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The Modern ‘Mad Men’: How to Become a Social Media Copywriter

The popular TV show Mad Men, which premiered on AMC in 2007 and aired for seven seasons, dramatized the work of advertising copywriters in New York City during the 1960s. Though Mad Men focused on the lives of several employees and their families during a time of great social and cultural change, it also showed the realities of advertising in a pre-digital world. Copywriters and account executives would spend hours, days, and weeks perfecting a tagline in an attempt to influence the masses to buy anything from liquor to cars.

A social media copywriter composes a post.

Advertising moves much faster in the 21st century. Marketing companies can create graphics and advertisements for a campaign or branding idea within days or weeks, if not faster. A talented graphic artist can design a print-ready ad in hours thanks to digital design programs. The rise of social media means companies have to develop many different messages and strategies, deploying different ads every day, at different times, to target different demographics. Continue reading to learn more about the people who create these messages, what their job entails, and how to become a social media copywriter.

What Does a Social Media Copywriter Do?

Social media copywriters are responsible for crafting the messages that companies use in their social media posts. They spend their days working with company representatives, clients, and outreach executives to turn a marketing idea into a hashtag, phrase, or longer post for various social media channels. Social media copywriters are the primary people responsible for generating ideas for graphics or messages of this kind. After high-level staff members approve the concept for a post, social media copywriters implement the strategy by creating the copy, publishing the post, and later tracking its success through analytics.

Steps for Becoming a Social Media Copywriter

Becoming a social media copywriter is about developing the right skill set, which includes digital media savvy, communication, and writing. The right education can help students hone these skills and more, making them attractive to future employers.

Get Online

Anybody can go online and create social media profiles, opening up accounts on several platforms for free. Aspiring social media professionals should be comfortable with the major platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By avidly using them, future social media copywriters learn what works and what doesn’t, as well as the different styles of communication each platform emphasizes.

Develop Skills

Once an aspiring social media copywriter is online, the next step is to develop social media skills. This includes gaining an understanding of graphic design, analytics interpretation, and how to write witty and succinct social media posts that have the potential to “go viral” and reach a wide audience. By crafting their own social media presence, future copywriters practice brand building and curating images and messages.

Get an Education                

Social media skills can go only so far without refinement. A college education helps aspiring social media copywriters get a more nuanced understanding of tone, voice, style, and the mechanics of the English language and its effect on an audience. A degree such as Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Arts in English is often an essential step on the path to becoming a social media copywriter.

Social Media Copywriter Salaries

The median annual salary for copywriters with social media marketing skills is around $49,800, according to October 2019 PayScale data. The bottom 10% earn around $35,000, and the top 10% earn as much as $72,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have specific data on social media copywriters but includes them in the category of public relations specialists, who earn a median annual salary of $60,000, as of May 2018.

Employment Outlook for Social Media Copywriters

The BLS reports the job market for public relations specialists includes 270,000 jobs as of May 2018. It projects the employment of these professionals will grow 6% between 2018 and 2028, which is slightly above the national job market average (5%) and equates to 17,300 new jobs in a multitude of industries.

As of 2018, the largest employer of PR specialists was advertising, holding 13.4% of the market (36,300 jobs). Educational services employed 12% (32,500 jobs), the government employed 9.3% (25,100 jobs), and healthcare employed 7% (18,900 jobs). The BLS projects the job market for PR specialists in healthcare and social assistance will grow by 3,100 jobs between 2018 and 2028. This 16.5% jump is the largest increase in any one industry during that time.

Learn More About Becoming a Social Media Copywriter

As you develop your social media and graphic design abilities, make sure to enroll in the right degree program to enhance your writing and communication skills. Courses on rhetoric, creative writing, and classic literature all help you gain a greater command of the written word. Are you ready to take the next step toward becoming a social media copywriter? Explore how Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Arts in English can help you become a better writer and step into this kind of position.

Recommended Readings

A Career of Creation: How to Become a Writer

How Technological Advancements Will Shape the Future of Journalism


Maryville University, Online Bachelor of Arts in English

Medium, “The History and Evolution of Copywriting”

Social Media Today, “A Day in the Life of a Social Media Specialist”

USA Today, “10 Skills for a Successful Career in Social Media Advertising”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Career Outlook: Social Media Specialist”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Public Relations Specialists

WayUp, “What Does a Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager Look Like?”