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Here's to You, the Social Media Manager!

Posted by on September 27, 2010

I remember when the “social media manager” role first started cropping up years ago but boy has the role changed and evolved overtime.  In fact I think it has changed so much that the title no longer describes the actual function that the “social media manager” performs.  A few years ago the social media manager was the person who monitored various social sites and responded to relevant conversations.  Then, the social media manager was the person who did all of that plus figure out how to run marketing promotions and service customers.  Then it was on to developing policies, educating employees internally, developing communities, and on and on it went.

When you look at what most “social media managers” do today it goes far and beyond managing a particular channel.  Here are just some of the common functions that these managers are now tasked with doing:

  • running campaigns and promotions
  • developing loyalty programs
  • developing strategies for other departments such as marketing, sales, pr, product, hr, and others
  • education employees internally on how to engage with customers and with each other
  • create content
  • improve the user experience both on-site and offline
  • attend events and speak at conferences
  • measure and report performance
  • learn, understand, and integrate back end systems (such as CRM)
  • demo products and services
  • host webinars and briefings with bloggers, press, and analysts
  • come up with product ideas, usually around “social” integration
  • provide insight on future trends and their organizational impact

I realize the social media manager thing has stuck over the years and now it’s the popular role to hire for, but these guys and gals do much more than manage social channels.  These social media managers are helping change their organizations into social businesses from the inside out.  These people are true “customer and employee engagement strategists” not “social media managers.”  I know a lot of great social media and marketing managers out there and here’s a big thanks to all you who are doing such a great job (whether or not you always have support is another question).  You guys are really helping move organizations forward and I know there’s a lot that everyone can learn from you guys!

Here are just a few of the great social media managers out there and the companies they belong to:

  • Maria Ogneva (Attensity)
  • Blake Landau (Blue Kiwi)
  • Lauren Vargas (Radian 6)
  • Lauren-Hall Stigerts (nGenera)
  • Sonny Gil (DeVry University)
  • Amber Naslund (Radian 6)
  • Jon Ferrara (Nimble, is also the CEO)
  • Ric Pratte (Jitterjam, who is also CEO and I believe largely running their social efforts)

Again I know there are many many others, if you are a social media manager or help run social media for your company I’d love it you left your name, the company you manage social for, and perhaps a little tidbit about yourself.

What do you think about social media managers and how their role is evolving?  What do you see happening with social media managers in the future?

  • Sue Reynolds, Social Media Analyst for R+L Carriers, a global transportation provider!

    • Hi Sue,

      Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by to say hello!

  • In regards to the future of social media managers I think they will continue to bridge communications between the company the certain key publics. Just as HR communicates within the company, SM will communicate with those outside the company.

    Chad Casey, Social Media Director – – a Dutch auction website

    Josh Weaver
    Social Media Consultant

    • Hi Josh,

      thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself, hope to hear more from you in the future.

  • There are so many things us Social Media people do. Some people think that all we do is simply Tweet, but that's far from the truth. There is so much behind the screen action that no one sees or knows about. I am lucky to be a Social Media Strategist for multiple companies as well as a mentor and consultant.It's amazing what a year can do!

    • I agree, there's a lot that social media folks do that many people don't know about and most likely never will, hence the point of this post 🙂

      thanks for stopping by!

  • Hey Jacob congrats on that Love Sharing! Really speaks great of you!.

    I think that social media manager is now a role that speaks too little about the level social media and customer engagement now has.

    All those functions must evolve to a entire social media or engagement area with several positions like analysts, managers, directors, etc. (I think Radian6 is doing a great job on that area, hence you mentioning 2 of their Social Media Area members!)

    This position must evolve to a whole area that encompasses both specifice employees for the area and employees for other areas as to fully coordinate the efforts.

    What do you think?

    Luis Fer Mtz,
    Social Business Strategy
    @Radian6 LatAm reseller (@Solvis)

    • He Luis,

      Always great to hear from you sir! I definitely agree with you and we are seeing that evolution happen, especially when you look at the feedback from other social media mangers which have commented here. R6 definitely does a great job in that area 🙂

      thanks for stopping by!

  • Jon Ferrara

    Hey Jacob,

    Thanks for the #Nimble plug and for educating so many people about the potential of relationships powered by Social Media. I love swimming in the #Social River. Social networking is not much different from the way I've managed relationship building in the past. It's just an electronic method to attract & retain customers in a broader way than I ever dreamed possible.

    I also love being able to spend my time as a CEO evangelist. I think it's critical for CEO's to lead by example and if you expect your team to be #Social via 'Listen and Engagement' strategies, then you have to do it yourself.

    Keep up the great work!



    CEO Nimble

    • always great to see the CEO of an org also be the most active when it comes to the social space, important to have that culture and support in place! thanks for stopping by!

