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Why Social Media Managers are Underrated & Undervalued

Nov 22, 2020
(updated: Dec 6, 2022)
Max 5 min read

If you’re a part of the 21st century, you’re likely familiar with social media. And not just familiar, maybe you consider yourself a bit of an expert. You know how to take the perfect “Instagram worthy” photo, just what filters to add, and you’ve even crafted a list of hashtags that will get you noticed.

You’ve probably seen a listing for a “Social Media Manager” and thought “I could do that.” But I’m here to tell you, after years in this profession, this role is much harder than most people think.

Social Media Managers Are Multi-Tasking Ninjas

If you’re a Social Media Manager (SMM), you’re often also a copywriter, editor, videographer, strategist, analyst, customer service agent, community manager, and more, all in one day. 

Many SMMs are in charge of managing and creating content for multiple accounts, so they are responsible for all the above jobs for multiple accounts every single day. 

Most people are tasked with one, maybe two jobs; SMMs have about 10 jobs and counting.

Don’t Underestimate Social Media Managers

Now, think about this! They are tasked with all these responsibilities, yet their pay usually only reflects their one role of “Social Media Manager.” In my opinion, this is a huge travesty. 

This position is a HUGE asset to any team. Social media has the power to make something go viral, which could get a brand or client, in front of millions of eyes they could never have even dreamed of reaching. Again, none of this would be possible without this person.

Companies don’t hesitate about shelling out the big bucks for their Creative Director or Marketing Manager, yet Social Media Managers often are often the ones doing all the heavy lifting behind the scenes, and they make considerably less than these roles. It’s time we change that!

No Rest for the Wicked

10 years ago this role didn’t even exist! And in those 10 years so much has changed. Social media exploded and news moved to a 24/7 cycle. At every moment of the day, there’s always something going on. 

You’re constantly in charge of monitoring the news and any developing stories. You need to be able to stop everything at the drop of a hat and attend to a huge story or PR nightmare. 

Many times you’re the company's first line of defense when it comes to flagging potential PR problems or unhappy customers. And remember this, if you work in the US, there will always be customers online in another part of the country if you’re a global brand, so you literally never have “off time.” 

Social Media Managers Are Seriously Undervalued

With this 24/7 news cycle comes a 24/7 job. Unlike most of your other coworkers who can close their computers at 5 pm and be done for the day, you’re always on.

And since your phone is always on you and likely set up to alert you to new notifications, it’s incredibly hard to ever turn it off. 

This is made even harder by the fact that most bosses or clients don’t realize this. They think responding to a comment or posting a quick picture is just that, quick, but it never is.

Social Media Management = Immense Planning

People tend to underestimate the planning, strategy, and optimization that goes into every single post. 

You need to research the correct hashtags to keep the algorithm happy (and they can’t be too similar to your last post), figure out the optimal time of day for posting, write a fun, witty caption, come up with the graphic (usually the graphic designers are too busy, so not only do you have to decide on its theme, you also have to craft the entire design yourself), tag all relevant parties, and then repeat this process on every platform you manage.

Also, remember that each platform is different and has its own unique algorithm, so what you use for one platform won’t work for another. That means you have to come up with new, fresh content for multiple platforms every single day.

A Social Media Manager is a Brand’s First Line of Defense

And if you think once the post is up, you’re done. Wrong again. Now comes the next part.

Comments will start flooding your feed, and it will be your responsibility to answer them and flag any unhappy customers. Since people find it so easy to hide behind their computers these days, many times these comments will be mean and nasty. 

As anyone in this role knows, this is just part of the job. But you still need to find a respectful way to respond to them and not let them get to you.

Social Media Managers Constantly Need to Analyze & Adapt

In this role, you also act as a company’s analyst on all their metrics. 

You constantly need to be monitoring analytics and devising new ways to get the numbers up and keep people engaged.

This can be incredibly hard as there’s so much “noise” on social, so you constantly have to adapt and change strategies to break through it. What works one week might not work the following week, so this means a lot of pivoting in your strategy and planning.

Social Media Managers are Always On

Personally, I find the constant need to “always be on” absolutely exhausting. I have so much respect for every Social Media Manager out there and the multi-tasking ninjas that they are. 

I really think it’s time we start giving them more attention and truly value all that they bring to the table. And most importantly, it’s time we start paying them what they deserve.

This article goes out to all the Social Media Managers out there, I see you.

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