Defining The Role of a Social Media Manager

Social Media Manager
The social media manager should understand the overall business goals. via lululemon athletica

Social Media Manager is becoming a more common role at companies.

Even some small businesses are hiring a person to handle social media and related tasks within the company.

I spent some time as a social media manager for a company. It was kind of on a part-time basis since I also worked as a brand manager and SEO manager, but still saw how the role could work well in a company.

Here is what I would suggest for you as you look to define the role of social media manager at your company.

Business Goals and Social Media Goals

The goals of the business need to come first when working with any marketing effort. You have your business goals like increasing sales an average of 10% over the next five years.

Once you understand that you can start working on social media goals. You take the business goal and work backwards.

You have to ask, “How can social media help us achieve 10% average sales growth in the next five years?”

This is an area where the social media manager will work to find the answer. You may not have the answer right now and that’s why you’re looking to hire someone. You want them to come in and expose your brand to new audiences that otherwise wouldn’t know about you.

That’s the first part of the definition.

Social Media Plan

The next step should be something of a social media plan.

As a business owner you probably put together budgets. A social media plan is kind of like a budget in a way except it goes into more detail of how you’re actually going to achieve the goals.

Budgets usually stay static as do goals while plans can change.

Social media plans will likely have some change, but you want to do research and come up with something you feel will work. Then you have to see it through until you reach success or you reach a point where you think it’s time to move on to something different.


The social media manager will also work on the actual implementation of the social media plan. You need that person to figure out how all the social media related work will get done.

More social media plans these days involve creating content on the company website in the form of articles, papers, videos, etc. Those require resources and it will be up to your social media manager to be the owner of the entire program.

As the owner you’ll be involved, but you want the social media manager to really own this entire process. You want them to feel accountability especially when the plan starts to work well for your business.


The final area of the position is reporting. You have to figure out how to report on the progress of the social media program at your company. The manager will be the owner of the program. They’ll be responsible for the results.

You can start with sales and profit and work back to get the items you need to monitor to know if the social media program is working.

This process reminds me of a story I read in the book that documented the rise of LL Bean. In the ’70s (I think) the company hired a person that had a great idea for making catalog mailings more efficient. The process was RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary). The process allowed LL Bean to make more profit.

Social media can kind of work the same way.

For example, for many businesses a business blog can be a more efficient way of exposing the brand to new customers. You need site traffic to get people to contact your company. A blog can bring in traffic from SEO, social and other referral sources.

It can be a more efficient way to acquire customers than some traditional methods of advertising.

This should give you a clearer image of what your social media manager should be focusing on for your business. It’s not just about having someone to update Facebook and Twitter.

It’s about implementing a plan and maintaining focus on the business goals.

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