This year has seen quite a few changes in the Social Media industry.
There have been several organizations introducing diplomas and even degrees in the field of social media marketing.
I know for a fact that true marketers are probably disgusted by this trend because as they will all agree – social media is simply another channel for marketing.
The way I heard one expert put it….. online marketing is to television marketing.
Let me guess – we never used the term television marketing or radio marketing right?
No of course not!
Because television and radio are channels or mediums for marketing.
Likewise the internet is a channel.
So why in heavens name would we dare call a type of marketing “online” just because it happens to be on the internet.
Well there are many arguments for and against this new phenomenon
But the truth remains, “online” marketing, “digital” marketing, “social media” marketing (if you dare to use the term) is here to stay, whether we like it or not.
And let’s face it, there are so many things that you can do online that all play a role in the way you market your business, it might as well be a separate discipline right?
The trouble some experts have is that many of the things taught as “strategies” are not really strategies. They are all tactics and you use traditional marketing strategies applied to this medium (the internet).
My personal opinion is that when you learn “online” marketing from someone who considers it a separate discipline you’re not confused or bombarded with the traditional lingo.
For example in the online marketing industry many people refer to what’s called an avatar. icons-chat-01
I can never recall my professors in my MBA program at the University of Memphis ever talking about an avatar in our marketing courses.
That just wouldn’t make sense! Instead we talked about target markets.
But you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the real COST of social media management.

Education in Social Media Has Played a Huge Role

Well my point is that since more and more people are becoming (for lack of a better phrase) “qualified” in Digital Marketing, the cost of this management is increasing.
Now I’m not saying that the cost is increasing because of the “certification”….
No there are some very smart people out there who are taking advantage of the opportunity that exist in creating certification programs for something that changes every 6 months.
There will be many people out there who will pay the same price as a college degree for something that will be more obsolete 2 months after the course is complete than my Industrial Engineering degree was 5 years after I graduated.
But just because there are no degree programs doesn’t mean there isn’t real value in social media management.
Let’s just take the time factor as an example.
We all know that you can schedule posts to most social media channels.
But there are several things that you can’t schedule.
You can’t schedule when someone comes onto your Social media page and writes the nastiest comment about something that happened to them at your company. Such issues have to be dealt with immediately if not within a 2 hour window.
You can’t schedule replying to direct messages in your inbox.
You can’t schedule LIVE streams (well not yet anyway).
And then of course there’s the preparation time right?
Your editorial calendar, your graphics for content and for posts, planning of promotional content.
And if you’re a good social media manager, you are probably responsible for multiple channels – YouTube, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest.
And each of these channels plays by different rules.
So then you have to keep up with the latest and the greatest so that your company is always up to date.
You have to know when Facebook changes it’s algorithm again.
You have to monitor the analytics from each channel.
And let’s not forget if you’re also a community manager on one of these channels your hands are full 24/7 with questions, comments etc.

What Are Your Expectations?

If I handed you a job description that looked something like this (below) – what would YOU expect to be paid?

Essential Duties of the Social Media Manager

  • Manage social media marketing campaigns and day-to-day activities including:
    • Develop relevant content topics to reach the company’s target customers.
    • Create, curate, and manage all published content (images, video and written).
    • Monitor, listen and respond to users in a “Social” way while cultivating leads and sales.
    • Conduct online advocacy and open a stream for cross-promotions.
    • Develop and expand community and/or influencer outreach efforts.
    • Oversee design (ie: Facebook Timeline cover, profile pic, thumbnails, ads, landing pages, Twitter profile, Blog, etc.).
    • Design, create and manage promotions and Social ad campaigns.
    • Manage efforts in building online reviews and reputation. Monitor online reviews and respond to each review.
    • Analyze key metrics and tweak strategy as needed.
    • Compile reports for management showing results (ROI).
  • Become an advocate for the company in social media spaces, engaging in dialogues and answering questions where appropriate.
  • Demonstrate ability to map out a comprehensive marketing plan. Drive strategies that are proven by testing and metrics.
  • Develop organizational elements in order to implement a proactive process for capturing happy, loyal customer online reviews.
  • Monitor trends in social media tools, applications, channels, design and strategy.
  • Implement ongoing education to remain highly effective.
  • Identify threats and opportunities in user-generated content surrounding the company. Report notable threats to appropriate management.
  • Analyze campaigns and translate anecdotal or qualitative data into recommendations and plans for revising social media, content marketing, SEO and social advertising campaigns.
  • Monitor effective benchmarks (Best Practices) for measuring the impact of social media campaigns. Analyze, review, and report on effectiveness of campaigns in an effort to maximize results. (source: 

