What they won’t tell you about working in social media.

I am a social media manager, and that means I am also a writer, graphic designer, video producer, copywriter, editor, content strategist, publicist, marketer and customer service – all in one business card. It’s astonishing how all those roles fit in three words – social media manager. Just 30 years ago, my profession does not exist. We live at a time where a whole generation (baby-boomers) have no idea what social media is; my parents are still trying to understand what I do for a living.

“Basically, she gets paid to go on Facebook all day,”

my parents’ standard, over-simplified, and way out of context response to their peers when asked about my job.

Regardless, it is inevitable how relevant my profession has become in today’s digital era. Technology and consumers are exponentially driving the global market and companies simply cannot afford to ignore the power of social media, which is a very interesting and never-ending topic. It really is a big deal. In fact, most of you with a working Internet connection and at least a Facebook account already know the kind of power social media has on you.

A job in social media is exhilarating. Social media managers will tell you their job is “fulfilling”, “purposeful, “relevant”, and many more. I am here to tell you what we don’t usually say out loud – just so you’d get a taste of what we actually go through.

It’s not a profession but a passion.

What many may not consider is the number of hours social media managers put in their work. Companies can set a standard 9AM to 5PM work hours for us, but I can bet my left kidney that is not always the case. We are working all day, every day not because we have to but because we love this job and we understand that working on social media requires constant attention.

(I could be on a dinner date with the love of my life (hello, Tom Hiddleston), but when a Tweet comes in and I want to Retweet, I will excuse myself from the table and get to it.)

We sometimes forget to go back to our own personal voice.

I work for a multi-national corporation so our corporate voice is pretty distinguishable from my personal tone. I cannot count how many times I accidentally write a Facebook status in my company’s voice (every company/brand has a voice on social media) and it often ends up sounding like a formal announcement.

Perfectionism cannot be compromised.

Social media managers are also human; we make mistakes from time to time. But in our line of work, mistakes are permanent and it’s public. For example, a social media agency for Pizza Hut Malaysia made a grave mistake, which leads to a public outcry. You can read the full story here. That being said, if you work with a perfectionist and uptight social media manager, keep in mind that not how we usually are in real life: our job leaves no room for mistakes. And we like to be perfectionists, so it works out for us anyway!

We get sick of social media too…sometimes.

This one is a tricky one because essentially, our relationship with social media is pretty much a love-hate relationship. We love social media and interacting with the audience and producing content and strategizing marketing plans. But at the same time, we get so sick of going through them! Honestly, sometimes I feel like my brain turns into mush after scrolling through the timelines so many times per day. I want to go on a social media cleanse but I can’t leave social media. Oh, the dilemma!

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But all in all, I cannot describe how much I love my job. All those long hours in the office and sleepless nights producing content, I will not trade them for anything else in the world. To those considering a career in social media, you will find out more to this list that those I wrote in this blog post.

Feel free to make your own list and pass it on.

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