The Growth of Social Media Continues to Rise While the Profession Does Not—and I’m Here to Change That.
August 13, 2021
Social media continues to play an increasingly larger role in marketing, as do the skills and resources required from brands to have a competitive presence on it. Yet the progression of social media as a profession doesn’t seem to be catching up at the same speed.
A common job description for a social media manager may call for an unreasonable amount of skills including, but not limited to—strategy, copywriting, graphic design, videography, photography, data analysis, and community management. Yet, the average salary for the position is around $40K in Miami, Florida, according to Glassdoor.
It’s obvious that based on the number of responsibilities and skills expected from social media managers, the role has come a long way from being relegated to interns. However, there is still a great gap between the value provided by the role and the value perceived by decision makers.
In over ten years working in social media roles, I have consistently experienced first hand the lack of understanding, if not downright disrespect, most people have for the job—the scope, the skills required, and the responsibilities that come with it.
A decade ago social media platforms had less data to track, fewer tools to use, and key performance indicators to measure. So the role of managing them could be seen as entry-level. But that is no longer the case and social media is at the forefront of a company’s marketing strategy and the connecting point between a brand and its audience. Those of us in charge of managing these platforms are far from entry level—we act as the brand’s voice and have access to pivotal data, we work around the clock, and are on the frontlines of all crises.
Yet despite this fact, social media professionals are still expected to do more with less. Most of us have to act as copywriters, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, community managers, data analysts, crisis communicators, and growth strategists. All while also being offered entry-level salaries.
Yes, some progress has been made. Some organizations have social media director or above roles, but there’s still much work to be done to get us in the C-suite. In most cases, social media teams consist of one or two people expected to be on call 24-7. This past year has proven increasingly difficult for social media managers of larger brands having to navigate social issues and the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many of us emotionally exhausted and burnt out. In short, the job of social media professionals comes with heavy burdens, little support, and doesn’t pay well.
So what do we do about it? We speak up and bring the issue to light, which is what I’m doing here. I’ve made it my mission to advance the social media profession forward and in the summer of 2020 I founded GG Communications—a social media and creative agency dedicated to servicing female-led brands and mentoring social media service providers.
It is up to us to set our own industry standards and it starts by educating those outside of our profession about the value we bring to the table and by confidently setting the expectations and boundaries we wish to see in our crucial roles.
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