How to become an SMM specialist
How to become an SMM specialist and stand out among your craft colleagues? We will tell you about common mistakes, problems, responsibilities and necessary skills of a beginner social media manager in today’s article, so read on to the end.
Who is an SMM specialist
SMM (social media marketing) – brand promotion using social networks. According to Marketing Sherpa statistics, 95% of people from 18 to 34 years old are more comfortable following a company and interacting with it through social networks. SMM suits everyone : B2B companies, online stores, services and media.
An SMM specialist is engaged in the complex promotion of brands or individuals: he develops a strategy, generates content, sets up advertising, monitors statistics and performance indicators, analyzes the results and provides the client with reports on the work done.
Its main tasks are to increase page coverage, increase awareness, create a loyal community around the brand, and communicate with subscribers.
There are several options of work – office, freelance and business:
- Office. The most banal and relatively simple option is to take a vacant position in the company. In this case, you do not need to look for clients, it is enough to get a job at an agency where a full-time specialist is required and work with their base. True, this format has one unpleasant drawback – salary. Unfortunately, you cannot jump higher than the ceiling.
- Freelance . Many SMM professionals working in the office dream of switching to freelance and freeing themselves from the daily routine, early wakes and a clear schedule. But it was not there. Freelancing is only suitable for you if you are able to organize your time on your own. Among the disadvantages are: a shaky schedule, no days off, the need to constantly look for clients (here you definitely can’t do without a portfolio).
- Own agency . Experienced freelancers who hit the ceiling go into business. The next step in the career development of an SMM specialist is your own company. Here you occupy a leadership position and establish the main processes: recruit employees, set tasks for them and monitor the implementation of KPIs. The main advantage of this work format is that the owner of the agency does not need to independently promote projects. These tasks are performed by other specialists. But the degree of responsibility increases significantly, because now all the mistakes lie on your shoulders.
Qualities and skills
TOP professional qualities that every SMM specialist should have:
- competent speech (oral and written), the ability to generate “catchy” texts;
- knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of social networks;
- ability to work with analytics services;
- skills in working with graphic editors (at least at a basic level);
- understanding the general principles of SEO and CMS functioning (you don’t need to be a specialist, just understand the basis);
- basic knowledge in such areas as: affiliate programs, contextual advertising, promotion in geoservices, video hosting, software for optimization;
- ad setup experience;
- understanding digital trends;
- knowledge of English (will also be your advantage);
- the ability to communicate with the audience, understand their mood, neutralize negativity;
- a sense of humor.
You should also reflect the interests of both the brand and the audience, be inquisitive and open, withstand stressful situations (and there will be many), meet deadlines, be in touch 24/7 and follow foreign trends, to always be one step ahead.
Most often, an SMM manager works with a project team. There is always a copywriter on the staff who is engaged in writing texts and a designer who creates attractive visuals. Other responsibilities can also be delegated, but you must be able to do everything yourself.
The responsibilities of an SMM specialist include:
- development of a content strategy (professional promotion is not a personal page, so a clear plan is needed here. Define a goal, create a portrait of the target audience, analyze a client’s niche, develop a positioning strategy, designate a KPI, integrate an SMM strategy into the overall brand advertising strategy);
- forecasting and optimization of the advertising budget;
- holding contests, giveaways, flash mobs, as well as special projects;
- minimizing negativity in social networks;
- creating a content plan and writing texts, scripts, releases;
- team leadership;
- SWOT analysis;
- preparation of an offer (an offer is a trade offer of the target audience of a product or service, in which the benefits of buyers or customers are clearly indicated), USP;
- communication with the audience;
- visual design of communities (sometimes a specialist does this too: he creates designs and avatars, promo materials and videos);
- tracking results, monitoring performance.
Who is this work for
If you are a sociable, creative and competent person with an analytical mindset, then this profession is for you. SMM is suitable for people who like to generate content, create something creative, experiment, conduct various activities and communicate with the audience. It is also necessary at least at a basic level to be familiar with such things as: marketing, web services and platforms for optimizing work processes, psychology bases, photo editors.
How to become an SMM specialist
Let’s first figure out what a good SMM specialist can make money on:
- Client projects . The most obvious option is maintaining other people’s accounts. The list of responsibilities depends on the specific project. Someone asks only to post publications and respond to comments, while someone is in search of a multi-armed station wagon that will stop a galloping horse, make a unique design, and write a content plan for years to come. And this is generally normal. If you want to become a sought-after professional, you need to evolve and learn the basics of marketing.
