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The 5 Worst Stereotypes About Social Media Managers

The 5 Worst Stereotypes About Social Media Managers image rumors resized 600Today, businesses of every size are realizing the importance of having qualified, capable, full-time staff engaging and elevating their social media presence. However, because this role is still relatively new, some people think the job is best suited for a young intern or their tech-savvy granddaughter.

But let me tell you from experience, social media is a tough gig. It’s a vital role that’s demanding, constantly changing, and often a career that has many misconceptions.

Lets discuss some of them, shall we?

1. It can be done by anyone.

Theres a specific skillset and dramatic learning curve. Techniques are key when it comes to managing your online reputation and to be frank, not everyone has the natural knack for communicating your messaging appropriately. The Social Media manager is responding to customer service questions, setting the tone and personality for your brand and curating content that your followers will resonate with. If the person you hired is not immersed in the industry you’re targeting, chances are you’re going to get a whole lot of inspirational quotes and internet memes for content.

2. All we do is “play” on social media all day.

There’s always “that person” who will ask you what you do for a living and if you reply that you work in social media, they sometimes will say (or think), “So are you just playing on facebook and twitter all day?” And after I imagine myself pouring hot grease on them, I calmly tell them about how social media management requires a tremendous amount of strategy in order to yield a positive ROI. A Social Media Manager’s performance should be measured with inbound marketing analytics from campaigns, content and engagement.

Integration with the company’s overall marketing strategy should be an intricate part of the goals and objectives. Identifying and nurturing leads should be among the primary goals of a social media strategy, and the sharpest brands are working to find ways to identify and reward their brand evangelists.

3. That our job stops at the end of the workday.

Wouldn’t that be nice! Alas, there is no 9 to 5 in the social mediasphere. A Social Media Manager is expected to be “always on.” There are constant notifications popping up on my iphone. Between customer service questions on Twitter, thoughtful comments that need responses on Facebook, and notifications on Linkedin, there really is no down time. And don’t even get me started on Instagram. It’s a common theme among my family and friends that I instagram, like, everything. The perfect shot, the right angle, the perfect crop, the artistic photo filter, the compelling caption and just the right hashtag. I probably put more thought into my instagram account than I do what I’m making for dinner.

4. It’s a job with no pressure.

Social media managers are tasked with building out the personality and reach of the brand, yet some professionals still don’t value the role. It’s our responsibility to stay up to date on social topics, trends, changes and tools. Our strategies and platforms are always changing, being added to and growing in influence. We’re putting out fires where there’s a fire and even shaping perceptions about brands that need to repair their online reputation.

5. Our mistakes are the biggest mistakes.

Forget the pen, the send button is mightier than the sword. Every email you send goes right to the recipient. Every tweet I send goes to tens of thousands of people. It’s critiqued, talked about, torn apart, praised or shared. For most of you, your completed tasks go straight to your boss – whereas mine go to several different clients across hundreds of networks. Just about every day you hear about a Social Media Manager that gets fired for posting the wrong post or tweeting the wrong tweet.

Don’t think for a second that this article is all about a “woe is me” attitude when it comes to my job. I do this because I love it. I love the pressure, I love the pace, and I love the reward of engaging people online.

So for my fellow social media mavens, twitterholics and facestalkers –  I salute you.

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Comments on this Article: 21

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  1. Megan Norton says:

    Excellent article. Very well written and true to a ‘T’. You hit those five points perfectly and I hope the non-social media marketers have the chance to read your article. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Lauren says:

    This is great! Love it!

  3. Michelle you just made my day! Thank you, I am sending this to everyone I work with, every client and everyone I know!

  4. Teresa Svedman says:

    Love it Michelle! :)

  5. If you’re like me you also probably put more thought into how you’re going to post your dinner on Instagram than actually eating it.

    • Michelle says:

      Sue, you are sooo right! I think I put more thought into the filter than I do for what outfit I’m wearing ;) ps- my instagram is @michellekraker

  6. Couldn’t have said it any better myself, Michelle! These irk me–big time. Sadly, I think there are too many “experts” who fulfill these stereotypes, and that’s why they’re so prevalent. But…I think it’s beginning to change, due in large part by the overwhelming need to pin down a return on a business’s investment into social/digital marketing (something “experts” fail to lock down).

    Thanks again for the good read–passing it along. :)

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Justin. I COMPLETELY agree. How can anyone be an expert in something that changes and evolves almost every day?? Social Media is too fluid a profession for “experts”

  7. These assumptions are apt for a number of communications pros, social PRs like myself. That’s all free and fun, that it’s not really work. Our mistakes are quite public, a joke tweet that offended 1.2% of people; yet our successes, all those metric hits and ROI wins, are quite private. Think that’s hardest thing for people to understand – those who don’t work online all day, aren’t vested in social – the complexities of working in a fishbowl. FWIW.

  8. Kim Siever says:

    I had someone call me on the first one in your list earlier this week. He said he could get an 11-year-old to do everything I do, and he could have the 11-year-old do it for only an ice cream cone.

  9. pam says:

    great list. i’d add another point which is slightly related to #1 but worthy of a separate bullet : that there’s no strategy involved, we just post random things at random times with no thought to composition, references/links, timing, etc.

  10. joy mendoza says:

    As a newbie in the field of social media marketing, i find this article really helpful and encouraging. thanks Michelle!

  11. Jason says:

    Great article Michelle, businesses that think they can get a family member to do it for them have no idea and only end up doing more harm than good. We dont want these type of clients anyway.

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