The idea that social media is “something the intern can do” is about as outdated as saying the internet is all cat videos.

And yet, you don’t have to scroll too far through #MarketingTwitter before you find social media managers venting about feeling overworked and undervalued.

Even Burger King had something to say about it.

It’s no question that social media is crucial for businesses today. In fact, 89% of business executives or leaders think social media is essential to success.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely in that 89%. And you know you need a qualified person behind the scenes and screens of your channels.

Finding a great candidate starts with a strong job description. Follow these 8 tips for writing a clear, effective social media manager job description, then download our social media manager job description templates to put what you learn into practice.

The power of strong social media manager job descriptions

When consumers follow a brand on social, 91% go on to visit that brand’s website or app, and 90% buy from them, according to the Sprout Social Index™. Finding a stellar person to bring your brand’s voice to life on customer-facing channels is crucial. Here are benefits of having a strong social media manager job description.

Connects you to qualified people

You need someone capable of building community and managing escalation when it matters most. In the next two years, 88% of marketers expect to hire another team member. But finding the right person for the role can be difficult. In fact, social media teams cite finding experienced talent as their number one challenge this year.

Bar chart depicting how social media teams' biggest challenges have evolved from 2019 through 2022

Thoughtful, clear and intentional job descriptions can help attract qualified talent searching for open roles by proving that you understand the role, communicate clearly and more.

Encourages a diverse candidate pool

From word choice to layout, implicit bias can sneak into job descriptions in many ways. Mindful writing can increase inclusive language and decrease the possibility that you’re discouraging marginalized groups from applying.

Allows you to prioritize what you want out of this role

Writing job descriptions gives you a chance to organize your expectations for the role too. What defines success? What projects do you want this person to own? How do they fit in among the larger team, and what do you want them to do? All of these questions should be clearly answered in your job description.

Shows candidates that you value their work

Too often, social media professionals feel overworked and underpaid, and burnout is rampant in the industry.

A job description that sets clear expectations and highlights impact shows candidates that you value their work, understand the job and want to set them up for success.

Different types of social media jobs + the skills needed

Too often, “social media manager” is used as the title for every social media role. But social media careers and paths have evolved. There are many different types of social media jobs—from specialists, to managers and beyond.

The requirements of different titles and roles will be different for every industry. But to avoid falling into the trap of a job description that doesn’t match the title, here are a few different types of social media jobs and the details behind them:

Types of social media jobs:

Social media specialist or coordinator

Social media coordinator roles are rapidly becoming more popular, with the third most year-over-year growth of all marketing titles, according to the Sprout Social Index™. This is the perfect role for someone dipping their toes into social media marketing. A specialist or coordinator could be responsible for executing the more day-to-day tasks, like owning a content calendar, writing and publishing posts, community management and assisting with reporting.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity (do they stay on top of trends?)
  • Basic mobile video editing skills
  • Technical familiarity with different platforms

Social media manager

Social media managers typically have a few additional years of experience. At a larger organization, they may need the skills to manage a team. But as a team of one, they need to balance the skills of a specialist with higher-level, analytical decision-making. Managers may perform audits, set goals and strategies, conduct data analysis and reporting, lay down best practices, forge cross-departmental relationships and more.

Shortlist of skills required (in addition to the skills previously listed):

  • Social media copywriting
  • Preferably, experience with the top social media management tools like Sprout Social
  • Organizational skills (for managing a content calendar, asset management etc.)
  • Experience with social media customer care
  • Data analysis
  • For larger teams, experience managing at least one social media professional or intern
  • The ability to develop content strategies
  • Experience managing budgets
  • Knowledge of advertising on various platforms

Community manager

While all of these roles should have some community management experience, this role puts the “social” in social media and focuses on fostering digital relationships.

From creating conversations in Facebook Groups, to leading hashtag chats on Twitter and more, a community manager posts under their own alias, not the brand’s, to connect with the audience, get people talking and grow your community.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • Time management
  • Creativity
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to develop community-building strategies
  • Experience engaging on different social media platforms

TikTok specialist

One of the newest titles, this role includes similar tasks as other positions on this list, but with a laser-focus on TikTok.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • Extensive knowledge of TikTok
  • Experience creating TikTok content
  • Ability to identify stand-out trends
  • Knowledge of community engagement tools on TikTok

Influencer marketers

When it comes to working with creators and influencers, 36% of marketers say lacking internal resources to manage these partnerships is their main challenge. Dedicated influencer marketers have a foot in PR and in social. They’re responsible for managing a program budget, finding and securing influencers, fostering the relationships with them and more.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • Experience setting or managing budgets
  • Ability to manage influencer partnerships
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Project management skills
  • Potential sales experience
  • Integrated marketing knowledge
  • Data analysis
An infographic describing the top challenges of working with content creators

