5 Reasons Social Media Managers Are Stressed

March 1, 2015

social media stress
Why are social media managers so stressed?

When social media managers get together they all share one thing in common: extensive frustration. Careers that involve new media have only been around for a little over a half-decade. The career field is incredibly young. With a shift as rapid as social media many business leaders today don’t understand what social media mangers do and why it’s important.

When speaking to executives I try to not use the term ‘social media’. Why you ask? Everyone has their own preconceived idea what that term means, especially baby boomers. I just talk about social media in the context of communication on the Internet– that’s truly what it is. The Internet is evolving and Internet-based communication has been put in steroids over the past decade. Most conversations social media professionals have still turn towards frustration more often than not.

Here are the five reasons why social media mangers are stressed:

1. No one really understands what you do

It’s the one question you receive everywhere you go, “what do you do?” I get the question at every family holiday gathering every year. The skill set of a good social media manager is varied. That skill set spans from writing, creativity and analytic ability to superb customer service. We’re a unique bunch and no one really understands what we do on a daily basis.

2. No one can really help you

Because the skill set of a social media manager is so unique, you really can’t count on help. You can leave a laundry list of instructions, but you know deep inside your brain that no one can do what you do to the same level of execution. Your community is your baby, and you  do whatever you can to protect and nurture it.

3. You don’t have office hours

Most white-collar professionals work a 9-to-5 day, but not if you’re a social media manager. Social media never stops and most quality engagement takes places during off-hours like evenings and weekends. You’re a part of the community you’ve built. That means there is no “turning it off” when you leave the office. Nothing like laying in bed at 11:30 p.m. and answering questions via Twitter to please your significant other.

3. You suffer from high-tech hand injuries

This is an extension of the paragraph above. If you’re constantly working that means you need a smartphone to keep up. You constantly refresh your Facebook Pages app checking for new content you might need to address. Your smartphone is never a few feet from you and your sore “texting” thumb that’s riddled with ligament strains reminds you that’s true.

You’re always tuned into the news. You never know what breaking news or viral trend will bust loose that you can leverage. Whether you’re at home making bangers and mash or sitting in Denver International Airport waiting for your delayed flight– welcome to the world of real-time marketing.

Your greatest fear is seeing a horrific comment that you need to address while the clock shows 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday evening. If that happens you know your weekend plans are shot, or you’ll have your head buried in your phone for hours while your friends enjoy laughs and tasty ales.

5. No one takes what you do too seriously

Social media has become a relatively common position for companies across the world. Some have jumped on the bandwagon more than others. Many social media professionals are expected to move mountains with the support of a molehill. Small or non-existent budgets are all too common and many social media pros get no help in the form of hiring a team to execute social media strategy. Companies that invest substantial capital into social media are the ones who are reaping the greatest benefit.

This may sound like a whiny blog, but that’s not my intention. I feel when social media professionals get together in a room the conversation often turns to venting. They know they could accomplish awesome things if leaders gave them more support. Let’s be honest. Support and understanding from c-suite executives is still a rarity, though not impossible to find. It’s something that will change over the next decade as more millennials begin to assume more prominent leadership roles. These are leaders who will have grown up with Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia.

There is nothing more frustrating than your boss wondering why your latest news release hasn’t gone viral like that grumpy cat photo did last week.


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