How much do social media managers make? (With job roles)

Updated 1 June 2023

Social media is increasingly a keystone of modern marketing, as people spend more and more time on their devices scrolling through a range of social media sites. This is an advantage for companies with cohesive social media strategies, who can target customers with tailored advertising and convert views into purchases as often as possible. This is where a social media manager becomes an essential part of the process. In this article, we answer the question 'How much do social media managers make?', discuss key aspects of the role and outline how to become a social media manager.

How much do social media managers make?

If you're interested in pursuing a long-term marketing career, you may have asked the question, 'How much do social media managers make?'. The national average salary of a social media manager is £32,039 per year. Significant factors affecting this include your performance in relation to various social media metrics, the size of the company you work for, your location and your level of experience. Furthermore, the very structure of your employer can affect your earnings. For example, a company focusing more on its social media strategy may pay more, as the role is essential to its philosophy.

What are the metrics used to assess social media managers?

Organisations use a wide range of metrics when assessing the performances of social media managers. Social media is very metric-oriented, with the success or failure of individual campaigns statistically visible in most cases. A social media manager uses these successes in later compensation negotiations, so focusing on their optimisation is key. Key metrics companies use when establishing the success of a social media manager include:


Views are one of the most accounted-for metrics in the business of social media. This is because the more attention a company has on its products or services, the more likely it is that people buy from them more often. Although there are many different in-depth metrics companies account for, views remain a key signifier that governs every other metric. This means that without considering views, the other statistics lose some or all of their relevance. Although views may be one of the blunter methods of conducting marketing analysis, they establish the overall visibility of a company.

Related: What KPI stands for and how to use it in your career

Conversion rates

The conversion rate of a digital marketing campaign is the percentage of people who engage with the product after having seen the advertising campaign. For instance, a conversion rate of 100% effectively means that everyone seeing a social media campaign goes on to buy the product or service. Conversion rates are potentially more important than views in a social media campaign, as a higher conversion rate ensures higher revenue in the long term. Focusing on a highly viewed campaign that retains a significant conversion rate is essential for achieving better business outcomes, leading to significant revenue streams.

Watch time

On video-hosting websites, information such as viewer retention rates or 'watch time' is present and accessible for social media marketing staff members, including social media managers. The more time a viewer spends on your company's video, the more information a potential customer receives surrounding the product or service in question. Targeting higher watch time means customers make informed decisions about buying the product, so a social media manager ensuring greater watch time is in a strong position for negotiating a higher compensation package.

Affiliate links

A significant proportion of modern social media strategy is the use of external parties, such as influencers and celebrities, in the marketing and circulation of a product. Supplying an external party with a discount code is a key example of this. Measuring the number of uses of the discount code is a clear indicator of the extent to which the strategy is successful, and high uptake of affiliate programmes means that the social media manager works effectively in their role. Bringing in a significant new audience like this is a strong argument for a pay increase.

How to become a social media manager

The route to becoming a social media manager is relatively open due to the modern nature of the position. Whereas many entrenched roles have set routes, applicants from a range of backgrounds can become social media managers. Below are some steps you can consider if you want to become a social media manager and get into a position where you maximise your potential salary:

1. Complete a related degree

If you're still in education and seeking a career as a social media manager, choosing a related degree is an essential first step. Some examples include media studies, communications and even psychology. Selecting a degree with professional links to your most desired fields is an effective strategy, as you demonstrate to potential employers that you have a significant interest in what they do and a wealth of related knowledge that benefits both yourself and the hiring company.

Due to the emerging nature of the role, relatively few universities offer specific social media marketing degrees. Because the concept of social media is younger than twenty years old, the established literature is still quite minimal. Focusing on other marketing-oriented degrees can cover the same concepts as social media-specific alternatives, while also allowing candidates more options when it comes to choosing a career.

2. Seek out experience

Either during or after your studies, focus on accruing a range of experiences surrounding social media management. This can include working for a non-profit organisation in a social media content creation role, working closely with an independent publisher as a post scheduling assistant or taking on a marketing internship. These steps all demonstrate the extent to which you understand social media marketing and are integral parts of building a more comprehensive skill set for later in your career.

Hiring managers favour candidates who can show evidence of their experiences before entering the workplace. This means that applicants are typically aware of the tasks a social media manager faces on a daily basis and know how to respond to the specific challenges they face. Work experience also reduces the adaptation time for new hires and ultimately saves the company time and money on training new employees, meaning that it can be advantageous to get an internship in a company you might like to work for full-time.

Related: Work experience: definition, importance and tips

3. Work in a junior role

Before finding employment in a senior social media role, try to obtain a junior position in a company or field that interests you. For example, if you have a background in creative design, working in the graphic design department for a social media team is a way of building experience while in paid employment. Taking on similar responsibilities to your most desired role is a good way of demonstrating your dedication to potential hiring companies and developing your career.

Ideally, try to find a role within the company that you can ultimately build into your final career destination. Building up contacts within the company is an essential part of the hiring process, as individuals with a positive reputation in the business put in a good word for you as you move up the ladder. Furthermore, companies tend to promote from within, as they already trust the individual in question. Making yourself known in a business is a great way of getting the job you want most.

Related: The essential job search guide

4. Look for vacancies

Once you have a degree, a portfolio of experience and a junior role, start looking for positions as a social media manager. This includes conducting a wide search, looking at a range of companies potentially outside your comfort zone. Many companies don't use the social media manager model yet, so finding a job with a synonymous title is key to moving to your ideal company with your next job switch. Try to look at related job descriptions to see if they match your preferred roles.

Once you find vacancies, apply in an honest and open manner. Companies prefer honest candidates as they make the hiring process easier, and organisations often discover falsehoods when completing due diligence processes. Being open, friendly and personable with an interviewer and on your application forms means you increase your chances of getting hired.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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