The Hectic Schedule of a Social Media Manager

So, you decided to be a Social Media Manager.  Seems like it’s the coolest job on the market.  What can be more fun than spending all of your work time chatting on Twitter and Facebook and checking out new videos on YouTube?  Especially when everybody admits the fact that you are busy working and not wasting your time.  On top of that you get paid for what you are doing!   It’s like a dream position for new marketing grads who spend hours on social media channels for their personal needs and wouldn’t mind to do the same for a company with additional compensation.

The problem is that it isn’t that easy.

It’s very easy to underestimate the role of a Social Media Manager.  The job can be very stressful and overwhelming just like any other job that’s out there.  The reality is that even if it’s so much fun to be active on your personal social media accounts that doesn’t mean it’s going to be as easy and fun to implement a social media strategy and be non-stop interactive for business purposes.  Below is a great infographic demonstrating the Hectic Schedule of a Social Media Manager.

See if you are ready to jump into a hectic social media world and let me know what you think!


Mariya Newman @MariyaNewman

How to Structure a Social Media Job in Your Company

As organizations continue to build and expand their social media marketing positions, many are still learning how to structure their organization for social media.

How should your social media position be structured?

The answer depends on your budget, team size and industry.  The Altimeter Group has provided some guidance and information on how social media marketing roles are typically structured for organizations at different stages.

As shown in the chart, the best approach is to start small if you are just getting your feet wet at the novice level, and grow your spending and staff over time.  Depending on where your organization is, your plans for the future and your industry you will want to consider different structures for your social media positions.

As your organization matures, you should expect your team size to grow.  An average novice social media team has only 3 employees, intermediate has 8 and advanced has over 20.

How Much Should Your Business Spend on Social Media?

Many businesses who are just getting started with social media marketing are not sure how to staff the position and how to budget for social media.  Since each organization is different it is important to make sure that you understand your goals, needs and objectives first.

The chart below (from Altimeter Group) shows how businesses are spending in social media.

Internal costs are among the highest, with staffing as the majority of the expense.  Staffing social media is one of the highest investment areas, with corporations investing an average of $278,000, up 48% in 2011 on staffing.  Also of interest is the investment in training.  Companies are only starting to invest in social media training for their organization, a number that we expect will grow over time.  Companies are expected to invest $23k on training, up 28% from last year.  Since social media and digital marketing change so quickly, training is key to success for social media practitioners.

How does your organization stack up in your social media investment in staffing and training?  Are you keeping pace?

How to Staff For Social Media

Companies often ask about how to appropriately staff for social media positions.  Like most things in social media, there isn’t a one size fits all answer.  Depending on the size of your company, your commitment to social media and the nature and number of mentions of your brand online, you may have a different structure or setup.

It is important to consider the unique needs of your organization with respect to social media.  If you are just getting started, it is usually helpful to begin with one social media champion who can get the organization on board with your social media plan.

Many organizations will have multiple people posting to their social media accounts. This helps to be sure that there is a constant stream of content, and allows multiple people to contribute to answer questions.  For example, representatives from marketing, customer service and PR may all contribute to posting and responding on social media sites.

The Altimeter Group provided information about how companies are staffing social media roles.  The chart below shows the ratio of employees to # of people posting on a social media site.  Based on the chart below, for a company with 1,000 – 5,000 employees, there are about 5 – 25 people posting on social networks.

Over time, most social media analysts expect that organization will have more people posting on their social networks.  As general staff becomes more comfortable with social networks, the need for specific “social media” positions may begin to decline.


5 Mistakes in Finding a Job in Social Media

I train thousands of people each year in social media marketing.  Many of them are seasoned professionals in the field while others are hoping to break it.  Social media is a new and emerging field, and most people in the industry are not yet very experienced.

When I began working in social media 5 years ago we were one of the first companies on Twitter and we primarily focused on social network marketing on MySpace.  It seems that everyone with a Twitter account claims to be an expert citing as much as 10 years of experience in the field.

If you are looking for a position in social media marketing, here are some tips that many people make when attempting to enter the world of social media marketing.

1. Not Investing in Your Skills

This is a big one.  When I got in to social media I invested thousands of dollars in attending conferences and even more in coaching and meeting the experts. Many of the people who want to work in social media don’t attend social media training and don’t bother to attend industry conferences where they can learn from the best.

Read blogs, learn from others and invest in your skills.  Many social media marketers are arrogant – I know it all, why would I learn from that person! – yet you can always continue to learn, especially in a field that evolves so quickly.

I continue to learn from those in the industry to keep my skills sharp.

2. Not Getting Experience

If you want to work in social media, get some legitimate experience. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who have barely joined Twitter who want to get hired as a consultant or as an employee in social media. People shouldn’t have to pay you to learn (unless they agree to it upfront).

Volunteer for a non-profit or do an internship in social media.  Find a legitimate way to get some real experience with results that you can point to across platforms (Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc).

3. Assuming it is Easy

Social media marketing is harder than ever.  There is so much clutter on Facebook and Twitter and in blogs that you really have to have a solid plan and great content in order to break through the noise and connect with your customers.

Many experienced social media practitioners find this difficult.

Just because you can set up a Facebook fan page (which anyone can do) doesn’t mean that you can market a company on it.  It is harder than ever to get real results.

