Social media marketers engage the public via platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube on behalf of their employers.
They answer users’ questions, respond to comments and act as brand ambassadors. They share information about upcoming events, post links to relevant content at their employers’ blogs and curate interesting stories from around the web. The typical social media marketer in the USA earns an average annual salary of about $56,770, according to Elka Torpey, who is an economist with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the UK, social media managers earn an average of £25,287 per year, according to Payscale. In 2018, this is not only a viable career; it’s a coveted one that many people aspire to.
But what does the future hold for social media marketers? Will this career path remain viable in the long term?
Social Media and Automation
Some experts believe that robots will soon replace social media marketers. Many social media tasks can be automated. There are already numerous sophisticated social bots that are basically algorithms powered by software code. They are capable of interacting with human social media users to answer their questions, help them find information of interest, like various posts and respond to comments. Social bots can perform many of the same tasks that customer service representatives can. They can also be programmed on behalf of online retailers to upsell and cross sell.
The bots have numerous advantages, but they do not yet possess the understanding that a human being does. For example, social bots have been known to retweet irrelevant or embarrassing things that do not accurately reflect the opinions of the Twitter account holders. At this point in time, social bots must be used with extreme caution. That is likely to change in the future as algorithms that power the bots become more sophisticated.
The Australian Government Apparently Places a High Value on Social Media Marketers
Not everyone believes that social media marketing careers will soon become obsolete. For example, career experts in the Australian government have included a diploma of social media marketing on their list of government funded courses that align with the government’s high priority interests. Eligible Australian students can get government funding to support their training in this discipline. Clearly, these government officials believe social media marketing skills will remain relevant in the foreseeable future, else they wouldn’t bother with subsidizing these classes.
Nobody can predict exactly when or if social media will die. Many people initially believed it to be a fad, but so far it has proved to have staying power. Similarly, nobody can predict exactly when artificial intelligence will be able to outperform human beings when it comes to all the important tasks performed by social media managers. So far that hasn’t happened, and it may be many years away. In the meanwhile, you could be enjoying a lucrative and interesting social media marketing career.
Having said that, if you do decide to pursue a career in social media marketing, it would be wise to develop a broad range of related and unrelated skills. Get comfortable working with big data. Learn about audience segmentation. Develop management skills and emotional intelligence. When and if the day comes that a social media marketing career does become totally obsolete, you’ll want to have irreplaceable skills and other career options available to fall back on.