Social Media Roles Explained

Lets address all the different and sometimes incorrect social media position titles. Maybe you’ll discover you have the wrong job title, or maybe you’re recruiting for the wrong position. Let’s find out shall we?

Below I am going to define / summarize all the different social media positions in my own words.

You are a social media intern if: you are assisting a higher up social media professional. You will sometimes be assigned a few lower skill level tasks such as scheduling or posting content when your boss is too busy for such tasks.

A social media manager is: a person that works within a company, not an agency, that takes care of content, scheduling, mild strategy, community management, and requested analytics. This is the most commonly used job title when companies put out recruitment posts. Managers do not decide budgets, usually will be directed on what content their boss would like to see, and they will not have a fully developed skill set. Usually 1 – 2 years of social media experience is recommended for someone entering this role.

Community managers are: people that work for a larger company, and they have one sole responsibility; responding to all the comments, tweets, messages and snaps professionally and resolving customer issues. They are basically social media customer service reps. This person does not create content and usually follows a script.

You know you’re a social media analyst when: you stare at numbers all day and write reports on how to optimize content. These positions are usually part of a team within larger companies that value ROI. This person does not create content, or respond to customers, they only look at numbers and reports to assist the marketing team with improving campaigns and expressing KPI. This person should have a firm understanding of Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, and some sort of Instagram reporting tool like Minter.

Paid Media Specialist or Lead is a new role that has popped up in the past few years with the growing complexity of Facebook ads. Now every social media channel has an ad platform to master. This person recommends budgets, works with the creative department to produce ad ready content, activates paid campaigns, creates analytic reports to express ROI, and usually has a lot on their plate. If you are only working on paid ads then this is your real job title.

This shouldn’t even be a role a company is publicly recruiting for. A Social Media Specialist describes a freelancer or someone that has several jobs within the Social Media space.

This is not a real position. You might put “social media guru” in your IG profile header, not on your LinkedIn as a position you’ve held. Don’t try to recruit someone and stick them with this position title. Lastly, if you don’t have any real social media experience outside of posting pictures, please refrain from putting this title anywhere.

You’re a social media strategist if: you spend your entire day focusing on everything social media related and perform these duties all at once: content creation, ads, analytics, scheduling, community engagement, sales meetings, collaborations, client relations, and influencer coordinating. They will have about 4+ years of experience and have a fully developed skill set.

This position is usually not seen or heard of because it gets mixed in with other roles or goes by “marketing assistant”. A coordinator will usually only deal with scheduling, posting, emails and lower skill level tasks. They are basically assistants or interns that get paid a bit better. They will have opportunities to learn new social media skills, but not much.

A social media director is someone that is making those hardline decisions for a company or agency client without approvals. Many companies should be looking for a director, when they are actually recruiting for a manager or strategist. If you need someone to come in and completely create a social department, create budgets, ads, collaborate, set goals, provide analytics, create content, and more as the industry unfolds, you want to hire a director. This person will be working with all of your departments, and be depended upon for results. This role requires at least 6 years of social experience, and a college degree in any field.

You are in a lead position if: you work with a team to make sure all projects get taken care of, and ensures deliverables are delivered. Leads are like project managers essentially. They have all the skills of those around them, but really work to ensure the machine is well oiled. This person may still step in and help to complete projects but will concentrate on the tasks at hand. They also may work with a small team of leads to help figure out work assignments and solve high skill level problems within a social media account.