Managing global social media accounts requires comprehensive knowledge of international social media strategy, foreign markets, localization, cultural awareness, brand voice and much more. If you’re looking for the best ways to implement your social media strategy abroad, working with a qualified global social media manager is your best bet.

Keep reading for more details on why global social media management is such an important skill set and how you can prioritize this role in your team. We’ll also cover hiring costs, what the role entails and examples of global social media management done right by big brands.

What does a global social media manager do?

Our Head of Business Development Kyler Canastra chats with Shaheen Samavati, CEO of VeraContent, and Adriana Carles, head of content and social media at Ladenzeile on how to optimize your social media.

In simplest terms, a global social media manager, also called a global community manager, creates and executes day-to-day social media strategy and content for a company’s various international social media channels. 

Typically, these social media channels are the big ones you already know: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn.

The goal?

To enhance your brand image, ensure quality content gets published consistently and build connections and conversions with new consumers. 

The essential day-to-day tasks of a global social media manager include:

  • Creating and developing a global social media strategy in collaboration with your global marketing manager and your overall international marketing strategy
  • Generating original social media content—including copy and graphics
  • Community building and engaging with each target market—including customer service, influencer outreach and responding to questions
  • Testing social media posts, establishing an approval process and managing executive accounts 
  • Building campaigns, including ad buys, promos, and proving ROI 
  • Planning the weekly, monthly and quarterly content calendar for social media posts
  • Keeping up-to-date with current benchmark trends, local market research, competitor analysis, etc.
  • Coordinating with freelance photographers, copywriters, translators, etc. to deliver consistent and effective social media content across global accounts
  • Covering live events 

How your social media strategy changes this role

Unlike local community managers, who focus specifically on their native market, a global social media manager is responsible for the big picture. Their focus extends to the brand’s entire social media presence worldwide. 

But how they do this job will depend on your social media localization strategy.

“For us, it’s really important to keep as centralized as possible—in terms of having one team and one tool to manage everything—and within our team’s expertise.”

Adriana Carles, head of content, brand and communications at Ladenzeile

If you have one global account, like one Facebook page, one Twitter account, etc., the global community manager will oversee that. They might assign someone to focus on a specific platform like TikTok, for example, but each platform has only one main page. 

In companies with multiple local social media accounts, the social media manager might lead a team of community experts and delegate according to their respective local markets—for example, one expert dedicated to Spanish content and another to German content.  

Note: Check out our post explaining global vs. local social media accounts to get a better idea of which option is best for you. 

While it’s not required, a global social media manager or agency that is bilingual (or multilingual) is hugely beneficial, as they can help when localizing copy and graphics or when working with local experts.

See also: 10 reasons to run social media in different languages

How is a global social media manager different from a global marketing manager?

You might wonder why this role doesn’t fall under the marketing manager’s purview. Well, global marketing managers develop high-level strategies across all forms of marketing. Their role includes managing projects or teams that might have little or nothing to do with social media. 

Ideally, a global marketing manager is closely involved in creating your multilingual social media strategy. But leaving it as just another task on their plate could be overwhelming and lead to them not prioritizing top-tier social media generation. Social media management is easily a full-time job, and splitting up your marketing manager’s time with it can be detrimental to both your social media and other marketing strategies. 

Plus, as we’ll discuss more below, a global social media manager is a specialized expert with a deep understanding of each platform’s norms and algorithms. 

See also: Hiring a global marketing manager vs. an agency: How to decide

4 ways that good global social media community management adds value

A group of social media marketers laughing in an office

Did you know that, according to a survey of small businesses, 85% of brands generate new customers from social media? Strong social media copy engages potential customers and, in turn, drives them to visit a brand’s website, creating new customers. 

Here are four ways good global social media community management provides value for your brand. 

1. Workflow improvements

How often should you post on social media to get the attention of consumers? Experts say 1-2x times a day. The more you post, the more likely they’ll engage with your brand.

“To sell your product, a user needs to have at least seven interactions with your brand. So, most likely, they’ll see your ad and then visit your social media profile.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

That frequency of posting for multiple accounts, in potentially multiple languages, quickly gets overwhelming. 

An efficient workflow is essential to good global social media management. This is especially true for a global brand publishing multilingual content. You need a workflow that relies on agile communication, adheres to your social media content calendar, and uses collaborative tools. 

Setting up an effective workflow is easier said than done! Which is why it’s worth getting professionals involved to help you structure your content schedule or design workflow. 

See also: How to set up a design workflow for global social media accounts

2. Raising awareness for social issues

A 2022 report by Sprout Social reports that 71% of consumers believe it’s important that a brand speaks on social issues. Additionally,  48% of marketers say that taking a stand on social issues is important for any brand to be culturally relevant. Taking a stand on social issues that both your brand and your audience care about is a great way to engage and reach relevant communities.

“As what we know of as social media becomes more decentralized, what you’re really trying to do is build and engage and reach a community, whether [that’s] through partnerships or content, or the channels that you’re on.”

– Alyssa Castaneda, Head of Social at Penguin Random House

In 2015, the outdoor retail company, REI, launched their award-winning campaign called #OptOutside. In an unprecedented move, the company decided to close their doors on Black Friday, the US’s biggest in-store shopping day of the year. It was a simple message: Instead of shopping, go outside. 