- Affiliate Marketing . The scheme is simple: you sell someone else’s product for a fixed fee from each purchase or lead. And how to sell is your business. Typically targeted advertising is used, but some products sell better through targeted seeding or guerrilla marketing.
- PR in social networks. This is much more complicated. The main task of a specialist is to look for effective promotion channels and negotiate advertising with opinion leaders. Here you will need a whole bunch of skills, including the ability to conduct business negotiations.
- Author’s courses . If you are already filled with knowledge, then you can start teaching author’s courses. True, for this you need to upgrade your personal brand, have a good reputation, build an impressive client base and have about a hundred successful cases under your belt. And you also need good diction and the ability to work for the camera, so as not to fall into a stupor right during the broadcast.
Now let’s talk about what a beginner needs to do who wants to take his place in the sun.
Where to start
Here are some of the highlights :
- Understand the specifics of each social network . So you can immediately understand where it is worth solving specific business problems. To spray on everything at once is a bad and ineffective idea. For example, Vkontakte is relevant for promoting everyday goods, and Instagram is a great option for those who want to present a product through an attractive visual. Facebook is good for promoting high-end products. But the audience of the resource has its own peculiarities – news content and personal contacts are better perceived here.
- Learn to set specific goals and objectives . Try to describe the user’s path through your page based on the sales funnel (awareness, interest, desire to buy, purchase, repeat purchase), and then analyze at what stage the user may have difficulties.
- Study Successful Cases. Why reinvent the wheel? Get inspired by projects from major brands, analyze cases, see how companies use the capabilities of various social networks. Being witnessed will definitely help you in the future.
Despite the demand and popularity of the profession, there are still no universities in the CIS countries where you could be taught this difficult craft, so you will have to master the theory on your own, or go to specialized courses.
What you need to focus on to become an SMM specialist:
- fundamentals of marketing and communication theory;
- SMM basics;
- targeted advertising;
- web analytics basics;
- graphic editors (at least at a basic level).
List of useful courses :
- Profession “SMM-specialist” from Skillbox (online classes + workshops + live meetings). What you will learn: build SMM strategies, work with different promotion tools, create content for social networks, launch targeting, analyze.
- “Profession SMM-schik” from Republic (webinars + personal mentor + practice. The course lasts 90 days, price – 38,000 rubles). Skills after the end of the course: creating and promoting communities, planning, strategy, analysis of results, writing texts, deep involvement of the audience.
- “SMM-manager” from Netology (video classes + workshops. Duration – 8.5 months, price – 99,900 rubles). After this course, you will be able to: research target audience and conduct competitive analysis, do advertising from scratch, draw up technical specifications, create creatives.
Here are some tips to help you create a quality portfolio :
- provide links to the accounts of the companies you worked with;
- indicate the period of work on the project, as well as the scope of your responsibilities, achievements and results (it is advisable to back up the words with statistics). For example, if you were only posting or simply responding to comments, be honest about it;
- attach links to posts created directly by you (wrote the text, worked on the design, came up with the mechanics of the competition, and so on).
The portfolio can include self-promoted groups and social media accounts created for personal purposes, as well as projects made for customers free of charge or with minimal payment. The larger and more impressionable your portfolio, the higher the chances of finding new customers.
The salary of a specialist depends on many factors – work experience, portfolio availability, education level, skills and responsibilities. The average salary of an SMM manager varies between 30-50 thousand rubles per month.
Some companies are ready to take a beginner with no experience, putting a little responsibility on his shoulders. Such firms hire a person “for the future”, therefore they invest in his education and help him to adapt. True, you should not count on a huge income. The newcomer’s ceiling is 20,000 rubles with a gradual increase in wages.
Experienced specialists receive 30-90 thousand rubles. To find a job for such a vacancy, it is necessary to demonstrate to the employer examples of successfully implemented projects and recommendations from past places.
Where to look for clients
The most common option is to get a job at an agency with an already developed client base. Plus, you don’t need to look for customers. Minus – wages are limited by company regulations. Consider the work of different agencies, find teams whose projects inspire you, and only then send a short story about yourself and a link to your resume to the HR e-mail.
Useful sites where new vacancies appear from time to time:
You can also try yourself in the field of freelancing. Here are some remote job exchanges:
How to organize your workflow
The work of an SMM specialist should be systematized (only in this case it will be effective). To get started, create a primary, simple rubricator to clearly understand what topics you plan to cover on your blog. List at least three headings, the frequency of their publication, the main theses and goals that you are pursuing. For example, image content (brand history, its mission and philosophy, values) can alternate with useful (tips, life hacks, latest news) and entertaining (memes, interesting sayings of great people, polls).
