What Is Social Media Management? [Guide]

Social media management is the process of managing your online presence on social media platforms. Social media managers will use their experience, plus tools and services to create and publish content, interact with users, and analyze performance.

No matter how you approach social media management, whether with the help of a digital marketing agency or a toolset, it’s essential to understand more than social media management’s definition.

That’s why this guide covers everything you need to get started with understanding a social media manager’s tasks, learning how to manage your social media profiles, and mastering social media marketing basics. Keep reading to begin.

P.S. Save time and start boosting your social media today with our social media services. Just contact us online or give us a ring at 888-601-5359 to receive a custom social media management package!

Social media management basics

What is social media management?

Social media management is the process of creating, publishing, and analyzing content you post on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as engaging with users on those platforms. You can streamline social media management tasks with free and paid tools, as well as professional social media management services.

What is a social media manager?

social media manager, whether working as a consultant, in-house employee, or team member at a social media agency, is a skilled professional at social media marketing, advertising, and management. They help achieve your goals for social media, like growing your following or social media revenue.

What are social media management services?

Social media management services are the professional management of your social media presence. Agencies, freelancers, and consultants provide social media management services, which typically include managing, monitoring, and reporting on your social media performance.

What are social media management tools?

Social media management tools are software applications for streamlining social media tasks. Use cases for social media tools include scheduling content, monitoring and responding to comments, tracking post performance, and more.

What are social media management services? (And should you use them?)

Social media management services — provided by an agency, consultant, or freelancer — offer complete (or customized) management of your social media. Social media management services do everything from developing strategy and creating content to posting and responding to comments.

With social media management services, you can:

  • Save time by outsourcing time-intensive tasks, like creating content or scheduling posts
  • Get expert advice on specialized areas, like social media advertising
  • Accelerate social media growth, like by attracting more followers or post engagement
  • And more

While prices for social media management vary — you could pay hundreds to thousands of dollars per month based on your needs — they are valuable. The question, however, is should your business invest in a social media management package?

The following questions can help you decide if social media management services are right for you:

  • Are you struggling to find the time to do social media?
  • Has your social media performance slowed down or plateaued?
  • Are you looking to invest more in social media?

Keep in mind, while social media management services can provide everything you need to do social media, they can also fill gaps. So, if you’re just looking for advertising assistance, you can use social media management services for that too!

What are social media management tools? (And should you use them?)

Social media management tools are software solutions that streamline day-to-day social media tasks. You — or your social media manager — can use social media management tools to expedite your daily social media responsibilities.

Everyday use cases for social media management tools include:

  • Creating content, like with Canva
  • Building content calendars, like with CoSchedule
  • Scheduling content, like with Buffer
  • Responding to comments, like with Hootsuite
  • Monitoring mentions across networks, like with Mention
  • Analyzing post performance, like with Sprout Social
  • And more

Prices for social media management software vary. You’ll find some for free and others for a monthly fee. Paid social media management tools will often scale their pricing based on the number of users, networks, or other factors.

Should you use social media management tools, though? Yes.

Investing in social media management software, whether free or paid, will help you:

  • Save time
  • Streamline tasks
  • Improve reporting
  • And more

If you’re concerned about pricing, there are plenty of free options to get you started!

What does social media management include?

Due to the broad definition of social media management, it’s natural to wonder what social media management includes. You want to know where you should focus your efforts, as well as how much time social media will require.

Generally, social media management focuses on the following:

  1. Auditing your existing social media strategy
  2. Researching your target audience
  3. Choosing your social media platforms
  4. Creating your social media strategy
  5. Designing your social media profiles
  6. Developing your social media ads
  7. Building your social media content calendar
  8. Creating platform-specific social media content
  9. Responding to your social media followers
  10. Growing your social reach
  11. Monitoring your social media performance

Keep reading to learn more about these social media management practices for businesses!

What are the benefits of social media management?