The campaign rejected both the celebration of consumerism and the controversial expectation that retail employees should work on American Thanksgiving, the major holiday just a day before Black Friday. 

#OptOutside created shockwaves in the marketing worldit won nine awards, boosted social impressions by over 7000% in the first 24 hours and, in 2016, over 540 other companies and nonprofits joined in by closing their doors too. 

a view of a natural landscape with the hashtag: OptOutside

REI’s #OptOutside campaign succeeded because it was driven by the company’s values on a broader level. 

Global brands need social media experts who know how to sensitively align their values with actions to authentically address social issues. A global social media manager with training or experience in raising awareness of social issues knows when to speak up and how to promote local representatives who understand a community’s emotion and cultural environment.

See also: Why your brand shouldn’t stay silent on social issues

3. Speed and versatility

Customer service extends to the digital space. A dedicated community manager can quickly respond to social media complaints or inquiries. In fact, this isn’t just nice to have—consumers expect it. 57% of US consumers expect a speedy response—anywhere from under one hour to within 12 hours—from a brand. 

“To produce content that connects with people, you have to be tuned in to what’s going on in the region. For example, something could happen tomorrow that makes a certain post inappropriate. So it’s super important to plan, but also to be versatile in your approach.”

Kyler Canastra, VeraContent’s head of business development

Regional US airline Southwest does this particularly well. 

Brooks Thomas, social business senior advisor for Southwest, says,Our goal is to essentially fully integrate social as a way of life throughout Southwest Airlines.” 

Typically, consumers tweet about lost baggage, long lines or delays due to bad weather. Southwest keeps a careful eye on these complaints, especially from the consumers who have a significant amount of followers. 

But sometimes, the requests are unique. In 2019, a customer tweeted that her friend forgot her bridesmaid’s dress in Houston on a Thursday and asked if Southwest could get it to the friend in Costa Rica before the wedding that Saturday. The social team at Southwest responded quickly, agreeing to get her dress on a flight the next day. Twitter users started to pay attention. The original tweet gained nearly 8,000 likes and 200 replies, with users eagerly awaiting live updates from the twitter account. 

Their social media team hopped on the engagement opportunity right when it popped up. Positive interactions like these spread positive brand awareness for those who see it on their feed—and it couldn’t have happened if Southwest wasn’t ready to respond as fast as they did. 

See also: How to post in multiple languages on Facebook and Instagram

4. Adapt and adopt

Social media is ubiquitous but remember, it’s still a relatively new tool for customer engagement. 

A solid global social media manager knows the ins-and-outs of fostering success with different platforms. For example, they know Instagram is better for punchy visuals, while LinkedIn consumers expect to see long-form articles or industry news. Content isn’t one-size-fits-all—even more so when it needs to reach global audiences.

Good global social media management also keeps an eye towards the future. 67% of markets expect to put at least a quarter of their budget into a strategy involving the metaverse, augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). To keep up with the ever-changing world of social media, we have to adopt and adapt. 

See also: Best content marketing platforms and tools: A comprehensive list

How much is a global social media manager’s salary?

Hands giving dollars as a reference to a global social media manager's salary

As you might guess, how much a global social media manager costs will depend on a few factors, like region, experience and industry. 

By location:

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a global social media community manager in the US (across all years of experience) is $83,624. This could be on the higher end of the pay range, as BuiltIn reports that the average base salary for a social media manager is around $71,653

Meanwhile, in Europe, Glassdoor reports the average salary in 2022 for these countries:

By experience: 

Payscale reports that the entry-level (<1 year) pay for a social media manager in New York is around $48,000 annually. Early career and mid-career professionals earn around $61,000 and $72,000, respectively. Meanwhile, the pay for an experienced (10-19 years) social media manager in New York is around $76,000 a year, and for late-career (20+ years) managers, around $82,000. 

By industry:

A report by Zippia took a look at the average salary by industry and found that the highest paying sectors for a global social media manager were:

  1. Technology ($82,546)
  2. Finance ($74,173)
  3. Professional/Sales ($71,455)

Meanwhile, Hospitality was the lowest paying at an average of $67,443 with Media and Retail a little higher, at around $70,000 for both industries. 

Pro Tip: Be sure your brand’s content strategy connects with local audiences. Download our free, interactive guide on how to manage multilingual social media accounts:

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How to tailor a global social media manager role to fit your business

If expanding your staff with an in-house manager is beyond your means, there are two options: 

1. Look at freelance social media managers 

Freelance global community managers are a more flexible solution if you aren’t sure about bringing someone in-house. This also gives you the opportunity to hire individuals as needed, according to your specific global marketing campaigns

Upwork states that a freelance social media manager is usually paid around $14-35/hour, with more experienced social media managers earning around $100/hour. 

Pro tip: For more insights on hiring and building positive relationships with freelancers, download our checklist.

2. Consider an international social media agency

You can trust an international marketing agency that has experience working with global brands to know what it takes to run successful social media campaigns. A global marketing agency has access to more resources and talent than just one community manager. They can also confer with local translators and community managers—giving you the best of both worlds: local expertise and a global perspective.

If you need help with establishing an effective global social media presence, whether that’s setting up an efficient social media workflow or managing your social media directly, we’d love to help. 

At VeraContent, we help global brands by creating teams of expert local community managers and copywriters who understand new markets. Get in touch to find out if you qualify for a free content consultation!