For social media professionals looking to advance in their career, understanding the key skills required for success is essential.

The role of a social media manager has become increasingly important in the digital age, and requires a unique blend of hard and soft skills to be effective.

For successful social media campaigns, you need hard skills like copywriting and analytics, but you also need soft skills like communication and emotional intelligence to build relationships with your audience and coworkers, handle your workload well, and keep your workplace happy and productive.

In this guide, we’ll explore the most important hard and soft skills for a social media manager to succeed in their role and advance in their career.

Hard skills for a social media manager

Hard skills are centered around technical abilities that are specific to social media platforms and tools, such as data analysis, content creation, social media advertising, and social media platform management.

These skills are typically acquired through education and experience, and are crucial for managing social media accounts effectively and efficiently.

Graphic design

Social media is a visual medium, and great visuals can make all the difference.

Being able to create compelling visuals that grab attention, communicate the brand’s message, and drive engagement is critical.

A social media manager should have a good understanding of graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Canva.


A social media manager needs to know how to track and analyze metrics to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Understanding metrics such as engagement rate, reach, and impressions is crucial to evaluating the success of a social media campaign.

Being able to set SMART goals for social media also demonstrates bigger picture thinking and a handle on social media strategy.

Google Analytics is a great tool for tracking website traffic and social media engagement.

Content creation

Social media managers are responsible for creating and curating content for their brand’s social media channels.

This includes writing captions, designing images, creating videos, and developing blog posts.

Knowing how to create compelling, shareable content that resonates with the target audience is essential.


While social media platforms are not search engines, optimizing social media content for search can help improve visibility and drive traffic.

A social media manager should have a good understanding of keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.

Paid advertising

Paid social media advertising is becoming increasingly popular, and a social media manager needs to understand how to create and manage ad campaigns.

Companies are spending thousands a day on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, as it’s an effective way to reach new and existing audiences.

A social media manager should know how to target the right audience, create compelling ad copy, and track results.

Soft skills for a social media manager

Soft skills are the non-technical skills that are related to communication, relationship-building, and problem-solving.

These are essential skills for any social media manager jobs, as they help with building and maintaining relationships with followers, managing social media teams, and responding to customer inquiries and complaints in a professional and empathetic manner.


Social media is all about engagement, and a social media manager needs to be able to communicate effectively with their audience. This includes responding to comments, messages, and reviews in a timely and professional manner.

A social media manager should also be able to communicate the brand’s message in a way that resonates with the target audience.


Social media is a crowded space, and a social media manager needs to be creative to stand out. Being able to come up with fresh and innovative ideas for social media campaigns is crucial.

A social media manager should be able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems.


Social media is constantly evolving, and a social media manager needs to be adaptable to keep up with changes.

New social media platforms are popping up all the time, and algorithms are constantly changing.

A social media manager should be able to adapt to these changes quickly and be willing to learn new things.

Time management

Social media is a time-consuming job, and a social media manager needs to be able to manage their time effectively.

They need to be able to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and work efficiently.

A social media manager should be able to balance creative work with administrative tasks like scheduling and reporting.

Customer service

Social media is a two-way conversation, and a social media manager needs to be able to provide excellent customer service.

They need to be able to address customer complaints and concerns in a timely and professional manner.

They should also be able to handle difficult situations with diplomacy and tact, and know when to escalate an issue to a higher authority.


A social media manager rarely works alone, and needs to be able to work effectively with other members of the marketing team.

Collaboration is key to success in social media marketing, and a social media manager needs to be able to share ideas, give and receive feedback, and work towards common goals.

Emotional intelligence

Social media can be a challenging environment, and a social media manager needs to have emotional intelligence to navigate the ups and downs of the job.

They should be able to understand and empathize with the emotions and perspectives of their audience, and be able to respond in a way that is empathetic and genuine.

Team management

Social media team management is an often overlooked yet crucial soft skill for social media managers.

While technical know-how and content creation skills are important, the ability to lead a team effectively can set you apart in a competitive field.

Mastering management skills not only elevates the performance of your team but also paves the way for career advancement, making it a must-have competency for those aspiring to senior roles, like Social Media Lead roles or Social Media Director jobs.

How to showcase your skills

Demonstrating both hard and soft skills on your CV/resume is crucial in order to showcase your capabilities to potential employers.

Here are some tips on how to effectively demonstrate your hard and soft skills on your CV/resume:

  1. Highlight your hard skills: Mention the technical skills and certifications you have earned related to the job you are applying for. Highlight your skills in content creation, social media advertising, data analysis, and platform management, and anything else that’s relevant to the social media jobs you’re applying for. Use keywords related to these skills and provide specific examples of how you have used them in your previous roles. If possible, create a social media portfolio to keep it all in one place.
  2. Quantify your achievements: Whenever possible, provide specific metrics or achievements related to your hard skills. For example, if you increased website traffic by 20% through social media advertising, mention it on your resume. This will help the employer understand the impact of your hard skills.
  3. Show how you have used your soft skills: Use specific examples to demonstrate your soft skills on your CV/resume. For instance, if you have excellent communication skills, mention how you have effectively communicated with clients, team members, or stakeholders in your previous roles. If you have strong leadership skills, explain how you have managed a team or led a project to completion.
  4. Use action verbs: Use active and strong action verbs such as “managed”, “created”, “developed”, “improved”, “analyzed”, etc. to demonstrate your skills in a powerful and concise way.