4 steps to become a social media manager

Swinburne has media and communication courses of all levels to help you become a social media manager. Plus, work with industry partners on real projects that will lead to been set up for finding a job.

1. Obtain a qualification

Looking for wider opportunities in your first social media role? Consider a Bachelor of Media and Communication.  

If you don’t meet the entry requirements for the bachelor degree, complete a Unilink business diploma. This 8-month course can help you pathway directly into the second year of your degree.

The 1-year, fully online, Diploma of Social Media Marketing will give you a solid grounding in social media strategy, planning and execution, which you can implement in any job role. It prepares you for further study at the degree-level too. 

Already working in social media and looking to move up? A Master of Media and Communication could turbocharge your skills and industry network. 

2. Choose your social media specialisation

Studying the Bachelor of Media and Communication

While this degree offers seven majors, the most social media-focused majors are: 

  • Social Media major— focuses on organic social media, planning and creating content for different platforms. Also, learn to use data to inform when, what, how and why to post. 
  • Advertising major—learn about effective advertising strategy, development and implementation, including for digital and social media advertising. 
  • Public Relations major—dive into the many facets of managing the public perception of organisations, including the role of social media. This major is professionally recognised by the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).
  • The other four majors are Cinema and Screen Studies, Creative Writing and Literature, Immersive Media and Journalism. 

Studying the Diploma of Social Media Marketing

  • There’s no need to choose a specialisation—you will fully concentrate on social media topics throughout your course.

Studying the Master of Media and Communication 

  • Choose to specialise in either social media management, media practice or strategic communication.

3. Gain experience in social media

Swinburne truly focuses on providing you with real industry experience, even guaranteeing it in your social media bachelor degree. Your options are:

  • Upgrade your bachelor degree with paid real world experience in a 6 or 12-month full-time placement—for example, as a social media response specialist for Optus.  
  • Apply for a professional degree, a bachelor degree with a built-in 12-month full-time paid work placement opportunity.
  • Start CV-building with a part-time social media internship (also available to master degree students).
  • Work on industry-linked projects where you’ll collaborate in teams to solve industry and community problems. For both bachelor and master students too! 
  • Swinburne also guarantees industry immersion for all vocational students, including those studying a diploma. Engage in real-world problem-solving alongside industry, teachers and peers in the Future of Work Lab.  

Cultivate your social media skills outside formal coursework. Offer to make content for a student club, volunteer to support the social media team at a non-profit, start a new Instagram account dedicated to a hobby and try growing your audience. These experiences can provide valuable portfolio assets.

4. Find a social media job after graduating

  • Write resumes and cover letters tailored to the jobs you're applying for. Highlight the social media experiences and portfolio assets you created in Step three. Tap into Swinburne’s career services team to get help with job applications, interviews and more!
  • Get creative! Use your social media posts to get the attention of influencers or brands you want to work with.
  • Start searching for roles in social media. 
  • Common job titles to search for: social media specialist, social media analyst and social media manager.

Explore our media and communication courses

Want to become a social media manager? See all of the courses and pathways Swinburne offers to get you there.  

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How long will it take to become a social media manager?

The time it takes to become a social media manager can vary depending on your level of education, work experience, and skillset. 

With a bachelor degree in marketing and communications, or a related field, you may be able to secure an entry-level social media role. It could take you a few years to work your way up to a social media management role.

Quick facts about social media management

Median salary


Job growth

7,200 more jobs by 20263

Job satisfaction

Top 7 most enjoyable jobs in Australia4

What skills do social media managers need? 

Specialist skills:

  • Content strategy
  • Data analytics
  • Writing, design and video editing
  • Social media marketing
  • Creativity

Soft skills:

  • Leadership and communication
  • Time management
  • Problem solving
  • Curiosity
  • Flexibility

Study media and communication at Swinburne

Our media and communication courses are a balanced blend of classroom and practical learning. Students will be perfectly poised for careers as social media managers or marketers. 

Courses and study pathways


8-12 months or part-time equivalent 

Entry requirements:

Successful completion of VCE or similar

Career outcomes:
  • Social Media Officer
  • Junior Social Media Producer
  • Digital Advertising Assistant
  • Marketing And Social Media Assistant
  • Social Media Producer
Recommended diploma option: 
Diploma of Social Media Marketing

Recommended UniLink diplomas, if you intend to continue with a social media degree: 

3-4 years or part-time equivalent

Entry requirements:

Successful completion of VCE, relevant UniLink diploma, TAFE course or similar

Career outcomes:
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Social Media Producer
  • Digital Advertising Specialist
  • Social Media Manager
Recommended course:
Bachelor of Media and Communication

2 years or part-time equivalent

Entry requirements:

Successful completion of a recognised bachelor’s degree or graduate certificate

Career outcomes:
  • Social Media Strategist
  • Social Media Advisor
  • Social Media Manager
  • Senior Communications Manager

Recommended course: 
Master of Media and Communication

Why study media and communication at Swinburne?

  • Noteworthy placements and internships

    Organisations like Deloitte Digital, NGV and Tennis Australia

  • Wealth of job opportunities

    79.2% of Swinburne media and communications graduates find jobs within 4 months of completing their course5

  • Smaller class sizes

    Know your teachers and peers to deepen your learning

  • Media and tech experience

    Use state-of-the art cameras to shoot video/audio, edit with Adobe Premiere

  • "I’ve had amazing internships with incredible companies. I’m working in an industry placement as a Social Media Response Specialist at Optus. I’ve been able to use the skills learnt in my major, and have worked with the Digital Content team to create content for the Optus website."

    Chloe , Bachelor of Media and Communication (Professional), majoring in Social Media

Frequently asked questions

Technically there are still opportunities to work in social media without a degree. You could try gaining some firsthand experience through internships and entry-level roles to assist with networking in the space. It is however recommended that you engage in some accredited training to solidify you career. At Swinburne University of Technology we offer a Unilink Diploma of Social Media to help gain the certification you need.

It is worthwhile noting that 58% of current social media managers hold at least a bachelor's degree whilst 19% have completed courses at a vocational level6.

According to Meltwater, 81% of Australians use social media7.

Unlike traditional media, brands, companies and individuals can have instant, two-way conversations with their fans, followers and audiences.

It’s constantly changing, always exciting and its influence will only grow as time goes on. (It also pays well!) Need we say more?

In organic social, you could start as a social media specialist, move into a social media manager role, then become communications director later in your career.

If paid social media sounds more appealing, you’ll want to start as a digital marketing specialist, grow into a digital marketing manager role and potentially, aim for a digital marketing lead position.  

According to the Australian Government, we’ll need 4% more advertising and marketing professionals (including social media experts) by 20268.

This translates into an additional 7,200 jobs!

Median full-time earnings are $91,416/year, while 1 in 4 professionals take home more than $121,108/year9.

Depends on which part of the social media spectrum you decide to focus on. 

Social media is mainly divided into organic social (any social media activity without paid promotion) and paid social media ads.

Both areas have distinct career progression paths.

Explore our social media and communications course guide.