Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a business mixer at the Vertigo Sky Lounge in Chicago.  After meeting some great people, it became very evident that social media has become the employment “flavor of the month.”  Business professionals, both old and young, spoke about wanting to change careers; social media was mentioned multiple times.   I felt the need to explain to these ambitious would be social media marketers the reality of the job.

On a fairly ‘light’ day, I decided to document my daily routine.  By light I mean there weren’t any videos to shoot, blogs to write, or paid campaigns running; and I was visiting the beautiful city of Chicago.  My day started at 6:00 am, awakening from a peaceful slumber in an Airbnb.

6:00 am – Wake up

6:30 am – Check social media and emails

7:15 am – Read industry articles

8:00 am – Morning exercise

9:30 am – Client conference call

9:45 am – Updating client content calendars, reading through timelines, researching and responding to industry hashtags

11:00 am – Break

11:30 am to 12:30 pm – Conference call with a potential client

12:30pm – Check emails

1:00 pm – Lunch

2:00 pm – Conference call

2:15 pm – Break

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm – Video editing

4:30 pm – Met with a friend in downtown Chicago to tour for photo opportunities

6:00 pm – Editing photos in the field and posting to accounts

7:00 pm – Comedy show

10:00 pm – Hanging with friends at a neighborhood bar

10:30 pm – Responding to followers on Instagram from the neighborhood bar, retweeting posts, searching and following relevant profiles

11:30 pm – Heading back to the house

12:00 am – Updating content calendar, final checks of accounts, review analytics.

12:30 am – Sleep

Typically, my days are eighteen hours of blogging, engaging with followers, checking emails, editing photos/videos, researching articles, and running reports for clients.  All while speaking with people who think social media marketing is free, and endorse paying social media employees as little as possible. 

A wonderful article posted by Forbes, written by a social media professional, discussed the difficulties social media marketers face in today’s market.

Far too often I am approached by business owners and professionals who request detailed strategies for free.  Friends entering the entrepreneurship path ask for advice constantly, and I am willing to oblige at a reasonable level. However, it has been quite frustrating when companies require applicants to submit social media strategies to be considered for the position.

Creating a legitimate social media strategy requires much research.  Analyzing the engagement of all previous posts on all of their profiles, what users are saying about the company, and where can the company possibly improve.  It is an almost certainty that an applicant will not have access to a company’s social data prior to submitting a strategy.  An applicant can potentially spend hours working on creating, in their mind, the perfect strategy; and the company may not even have the decency to contact them to inform them they decided not to pursue their application.

Those fortunate enough to get the position must keep in mind that there is a very good chance your employer doesn’t quite understand the scope of what you do.  The web has no business hours, and your most engaging hours may be long after the office closes.  Social media is a 24/7 job that requires some serious time management skills.

I remember watching some motivational speaker giving an online inspirational speech on the need to build a team to help you get your business off the ground.  When speaking on hiring a social media person he inferred that the social media person would only do thirty minutes of work each day.  Thirty minutes of work!  I remember thinking are you kidding me?  I bet this guy, with his thousands of followers, has a whole team managing his social media; spending significantly more than thirty minutes a day on his social media.

The job of social media manager is not for the faint of heart; it requires a lot of a passion and endurance.  It’s not a career where you’ll be rewarded with mass riches, long stability, or much upward mobility.  Often, the only acknowledgment you receive is “I followed you on Instagram, I love your posts” from a high-level executive.  The best piece of advice I could give newcomers to the social media industry is to not get too wrapped up in the opinions.  Everybody has a Facebook account and they will all have opinions on how you should run the social media.  Stay focused on your plan and strategy, you won’t be successful for every company but stay strong.