Let’s face it: there are tons of social media job titles out there. They range from more standard roles like social media manager to more…unique positions like “community wizard” and “social mediaholic” (yes, those are real).
It can genuinely be confusing to tell social media job titles apart sometimes. For example, what is the difference between a social media strategist and a social media specialist? How about a social media manager vs a community manager?
To make your life a little bit easier, we’ve set out to define 10 of the most well-known (but often misunderstood) social media titles.
We’ll also talk about what each job involves and what makes it unique.
Plus, we’ve pulled together a bunch of information on average social media job salaries for you:
Average annual salaries in the US for the social media professionals included in this list. Data compiled from Glassdoor.
So, here are 10 of the top job titles in social media and digital marketing…and what they actually mean.
If you want to hire employees who know social, the best place to look is ON social media—so follow this Guide to Social Recruiting. And if you work with social media yourself, you might be interested to see the Best Times to Post on Social Media in 2018.
1. What is a social media manager?
Social media manager is probably the most common job title among social media professionals. It’s also constantly changing, as we describe in this infographic on the evolution of the social media manager.
In many organizations, it’s used as a catch-all term to describe anyone who works with social media.
This may make sense if you work for a small business that only has one person in charge of social media, but if you work for a midsize or large company, it’s a bit unclear.
So what exactly defines the role of a social media manager?
Social media manager job description:
Social media managers are strategic in nature.
They create and execute an organization’s social media strategy. Their goals likely center around increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to their organization’s domain, and cultivating leads and sales.
They are responsible for representing their company’s brand on social as well as developing social media campaigns.
In smaller organizations, they may also be in charge of more day-to-day tasks like writing social copy, answering questions from followers, and replying to comments on their social channels.
The role is often flexible, requiring social media managers to wear many hats. That’s why we broke down the 5 types of social media managers—which one you are largely depends on your skills, personality, and place of employment.
Average annual social media manager salary: $54,238*
2. What is a social media strategist?
While social media managers are likely to have social strategy as an important part of their role, social media strategists make it their number one priority.
In larger companies, this may be a slightly more junior role that supports the social media manager in planning and executing social media strategy.
Social media strategist job description:
In a broad sense, they plan an organization’s strategy around marketing, advertising, and finding leads via social media.
They likely perform audits to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their company’s social media strategy, then use that information to improve future posts and campaigns.
They may be responsible for promoting events, contests, or new products on their organization’s social channels. They also look at the performance of their content in order to measure and report social ROI to the higher-ups in marketing.
Average annual social media strategist salary: $49,395
Average annual senior social media strategist salary: $68,128
3. What is a social media specialist?
This position is more junior and more…specialized than a social media strategist or a social media manager in theory. In practice, however, their everyday duties likely have some overlap.
In larger companies with more developed social media teams, social media specialists have more of a focus on day-to-day operations than social media strategists, although they may assist with social audits and strategy as well.
Social media specialist job description:
Social media specialists are mostly concerned with implementation. They write social copy, draft replies to messages and comments, and stay on top of key trends in social media.
Often, they’ll network with key influencers in their industry to spread their brand message and make valuable connections.
Additionally, they track and analyze social media KPIs and check up on ROI. Plus, they publish and promote content on social media, usually by scheduling it in advance with the help of a content calendar.
Average annual social media specialist salary: $40,991
4. What is a community manager?
Community manager is another job title that is often confused with a social media manager. In many cases, their responsibilities do cross over.
In fact, at many small companies, community management is a part of a social media manager’s duties.
However, if you work for an organization large enough to have both positions, community managers are more focused on growing and maintaining a brand’s online community of followers than on directly pushing for leads and sales via social media.
Community manager job description:
Community managers create, foster, and improve communities built around a brand.
Their day-to-day include moderating and facilitating conversations around their organization’s products or services on social media. They typically engage with community members through direct messages and comments on social media in line with their brand’s voice and values.
They also keep track of the latest social media trends and monitor the conversations happening in their communities. To streamline this process, community managers often use social listening tools like Falcon’s.
Average annual community manager salary: $53,978
5. What is a brand ambassador?
Now we get into a few common positions which are more social media adjacent. By that, we mean they involve or rely on social media, but their roles expand beyond the borders of Facebook and Twitter too.
Brand ambassador, like social media manager, is often used as an umbrella term for anyone who advocates for a brand, from celebrity influencers to employees who repost an organization’s content on social media.
However, here we’re talking about brand ambassadors in the sense of a paid position that revolves around promoting a brand.
Brand ambassador job description:
Basically, brand ambassadors put a human face to a brand. They represent the brand in person at events and online via their personal social media accounts. They often have large followings on social media and are influencers in their communities.
They increase brand awareness through word-of-mouth marketing and product promotions.
For example, if they work for a soda brand, they might hand out free samples at a music festival, post pictures of themselves with the soda to their social media accounts, or spread the word about the drink to their friends and family.
Additional responsibilities for brand ambassadors might include creating and sharing content about a brand, doing demonstrations of a brand’s products, or providing feedback on a new product or service from the brand.
Average annual brand ambassador salary: $35,048
6. What is a brand manager?
Brand managers may or may not directly intervene in their company’s social media strategy, but social media is definitely linked to their role in 2018.
Brand managers, as their name suggests, manage perceptions of a brand in the market.
It’s a more senior management position that works with marketers, advertisers, researchers, and product developers to make sure all new products and campaigns are consistent with their brand’s voice, image, and values.
Larger organizations may divide this role into a digital brand manager and a more traditional brand manager role, where the former handles just the online presence of the brand and the latter is concerned with how their brand is perceived in the real world.