Decide for yourself what types of posts will look the most organic on your page. Decide on a posting time and try to stick to it. In the early stages, content inspiration can be drawn from foreign sources. No, we do not urge you to cheat and engage in banal translation via google translate. You must be able to “process” texts and adapt them to the needs of your target audience.
How much you can earn
Now let’s dwell on the most interesting point – salary. It varies depending on the region of residence, as well as the accumulated experience and portfolio, so below are the average figures:
- Beginner specialist – 25,000 – 40,000 rubles.
- Medium level – 40,000 – 80,000 rubles.
- Manager with more than 5 years of experience – 80,000 – 150,000 rubles.
Serpstat recently published a new ranking of salaries for SEO, PPC, SMM specialists and content marketers in the CIS countries. The study used the stages of professional growth that are standard for the IT sphere – Junior, Middle and Senior.
Most SMM specialists are Middle. Their median salary is $ 600. At the same time, the level of earnings in the category continues to grow. For example, Junior’s salary increased by 14% (compared to 2018).
Useful tools for an SMM specialist
List of useful services for SMM managers:
- trendHERO is a multifunctional service for analytics of insta profiles. With its help, SMM specialists can analyze accounts by 90+ metrics (including competitors’ pages), as well as find opinion leaders by specified criteria.
- InstaPlus – mass-following and mass-following by audience, automatic selection of target audiences by geotags, hashtags, lists, as well as the ability to set up deferred posting.
- JagaJam – you can track the growth of subscribers for free.
- Publer – find out the activity of competitors, examples of their advertising campaigns, a list of communities where they were posted, and the amount they spent.
- LiveDune – Allows you to monitor KPI execution.
- Popsters – you can count the activity of followers (the application will show the most productive posts and the time when users most often hang out in social networks).
SMM is the profession of the future. Perhaps it will soon modernize a little under the pressure of digital trends, but in any case it will only play into your hands, because the SMM manager should always be aware of the latest advertising technologies and trends. The variety of tasks performed makes a specialist flexible, so you can quickly adjust to a related profession.
The number of social media users is growing rapidly year after year. In addition, new sites are constantly appearing. For example, a year ago no one knew about TikTok, but already in 2020 it became a real trend.
Most brands prefer to promote their services through popular platforms. It is important for them to increase awareness, create a loyal community around the company and develop trusting relationships with the audience, in which SMM managers help them. This means that the demand for the profession will only grow.
Profession advantages and disadvantages
It’s probably worth starting with the benefits of the specialty:
- the ability to work both remotely and in the office;
- flexible schedule;
- you can run several projects at once;
- unlimited income that depends only on your efforts;
- realization of creative potential (a wide range of tasks of an SMM-specialist will allow you to reveal your creative talents, as well as make useful contacts).
Now let’s move on to the cons :
- a large volume of tasks (the need to constantly tinker with reports, analytics, monitor results);
- irregular working hours (you need to be in touch 24/7);
- many employers still do not understand who an SMM specialist is and what he does (therefore, this can provoke disagreements in wages);
- negative, caustic comments and remarks that users periodically leave under publications;
- Difficulty finding a job for beginners.
Tips and tricks
Here are some tips that you will probably find useful:
- follow interesting people, get inspired by attractive profiles, integrate foreign trends into your content strategy and don’t be afraid to experiment;
- study the cases of major brands;
- learn to set goals and objectives for yourself;
- look for tools and mechanics with which you can “touch” the user and motivate them to take the desired action.
- the number of subscribers is not an indicator of the success of the project, but if you have already decided to collect as many users as possible in a short period of time, use proven services for mass following (Instaplus is a great option);
- before proceeding with the promotion, define the target audience of the company;
- you can’t do SMM on a whim, so always analyze someone else’s experience, because this is the only way you can learn a lot of important insights and understand how not to do it.
- interact with the audience, ask for the opinion of subscribers and in no case go negative;
- always prepare a content plan in advance, make it flexible, constantly analyze user reactions and change strategy;
- stick to the rubricator;
- try to find at least one insight for the opposing categories of your target audience;
- plan your schedule (yes, it can be difficult, but without clear planning, you risk getting lost in the routine of work).
SMM is a complex and multifaceted profession that not everyone can master. Remember that everything is based on business goals: before you start promoting a brand on social networks, think about what kind of result you want to get in the end. To do this, you need to constantly analyze everything: competitors, niche, the company you work with, as well as the audience (its triggers and pains).
You need to understand that, alas, you will not be able to post beautiful pictures and rake money with a shovel. Being an SMM manager is painstaking work, so be prepared for difficulties and do not give up at the first setbacks.