You know how to take the perfect selfie, you are the life of the party in the comments section, and you always write a witty caption that makes your friends “lol.” If you love hanging out in the online world, why not learn how to become a social media manager for a small business?

Don’t have a full grasp on what a social media manager does or how to transition from nailing the latest TikTok dance to running social media for a company? We have you covered! Learn how to become a social media manager and hone the skills needed to help small businesses (including yours) go viral.

What does a social media manager do?

Social media managers do way more than scroll through their Instagram feed all day. In fact, getting a business noticed online requires a lot of work. As a social media manager for a small business, your job is to manage the company’s online presence by creating strategic content to capture attention and drive sales.

Social media managers perform their job through audience research, strategy, content creation and digital customer service. If you’ve spent any time online, you already know that the competition for attention is steep. Therefore, social media managers need to find ways to utilize trends while standing out to get their clients noticed through photos, graphics, videos and live webcasts or other events.

A day in your life as a social media manager might start with developing a social media campaign strategy for an upcoming product launch, followed by researching your client’s target audience and the latest trends to incorporate in campaigns. After lunch, you could dive into content calendar planning with posting dates and times centered around peak engagement. Then, capture some photos and videos to filter, edit and post. You’ll always leave time to respond to comments and messages and engage with other businesses, influencers and customers online.

Why would you want to be a social media manager?

While the job comes with stress, most social media managers feel #blessed. Managing social media for small businesses can be fun, especially if you already love posting to your personal account. Often, social media management can happen remotely, with occasional visits to the office or storefront to capture photo and video content.

Unlike desk jockeys, social media managers rarely get stuck behind a pile of paperwork. They get to experience the most fun sides of a business while connecting with customers. Daily tasks constantly change in response to new trends, creating a dynamic work environment that never gets boring. Overall, there’s a lot to “like” about being a social media manager.

In addition to being a fun job, social media managers continue to grow in demand. Three out of four consumers think companies should post on social media at least once or twice a day.1 However, many small business owners agree that they can’t manage their pages themselves. That’s why the demand for social media managers is expected to grow 10% through 2026.2 This need will only increase as more social media platforms emerge.

Additionally, social media managers can make a good salary. Your salary will largely depend on the hours you put in, the content you create and the type of business you represent. Social media managers can earn anywhere from $35,000 to $80,000 per year, with the average income hitting around $50,000 per year.3 If you are starting a social media management side hustle, consider setting your hourly rate around $20 per hour.

What skills do you need to become a social media manager?

If you want to be a social media manager, prepare to wear a lot of hats. This dynamic job includes a little bit of everything.

  • Creativity. Flex your creative muscles to dream up fun, engaging content that captures attention and drives business.
  • Writing. It takes wit (and sometimes poetry) to write the perfect caption.
  • Photography and videography. Take stunning photos and videos that will have your audience stopping mid-feed.
  • Strategy. Prepare to analyze data to better strategize future campaigns. You may need to conduct some sales reporting in some cases.
  • Computer skills. You may already know how to post to Instagram from your phone, but there are online tools to help you create graphics and schedule posts to auto-publish.
  • Communication and networking. Social media is all about being social. Prepare to talk and engage with a lot of people online to help spread the word about the brand you represent.
  • Customer service. Many social media managers forget about this necessary skill. You are often the first point of contact someone makes with a brand. Prepare to answer questions and even develop solutions when things go wrong.
  • Focus. Getting caught up in the endless scroll is easy, especially if it’s your job to stay on top of trends and news. However, social media managers need to focus on staying productive.
  • Adaptability. Social media managers seem to have to adapt to a new algorithm every month. So prepare to roll with the flow and make constant changes.

How do you become a social media manager?

You have the skills to help a business level up its social media to #goals status. Now, you need to land the gig. The best way to become a thriving social media manager is to get experience, build a portfolio of successful campaigns and create a network of referrals.

Landing your first social media client will be the hardest, but there are additional things you can do to stand out and get the job.

  • Build your own social media following. Show small business owners what you can do by building your own social following and creating a stunning page. Would you rather hire a social media manager with 500 followers or 5,000?
  • Get trained and certified. While it is possible to become a social media manager with no experience, earning social media certifications is a great way to hone your skills and stand out from the crowd of freelancers. Many courses are free. Look for certification classes offered through HubSpot, Hootsuite and Coursera.
  • Create a marketing plan. One of the best ways to market your social media services is through social media. Reach out to local businesses via direct message (DM) and see if they need help managing their page. It’s best to target companies that aren’t posting often or have less-than-ideal photos. Chances are, they need help.
  • Price your services. If a business is interested in hiring you, be prepared with service packages and pricing. You can price your services by the hour or create fixed monthly retainers with defined deliverables. There’s no right way to do it, so find what works best for you and your clients.

Protect your social currency

As a social media manager, it’s your job to build a business’s social currency and turn Tweets into sales. However, we’ve all seen social media posts go very wrong. One misguided post could get you and your client “canceled.” If you make your client look bad online, they may fire you and come after your real-life currency to pay for damages.

Consultant Insurance from Thimble covers you for a client’s financial losses stemming from your professional advice or services. It’s a customizable package of coverages you can tailor to fit your needs.

Get insured in less time than it takes to send out your next tweet. Simply download the Thimble mobile app or click “get a quote,” answer a quick set of questions and get your policy. With Thimble, protection is just a click away.


  1. Sprout Social. Social Media Trends for 2022 and Beyond. 
  2. Noodle. What Does Career Growth Look Like for a Social Media Manager? 
  3. Payscale. Average Social Media Manager Salary.