  • Social media has matured itself quite quickly and is one of the most common point of contact; especially for brands and event organisers. Also social media has become the prime source for PR. All the credit goes to social media managers and bloggers who have directed the use of these social media channels

  • It's a very good thing that a role like Social Media Manager it's constantly evolving.
    I believe its evolution has to stay in sync with the evolution of social media itself, from a simple additional promotion channel to something extremely more complicated and hard to get a grasp of.
    It is not always simple to distinguish the real SM managers from those who like to call themselves that, in the end results speak louder than titles, even if it can be hard to measure them in a proper way.
    I think the future will see SM managers more and more involved in a social media environment putting the users at the center of the brands attention, even more than now. Only brands valorizing user interactions will flourish in a competitive world.

  • Great to see a little kudos to the social media managers out there. It requires constant evolution and dedication to social media channels That being said, it's an interesting and engaging profession that I absolutely love.

    –Stacey Acevero, Social Media Community Manager, PRWeb

    • Hi Stacey,

      I know PRweb 🙂 glad to finally meet their social media manager!

  • Erica Campbell

    Love the shout out and love to the social media managers! I used to work with @sonnygill at Dominion Enterprises! We sure miss him!

    -Erica Campbell, Sr. Manager New Media Marketing for

    • Hi Erica,

      I know Sonny quite well, good fellow, we did some small projects together as well, thanks for stopping by to say hello!

  • Hi Jacob!

    Wow, I'm honored and humbled to be part of this list. If you could see me through this blogpost, you'd see me blushing 🙂

    You are so right: the role has expanded FAR beyond listening and response. It's really one of the most complex roles, because this person does everything. Hopefully many of us, social media managers and directors, can successfully grow our teams (because that's what you really need to start thinking of) and get more and more support from our organizations. People think it's glitzy and glamorous, because you get to be public and do public stuff — but it's really one of the most nerveracking careers that one can wish for. It's also one of the most rewarding, if you care about where business is going, and truly want to help your customers.

    So respect and support your social media person — and do it often. And yeah… social media is not free — it costs a ton of time and effort of your social media team.

    Here are some success characteristics I wrote about:

    – Maria

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, we've had many a conversation that involved this topic so I don't think I need to state the obvious that we both agree 🙂 (oops just did)

  • Vargaslmv


    Thank you for including two members of our team. We are in great company, as your list depicts. This role is much more than being in the social media spotlight. In fact, we aim not to be in the spotlight. We are constantly thinking of ways to support our account managers and those on our team who are also on the front lines, and making thier jobs easier through dynamic content creation for the public they are serving. There is so much done behind the scenes, it is easy for someone to think we play online all day, but that is far from the truth. We are the air traffic controllers of our businesses…the ambassadors…those putting theory into practice. Each day is an adventure because there is no such thing as a typical day. Keeps me on my toes.

    Lauren Vargas

    Sr. Community Manager at Radian6


    • Hi Lauren,

      Thanks for stopping by. It's really interesting how the roles have evolved over the past few years. I agree, no such thing as a typical day, that's what makes it fun 🙂

  • Good_guy

    I understand that right now, social media represents a fairly new channel for marketing and communications. But the day is soon upon us, when ALL marketing is social in some way. So you will see “social media marketing” managed my mainstream marketing managers, because social channels will be completely integrated with all other channels (direct marketing/email, SEM/SEO, online and traditional advertising, event marketing, etc). There may be social media experts, for a while longer, but soon those folks will be managing more of the “plumbing and wiring”, vs the true marketing strategy. It's new for now, but soon, it will just be the way all marketing get's done (or be rolled into everything else we do). It will be like any maturing medium.

  • Amanda Blackburn

    Hi Jacob!

    I manage social media for the Products division of Neudesic, LLC. I've been in product marketing for years, but at Neudesic I wear at least two dozen hats, including social media manager. I love reading your site for news and information which helps a fledgling like me! You can check out our site, including our new E2.0 tool “Pulse”, here:

  • Hi Jacob,

    Loved your article. people have been discussing about our roles, importance, influence etc, but never about us!! Great post.

    Your post makes me feel proud about myself, my role and all those who are in the role!!

    I work for @hanmermsl as a Social Media Manager

    -Sudhindra Rao, Asst. Manager, Digital Communications for

  • Completely agree with the list of facts and insights about the Role of a Social Media Manager. In india the role of a Social Media manager is evolving day by day. I have been only suggesting Social media Approach to my clients, but my role has evolved and it turned out be an integrated marketer. Social Media did help know many insights on PR, Advertising, Events & many such mediums, which helped to ideate and brainstorm in 360 degree. Now, I not only develop Social Media strategies but also develop integrated strategies to support PR, Events & Advertising. This is pretty much challenging in my current role but at the same time I have learnt many things about PR, Advertising & Events!