Instagram vs. Reality: The Role of a Social Media Marketer

Jan 27, 2020 Claire Nelson

What does someone who works in social media actually do?

Well, if you ask my dad, he thinks I scroll through Facebook all day. My friends think I spend my time at the office looking at what’s trending on Twitter. And to avoid confusion, I tell my grandparents that I work in “marketing.” 

The bottom line — social media marketers wear many hats. 

So many hats that sometimes it’s hard to explain what we actually do each day. We’re community managers. We’re brand ambassadors. We’re growth marketers. We’re copywriters. And it doesn’t stop there. In honor of Community Manager Day, we’re sharing a glimpse into the life of a social media marketer by highlighting a few key ‘hats” we wear in this role:

1. Community Manager

Probably one of the most commonly understood aspects of the job includes community management. While wearing this hat, social media marketers are focused on building and maintaining positive relationships for a brand online. On a daily basis, they’re monitoring for responses and finding new ways brands can engage with followers and get their message across. But it’s not all puppies and kittens. A big part of this role is also making sure the company has a plan in place for unhappy followers. A response protocol is key to making sure responses are polished and timely. Why does this all matter? Engagement is a critical part of growing your community and putting yourself in front of new audiences. 

2. Content Creator

When we’re not building relationships with our audience, we’re creating new content for them to engage with. As content creators, we’re both drafting content (280 character Tweets, long-form LinkedIn articles, Quora Q&As, Facebook ads, Instagram captions, etc.) and building out editorial calendars to plan future content. The content we create also goes beyond just written content, including other forms of digital media such as videos and graphics. If we’re not creating visual assets ourselves, we become project managers working closely with our designers and videographers to bring our ideas to life.    

3. Brand Ambassador

One of our main goals as social media marketers is to raise brand awareness. With social media being relatively high up in the buyer’s journey, we work to build trust with our audience and move them further down the funnel. We raise awareness by engaging with other brands, through thought leadership initiatives, and relaying a clear message throughout our posts. Depending on our strategy we also work closely with Influencers to help amplify our story. We handle everything from crafting the campaign strategy and messaging, managing outreach, drafting contracts, reviewing content, sending product, planning events and booking guests’ airfare...the list is endless! 

4. Data Analyst

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—social media is one big test. When it comes to testing out new strategies, tools, or approaches to delivering content, analyzing the performance of your work is key. Day in and day out, social media marketers are looking at metrics and finding ways they can adjust their strategy to get the results they’re looking for.

5. Strategist

In order to be successful in all of these roles, social media specialists need to have a clear understanding of what audience they are targeting and what tactics will help them reach that audience. We understand that what worked for one brand may not work for another, which requires us to take a fresh look at each brand we work with when building out their social media strategy. We also work with content and PR teams to make sure that we’re making the most of content that already exists.

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What we covered was just a glimpse into the role of a social media marketer. Need help juggling it all? We’re here to help. Sign up for our newsletter, follow our team on social or contact us directly at

Topics: Integrated Strategies, Communications, digital PR, integrated PR
Claire Nelson

Claire is a digital specialist managing social media for clients including Okta, Nutanix, and VMware Carbon Black.

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