4. Overselling their Skills

The joke with social media is that everyone is an expert…. the same is true with many areas of internet marketing.  I have interviewed many people for digital marketing positions, and many candidates who claim to be experts in an area like Search Engine Optimization or Online Advertising don’t even know the basics.

When you oversell your skills you lose credibility, and you may wind up in a job that you are not really qualified for.  Just because you know a little bit about an area, don’t claim to be an expert. Understand where your gaps are and take steps to fill them.  You don’t have to know everything about all aspects of internet marketing.  Know what you don’t know and invest in yourself to acquire the needed skills.

5. Not Having Passion

Passion for social media and internet marketing are key. The reality is that they change so quickly, that it is more important to stay up-to-date than in other areas of marketing.  If you are passionate about social media, digital marketing or internet marketing this will come very naturally to you.

I’ve trained many people who aren’t really passionate about social media and don’t actually like connecting with people.  They tend to be less successful in the long-run because their skills quickly become out-of-date.

Be passionate about what you do – whatever it is – and you will be much better at it.

5 Mistakes in Hiring Social Media Managers

Many companies are hiring social media talent, and I have seen many of my clients hire on social media managers over the years.  Many of these companies end up finding out that they hired someone with the wrong skill set.  This can be an expensive and time consuming mistake.  The problem is that most companies don’t know what to look for when hiring in social media, and those who are qualified are difficult to find and in high demand.

Here are the top 5 mistakes that I have seen made by companies who are hiring in social media.

1. Assuming that Playing on Social Media and Working in Social Media are the same

These days, everyone is a social media expert. Apparently having a Twitter account (even if you hardly use it) and having Facebook friends makes you an expert on social media.  The reality is that many people are enthusiastic about social media, and they may use it personally, but that doesn’t mean that they can translate their knowledge of personal use of social media into your marketing strategy and results.

Many companies hire an intern or recent grad.  The problem is that while they may understand the tools, they typically don’t understand how to link the opportunities with the tools back to business objectives.  In addition, many of them are unfamiliar with the business side of social media and have limited experience with Facbeook Pages and Blogs.

2. Not Understanding the Skills for Success

The skills for success in social media depend on the type of position and level within the organization.  It is important to determine how strategic vs. executional the position will be, and also to understand how much support the position will have from others in the organization.  A role that is very strategic in an organization with limited social media knowledge will require a more seasoned candidate than a position with senior social media managers to provide additional training and strategic support.

In addition to technical skills, social media managers should be passionate about social media and the product and customers that they are interacting with.

Many companies also underestimate the analytical skills required for success in social media.  Constant testing and learning, plus linking in to web analytics is vital to long-term success.

3. Hiring on The Cheap

Many companies set the salaries for their social media marketing positions on the low end of the curve, and look for recent graduates to fill the gap.  If the position is new and requires testing, learning and building a strategy, you want to staff it with a seasoned marketer, which comes with a seasoned salary.

Don’t go for the cheapest candidate.  Many of my clients have hired their social media positions as entry level because of the salary expectations, only to find that the employee couldn’t work independently and think strategically.

4. Confusing Enthusiasm with Strategic Skill

Just because someone plays on social media a lot, and even loves it, doesn’t mean that they are the best strategist for your business.  Would you hire the kid who watches the most TV to build your television marketing strategy?  No.

Enthusiasm can sometimes even be a downfall as the candidate may have difficulty separating personal and professional social media time.

5. Not Providing Training and Mentorship

Social media changes quickly, and if you want to continue to get results from your social media talent, it is important to support their investment to keep their skills up to date.  Be sure to invest in regular training and help to find a mentor (inside or outside of your company) where your social media manager can get advice.  Social media is still evolving and some parts of social media are very subjective.  Make sure that your candidate has the skills for continued success.

Social Media Job Growth

Social media, digital marketing and internet marketing are among the quickest growing jobs in marketing are those in digital and social media marketing.  As marketing dollars continue to shift to digital, the talent required to execute in digital is in high demand.  Studies show that twitter and social network advertising is expected to increase dramatically in the next few years. In order for marketers and advertisers to continue to be relevant in the new medium they need a talented workforce that really understands the changing landscape.

The chart below from SimplyHired shows the trends for jobs with Social Media Marketing, Internet Marketing and Digital Marketing in their titles.

Since November of 2009:

  • Social Media Marketing jobs have increased 307%
  • Internet Marketing jobs increased by 183%
  • Digital Marketing jobs increased by 98%

Social Media Salaries

Since social media jobs are still relatively new, many companies struggle with the appropriate salaries for social media professionals.  Since positions in social media and digital marketing range from entry level to senior executive, there really is no rule of thumb for these types of jobs.

When determining the appropriate salary for a social media or internet marketing position, there are a few things to consider:

  • The level of the position
  • The specialized skills required for success
  • The difficulty to fill the position
  • The amount of strategy vs. execution
  • Salary for similar marketing/pr positions
  • Bonuses based on performance has a salary guide that is based on pulling keywords from job titles and comparing the salary range.  As you can see below, social media jobs tend to be in between marketing and PR positions in terms of the overall range.

Keep in mind that this is only a guide.  The actual salary will vary dramatically depending on the specific role of the position.  More senior roles, or those with more specialized skills typically have a higher salary.