Social media content creator

While all social media professionals create content, not all of them are content creators. An in-house content creator focuses solely on creating visual elements, like short-form videos, infographics, text-based posts, content that jumps on trends and more. They may even serve as the digital face of the business.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • Many of the same skills as a specialist, coordinator and TikTok specialist
  • Extensive knowledge of creating engaging video for various social channels
  • Mobile video editing skills

Social media consultant

Where in-house social media professionals typically post for one company, social media consultants manage multiple clients. They can specialize in a specific industry or many. This more strategic role includes creating and assessing social media strategies, launching campaigns and more.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • Many of the same skills as a social media manager
  • Excellent project and time management
  • Ability to communicate clearly with stakeholders
  • Experience conducting audits
  • Data analysis
  • Strategic thinking

Paid media specialist

Social media marketing often involves two halves: organic and paid social strategies. Paid social content requires a different approach. A paid media specialist will be able to bring dedicated knowledge to the table, such as platform-specific advertising requirements and running A/B tests.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • Extensive knowledge of creating and managing paid social media content
  • A/B testing
  • Setting and managing budgets
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Data analysis

Social media director

As social media becomes more integral to businesses and marketing, the ladder of roles has stretched as well. A social media director job description would be focused on more strategic tasks. And a director will often manage and mentor a team of social media managers, specialists and beyond.

Shortlist of skills required:

  • All skills mentioned in the social media manager role
  • Set strategies from asset management to response best practices
  • Lead content planning
  • Manage social media crisis communications and strategies
  • Develop and run start-to-finish campaigns
  • Digital marketing knowledge
  • Run test and learn opportunities
  • Communicate cross-departmentally

Tips for writing a social media manager job description

1. Have a clear understanding of the role

A social media manager does a lot more than simply “posting on Instagram.” Behind every post there’s strategic work, like data analysis, editing and community management.

Not understanding the role can result in job postings that are too vague, or contain so many responsibilities that your role may lead to high burnout levels and turnover rate.

Familiarize yourself with what skills social media managers should have.

Similarly, know what experience level you’re looking for and if it lines up with a manager-level role.

Seeking someone with one to two years of experience? You might be looking for a specialist, coordinator or intern.

Three to five years of experience? You’re in manager or strategist territory.
Seven to eight? You might be looking for a senior-level position, or a manager you can help grow.

Pro tip: The responsibilities and skills needed for this role can vary depending on team and company size, industry and more. Talk to social media managers in your industry to build an idea of what this role will look like, and have your marketing team do an internal review of the job description.

2. Have realistic expectations for one person

It’s true that social media managers wear many hats at once.

But that doesn’t mean they should be treated as a hat rack.

“Social media” is sometimes used as a catch-all term for multiple roles in one.

A screenshot of a poll post on Sprout Social's linkedin asking people if they think social media professionals are asked to do too much in job descriptions. The top answer is yes.

One of the most common complaints you’ll hear from social media professionals is being overworked under leaders who don’t understand how demanding the job is. This can lead to over-packing a job description.

“The biggest thing that makes me scratch my head is how a social media manager is supposed to come in and develop a strategy for a brand across social media, manage a team and still be responsible for the daily management of each social channel,” says Anthony Yepez, Assistant Director of Social Media at Orange Theory. “To me, that is two separate roles!”

If you’re hiring a solo social media manager, write down everything you want this person to do. Then, look at that list. “If you’re realizing it’s too much work for one person, can you hire more than one person?” says Rachael Samuels, Senior Social Media Manager at Sprout.

3. Create a description that focuses on value, impact and growth

Most job descriptions, regardless of industry, often feature these three elements:

  • Company overview
  • Responsibilities/Duties
  • Qualifications/Skills

To nail each section:

Be specific

Some of the most looked-at parts of a job description are the day-to-day details. A new hire could get overwhelmed if the job is more demanding than the posting made it out to be.

See where you can include details and, as Samuels puts it, “Don’t hide expectations in buzzwords.”

For example, if you say, “You will run our employee advocacy program” without mentioning that the program has 8,000 participants, you’re not clearly communicating the depth of the project.

To outline more specific responsibilities, ask yourself:

  • What do I want them to accomplish with our social channels?
  • If they’re managing a team, how many people are they overseeing?
  • Will they be creating graphics and images, or requesting them from others?
  • If you say “open to working nights and weekends,” does this include support? Is this within business hours?
  • What teams will they work closely with?
  • Are there emerging social media channels, like TikTok, we want them to grow?
  • Will this person monitor all questions and comments on social?

