Wouldn't it be a dream job to play on Facebook all day long? Sharing pictures, commenting on threads and having a good laugh would be a great way to earn a living - if only that's what social media managers really did.
In spite of what some may think, the life of a true professional social media manager involves much more than messing around on social platforms all day long. The best social media managers have a finely tuned skillset that's taken them a long time - and a lot of work - to perfect.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest misconceptions about social media management, and what the truth is behind these myths and misunderstandings.
1. Social media managers play on Facebook all day
Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the best social media managers double as professional brand marketers. Coming up with quotes or pictures and posting them to social media is only one small part of the role - professional social media managers have a lot more work cut out for them.
There's a matter of creating a strategy, implementation, and then measuring results.
Social media is just another avenue of marketing, and it requires the same advance planning as any other marketing channel.
2. Social media success is luck of the draw
Some less qualified social media managers might have you believe that a lot of it comes down to luck. That's simply not true.
A professional social media manager acquires knowledge of the client, their business, their industry, their target audience and their competitors, and then works with the company to develop branding guidelines and communicate them efficiently with that target market via social platforms.
The best social media campaigns are the culmination of strategic planning, research and creativity. The end result, ideally, is a large, engaged audience that develops a loyalty toward the brand.
3. When it comes to social media, something is better than nothing
The notion that having a basic social presence - even an inactive or misguided one - is better than nothing is another myth.
Social media done wrong can do far more damage to a brand than not having a social media presence at all. Social media management requires a strategy for success so that the company can quickly analyze the ROI figures and determine if it makes sense to keep paying for the campaign.
According to one Hootsuite study, a third of all Facebook users engage with their favorite brands on a regular basis and two million advertisers use the site to market their business. I'll save you the suspense - not all of the people paying for marketing on Facebook are getting a return on their time and money investment.
Considering that 60% of users on Instagram discover new products on the platform - and up to 75% say they might take action on a single post - it's imperative that you market to your audience the right way or you could be throwing money out the window.
A smart social media manager knows how to take the necessary information and convert it to dollars and cents so they can advise a client on what to do next.
4. It's a low pressure job
Consider how stressful social media can be just for personal use and then multiply that by ten.
When you're a social media manager, you've got a company's entire brand image in your hands. That means big money, that's a high pressure position that demands results and a constantly evolving campaign strategy. We live in a fast paced world where platforms change, strategies change and even ROI is sometimes re-evaluated on a nearly constant basis. The best social media managers stay ahead of the curve and on top of these trends so their clients don't fall by the wayside.
5. Social media management only takes a couple hours a week
This is perhaps the biggest fallacy of them all, with too many social media 'experts' touting a four hour workweek and out-of-this world results with just a few minutes of work per day. The professionals know better.
An in-house social media manager is typically hired to solely manage one brand, all day long, whereas freelance or independent social media managers may move from client to client, complicating their workload all the more so. Social media management doesn't have to be a hard job, but it does require strategy, creativity and some serious time.
Lauren Wilkison of CSC Digital Marketing says that understanding social media is akin to understanding customers and the psychology of the market:
"It's about knowing where your customers are and how to reach them. It's also about evoking emotion so that they feel inclined to interact and take action. Social media marketing is a challenging profession, but also an essential part of modern marketing."
Are you cut out for the job?
Social media marketing can be a lucrative, fun and flexible career path, but you need to approach it for the right reasons, with the right skills and the right expectations.
One source reports that businesses are willing to pay an average of $500 to $2,500 for an account setup and up to $10,000 or more for a full social media strategy. There's no shortage of money to be made in this industry, and it doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon.