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How To Become a Social Media Manager In UK (with no experience)

Social media management is a profession that many young people aspire to get into. It offers a combination of two of the best things that life currently has to offer- social media platforms and money.

Although, as many individuals desire to find a job in a highly competitive market, most companies look for candidates who hold substantial experience, although social media platforms haven’t been around for years. If you lack experience, you end up stuck in a cycle of needing an opportunity but requiring prior experience to avail it.

However, if you play your cards right, you can build your portfolio as a social media manager and climb the corporate ladder to work at your dream position. Go through the following guide to educate yourself on what it actually requires from you, and the initiatives you need to take to become a social media manager without any experience.

What is a Social Media Manager?

A social media manager plays the role of virtually representing the brand/client on various social media platforms. The social media manager portrays the brand or client’s essence by creating campaigns. This is required to interact with the brand or client’s potential customers by responding to their queries/comments, and by generating engaging content to promote customer interaction with the brand/client. Essentially, a social media manager assists a brand/client with improving their online presence.

The key objective of a social media manager is to increase the traffic on a brand/client’s website by promoting them on various platforms. This goal is achieved when social media pages add synergetic content to engage with the potential customers and consequently, win them over to visit the brand/client website and hopefully converts them into a customer.

The main platforms that are commonly used for brands/client’s social media campaigns include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Linked In. However, recently, TikTok has gained popularity in social media marketing as well. TikTok is a video-based platform that targets a younger audience. Many brands who desire to portray a “fun” side of themselves use this platform for their social media branding.

In addition to just creating engaging and interactive content, social media managers also analyse the results of the campaign to better understand the brand/clients’ clientele. This allows the social media manager to depict the brand/client’s image in accordance with what the target demographic finds desirable.

In some larger organisations, a social media manager leads an entire department of executives, who handle different aspects of the social media strategy. In larger companies, a department is dedicated solely to working on the brand’s online presence. The subdivisions, can include content creation, graphic designers, and social media account managers. Whereas, in a smaller or medium-sized business, the social media manager works with other departments to launch an effective brand strategy.

If you are starting out as a social media manager, with no prior experience, starting with a smaller business is recommended. This will enable you to familiarise yourself with the duties of the job, and improve your skills before advancing in your career.

Job Description – What does a Social Media Manager do?

A social media manager ensures that the brand/client has a strong online presence, which gains a favourable response from the target audience. Hence, their main responsibility is to create a marketing plan to develop their online presence. The marketing plan initially focuses on:

  • Finding the target audience for the organisation
  • Picking social media platforms that resonate with the target audience
  • Creating a content schedule (the optimum time during the day at which should be posted)
  • Estimating the time after which the strategy should be reviewed (most companies review their social media strategy after ninety days)
  • Selecting tools for social media marketing

In addition to this, the social media manager launches campaigns by educating themselves on the following areas:

How to communicate using social media platforms?

A social media manager is required to have mastered the art of communication via social media platforms. This means that you would have to decide what type of content you need to post on each platform. In addition to this, you would also have to set an interval period between each post. However, experienced social media managers do not rely solely on the schedule. Instead, they take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself.

What is the brand identity and how it should be conveyed?

Another responsibility of a social media manager is making sure that the target audience truly grasps what the brand/client is all about. Hence, as a social media manager, you would be required to truly understand the idea behind the brand and subsequently, find a creative way to convey that message to the public. Essentially, a social media manager makes it easier for followers to relate to the brand/client’s posts, and resonate with it.

Which design resonate with the brand identity?

In addition to just managing the content, your job as a social media manager would also include picking the right designs and images to represent the brand. You would have to select pictures that ultimately align with the message of the company.  The image selection process is not just limited selecting content images, rather, if you are promoting a business work ethic, you may also have to select employee’s work photos to display on the page.

What promotional strategies need to be employed?

A social media manager needs to be educated on the different tools and advertisement strategies that can increase the brand/client’s online visibility. If you are working as a social media manager, you would have to have awareness of the various paid marketing strategies, influencer marketing, along with the ways to develop organic traffic to the pages. This is so you can direct the client to invest in the right strategy to elevate its social media presence.

How to engage with the audience?

A social media manager walks a mile in the shoes of the brand/client’s target audience. You would have to understand what your target audience responds to the most. Based on this, you would have to become familiar with ‘pop culture’ and reciprocate the same energy as the brand/client’s customer base. This factor is essential as it improves the relationship with the customers, which consequently, converts into sales.

