Social media manager: The most well paying millennial job

Michelle Dora spends most of her day on different social media platforms following conversations, engaging users, responding to queries, and sharing information about her employer.

The 27-year-old is a social media manager at agricultural company Kakuzi Plc. For many millennials, scrolling through channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google for hours was seen as an addiction.

But now, social media management, the most well-paying millennial job has come of age.

It is a well-paying job as employers realise the importance of social media. For modern businesses, social media allows audiences to access information and for the company to obtain feedback.

Ms Dora’s job entails social media strategy, content creation, brand management as well as updating the company’s social media pages.

“I oversee the company’s interaction and engagement with the public through social media, by focusing on strategies that bring Kakuzi closer to its audiences,” she said.

Content strategist

The role has also evolved and now one needs to be an accomplished content strategist, community manager, and social paid advert specialist. Other roles are as a social media designer, influencer specialist, and social media data analyst.

In the past, all social media managers needed to do was post content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and respond to queries from consumers to build a vibrant online presence.

Michelle Dora, a social media manager at Kakuzi PLC. PHOTO | POOL

“Execution of the social media strategy, for instance, is very involving. You must ensure your message is out there and that it is reaching the right audience. It is also your responsibility to obtain the reaction you are hoping for from the market. We do not just sit back and wait for comments from the audience,” explains Ms Dora.

Many leading Kenyan companies have both internal and external social media managers, with the latter working for PR companies.

Some companies have an entire department, complete with a budget and personnel. In smaller companies with minimal resources, however, a social media manager is based internally and performs all the roles.

This role, Ms Dora notes, is different from traditional communication, notably because of the level of engagement. “Social media gives you access to the actual emotions of how people feel about your brand in real-time and you reply in real-time.”

Consumers, she adds, have a bigger say in the affairs of a business now more than before. “Responses, questions and comments from customers build into larger conversations that point companies in the direction of the issues to address,” she says.

Lindah Mbaisi, a public relations and communication specialist, admits that the overlapping roles of PR, and social media management are often a source of conflict “especially when job descriptions are not clearly outlined.”

“Social media management should never be bundled together with other roles in the communications department. Theirs is to oversee a company’s interactions with the internal and external publics,” she adds.

Lindah Mbaisi, a public relations practitioner and communication specialist. PHOTO | POOL

In an age characterised by a deluge of information — where memes and promotional messaging from rival brands fight for the same eyeballs —it is here that social media managers come in: to keep the content catchy.

But does this new career pay well? “It comes with good perks,” says Ms Dora.

According to US staffing company Mondo, some social media managers take home as much as Sh1.2 million per month, in wages.

In Kenya, Emmanuel Mutuma, a human resource consultant says, social media executives’ pay has grown from Sh40,000 a few months ago to the range of Sh80,000 to Sh100,000 a month.

“They are sought-after, especially those with skills in writing, publishing, online engagements, and using social media to deliver paid adverts to target audiences,” he says.

The trend currently, he notes, is companies hiring on a contractual basis, meaning that a social media expert earns per number of content posted or per project.

Where money is

“This is a good job but influencer marketing is where money is. Look at Azziad Nasenya who has become a prolific content creator,” Mr Mutuma says.

The social media managers also do community management.

“I have to keep checking for feedback about the products on social media. This feedback allows me to improve the kind of content I create for our audience” Ms Dora says.

Some brands use their social media for consumer education as well. “We use our social platform Avocademy to train smallholder avocado farmers. Here, we constantly get queries on topics such as crop husbandry and harvesting, which our experts respond to.”

Yet not just anyone with a social media following and who has no qualms spending hours poring through online posts can be a social media manager.

“You must have experience managing social media platforms both for personal and corporate brands and excellent knowledge of how social media analytics and search engine optimisation (SEO) work. Certain skills can only be acquired through training,” Ms Mbaisi says.

In addition to being creative so that the content resonates with the audience, other important skills include communication, analytical, copywriting and multitasking.

“Emotional intelligence is key. Always remember that the feedback you get is for the company, it’s not about you,” Ms Dora says, adding “Facts are your Bible. So you must understand the organisation and its mission inside out.”

Ms Mbaisi says that while millennials on TikTok and Instagram make it look easy to just post content and attract likes and comments, the reality of managing an organisation’s brand image is tougher.

“Having to think about fresh ways to stay ahead of the curve requires you to be on your toes all the time,” she says.

To her, managing a crisis through social media can be a hit or a miss. “Dealing with negative feedback and keeping trolling from spilling over can be stressful to social media managers.”

As the landscape of marketing and communication changes, universities too have revised their curriculum to accommodate newer roles in the communications profession.

“Some are already offering a Bachelor’s degree in social media management,” says Ms Mbaisi.

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