Social Media Marketing Degree: Is it Worth it?

Social media has transformed marketing, allowing brands to engage directly with customers. As platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok continue to expand their user bases, there is growing demand for social media marketing expertise. A social media marketing degree in this field can set you up for a dynamic career path.

This article explores what a social media marketing (SMM) degree entails, key skills you’ll gain, top career opportunities, and how to select the right program.

What Does a Social Media Marketer Do?

social media marketing degree banner

Social media marketers help brands build audiences and promote content on various platforms. Day-to-day tasks may include:

  • Creating social posts, images, videos
  • Managing brand accounts and messaging
  • Developing social ad campaigns
  • Analyzing performance data
  • Identifying partnership and influencer opportunities
  • Staying on top of platform algorithm changes

It’s a fast-paced role that allows creative freedom. Social media managers get to experiment with emerging features and trends while helping brands effectively connect with modern audiences.

What Will I Learn in a Social Media Marketing Degree Program?

An SMM degree covers strategies and tactics for major platforms while building hard and soft skills. Course topics may include:

Types of Programs

Degree options range from certificates to master’s programs:

  • Certificates provide a quick introduction to social media marketing
  • Associate’s degrees offer foundational marketing skills
  • Bachelor’s degrees thoroughly cover SMM strategies and tools
  • Master’s degrees allow for specialization with advanced coursework

Programs are available in online, on-campus, and hybrid formats.

Core Courses and Concepts

Some examples of common social media marketing courses are:

  • Social Media Strategy

Covers goal-setting, audience targeting, messaging, and planning content across platforms.

  • Social Media Content Creation

Focuses on crafting compelling posts, images, videos, and ads. Explores best practices for visual design and copywriting.

  • Social Media Advertising

Examines social ad types and objectives. Discusses bid strategies, budgeting, performance analysis, and optimization.

  • Social Media Metrics and Analytics

Teaches how to interpret fan growth, engagement rates, lead generation, conversion data and prepare reports.

  • Social Media Management Tools

Introduces key platforms and dashboards for organizing multi-channel campaigns.

Specialized Electives

Some programs allow students to concentrate on their studies with courses like:

  • Influencer Marketing
  • Live Streaming and Video
  • User-Generated Content Strategies

This focused coursework prepares graduates to excel in specific social media niche roles.

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What Skills Will You Gain in Social Media Marketing Degree?

An SMM degree builds both hard and soft skills that make graduates very hireable:

Hard Skills

  • Deep knowledge of major platforms – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn
  • Content creation expertise across formats – video, images, animated posts, and stories
  • Advertising capabilities – campaign setup, bidding, landing page design, retargeting
  • Data fluency – interpreting fan growth, engagement, conversion metrics and preparing reports
  • Strategic planning abilities – setting SMM goals and KPIs, developing integrated plans

Soft Skills

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Collaboration when working cross-functionally
  • Adaptability to stay current as platforms rapidly evolve
  • Analytical thinking to translate data into action
  • Project management competencies
  • Communication skills for formal presentations

This powerful blend of technical abilities and critical soft skills is what makes social media marketing grads so career-ready.

Amazed formal male looking at laptop screen

What Jobs Can You Get With a Degree in Social Media Marketing?

Given the versatile skillset developed in SMM programs, graduates can pursue roles across industries. Hot career paths include:

Social Media Manager/Specialist

Oversee brand presences across all key platforms. Create content calendars and daily posts to grow and engage followers.

Digital Marketing Consultant

Advise clients on social media strategy, auditing current use and making data-driven recommendations.

Social Media Analyst

Compile performance reports. Analyze metrics and surface key trends and insights to optimize content and ad spend.

Social Media Coordinator

Manage account logistics and content licensing. Coordinate approvals and workflow of post ideas from creation to publishing.

Influencer Marketing Specialist

Identify and vet potential brand partners. Manage outreach and contract negotiations. Oversee campaign logistics and reporting.

Plan and manage ad campaigns across social platforms. Experiment with various objectives and creative approaches. Track conversions and optimize based on the data.

Salaries and Job Growth Outlook

The median salary for social media marketing roles is $64,088 in the U.S., with experienced managers earning over $80k. Due to the rise of digital marketing and e-commerce, jobs in this field are projected to grow by 6% by 2032, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

social media marketing career demand from BLS

With so many companies prioritizing social media, SMM grads have lots of career opportunities with major brands, digital agencies, media publishers, nonprofit organizations, and tech firms.

How Do You Pick the Right Social Media Marketing Degree Program?

With many colleges adding social media majors, it’s important to choose an option aligned with your goals. Considerations include:

Program Format

Compare online vs. on-campus models. Online provides flexibility while on-campus offers face-to-face instruction and campus networking. Hybrid options blend both.

Faculty & Facilities

Look for instructors with professional social media experience vs. just academic backgrounds. Seek out the latest tools and tech available on campus.

Hands-On Learning

Internships, client projects and capstone courses allow you to apply concepts from the classroom to real SMM campaigns. This builds your portfolio showcasing concrete examples of your work.

Career Support

Many programs provide career coaching, resume reviews, mock interviews, job boards and annual career fairs to set you up for success post-graduation.

Costs & ROI

Compare program fees and the likely return on investment based on the career paths and earning potential. Many grads see a fast break-even point on the cost of their degree.

By evaluating these factors, you can find the social media marketing program providing the right knowledge, skills and support to meet your career goals.

Take Your Social Media Skills to the Next Level

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A degree in social media marketing opens doors to many exciting career opportunities. You’ll graduate equipped with specialized knowledge of key platforms and soft skills like creativity and analytical thinking that prepare you for leadership roles.

As brands continue to devote more budgets to social, there is growing demand for SMM experts who can help craft strategy while managing the tactical details of content creation and community engagement.

With mastery over the ever-evolving digital landscape, social media marketing grads can drive impact while staying at the forefront of the latest trends. Through a mix of technical skills and a future-focused vision, you’ll be ready to take on new challenges as the next marketing trailblazer.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Social Media Marketing Degree

How do I become a social media marketing manager without a degree?

You can become a social media manager without a degree through hands-on experience managing accounts, self-study of online courses, and developing a portfolio showcasing your work. Certificates can demonstrate knowledge too.

What degree is best for social media marketing management?

For social media management, marketing and communications degrees that offer specialized social media courses are best to build both the hard technical skills and soft skills like creativity needed for the role.

Where can I learn social media marketing?

Many colleges now offer social media management programs and certificates, as do online learning platforms like Coursera and LinkedIn Learning. These teach the tactical abilities needed for social media marketing roles.

Can anyone become a social media marketing manager?

Not everyone can become an effective social media manager. You need a mix of creative, analytical, technical and communication strengths. But with the right natural abilities and training through classes or experiences, many can succeed in this career.

Is social media management worth it?

Yes, pursuing social media management is a smart move as a future-proof, fast-growing career with versatile skills and strong salaries. Social media manager roles are in high demand, and they pay well, with starting salaries around $60,000 per year.

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