Social media management offers several benefits, including:

  • Cost: No matter your marketing budget, social media is a cost-effective initiative. It’s free to join social media networks, post content, respond to user comments, and more. Even social media advertising offers a profitable channel for reaching your audience and building an online following.
  • Reach: Social media networks, from Facebook to LinkedIn, can connect you with users across the world. You can also use social media platforms, like Pinterest, to reach niche audiences. Traditional marketing and advertising can’t match the reach — or price — or social. That’s why social media management is a must for businesses.
  • Users: Incorporating social media into your marketing strategy allows you to align your marketing initiatives with user behavior. For example, 74% of people now use social media when making purchase decisions. Not to mention, 80% of people get advice about purchases through social media.
  • Performance: Marketers and business owners alike agree on the performance of social media marketing and advertising. Via social, companies can build their brand and even generate leads and sales. Almost 45% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, for instance, have earned a client through Facebook.

With social media’s multiple advantages, it’s worth considering for your marketing strategy.

How much does social media management cost?

On average, companies spend $4000 to $7000 per month on social media management. This investment includes building and maintaining a social media marketing and advertising strategy, as well as a monthly ad spend and tool subscriptions.

Depending on your business, you may have higher or lower social media management costs. You can use this price range, however, to establish a realistic budget for your social media marketing and advertising strategy.

How much do social media management tools cost?

Pricing for social media management tools varies. You could pay a few dollars a month to several hundred dollars a month. How much you invest will depend on your business size, strategy scale, and social media following.

The good news is, most social media management applications post their prices online. However, if you’re an enterprise-level organization, prepare to request a custom quote from these software providers.

What are the best social media management services to use?

When it comes to the best social media management services, the following offer the most value.

If you’re looking for agencies to partner with, check out our list of the best social media management agencies.

Social media advertising

Whether you’re looking to promote posts or launch ads, it’s invaluable having a social media advertising expert on your side. With their help, you can improve your ad strategy, increase your return on ad spend (ROAS), and achieve your social media ad goals.

Strategy development

Algorithm changes, new networks, and other updates can make a social media platform feel new again. Invest in social media management services, and you can get help from an expert in building (and implementing) a strategy based on your business, goals, and industry.

Content creation

Developing content for social media is time intensive. With a dedicated social media manager (and their content team), you can get professional, on-brand content for your social channels fast — and more time for other initiatives.

Post monitoring

Your day isn’t built for interruptions — that’s why post monitoring is one of the best social media management services. With post monitoring, you’ll have a partner for monitoring comments, direct messages, and more, which means you’ll never miss a comment again.

7 of the best social media management tools

If you’re excited about getting started with a social media manager’s tasks, you can make the experience (and your productivity) even better with social media management tools. These paid and unpaid tools can help you schedule content, respond to comments, and more.

A few of the best social media management tools include:

1. Buffer

A paid tool, Buffer can help you manage social accounts, establish a posting schedule, schedule social media posts, and more. It’s a great tool for social media content management. Plus, it’s available as a mobile app to make social media management hassle-free.

2. Hootsuite

Another paid social media management tool, Hootsuite helps you manage all your social media platforms, reply to user questions and comments across channels, and monitor your social media strategy’s performance via analytics.

3. CoSchedule

A paid tool, CoSchedule focuses on more on social media content management vs. social media ad management. Schedule your social media posts, as well as build content calendars, publish blog posts, and more.

4. AgoraPulse

Another paid tool, AgoraPulse allows you to schedule and re-share posts. It also includes customer relationship management (CRM) tracking features, and more.

5. Mention

Also paid, Mention specializes in social monitoring, which allows you to track mentions of your brand across social media platforms. With Mention, you can reply to these mentions from one convenient dashboard.

6. Sprout Social

The paid tool, Sprout Social, allows you to schedule your posts like many of the tools on this list, but you can also conduct social monitoring, manage your DMs, and analyze post performance.

7. TweetDeck

A free tool, TweetDeck is Twitter-specific. It provides a dashboard to manage your mentions and notifications, as well as schedule tweets.

What platforms does social media management cover?

A common follow-up question to, “What is social media management?” is about the platforms included. It’s a smart question, as you want to focus your time and resources on the social media networks that offer the most value to your business.

