Why you should stop calling yourself a Social Media Manager
What's your job title? Do you call yourself a Social Media Manager? Well I don't think you should. And I am going to tell you why and perhaps surprise you with data that shows you could earn more simply by changing your job title.
1. Words have power
Definition of Manager "a person responsible for controlling or administering an organization or group of staff." "a person regarded in terms of their skill in managing resources."
Definition of Marketer "a person or company that markets goods (= makes them available in a way that encourages people to buy them, for example by advertising):." "a Marketer is an individual who works to identify goods & services desired by a set of customers as well as promoting and marketing those goods and services on behalf of an organization"
So calling yourself a Social Media Marketer is simply more accurate.
We do understand that some people working in the industry are predominantly carrying out administrative tasks via social media. Some are provided with all copy and content and are tasked with using scheduling tools to push this content out as well as responding to basic queries via comments. For this role we believe Social Media Manager is an accurate reflection of duties. So if your role sounds like this by all means SMM is a title that makes sense.
But for anyone that is working to clear social media strategies, being always mindful of the marketing funnel, crafting copy and creating content to meet business goals and move customers or clients through the funnel, focusing on delivering tangible results, using data-driven decision making to improve efforts on social whether that's in-app or following across to track ROI on the brand website etc then THIS IS MARKETING. So I believe that the word "marketing" should be used in the job title to accurately reflect these tasks.
2. You could earn more
We analysed pay rates across various job titles.
We found some interesting themes for those freelancing depending on the title they adopt. Social Media Managers were earning the lowest pay rates compared to other job titles. Social Media Strategists earned the most overall.
Of course, the duties carried out across various job titles vary - it's likely Social Media Strategists are offering strategic services versus platform management which would impact earning potential - but Social Media Managers and Social Media Marketers/Marketing Managers are likely performing similar duties but have disparities in pay from our data.
27% of Social Media Managers were earning less than £100/day. This dropped to under 10% for Social Media Marketers.
Just 12% of Social Media Managers were earning over £200/day. This jumps to 28% for Social Media Marketers.
3. You could get more recognition and respect
Now I know there is an issue in the industry with this - I didn't need my research to tell me this - but it's good to have it backed up by facts.
I had over a hundred quotes from people expressing the fact that people think anyone can do social media, any young person in the organisation can do it and that clients and bosses don't understand how complex it is. You have to tell them.
This backed up in the quantitative data. On balance social media professionals that completed my research did not agree that it's a well respected area of marketing (4.5/10).
While respondents strongly feel their role requires training, skill and experience (9.3/10) they did not believe their boss/client felt the same, particularly self-employed respondents whose most common answer was 3/10.
Respondents do not agree they are paid what they are worth based on the skills and expectations of the role (3.7/10)
Because social media marketing is such a complicated marketing specialism we feel that those working in the industry should use a job title that accurately reflects this. If marketing related job titles are used more ubiquitously by those working in the industry this better communicates the reality of the role and helps to dispel myths that people are "just posting".
I believe that the word Manager in your job title exacerbates the misconception that social media is predominantly administrative in nature, with professionals just "posting" or "doing admin" to people on social platforms, likely due to the fact that everyone does this themselves on their own social media platforms.
So I recommend that all freelance social media professional change their titles.
Just offer platform management? Social Media Marketing Manager Offer other services consultancy/training etc Social Media Marketer
If you predominantly offer consultancy I'd call yourself a Social Media Strategist.
If your role is mainly social media related admin then call yourself a Social Media Manager.
for those working in-house to have conversations with their boss about changing their contracts to better reflect their marketing credentials.