5 Reasons Why You Should Work In Social Media
or, More Confessions of a Recovering Social Media Manager
So, I didn’t scare you off from my previous post, 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Work In Social Media. Or, you came directly here, from social media, or from Medium’s landing page, or maybe someone sent you the link. What-have-you. Well… welcome!
Before I extol the virtues of this profession, I wanted to reiterate a few things, to cull the truly faint-of-heart from proceeding any further down this career path. There are a lot of terrible facets to working in social media. Go read my original post if you think I’m kidding. From 24/7 availability, to the overemphasis on numbers, to having very little room for errors, social media is stressful af.
You’re still here? Okay, if you’re sure… here’s five reasons why you should work in social media:
1. There’s an absolute goddamn, shit-ton of money in social.
According to the folks at Hootsuite, social media ad spending is set to exceed $35 billion by the end of 2017. That’s Scrooge McDuck-levels of cash we’re talking about. Which is brilliant, because social media advertising tends to be much cheaper than traditional (read: print, television) advertising, with more tracking tools built in to measure impact. If you’re looking for a particular path within the social industry to pursue, this one will probably end up being the most lucrative–especially in director-level roles. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Social media isn’t going anywhere.
Even though job security doesn’t exist in 2017 like it did in 1950 (i.e. you worked at one company for the duration of your career, working your way up from the mailroom to the board room) there is certainly a longevity to the social media industry. As long as growing traffic and conversions remain the name of the game, social media will play a part in it–even if Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest somehow vanish off the face of the Earth, or become some unholy alliance in the vein of SnapFacerGram. Or, as Gary Vaynerchuk said (and if you have no idea who he is, you best find out before you start your social media career):
When I hear people debate the ROI of social media? It makes me remember why so many businesses fail. Most businesses are not playing the marathon. They’re playing the sprint. They’re not worried about lifetime value and retention. They’re worried about short-term goals.
This isn’t a short-term game. Never was, never will be. You’re in it for the long haul, my friends.
3. You’re ok with, and can handle, the volatility.
Within the span of 24 hours, Facebook’s algorithm can change, sending traffic and conversions nosediving, Google can update how search results are displayed, in turn hurting your advertising efforts, your social media dashboard can break, rendering you helpless as carefully-scheduled posts go haywire. If you think this sounds alarmist, you’re kind of right. Days in which ~*~everything goes wrong~*~ will occur in social media, just like in any other job. Most workdays will pass by just fine, with nary a blip nor a blunder to your name. But you will, 100% guaranteed, experience and perhaps even lead a company through a social media crisis. (Remember that disastrous United Airlines flight? My heart goes out to their Twitter managers.) And you’ll need to be prepared, with a steady hand, a calm mind, and a kumbaya exterior.
4. There’s tons of room to experiment and innovate.
Social media, by its nature, is content packaged into bite sizes. From 140 character tweets, to 70 character Facebook headlines, to disappearing Instagram stories, the content you make for these platforms is quickly gobbled up, and moreover, the hunger is never satiated. There’s always room for MOAR CONTENT! Which means that managers, strapped for budget and other resources, lean heavily on social media teams to help make something out of, well, nothing. The ephemeral nature of social platforms mean you can try new ways of using your brand voice, creative, hashtags, emoji, etc to see what your audience will respond to, with the goal of iterating on successful content. This is a crucial skill to possess if you want to make it as a social media manager.
Another popular, if somewhat unethical technique, is to subvert different platform features to garner the best engagement. A good example of this are social media managers who create videos out of a single static image, and upload them to the Facebook Page(s) they manage. Facebook gives preference to videos in the News Feed, meaning that Facebook shows video to more people over images or text-only posts. The result of this is a piece of content with more engagement, meaning Facebook will give that Page more visibility in the News Feed with their future posts. It’s kind of dumb, but it works — that is, until Facebook (or whatever social platform you’re trying to game) notices, and adjusts their algorithm to compensate.
tl;dr: you’ll never win against Facebook.
5. You can combine your passion with the industry.
Do you like wine? Sneakers? Dogs? Saving the Earth? There’s a social media job out there for you! I just queried “social+media” in LinkedIn’s jobs postings, and there are currently 67,466 social media jobs available worldwide. If I hired all 67,466 of those roles right now, I could fill Gillette Stadium — home of the New England Patriots — with my new employees. That’s a crap ton of jobs, people. And every company in every industry needs someone to manage their social media. (Seriously. I’ve managed social media for a cab company, a freelance services provider, and a video-conferencing app, among others.) So, if I were you, I’d combine my favorite thing, what I’m most passionate about, with this industry.
And that’s what it’s really about: passion, and dedication. Those two qualities are qualities you absolutely have, if you’ve made it this far down the page. It’s not an easy job, but having these qualities in your arsenal already make you a strong player in the field. Don’t waste it!
To quote “Fraggle Rock” (because yes, I’m a millennial, and “Fraggle Rock” is awesome):
“But, you’ve heard enough. Now, it’s time for you to listen. Go and find your songs.”
Get out there people, find your songs, and do me, yourself, and “Fraggle Rock” proud.