efforts and provide the guidance and experience needed to achieve performance goals.

What exactly does a social media director do?

A social media director is a digital marketing role that oversees the branding, communication and advertising efforts on social media platforms. Companies use social media directors to oversee social media campaigns, social media strategy development and other media marketing efforts. Social media managers and directors are responsible for strengthening brand loyalty and overseeing the social media customer service experience.

  • Job duties vary based on industry and the specific role, but social media directors typically perform the following tasks:
  • Integrate social media efforts across all departments
  • Support and lead a team of digital marketers, communication specialists and content creators
  • Work with a social media strategist to develop, plan and implement digital marketing plans that support global business goals
  • Activate and monitor social media campaigns and deadlines, often with the assistance of a social media coordinator
  • Monitor and track performance metrics and make recommendations for improvements

The difference between a social media manager and a community manager is that social media managers maintain and support a specific brand, while community managers are intrinsically considered their own unique brand. Social media managers post content, reply to comments and engage with potential customers while maintaining voice and brand strategy. Alternatively, community managers post content from their own voice and focus on developing new communities, often with the objective to define a new brand and voice for a company.

Importance of social media management

A survey revealed that 57 percent of marketing organizations have synced commerce systems with social media marketing. The idea of pursuing a social media career, though, is relatively new. Google searches for “social media manager” didn’t even begin to gain traction until late-2007. Over the past decade search interest grew by 90 percentage points, peaking in August 2019, as displayed in the graph below.

Today, Google receives 21,000 and 14,000 searches per month for, respectively, the keywords “social media manager” and “social media jobs.” What is driving the growth in social media career interest? The simple answer is: usership. Without reaching the right audience, marketing is counterproductive. Prior to the digital age, advertisers reached customers through television and print media. We now know that more people are present on mobile platforms than in front of a television. Business leaders must market where their audience is present, and consumers are taking to social media to find the best brands, products and services.

The overwhelming number of users is demonstrated in the chart below, which also provides the mission and launch year of some of the most popular social media channels:

Social media channel Social mission Year launched Current usership (in millions)
LinkedIn Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. 2003 310
Facebook Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. 2004 2,400
YouTube Give everyone a voice and show them the world. 2005 2,000
Twitter Give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. 2006 330
WhatsApp Let people communicate anywhere in the world without barriers. 2009 1,600
Instagram Capture and share the world’s moments. 2010 1,000
Pinterest Bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. 2010 300
Snapchat Reinvent the camera and improve the way people live and communicate. 2011 314

Analysts predict there will be 3.8 billion smartphone users by 2021, and 32 percent of customers indicate they prefer social media channels when communicating with companies. The role of social media teams is increasingly more important for business-to-consumer relationships.

Digital marketing funds allocated toward social media efforts recently declined for the first time since August 2017, according to a CMO survey. However, the five-year marketing budget forecast indicates a 73 percent increase in total social media marketing spending. As businesses increase spending on social media, new social media roles are created.

Income potential for a social media director

The career outlook is positive for marketing and communications positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Companies that recognize the urgency to implement strategic digital marketing campaigns are willing to pay for top talent to achieve important business objectives. The BLS reports that marketing management positions can expect an eight percent increase, which is faster than the national average for job growth across all industries.

Enterprises need marketing managers across a variety of disciplines and the top paying industries for marketing managers include: scientific research and development services; cable and other subscription programming; motion picture and video industries; oil and gas extraction; and cut and sew apparel manufacturing. States with the highest number of marketing manager jobs include: California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas, while the top paying states include: New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, and California.

Below is a snapshot of potential jobs within the social media director career path. Starting at an entry-level position as a social media coordinator or specialist, marketing professionals earn around $40,000 per year. With additional experience or an advanced degree—such as a digital marketing graduate degree—social media professionals bump their salary up by $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Top managers and executives earn an annual salary in the six-figure range, with bonuses reaching up to $30,000 per year.

Job title Description Average annual salary Top 10 percent above Average annual bonuses
Social Media Coordinator Level: Entry
Typical duties: Engages in dialogue with customers and answers questions on social media platforms. Facilitates social media campaigns and reviews prints and designs for accuracy and consistency. Reviews performance metrics for social media posts to improve campaign results.
$39,500 $53,000 $4,600
Social Media Specialist Level: Entry
Typical duties: Implements social media marketing strategies and maintains a company’s online image. Opens dialogue on social platforms to measure customer satisfaction and perception, and resolves customer complaints and criticisms. Works across teams to develop high quality social media content.
$43,500 $61,000 $3,900
Social Media Manager Level: Mid
Typical duties: Serves as a voice and liaison for brands and businesses, and establishes a leadership role on social media practices. Implements and monitors social media marketing campaigns. Identifies opportunities for engagement that would lead to online audience growth.
$50,100 $77,000 $6,000
Social Media Strategist Level: Mid
Typical duties: Coordinates with department leaders to develop social media strategies that will achieve business objectives. Researches customer demographics and recommends relevant strategies that will reach target audiences. Reviews and analyzes performance metrics and translates results for management.
$51,800 $78,000 $6,900
Content Manager Level: Mid
Typical duties: Oversees the content displayed on websites, blogs, and social media posts. Delivers original and edited content that is relevant and informative. Ensures content strategies are supportive of a company’s brand, voice and business objectives.
$57,900 $86,000 $6,100(
Communications Manager Level: Management
Typical duties: Facilitates internal and external communications and regulates messages that are delivered to the public. Acts as a public relations lead and responds to information requests from external entities. Maintains and implements an ongoing strategy to support and protect the image of a company.
$64,100 $98,000 $8,300
Digital Marketing Manager Level: Management
Typical duties: Leads the development and implementation of social media marketing strategies. Ensures online marketing campaigns coordinate seamlessly with all digital marketing teams. Coordinates projects across teams and supervises collaboration between departments.
$65,600 $98,000 $13,500
Social Media Director Level: Management
Typical duties: Strengthens brand loyalty and oversees customer service that is carried out through social channels. Social media leadership: develops and implements social media goals and strategies, oversees social media calendars and tracks performance. Serves as an expert in social media integration across departments.
$71,900 $129,000 $17,900
Director of Digital Marketing Level: Executive
Typical duties: Leads digital marketing efforts and oversees a digital marketing team of managers and individual contributors. Creates objectives and concepts for marketing campaigns and oversees client and partner communications. Manages a digital marketing budget and aims to improve marketing performance.
$99,000 $147,000 $30,400