Seems like a mouth full right? I bet you really didn’t know a Social Media Manager had all this to do?
I’ve often put it to my clients this way when they scream “bloody murder” at the fees I charge.
I let them know as politely as possible that I’m so grossly under charging you it’s not even funny.

And what Salaries do Social Media Managers Command?

Let’s take a look at what some people are making per annum with various derivatives of a Social Media Manager.
Social Media Manager (United States)

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In 2014 Sprout Social conducted a review and came up wit the following: for Social media manager salaries, Glassdoor’s national average was $51,613, while Indeed’s was $61,000. Also checking PayScale it showed a median salary of $45,260.
Today the numbers are a little higher.
But the fact remains as social media becomes more important so does the salary of those managing this service for companies.
If you are someone offering this service you have to know where you stand.
What are your job specifications and what are the expectations of the company that is hiring you for this job.
You have to know whether you’re full-time or part-time.
I remember when I first got started I would see people offering social media management services for $150 USD per month!
I thought to myself – They have no clue what Social Media Management is all about.
If you did know you wouldn’t charge anything less than $1000 USD per month!
And compared to what some get as a salary for Social  Media Management that is still very cheap.
Now as I just mentioned you have to know what a Social Media Manager is going to do for  your company.
Most companies are going the way of hiring internally because they realize that being a social media manage is a full-time job.
Yes you can outsource scheduling of content and sales posts, but there are other aspects that you may rather NOT outsource.
Like the customer care aspect.
There are 4 Successful steps to a Social Media Plan which I discuss in this post.
So the reality is if you’re expecting someone to do every thing in the social media success plan then they can command anything from $36,000 USD per annum to upwards of $71,000 USD per annum.
It all depends on the industry that your company is in and the experience that the person has.
So you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Hilary I’m a small business, I don’t have those kind of resources for social media”
Then start small but understand that the less money you spend the further away you will be from success.

Closing Thoughts

Let’s put it this way, your online image of your business matters more in 2016 than it did in 1999.
No one was really too interested in what happened online in 1999. But today if someone mentions your business, you need to be there to know what they said and if you can help or turn it around.
People are listening and watching to everything online these days, so it’s imperative that you are doing the same.
And don’t think that Social Media is limited to social media; if someone writes a review of your company on their personal blog, that’s out there for the entire world to see and for the entire world to share all over social media.
You need to have a plan to dealing with things like that. Your Social Media Manager is the one to be able to deal with that. Why because it’s in their “space” – the Digital Space!
So you decide what your reputation online is worth! Social Media has gone so far from just posting images and articles to managing a company’s reputation and relationships online. That’s what you’re paying for now!
Hope this post has been helpful to you today.
Got questions? Drop them in the comments below.
Have a great one.

I’m Hilary De Freitas
The Marketing Mom
My Mission:  To Bring as Many Moms Back Home and Earning a Living Online!
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Hilary De Freitas is a wife, mother, engineer and marketer. She is dedicated to helping mothers build a successful online business from their passions, so that they don't have to choose between career and family. Hilary has been involved in network marketing, affiliate marketing and digital marketing consulting for the past 10 years. Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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