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Being a Marketing Manager Isn't the Same as Being a Social Media Manager - Here's Why

Business owners work hard to develop a product or service that can enhance the lives of their customers, and they often spend years trying to lift their business off the ground. Those that are lucky enough to see steady growth within their company must then shift their focus toward marketing to keep up with their competitors.

One of the most important ways to market your business and facilitate its growth is social media. However, managing your brand's social media presence can quickly become a full-time job on its own. 

Many businesses that want to enhance their social media presence simply delegate the task to their marketing manager, but marketing managers and social media managers are two completely different roles. Let’s review why. 

What Does a Marketing Manager Do? 

A marketing manager’s responsibilities stretch over many different sectors of a company's marketing process, from developing ads to designing packaging and creating a positive brand perception among the public. Marketing managers look at the big picture, as they devise overall marketing strategies within the company and ultimately see these plans through to execution. 

Marketing managers often conduct market research to determine the best way to approach a new marketing campaign to create marketing strategies. They also must consider budget constraints. In many cases, especially among small businesses, marketing managers are also the primary contact point for the company's public relations. In other words, if there is a PR nightmare that impacts the company, it will probably be up to the marketing manager to determine how to proceed unless the company also has a PR professional on staff. 

What Does a Social Media Manager Do?

While marketing managers have a broad scope of practice within the company, social media managers focus entirely on enhancing a company's presence on social media channels. A day in the life of a social media manager may include generating content posted on the company's Facebook page, answering customer questions on Twitter, A/B testing social media posts, and creating a content calendar to maintain consistent and effective social media channels. 

Social media seems like it has been around forever, but it has only been in the business world for a little more than a decade. As such, the title of social media manager is often misunderstood and unappreciated since many business leaders are unaware of the potential benefits social media can provide for the company. 

When done correctly, social media can help your company grow beyond anything you had ever envisioned. When done incorrectly or not at all, you risk letting your competitors grow as you remain stagnant. Worst-case scenarios involve violating social media policies and running into legal or ethical issues. Fortunately, social media managers generally understand how to not only make your company stand out but also avoid falling into the many traps that can hurt your social media presence. 

The best social media managers have a background in graphic design, copywriting, and social media analytics. They stay up to date on the changes that social media platforms undergo regularly. Yes, social media has been around for a little more than a decade, but the best practices change often. Social media managers must also have a deep understanding of the community they interact with and the intricacies of online etiquette. 

How Do They Differ?

Although both roles require an understanding of marketing, social media managers require a more specific and nuanced grasp of social media marketing, such as which types of content that work best on each social media platform. After all, what works on Twitter won't be as effective on LinkedIn or Instagram, and vice versa. 

Marketing managers are great at looking at bigger picture tasks and managing projects (and teams) that impact all levels of marketing. A social media manager must be focused on social media to give the platforms (and the audiences on those platforms) the attention it deserves. Splitting one person’s time and attention between these two roles can result in poor results in both areas. 

Instead of assigning social media as a task for your marketing manager, consider hiring a social media manager in-house or working with a digital marketing agency that has in-house social media experts who can deliver excellent content and outstanding results. 

In Conclusion 

Marketing managers and social media managers may sound like an overlapping job titles to some consumers and business leaders. It's important to understand that each requires its own specialized set of skills and knowledge, and each can impact the company drastically. While you can get away with a combined position early in your business, as you grow and expand, consider splitting them off into their own roles. 

Avoid overwhelming your company's marketing managers by adding social media management to their to-do list. A professional and expertly crafted social media presence with the help of a trained and experienced social media manager gives your company the opportunity to wow both potential and current customers.


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Heather Riley

Written by Heather Riley

Heather Riley is Director of the Campaign Team for Federated Digital Solutions. She has been in the advertising industry for over 15 years and is fortunate enough to be able to leverage that experience into helping maximize the ROI for clients by implementing processes for campaign optimization and monitoring, as well as helping develop customized advertising strategies to help clients move forward in a way that aligns with their business goals.

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