What is the ideal conversion strategy?

A social media manager also finds a way to convert followers into customers. You would need skillset that allows you to empathise with the clients, while simultaneously directing them to invest in the brand/client’s products. If you have the skills to communicate emotion from behind the screen, you can easily master this act.

The average salary of a Social Media Manager

The salary package of a social media manager may vary in terms of the brand/client you choose to work at. Typically, with no previous experience, you can land a job as a junior social media manager, which would pay around £19,000 and £23,000 per annum. However, after you gain some relevant field experience, you can potentially earn around £25,000 and £40,000 per annum. Additionally, with the increasing amount of experience you add on your CV, your salary package can keep increasing. As a well-experienced social media manager, you can earn around £60,000 and more per annum.

On the other hand, if you are working as a freelance social media manager, your starting pay could be around £15 to £25 per hour. Although this rate may vary depending on the experience you hold in the field.

In this profession, the timings can also vary in regards to the brand/client that you are working for. Typically, if you are working at a corporate structure, you would have to work at least seven hours, five days of the week. There may be days when you have to work overtime as you may be working on a campaign with strict deadlines.

Having said that, you can also work as a social media manager remotely. This can be done by connecting with brands/clients that are looking to hire freelancers.

Skills and Training required to become a Social Media Manager

It is commonly perceived that any individual who can use social media platforms, can become a social media manager. On the contrary, the job description is much more comprehensive than understanding he use of a variety of platforms. If you wish to work as a social media manager, you must have the following skills:

  • You must have knowledge of using different social media platforms in terms of branding and marketing
  • You must have communication skills that enable you to engage, empathise and interact with the customers/ followers
  • A social media manager should also have good writing and editing skills. You must be able to curate captions, tweets, brief anecdotes and short messages to promote the brand on different social media platforms
  • You should have some knowledge regarding the algorithms used in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • You should be familiar with the most popular influencers present on different social media platforms. Additionally, you should also know the age demographic that each influencer caters to. This will help you in choosing the right influence when doing influencer marketing. The influencer will reach out to the target audience and rightfully represent the brand
  • As a social media manager, you need to be creative and detail-oriented. The job requires you to come up with innovative and creative ideas to engage with the followers. In social media marketing, you have to stay relevant and follow trends, while simultaneously remaining unique. Therefore, creativity is the greatest asset of any social media manager
  • You would also need to have great presentation skills. While presenting your strategy to a brand/client, you must exude confidence so that you are able to clearly convey your vision to your clients
  • A social media manager further requires planning abilities. In this profession, you would have to organise, prioritise and work on multiple projects at the same time. Hence, it is essential for you to have organisational and project management capabilities
  • The profession would require you to be familiar with carrying out data analysis on the applied strategies
  • As a social media manager, you would need to have customer service skills, along with the ability to generate discussions on your pages to create customer engagement. You would also need to create an equilibrium between brand publicity and brand marketing
  • You would also need strong networking skills, so you can promote yourself. Additionally, as the job requires you to work with other experts, such as designers and SEO professionals, you need to have the ability to work well in a team

Turn in to a Platform Guru – Start without formal experience

Becoming a social media manager is a more complicated version of managing your own social media accounts. Considering this, you can start off your career by building a reputation for yourself as a social media guru. You can use your personal accounts to promote your own brand. With the experience gained, you can build a portfolio to land your first formal job. In order to become a platform guru, keep the following things in mind.

Use the 80/20 Rule

Social media platforms are used to engage the audience. Hence, most of the branding that is carried out is less focused on the marketing side and more focused on interacting with the target audience. As a result, most social media managers apply the 80/20 rule while uploading content on their pages. This means that as a guru, eighty per cent of the content that you upload must be entertaining, whereas, only twenty per cent should relate to advertising.

Work with #Hashtags

Your social media presence depends largely on how you use hashtags. Hashtags are used on almost all of the platforms, and they can increase your pages’ exposure to more individuals who search for that particular hashtag. However, it is important to ensure that the tags used are not overused or unrelated to the post. A post that is bombarded with hashtags can drive people away from it. Therefore, keep your hashtags precise and relevant.

