social media managerToday, 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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