When I tell people I work in social media marketing, I sometimes get the feeling they don’t exactly know what that means. Most of the time they respond with something along the lines of “That sounds fun! I’m jealous you get to do that for a living!” Or my personal favorite, “So you just play around on Facebook all day?”
The answer to that question is no, in case that wasn’t obvious. In a nutshell, my role includes managing the corporate social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) for the company I work for, SolarWinds. I plan, write, and schedule out all of the posts for these accounts, respond to comments and direct messages from customers, run ad campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, and create monthly reports to measure success.
I love what I do. I’m the type of person that needs to feel challenged, and social media gives me that on a daily basis. I’m never bored, and I’m constantly kept on my toes. Overall it is a great field to work in, and I feel that my skills and personality are well suited for it.
But before you get too excited, quit your current job, and become a Social Media Manager, here are five things you should know.
You will wear a lot of hats
If you’re someone who likes to be super focused on a specific skill, this may not be the job for you. As a Social Media Manager I also consider myself to be a Copywriter, Customer Support Representative, Content Editor, Strategist, Creative, and more. Depending on the day I might wear all of these hats, or just a couple. Social media is my specialty, but I am expected to be an expert in all of the above fields as well.
You are expected to know the answers to everything
Everything is an exaggeration, of course, but it’s not too far off. Whether a designer needs your opinion on what a social banner should look like, or a customer is having a problem with your product and is asking questions online, you better be able to give them answers quickly. When it comes to the customer support aspect of social media, I often find myself faced with technical product questions I do not know the answers to. Being able to escalate to the right person and ask for help is an essential part of my job.
Social media never sleeps
The downside of working in social media is that while the rest of the world is on vacation or taking the day off, social media is still going strong. For the most part I am able to unplug on the weekends or on holidays like Christmas, but I still need to be checking in every now and then to ensure I haven’t missed anything urgent. This Christmas I remember being sure someone would send out a string of complaints on Twitter and I would miss it and get in trouble. Luckily that didn’t happen, but I found myself checking Twitter every now and then just to be sure.
You become overly critical of other people’s social media posts
When you spend your days focusing on how to create the best social media posts you can, that perfection tends to leak into your personal time as well. I find myself cringing at my friends and acquaintances when I feel like they are making a social media faux pas. Examples include over sharing about their life, and posting too frequently without much variation (we all have that friend who posts a few too many selfies each week). Sometimes I wish I could set up a Social Media 101 class for friends and family to attend!
It’s not the same as managing your personal social media accounts
People who ask if I’m just “playing around on Facebook” all day, this one’s for you! I consider my personal social media usage to be completely separate, and very different, from what I do at work. My personal social media is much more real-time and involves little to know strategy. I like a photo, I post it on Instagram. I have a random funny thought, I tweet it out to my followers. When managing the social media accounts for my company, however, I never post anything without putting thought and strategy behind it. Everything fits into the editorial calendar, and works to solve a bigger problem or goal. Will this drive more engagement? Will it cause people to attend this event, buy our products, or download a piece of content? These are the questions I ask myself every day at my job.
Did any of these surprise you? If there are any other social media gurus out there, can you think of anything I missed? Leave a comment and let me know!