Understand the followers’ timings

As billions of posts are generated every day, it is essential to make sure that your post does not get lost in the crowd. For this reason, you are required to schedule your posts when your followers are most active. You can start off by publishing a post at different times of the day and gauging the popularity of each post by analysing the audiences’ reactions.  Once you determine the time frame at which your followers are most responsive, you can publish your future content at the same time.

Connect with the audience

Social media is all about connecting. You cannot be a guru without being responsive and interactive. This means that you must give the followers what they want. To do this, you can examine your post history and analyse what type of content is the most popular amongst your following. Using the engagement matrices, generate content that brings similar or better results.

Express Yourself – You are Your Own Brand

If you want a job as a social media manager, without any experience, it is essential for you to brand yourself online. When hiring social media managers, most businesses consider the quality of content over the quantity of experience. Therefore, you can brand yourself as a social media manager online by demonstrating your value in the following areas:

Creative Thinking

Coming up with innovative content ideas about trending topics is a secret weapon for any social media manager. Creativity in social media means that you need to have an insight on the type of content that jumps out on the screen, along with having the ability to predict what the next trend on social media might be. If you are a creative individual, make sure you reveal your talents on your personal/work page.

Ingenious Writing Skills

The framing of words can make a huge difference in any social media post. Either you are branding yourself or a company, using the right words can influence the reader. Hence, if you have a knack for writing, brand yourself using your original writing talents. Exceptional writing skills can tread over the element of experience and make you a more viable candidate for representing a brand/client on social media platforms.

Being Spontaneous

Being a social media manager, you need to be on top of new advancements right away and keep up with the fast-paced changes. However, being spontaneous does not mean that you should be neglectful. A talented social media manager curates a calculated post, as promptly as possible. Therefore, if you have the skills to be systematically spontaneous, make sure that you brand it on your page.

Build a Portfolio

Your own social media pages can count as an experience when you apply for a job. However, you must create a portfolio that exhibits your talents proficiently. Unlike traditional portfolios, social media management portfolios are mostly digital. You can create them in the form of videos, PowerPoint presentations, a written post, or via infographics. Whatever method you choose for yourself, be sure that it is engaging, informative and a true representation of who you are.

Once you have decided the format, you need to make sure that you include relevant information that speaks about your talents. In your portfolio, be sure to add the following things:

  • Important background information
  • Provide analytical reports (you may use graphs or charts)
  • Discuss the increase in the number of your followers after implementing strategies
  • Discuss the increase in sales (if any) after implementing your strategies
  • Note down campaign objectives, goals and results
  • Mention client feedback (if any)
  • Insert samples of your posts
  • Insert writing samples
  • Display your platforms key design features (profile pictures, etc)
  • Share some of your popular posts


Target Clients – Start Your Venture

Once you develop a strong portfolio, you can start targeting clients to work with. Starting out as a social media manager may not be easy, however, you can take the following tips into account to gradually build your reputation as a social media manager:

Reach out to the people you know

The first step in targeting for clients is starting out with the people you know. These individuals would either know someone who own a brand or a business and therefore, send you a referral, or they may need someone to run the social media platforms for their own business. The more people you reach out to, the more chances of you landing on your first project/job.

Introduce social media marketing to small businesses

In the digital age, most of the larger businesses already have social media existence. However, a substantial number of small businesses still rely on the traditional form of advertisements. You can reach out to your local, small-scale businesses and prepare a presentation explaining them of the influence and need for social media platforms to promote their product/services. This will help you land your first client. Warming up a client by conveying the value you can add to their business is the best way to convert a conversation into a deal – without a hard sell! Why not give your perspective client a glimpse of the opportunity that they are missing out on by giving them keywords and search volume related to their business? Or offer a free website audit!

Use LinkedIn to build connections

Having connections play a vital role in landing on to your first project or a job. For this reason, you can use LinkedIn to your advantage, and connect with relevant individuals who can offer you a job. These may include recruiters, HR managers, and local businesses. You can use advanced search functions on LinkedIn to find relevant people. However, be sure to keep your profile page interactive, interesting and engaging. Remember, brand yourself as much as you subtly can.

Conclusion – Is It Right for You?

Social media management can be a tedious job if you do not have the right skillset. Although, if you are creative, friendly, and social, you can end up enjoying the work you do. Additionally, if you possess a natural charm and charisma, which makes your personality attractive to individuals, handling social media accounts can be a job designed exclusively for your personality type. Therefore, consider being a social media manager if you have the aforementioned abilities before you decide whether social media management is a fitting profession for you!

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