We live in a world where everything and everyone can and will be stereotyped. As a Canadian, I know this all too well! Some stereotypes are seemingly harmless and playful (people know we don’t live in igloos and ride moose, but we still chuckle when we hear that) and some stereotypes are downright annoying.
Social media/digital marketing is a relatively new field and it is often misunderstood. Either some do not fully understand what we do or they simply don’t see the need for our job. Either way, there are some stereotypes I am sure all of us in the social media marketing community are sick of hearing!
“Are you in charge of making things go viral? I want to go viral.”
Going viral is never (or at least never should be) something a social media manager focuses on. We don’t sit around all day watching the views or impressions of our posts in hopes that one of them will just blow up. We focus more on the return or lead generation we get from our content. If something we do happens to go viral, cool. If not, we don’t quit our professions. The ability to go viral isn’t really a skill you can just adapt and utilize.
So, no, we are not in charge of making things go viral and if that is your main goal, you may want to rethink your strategy!
“So you pretty much spent your day tweeting and browsing Facebook, right?”
This one gets old, really fast. Just saying. Yes, we are SOCIAL MEDIA managers so we do spend a good amount of time on social media, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. We create content, we research, we curate and manage content. I don’t walk into my office, crack my knuckles, open Twitter, and just wait on Twitter; tweeting every few hours.
In fact, a lot of content is scheduled so I can have time for other tasks. Yes, we do spend a ton of time on social media platforms, but it’s not for our personal enjoyment.
“Your job seems really easy. I am sure anyone can do it!”
Starting this job was actually terrifying because I had no idea what I was doing. Not only that, but I had to ensure everything I put out was nearly perfect because it represented a business and their reputation. Let me put it this way, social media managers have the power to single-handedly destroy a brand/business with one bad post/comment. That’s a lot of pressure!
Aside from that, there are a plethora of skills you need to work this job. Patience, confidence, organization, leadership, judgment. On top of that, you need good writing skills, basic video shooting/editing skills, design skills, mathematical skills, SEO knowledge, social platform knowledge, etc.
Like any profession, training or studying can ensure your success in the long run, but for some, the job just isn’t right for them!
“You are so lucky you don’t work a 9-5. Plus, you can work from home. So lucky!”
As any social media manager knows, it is NOT a 9-5 job, however, that doesn’t mean we can work for 2 hours and call it a day. Some days I work 6 hours, some days I work 8, and some days I work 12 or more. Us social media managers are constantly on the clock. If an email comes in at 5am, we better answer. If we need to fix a post while we are out for dinner at 7pm, we better find a way to do so. If we need to pump out an article at midnight, you better believe we will pump it out.
Yes, there is some flexibility in our days, but that doesn’t mean we have any less of a workload than someone working a 9-5. And yes, we can work from home, but like I said, work is work no matter where we are.
“Those conferences you go on are pretty much like vacations. You don’t even have to work!”
A lot of social media managers make an effort to attend conferences and networking events that can help expand skills and reach. I’ve gone to a few all over Canada and I always get the, “you’re so lucky you get to go on vacation for work!”
While yes, conferences are a chance to see a new place, they aren’t for vacationing purposes. Conferences usually last all day, for multiple days and you are constantly on during these conferences; ensuring you are representing yourself and your brand/business in a professional manner the whole time. You are constantly learning, jotting down key points, and scoping out individuals you want to network with. It’s essentially like attending a lecture!
Although I have been fortunate enough to sightsee a bit in the places I have been, it wasn’t for long. I travel anywhere from a single day to maybe 3-4 days, depending on the length of the conference. Just remember, we attend these events to aid us in our careers, not to kick off our boots and ditch our offices!