Brand manager job description:
Brand managers oversee every step of a consumer’s experience with their brand.
They start by consulting with product developers and researchers on the design and copy associated with new products to make sure those products are on-brand.
Next, they supervise the creation of ad campaigns around the products to make sure the messaging and imagery fits with their brand’s style and tone.
When it comes to social media, brand managers check in with their social team to make sure all copy and social media campaigns feel consistent with the organization’s overall brand voice. They may also use tools like social listening software to monitor the conversations happening around their brand.
Average annual brand manager salary: $96,169
7. What is a chief marketing officer?
Pictured: a chief marketing officer in the wild. Source: GIPHY.
The chief marketing officer (CMO) of a company is the master of marketing, the boss of the brand, the president of products…in other words, they’re kind of a big deal.
As a part of the C-suite, they report directly to the CEO. The areas they oversee typically include brand management, marketing, product development, pricing, customer service, sales, communications, and product distribution.
Since social media jobs often overlap the borders between marketing, communications, and customer service, they’re likely the highest ranking staff member the social media team would report to in many companies.
So to all you social media professionals out there, we recommend staying on their good side.
Chief marketing officer job description:
As mentioned above, the CMO oversees everything related to selling a company’s products and services. Their role is broad and requires both creative and analytical thinking.
They plan, develop, and work with various teams to execute new marketing and advertising campaigns. They also coordinate all of the previously mentioned teams and supervise the design of new products and ads.
Plus, they conduct advanced market research to make important decisions on budgeting, pricing, and distribution.
At the end of the day, the CMO likely decides on an organization’s social media budget, too—so they’re the one the social media team needs to convince about the value of social media.
Average annual chief marketing officer salary: $189,521
8. What is a creative director?
A creative director is the head of the artistic side of marketing. While a CMO is probably more concerned with finances and operations, creative directors have a cohesive vision of design and messaging to sell a product or service.
They are often one of the lead roles in an advertising agency or a high-ranking member of the marketing department that reports directly to the CMO.
Creative director job description:
As the creative lead of an organization, the creative director works with designers, artists, sales staff, marketers, and copywriters to plan and execute the perfect ad campaigns.
They typically come up with key concepts and themes for ad campaigns, then guide and approve work from designers and copywriters along the way. On top of that, they need to keep up with the latest trends in design, advertising, and marketing to keep their creative work fresh and relevant.
Plus, they lead creative teams and develop creative guidelines for their department. In most companies, they serve as mediators between creatives and marketers when it comes to planning ad campaigns.
Since social media is a key part of any modern advertising campaign, creative directors also have final say on the design and copy of any social media ads that an organization pushes out.
So while a CMO may have control of the budget for social media advertising, the creative director oversees the ads themselves.
Average annual creative director salary: $133,839
9. What is a digital marketing manager?
Digital marketing manager, while not as high-ranking as CMO, is a senior position in the marketing department.
As the title suggests, they focus on online marketing rather than traditional marketing channels. This requires a wide variety of skill sets, from the creative to the analytical.
Digital marketing managers oversee all aspects of internet-based marketing including content, email, social media, mobile apps, and SEO. This means that they are directly above content marketing managers and social media managers.
Digital marketing manager job description:
As the head honchos of online marketing, digital marketing managers design and execute digital marketing strategies. They come up with ideas for new online marketing campaigns, then coordinate with their teams to implement and manage them while tracking their performance.
Their objectives depend on the overall direction of the company, but they could include growing brand awareness online, increasing web traffic to their domain, or acquiring new leads.
When it comes to execution, they launch campaigns through email, social media, blogs, mobile apps, and virtually any other digital channel available to them.
Digital marketing managers have control over the marketing side of a company’s social media strategy.
After all, any ad campaign that social media managers launch probably has a digital marketing manager standing behind it.
Average annual digital marketing manager salary: $77,015
10. What is a content manager?
Content managers, well, manage content. They are in charge of an organization’s content flow, from blog posts to videos to webinars.
Normally, they work under digital marketing managers, brand managers, creative directors, and CMOs to craft appropriate content and distribute it to various channels.
They also plan and execute content strategy in cooperation with the rest of the content marketing team at the company.
Content manager job description:
Content managers assess and plan what kind of content their team should be creating, publishing, and spreading.
They assign tasks to content creators who generate blogs, videos, ebooks, and any other content relevant to their brand. The content manager then edits and approves this content.
In many cases, they probably produce quite a bit of content themselves. They also maintain a company’s content resources. For example, they might post on, update, clean, and improve their organization’s blog.
When it comes to social media, content managers see it as one of several powerful content distribution channels.
They may assist a social media team with writing copy to promote their content and posting it on various social networks.
Along with networking, paid content promotion, email newsletters, and SEO, social media is one of the best tools content managers have to get their organization’s content seen and shared.
Average annual content manager salary: $66,094
*Note: average salary information was drawn from job website Glassdoor. Salary data is in USD and based on average pay for US-based employees.
Bonus: silly/creative social media job titles (that actually exist)
If you’ve come this far, we’ve got a treat for you. These are 10 actual job titles which have been used for social media professionals.
Would you rather be a social media ninja, a rockstar, or a czar? As fun as these social media job titles are, they definitely don’t make it easier to explain to your mom exactly what you do for a living.
- Idea inventor
- Social media czar
- Social media badass
- Social media ninja
- Social media rockstar
- Social mediaholic
- Chief people herder
- Public happy maker
- Community wizard
…Wow. Say what you will about chief people herders and public happy makers, you’ve got to give these social media job titles some points for creativity.
If you’re working on crafting a cross-channel social strategy of your own, give the handbook below a read for some great insights.