“So, what do you do for a living?” asked the polite woman at a dinner party, as she leaned in, seemingly interested.
Hmmm…Do I tell her I have been an English teacher since 1998 but decided to take a break last year so I could spend more time with Little One? Do I tell her that I put teaching on hold indefinitely last year when I took on a job as a Social Media Community Manager?
“I work as a Social Media Community Manager”, I replied.
“Oh? And, what does that entail? What is that, exactly?”
I know what’s coming. The sideways glance. The “look”.
“Oh. You stay at home.”
“Not really. I work from home. I work out of my home office.”
“And, what do you do all day?”
Should I say I sit at home and watch soap operas all day while eating bonbons? Should I say it’s a meticulously orchestrated farce and though I maintain a semblance of “working” I’m actually making excuses for not cleaning the house? Do I tell her about running campaigns, digital marketing, and all of the “behind the scenes” work I do? It’s definitely more than just engaging with people online. That’s a large part of it, but not the extent of it. Then there are the virtual assistant jobs. It can get kind of complicated to explain since these jobs aren’t “traditional” jobs.
What on Earth does “I work in Social Media” Mean?
*sigh* This is the part that I dread people asking. Oh, I love my job. I just find it hard to explain to people who are not familiar with Social Media. I always get questions and statements like:
- “Oh. You get paid to blog, right?”
- “Oh! That’s fun! You write about things and get lots of free stuff, right?”
- “That sounds easy! I’m going to start a blog so I can get free things too!”
- “Explain it to me. I don’t get it. No, don’t. It’s too complicated for me to get my brain wrapped around.”
- “You get paid to tweet and FB all day?”
Honestly, it makes me want to bang my head on a wall sometimes. No, I don’t get “free stuff” all the time. I don’t just hang out on FB and Twitter all day. It’s not as easy as people think it is. There’s actually a lot more to social media than meets the eye.
Yes, I do have a blog. My blog is my outlet and a place for me to write. I love writing. Yes, I do receive sponsored post opportunities and I do some reviews and giveaways…and yes, the blog does generate a good monthly income for me. However, my main source of income is from Social Media Community Manager jobs, Project Management, and hosting Twitter parties, and other work. I have quite a few friends who make their living from their blogs, and who are incredibly successful. Through my blog, I’ve received some great opportunities, and the blog has taken me in a different direction than the one I began with. For a better understanding of what I do, this post over at SocialFish pretty much sums it up.
Here are the essential functions of a community manager
- Monitoring and Moderation
- Nurturing Engagement – nudging, ensuring questions have a response
- Marketing (internally) and Promotion (externally) of the community
- Training (staff and volunteers)
- Metrics and Reporting
- Identifying trends / topical market research
JOB DESCRIPTION: ONLINE COMMUNITY MANAGER
also from SocialFish:
- Oversees all technical and system administration aspects of the community. This includes working with the community platform vendor to address, resolve, and communicate any issues related to the features and functionality of the community; providing technical support to members and staff; implementing new community features as necessary.
- Works with Communications Manager to develop and implement community promotion and engagement strategies and tactics as they relate to the communications division and the organization’s strategic goals. Communicates and promotes new community features or procedures to members and staff.
- Develops and maintain community training resources, guidelines, and policies.
- Works with Social Media Specialist, Membership, Marketing, and other divisions to coordinate community postings as appropriate across the organization’s other digital channels.
- Monitors discussions, resource postings, and trends within the community. Identifies and reports trends in usage and advises on potential opportunities. Alerts Communications Manager and appropriate staff as issues arise and work with staff to resolve issues.
- Networks with community members and identify Community Champions. Train and empower Community Champions to participate ona more significant engagement level.
- Monitors and measures the success of community engagement (i.e. number of power users, number of discussions, etc.), and provides reports forCommunications Manager and executives. Identify and report on community trends to internal teams.
- Contributes to related communication vehicles and ensure the integration of community for promotion and awareness building.
- Coordinates with Marketing/Public Relations, Communications, Education, and Foundation and other divisions’ staff to ensure successful coordinated campaigns for communication, fund-raising, and education.
- Promotes and evangelize community activities internally. Provides internal and external community training as necessary.
Signs you work in Social Media?
- Your 4 year old child sees you putting on your shoes to head out the door and casually says, “Those are your Skechers, right Mama? It’s like walking on a cloud!” (A quote directly from my Skechers post here)
- 4 year old screams a warning at a dinner party: “DON’T TOUCH THE FOOD! We need to take a picture first! It’s for the blog!”
- 4 year old sees your boss on TV and screams, “Mommy! Mommy! It’s your boss! She’s on TV and she’s showing Latest and Greatest products for families!”
- You are on Twitter most of the day, prepared to announce, tweet, reply, answer at any given moment.
- You think and dream in 140 characters.
- You wake up from a nightmare that involves you sending out a tweet that doesn’t have correct information.
- You wake up from a nightmare that you sent a tweet out from the wrong account.
- You constantly check your Twitter feed to make sure the *bleep* doesn’t hit the fan and in event that it does, you make sure to address any issues promptly and as professionally as possible.
- Your smartphone has become an extension of your hand. A new limb, if you will.
- The sound of dozens of alerts and alarms, pings, beeps, bleeps don’t faze you, yet annoys all those around you.
- You have to schedule time to go “unplugged”.
- Your husband and child know that every time you grab your BlackBerry, it’s because you’re checking up on the Twitter feeds, emails, and other sites for work.
What do you say when someone asks you what you do and your job in Social Media entails? Do most people “get it”?
For a good laugh, check out 26 Signs You Work in Social Media over at Buzzfeed.