What’s it Really Like to Work in Social Media?

The Unfiltered Realities of the Modern Social Media Manager. Hootsuite dives into the messy reality of what it's actually like to work in social media with their inaugural Social Media Career Report.

Social marketers are busy. They're stressed. And many are doing it all on their own. Yet despite everything, 77% of social marketers are happy in their jobs.

Social media management has evolved into a complex profession where social marketers perform a delicate dance of multitasking and adaptation while juggling a plethora of tasks and responsibilities—from dealing with haters to handling a deluge of comments to keeping up with the latest trends, thereʼs always a ton to handle (and not all of itʼs pleasant).

Acknowledging the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the digital landscape, Hootsuite today announced the launch of its inaugural Social Media Career Report (also dubbed, ʻThe Emotional Support Reportʼ), providing a deep dive into behaviours in the field and unveiling the state of mind of the modern social media marketer.

The report found that 66% say they have too many different responsibilities, 51% say they donʼt have enough time to do their job well, and 41% say their work has a negative impact on their mental health.

Since the early stages of modern social media marketing (back when poking was a thing on Facebook), up until today, the profession has seen significant changes—largely propelled by the rapid pace of social media itself.

Undoubtedly, the past couple of decades have been a rollercoaster for social marketers. From the advent of MySpace 20 years ago, to the more recent launches of Threads and BeReal, the role of a social media marketer has truly evolved and matured to become a multifaceted profession.

Though thereʼs still a long way to go, with 56% saying their own bosses donʼt understand social media.

“Social media managers are arguably more connected to customers' needs than any other person in an organisation—with a real-time pulse on what is happening in our customers' world. Yet they don't have a seat at the proverbial table, oftentimes finding themselves in a complex web of overwork, overwhelm, and underappreciation,” said Elina Vilk, Chief Marketing Officer, Hootsuite.

“As senior marketers, it's our job to support and uplift our social teams who are on the frontlines of communication with our customers. This report isn't just about statistics—it's about providing a tangible resource that sheds light on the realities within this dynamic field in an effort to give it the spotlight it deserves.”

This report delves deep into income, career advancement, mental health, and more—offering insights and guidance social marketers need to make informed career decisions.

"Hootsuiteʼs dedication to the thousands of social media professionals around the globe who use our product every day goes beyond the realm of tools and solutions we provide—through this report we hope to also help them feel seen, understood, supported, and ultimately uplevel their position within their organisations," said Irina Novoselsky, Chief Executive Officer, Hootsuite.

"Social teams everywhere are constantly building and fostering relationships with prospects and customers that directly lead to revenue and growth for their organisations—it's time for leadership teams to recognise their impact as powerhouse marketers."

The 2023 Social Media Career Report is based on a survey of 3,842 qualified social media marketers conducted in spring 2023. In addition to the survey, our team interviewed social pros across different industries, and backed up our data with secondary research.

Here are a few of our top findings about social marketing careers in 2023:

  • Social marketers like working in social media

    • 77% are happy in their jobs

    • 67% say theyʼre satisfied with their work/life balance

    • 72% of those who work remotely full time say theyʼre satisfied with work/life balance (vs. 63% of those who work in-office full-time)

    • 61% of respondents see social media as a long-term career

  • Despite feeling overworked and overwhelmed

    • 41% say their work has a negative impact on their mental health

    • 57% identify as having a mental health condition—and, of those, 42% say working in social media has made their condition worse

    • 66% say they have too many different responsibilities

    • 51% feel they donʼt have enough time to do their job well (even though 67% work 40+ hours per week)

    • 47% donʼt think theyʼre paid fairly (and theyʼre not wrong—social marketers are paid less than other marketers at a similar level, with the average social market salary sitting at US$67,585)

    • 48% feel they donʼt have enough budget to do their job well

    • 56% say their bosses donʼt understand social

  • Though itʼs not all clear cut

    • 25% plan to quit working in social media in the next year

    • A gender pay gap exists in the social media industry, even though the majority are women (73%)—the average man in a social media job makes US$91,586 per year while the average woman makes US$69,404

To help both social managers and their leaders put the top insights into action, Hootsuite has assembled a suite of tailored resources that social media marketers can use to build their portfolios and advocate for themselves.

The library of resources developed include:

  • Social Media Manager Salary Negotiation Guide

  • Social Media Manager Resume Template

  • Social Media Manager Cover Letter Template

  • Social Media Manager Job Description Template

  • Social Media Manager Interview Questions

  • Social Media Portfolio Template

  • Social Media Manager Salary Calculator

  • Verticalized Micro-reports for Social Media Managers in the FinServ, Government, Education and Healthcare Sectors

  • Panel Webinar with experts to help social media managers position their value

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