Focus on impact and value, not just tasks

“One common mistake I see in social media job descriptions is a list of tasks vs. the value of the role,” says Samuels.

Social media managers often feel undervalued. Show you’re different by illustrating the value this person will bring and the impact they’ll make.

Elysium Health mentioned that their new hire will grow their young social channels.

A screenshot of a social media manager job description that describes the ability to grow new social media channels for the company.

Language like “your impact” or “Where we need your help” like Allbirds has in this social media manager description lays this out explicitly.

Screenshot of a job posting that indicates a where we need help section to show applicants how their work will have impact.

Here at Sprout, our job descriptions include a timeline of how the new hire will grow and the impact they’ll make through their first year, clearly illustrating expectations, what success looks like and responsibilities.

A screenshot of a Sprout job posting that shows how a candidate will grow in their first year at Sprout.

Avoid fluffy titles

Social Media Ninja. Content Guru. Community Wizard.

The social media world is full of fluffy titles that can downplay the work your new hire will do. Being called a “wizard” removes the hard work that will be required from the conversation, replacing it instead with “magic.”

4. Include growth opportunities

If you want to attract great talent, you should also try to keep great talent.
Considering that 41% of workers feel like they don’t have a clear path for advancement, offering development resources is a great place to start.

This social media job description from Grammarly prioritizes how they plan to grow their new team members, company culture and benefits.

A screenshot of a job description specifically listing how the company will help their employee grow.

While asking yourself how this person can help your channels grow, don’t forget to also ask: How can I help this person grow?

5. Identify the resources you have to support the role

Being a social media team of one can be overwhelming. How can you provide support?

If you say, “must be available to work nights and weekends,” can you identify other team members who can help break up the work?

If you want your new hire to build out Reels and TikTok content, can you provide a budget for visual production?

Can you expedite content publishing and reporting with a social media management tool?

A tool like Sprout makes publishing posts and finding optimal posting times easy, and even aids content discovery with an RSS feed.

A screenshot of the weekly calendar view in Sprout Social's publishing tool.

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Think of ways you can provide support to this new hire and outline what those resources look like in your job description. This will require cross-team collaboration within marketing and beyond, so lay the groundwork for this support before you post your open role.

6. Include the serious elements of the job, as well as the fun

When a brand goes viral for the wrong reasons or gets slammed with online hate, it’s the social media manager who’ll be on digital crisis control duty.

Treading through negative comments and trolls can be dangerous territory. You want someone who can navigate turbulent comment sections, proactively identify negative posts your brand is tagged in and know when and how to respond…and when not to.

Focusing only on the creative and fun elements of the role in your job description can set you and your new hire up for failure if they’re not prepared or qualified to handle crisis communication.

7. Show your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)

Data shows that 42% of all workers would reject a job offer if the company was not diverse or didn’t have goals for improving diversity.

If DEI is a core value for your company, make that commitment clear in your job descriptions.

If you talk the talk, be transparent about how you’re walking the walk and the actions you’re taking to be more inclusive. At Sprout, we include a report highlighting our DEI efforts so far.

screenshot of the equal opportunity employer section of sprout's job descriptions.

Don’t let perfection scare you away. You don’t have to be perfect to show that you are actively evolving.

8. Break your bias

Implicit bias in your wording can inadvertently deter diverse candidates. Here are a few areas to be mindful of while you write.

Consider capping your qualifications

Women often feel they need to meet 100% of qualifications to act on a job description, while men typically apply after meeting 60%. And requiring a four-year degree can limit the amount of diverse applicants or applicants from non-traditional career paths.

To avoid discouraging applicants who feel they need to meet every bulleted requirement, start with the core skills of the job, such as:

  • Writing skills
  • Social media experience
  • Customer service and crisis communication skills
  • Understanding of analytics
  • Organizational skills

Beyond these, think about presenting additional skill sets as “preferred” or as those you can help develop and grow.

Avoid gendered or age-limiting language

One study shows that women were less likely to feel like they belonged in a job position with masculine-coded words—think ninja, aggressive, competitive.

Another study argues that companies advertise social media jobs with traits typically associated with women—e.g., flexible, emotional management and sociable—which has contributed to social media roles becoming increasingly feminized and reinforced a gender gap in the tech world.

Be mindful of your word choice—review your writing to identify if your language could deter certain age groups. And use the Gender Decoder tool to find gender biased words in your job description.

Write a social media manager job description and find someone amazing

First impressions matter.

Your job description is one of the first chances you have to impress candidates as much as you hope they impress you.

These tips will equip you to create a job description that shows your candidate who you are, what to expect and how you can help them grow.

Time to get writing. Download our social media manager job description templates and use these tips to find amazing candidates, and to help them find you.