Important skills and traits a social media director should have

Social media marketers maintain a relatively high level of operational authority. Business owners and executives often place a great amount of trust in social media professionals to make quick judgments that will maintain a positive public image for the company and uphold the characteristics of a successful social media presence.

A good social media presence:

  • Exists on social media channels that connect with the right audience
  • Maintains a high level of discipline
  • Focuses on the most up-to-date trends
  • Maintains aesthetically pleasing designs
  • Seems like a real person
  • Encourages a positive and fun spirit

While social media directors must be charismatic and in-tune with the latest trends, they must also conduct themselves in a professional manner and communicate in ways that will reach the target audience. Social media directors must practice extreme self-control and hone the necessary digital skills in order to conceive optimum results.

An ideal social media director possesses the following skills and traits:

  • Solid copywriting ability. Writer and editor with the ability to create original content with minimal typos and grammatical errors and develop unique posts for each individual social channel.

  • Talent for storytelling. Moving storyteller who motivates and persuades target audiences to participate in campaigns and increase engagement.

  • Strong aesthetic acumen. Creative professional with an eye for proper design layouts and popular digital visualizations.

  • Stage presence. Performer who can jump on Facebook or Instagram Live feeds and provide the latest updates whenever necessary.

  • Careful mixture of creativity and empathy. What do people want and why? What’s the best way to deliver the message?

  • Adaptability. Flexible and responsive professional who is willing to change course to maintain a budget or adjust a budget to accommodate unanticipated necessities.

  • Desire to please and assist. Customer service-centered employee with outstanding people and communication skills and who genuinely enjoys client engagement and assistance.

  • Structured and orderly. Organized and methodical individual who is capable of developing and successfully following through with budgets and key performance indicators.

  • Lifelong learner. Curious learner who reads the news, keeps up with the latest trends and knows what is relevant; constantly motivated to maintain a deep knowledge of social media channels and tools.

  • Critical thinker. Analytical mind who considers all variables when examining social media campaign results and providing results to company managers and executives.

While it doesn’t look like social media marketing is going away anytime soon, the seasons will always change and digital marketers must adjust their strategy accordingly. New trends in social media marketing include:

  • Messaging as the new medium
  • In-app ecommerce stores
  • Machine learning campaign optimization

Social media directors must also keep track of the latest social media tools. Buffer lists 25 of the top social media management tools for businesses of all sizes. Here are the 15 tools Buffer rates as best for small-to-medium businesses:

Here are the 15 tools Buffer rates as best for larger enterprises:

  • Sprinklr: “Reach, engage, and listen to customers – at scale.”
  • Oktopost: “Social media management platform for B2B enterprise.”
  • Falcon.io: “The platform for every kind of social media marketer.”
  • HubSpot: “All-in-one inbound marketing software.”
  • Salesforce Social Studio: “Your social media marketing platform.”
  • Social Hub: “Smart social media management software for your team.”
  • Khoros (Previously: Spredfast): “The platform for enterprise social.”
  • Likeable Hub: “Easy and effective social media for your business.”
  • Social Flow: “Data-driven social media management, marketing, and publishing.”
  • Nuvi: “The world’s most stunning social media marketing suite.”

Why Yeshiva University’s Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Media program for becoming a social media director?

Pursuing a career in social media marketing is an exciting and rewarding journey. If you’re interested in boosting your career by pursuing higher education, the Katz School of Science and Health at Yeshiva University (YU) offers a challenging graduate course of study in digital marketing. The online MS in Digital Marketing and Media is designed for aspiring marketers and young professionals working in marketing-related fields. The program aims to provide students with the experience typically gained in a junior marketing role so you’ll be empowered to produce data-driven results from Day One.

Offering courses in Communications, Brand Management and Customer Relationship Management, students are given the support needed to hone social media skills and rise above the hiring competition. Upon completion of the master’s program, graduates will be able to:

  • Design effective messages using audience analysis, communicator credibility, message construction and delivery.
  • Develop a deep understanding of brand structure, the value of a brand to the organization and the importance of branding in marketing.
  • Understand the psychological, social and cultural factors that affect B2C and B2B relationships.

The Katz School’s online MS in Digital Marketing and Media is offered entirely online, so students are provided with the flexibility needed for everyday life, or to continue building a career while gaining a master’s degree.

Reach out today to learn more about how YU’s online MS in Digital Marketing and Media will help grow your social media marketing career.

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