The most common platforms for social media management

How to get started with social media management for businesses

You know the definition of social media management and what social media management for businesses typically focuses on — now, learn how to bring those practices to life in your social media campaigns with this breakdown of the 11 most critical processes:

1. Auditing your existing social media strategy


Are you already marketing and advertising your business on social media? Then, you’ll want to set aside some time to audit your existing strategy. With a social media audit, you look at what’s working and what isn’t within your social media campaigns.

Typical steps within a social media audit include:

  • Reviewing your social media goals
  • Ensuring your branding across social media networks matches
  • Compiling your social media metrics, like followers, engagement rate, and more
  • Analyzing your social media metrics to find trends, like content preferences
  • Reviewing your competitor’s social media presence
  • And more

Your audit will provide immediate insight into your social media strategy. Plus, it’ll offer a foundation for improving your campaigns so you can achieve the results your business wants to see from social media, from more followers to better client satisfaction.

If you partner with a social media manager, they’ll take care of this step for you.

2. Researching your target audience

Investigating your audience is a core part of social media management. If your agency — or your company — doesn’t know who your audience is, it makes developing a social media strategy challenging.

Know who your audience is, and you’ll know where to find them online.

That’s critical, as you want to maximize your investment in social media management. By targeting your audience on their preferred platform, you can earn a bigger return on investment (ROI).

social media management benefits

As an example, imagine social media marketing for dentists. While one dentist provides pediatric care, another offers implant services. They each operate in the health and medical sector, but they have completely different audiences.

When their social media management services include audience research, these practices ensure they invest their marketing budget and ad spend creating content and advertisements that target the right users, versus anyone that needs dental care.

Invest in social media management services, and you can expect your account manager to ask about your target audience at the start. In some cases, an agency may take the initiative to ask about your target audience when you call to discuss their services.

3. Choosing your social media platforms

Next, you’ll decide which social media platforms to use. Time is one of the most valuable resources when it comes to social media management for businesses, so it’s essential to focus your efforts on the networks that matter most to your audience.

While you should have a profile on the top social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you shouldn’t divide your time between them evenly. Instead, prioritize social media platforms by how much your audience uses them.

You can find which networks matter most to your target market by reviewing demographic data. If you conducted a social media audit, you could also reference your engagement rates to see which networks performed best. Check competitor activity, too.

If you use social media management services, don’t worry. Your account manager will provide platform recommendations based on their research of your industry, audience, and goals.

4. Creating your social media strategy

Before your account manager (or your internal team) can launch your social media campaign, they need to develop your strategy. In most cases, they’ll focus on building a strategy for each platform due to the different roles and uses of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

In addition to considering your audience, they’ll also look at the following factors:

  • Your goals: What does your business want to accomplish with social media? Do you want to build more brand awareness among consumers or establish brand loyalty among existing clients? Or, is there another goal you want to accomplish?
  • Your industry: What do audiences in your industry want to know? Are there content gaps that your company can fill, such as with blog posts or guides that you can then share on social media? Or, are there industry leaders you can connect with on different platforms?
  • Your brand: What is your brand voice? Do you have a set of standards or processes when engaging with clients in a public forum? Or, how does your branding influence the colors and media that you use?

Some of these questions, such as your branding standards and goals, will require your direct input. At WebFX, we’re always curious to learn about your company — it’s that curiosity that lets us create powerful and personalized social media strategies.

5. Designing your social media profiles

When you create or update your social media profiles, making sure they fit with your brand is essential.

Social media management service deliverables

That’s why social media management services can also include social media design. This service focuses on creating professional images that capture your brand and make a great first impression on users.

In most cases, social media design will focus on your account’s static images, such as the following:

  • Your Twitter header and background
  • Your Facebook header, icon, and profile picture
  • Your Instagram profile picture

Once they’ve designed your social media accounts — and you’ve approved of the designs — your social media specialist can start working towards your marketing goals, such as increasing post engagement or driving conversions.

Depending on your business’ goals and service plan, your social media manager may develop an advertising strategy for your company. If you want to earn more genuine followers, as well as encourage user engagement, social media ads are essential.

