Sunday, September 13, 2009

How Much Do YOU Make As A Social Media Professional?

I seem to be getting an increasing amount of traffic through people searching for information about social media salaries. Not at all surprising because there is precious little information out there about social media salaries. As I've blogged before, social media jobs in general are an enigma...titles are all over the place, from VP Digital Strategy to Intern to Community Manager. Now David Meerman Scott created a new one: Social Media Administrator. And my association friend Elizabeth Weaver Engel just came up with a great one: Chief Community Officer.

About the only definitive thing I've found recently regarding social media salaries is Forum One Networks' Online Community Compensation survey from 2008. You have to purchase the report to view it but can get a complimentary summary; basically the summary says that the average annual survey for participants was $81k. They just completed the 2009 version, which should be available within the next few months.

Granted, there is (or maybe not?) some difference between online community manager and social media what-have-you, so perhaps this data doesn't 100% correlate with the average "social media doer", as Jim Durbin calls it. To me, this is the main problem with social media jobs: there is no consistency with position titles, so how can there be any consistency with regard to salaries? There may be very little difference between what a VP, digital strategy and social media coordinator do, but you can bet the salaries are probably vastly different. I know--you're reading that sentence thinking "duh--of course it's a different job"--but actually, don't assume so quickly that it is.

Think that a social media "doer" is just leaving comments on Facebook or tweeting? Maybe in some cases; but in others they are doing a lot of the same things--if not the exact same things--as the people in the higher-level jobs. People assume that the lower the title, the less strategy the person is involved in, but that's not necessarily true at all. This is my exact point: title and what the position encompasses may well be two entirely different things with social media jobs.

As if it weren't already confusing enough--this whole mess with the titles and compensation--doing social media for an association adds a whole new level of ambiguity. The position is so new that ASAE has no benchmarks for it yet, thereby leaving the whole thing to the discretion of each individual association to decide which position they think most closely correlates with social media whatever they're choosing to call it. PR manager? Communications director? Marketing assistant? In my case, it was benchmarked against web content coordinator and PR representative. It remains to be seen what associations end up doing on the whole when it comes to staffing their social media initiatives.

I'd love it if anyone reading this would weigh in with any salary information they have, either for their own social media position or others they've heard about. Feel free to leave your comment anonymously if you don't want to reveal your identity.

To add to the confusion and fun, I've tracked down some more social media salary info to add to the pot:

SimplyHired average social media salary: $55,000
Indeed average social media salary: $79,000 no results for "social media"

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