Social Media Managers are Underpaid and Undervalued

Over the years of using social media for the company and deploying this specific service for other companies, I’m seeing the undervaluation of social media managers’ expertise and resulting in their underpayment in the last few years. Social media is a lot of work. During the pandemic, it was extra work and defining moment of their worth and saw a shift. At the beginning of 2022, I declared I’m done with Meta (formerly known as Facebook) because of many reasons.

In episode 96, Pay Social Media Managers, I covered the four questions and statements I hear from prospects and clients. If you haven’t downloaded the episode, check it out because I also offer some things to think about for those looking for hacks and tips.

The responses from prospects and clients are:

  • “It’s just social media.”
  • “Is social media that important?”
  • “Why do I need to do social media?”
  • “Show me results, and then I’ll pay.”

For leaders wanting social media, it’s a bit of a pet peeve when this isn’t a priority and lowers its significance. However, much of their marketing isn’t a priority- so it makes sense. It’s one of the many hats that get dropped when running a small business. Therefore, I come to expect so I’m not disappointed.

And to keep it real, I just really love what I do, so marketing is my life.

As for a top-notch social media page, creating an engaging social media profile is typically a result of multiple people doing the different tasks or one person doing all of the multiple tasks- which makes it quite the process and shouldn’t be underestimated.

There’s a Process

Unfortunately, too many [people] go into social media believing they’re going to be a viral sensation. That’s not the goal. Quality content is the goal. So when key leaders or business owners look for a simple template to be successful, I chuckle because it can’t be found since it doesn’t exist.

The truth of the matter is that every company is different. Throwing a carbon copy on another page and pasting it to yours doesn’t work. It takes true intentionality without an emphasis on the vanity metrics such as likes and shares.

You have content creators, videographers, photographers, copywriters, copyeditors, graphic designers, project managers, and other roles depending on the strategy. It’s a full production. Depending on the company, there might not be a person for each role so their social media may suffer from consistency, messaging, and personality.

Some things to think about:

  •  there’s a channel for everyone
  • choose the platform that works best for your personality and value proposition
  • try doing it for 30 days
  • document how much time it took to post content and be engaged
  • consider paying a social media manager to do all that for you

Social media managers are going to help you create content,  schedule photoshoots, and schedule these things out. The really good social media managers can help you schedule content three to six months out or more. For those looking to be active with outbound marketing, the process of engaging with others is something they can do too.

So when I hear people aren’t trying to pay, I shake my head because I realize they don’t know how social media works.

Don’t Be Cheap

The best way to get the most out of social media is to have a strategy. When it comes to paying social media managers, this is what they’re going to do for you. In other words, this is good money spent on earning a return on investment.

A social media manager is going to handle all the stressful tasks, so you can focus on your value proposition because managing your social media isn’t going to be the best time spent- but that’s another podcast/service. This is why you shouldn’t be cheap when it comes to social media.

Even though you can post on your personal page, that doesn’t mean you should on your business platforms. Your social media managers should have you thinking about what you want to achieve. They should ask you these questions:

  • What are your goals?
  • What is your marketing strategy?
  • How do you want to engage with others?
  • Is this an acquisition or brand-building play?

Paid Our Dues

In our infancy agency years, we took a couple of jobs of not getting paid until we achieved the results. This wasn’t smart, but we were hungry to show off our skills.

But we were like… “wow, this is a lot of work. What if they don’t pay? They can easily fire us and deny our admin rights.”

We had to ensure that the work was high-quality from beginning to end. In the podcast, I rant a bit more on this because it’s how we came up. 

So when people asked why we were qualified, we were able to give several reasons that leaders didn’t understand. For example, when the algorithm changes and new trends appear, this is when social media managers will save you a lot of time because they paid their dues. It’s their job to keep you and your profile updated.

On the other hand, paying a teenager or student to produce and handle your marketing tasks on a billion-dollar platform isn’t smart. They haven’t paid their dues if all they know how to do is scroll and consume. It’s similar to asking the loudest shirtless fans to join the team and contribute on the field. Yeah… it wouldn’t make sense. 

So this is why I’m telling you that if you want to do the right thing for your business, please pay the social media folks. Find the right people because there are different social media experts.  Again, there is a process to this, so don’t be cheap. You can’t afford not to pay.

Nathan A Webster, MBA