Platforms, from Snapchat to Facebook, vary in their approach to ads. They feature different ad types, as well as different goals. Facebook, for example, offers the option to create ads for increasing brand awareness, generating leads, earning store visits, and more.

Some other ad features that your social media manager will look at include:

  • Audience
  • Media
  • Content
  • Calls-to-action (CTA)
  • Cost-per-click (CPC)
  • And more

These are all critical factors that influence the success of your advertisements. You may create an ad with a compelling CTA, but if you target it to the wrong audience, you won’t see the results you expected.

Before launching an ad campaign, you should have the chance to review and sign off on your ads.

7. Building your social media content calendar

Another deliverable included in most social media management services is a content calendar for each of your social media accounts. This calendar serves as a reference point for you and your professional social media management team.

In your content calendar, which will include the current month, you can view scheduled posts for your social media accounts. These posts may include company announcements and holiday tidings, as well as shared content, such as a blog post from your website or an image from a client.

Before publishing these posts, your social media manager will likely request that you review and approve all the content. While this requires some effort on your part, it guarantees that the only content that goes live is the content you want.

8. Creating platform-specific content

A social media specialist does more than build a content calendar for your company — they also create the content in it. In some cases, they may oversee every aspect of content creation, from developing the topic to writing the copy to selecting the media.

Social media management content examples

To create the best possible content, however, many social media specialists will work with graphic designers and copywriters. The result is a piece of content that resonates with users and accomplishes your company’s goals.

If your calendar includes content from a third party — maybe you’re sharing an influencer’s blog post that mentions your product — your social media manager will ensure they have the appropriate link and caption to share on your social media accounts.

9. Responding to your social media followers

A day-to-day responsibility included with many social media management services is interacting with your followers and commenters. For many businesses, this service is invaluable as it has a direct impact on brand awareness and brand loyalty.

An example of a company responding to their followers on social media

As a part of this service, your social media manager will adhere to your brand and company standards when engaging with your followers. They’ll also respond to users that leave negative comments, such as about a bad experience.

For social media users, your company’s interaction with them demonstrates that you care. In many industries, that will set your business apart from your competitors. It can even become a selling point for consumers, especially since more than 65% of people use social media for customer service.

10. Growing your social reach

Ads are not the only way that your social media specialist will increase your followers and social media presence. As a part of your social media management services, your provider may reach out to influencers and trusted organizations in your industry.

That can lead to coverage of your company by those individuals, which can connect you with their followers. The result is more exposure for your brand, as well as the chance to earn more followers and clients.

An example of influencer marketing for a cabinetry company

If you sell kitchen cabinets, for example, an influencer could highlight your product as a purchase for their renovated kitchen. They’ll create a post highlighting the experience on their social media account, which you can then share to yours.

It’s a chance for you, as well as another organization, to gain coverage.

11. Monitoring your social media performance

A critical part of social media management is monitoring the performance of your efforts. That’s why your team of social media specialists will track the performance of your ads, as well as creative content, and share those results with you.

With MarketingCloudFX from WebFX, we make sure you can see the performance, as well as the returns of your investment. This proprietary application, which IBM’s artificial intelligence software powers, also offers numerous other useful tools for your digital marketing efforts outside of social media.

When you invest in social media management services — or any digital marketing service — it’s essential that you partner with an agency that not only monitors the performance of your social media accounts but also reacts when that performance drops.

You want a partner that develops an action plan for improving low performance too — not someone that excuses it. Adopt this mindset, and you’ll find the best agency for your business. That kind of partnership leads to better results and a better ROI.

Helpful social media management resources

If you’re looking for more guidance on social media management, check out these walkthroughs for:

How to plan a social media strategy

How to create social media content

How to provide customer support

How to practice social media listening

How to use social media advertising

How to create social media reports

Looking for a social media management agency?

Do you need a social media management agency for your business? Trust WebFX, a leading social media management service provider with more than 25 years of experience and an award-winning team of savvy social media specialists.

Start connecting with your target market by giving us a call at 888-601-5359 — or request a free quote online!