The Future of Social Media Careers:

Reviewing the NISM 2024 Social Media Job Study

Social Media Marketing: 2024 Job Study

The Dynamics of Social Media: A Historical Perspective

Jennifer and I kicked things off by touching upon the early days of the SEO community. The landscape was vibrant, filled with spirited debates and camaraderie amongst professionals. These were the times when forums and conferences were our go-to networking resources. The strength of this online community today signals how foundational these early interactions were in shaping our digital marketing landscapes.

As social media grew, it began outpacing traditional forms of communication and marketing. Platforms emerged, evolved, and eventually, we didnlt realize it at first, but golden era of Social Media was around 2015 to 2018. This was a time when social media was more community-driven than corporate-driven. We saw more meaningful engagement, creativity, and organic growth. But, as Jennifer rightly pointed out, the shift towards monetization has transformed social media marketing into a more challenging beast.

The Growing Complexity of Social Media Marketing

While monetization has stripped away some of the fun and meaningful communication with consumers, the emphasis shifted to ads, monetizing content, and battling algorithms that demand more paid content for visibility. This landscape shift often leaves social media marketers grappling to maintain a balance between genuine engagement and platform requirements.

The challenges don’t stop there. The socio-political climate heavily influences content creation. Cancel culture, polarization, and the fear of backlash have made marketers tread carefully, often resorting to more generic and, frankly, bland content to avoid offending anyone. It’s a tightrope walk that requires not just creativity but a nuanced understanding of the audience dynamics and platform intricacies.

Mental Health & Social Media Professionals: A Crucial Conversation

The pressures on social media professionals are immense. The constant necessity to innovate, coupled with public-facing roles, often leads to stress and burnout. Negative comments and personal attacks are routine, and while it’s essential to maintain professional composure, it’s equally important to acknowledge that these experiences take a toll on mental health.

Building a supportive community is crucial. Jennifer shared how crisis communicators and professionals, particularly those in governmental organizations and local municipalities, form closely-knit groups that support each other during rough patches. This camaraderie is particularly evident in the NISM group and higher ed social community, which come together when crises occur. It’s these networks that provide the mental support necessary to navigate the often volatile waters of social media.

The Importance of Certification and Continuous Learning

Certification emerged as a beacon of progression in our discussion. The NISM job study, spearheaded by Jennifer, highlighted some eye-opening statistics. A significant percentage of social media professionals engage in continuing education, often weekly or monthly. This commitment to ongoing learning is exemplary, especially in an industry that evolves at breakneck speed.

An impressive 54% of professionals received raises, landed new jobs, or got promotions after earning an industry certification

The impact of certification on career advancement was clear. This trajectory isn’t just about skill enhancement; it’s about gaining the confidence to present data, make informed recommendations, and ultimately advance professionally.

Teaching Social Media and Strategic Planning

Jennifer shared her experiences in teaching strategic planning and resource management within certification programs. One key takeaway was the importance of focusing on a few select platforms — 2-3, ideally — to manage efforts effectively and understand audience behavior deeply.

Higher education institutions face significant challenges in integrating practical, up-to-date digital marketing knowledge into their curricula. Traditional education often lags in providing practitioner-level information, adversely impacting undergraduates readying themselves for the industry. Moreover, the low adjunct pay and a focus on revenue-generating professional programs can deter industry experts from contributing to academic settings.

Beyond Hard Skills: Communication and Presentation

Something that Jennifer and I fervently agreed upon was the indispensable value of soft skills. Data analysis and technical proficiency are essential, but without robust communication and presentation abilities, those hard skills can fall flat. Professionals need to convey their findings and strategies with confidence and clarity, ensuring that their insights are understood and actionable.

Adding to this narrative, the NISM job study underscored the call for support and guidance within the social media industry. Professionals often feel the need for a clearer understanding of their roles and more respect for the value they bring. It’s a balancing act between delivering measurable ROI and fighting the perception of social media as a “fluffy” discipline compared to other marketing arms.

The Social Media Marketing Career Outlook

Looking forward, we discussed the need to better analyze the benefits of certification, especially for those working remotely or independently. The flexibility offered by remote work is appealing, but it also demands a higher level of self-discipline and continuous learning to stay ahead in this ever-changing landscape.

Jennifer’s findings show that social media roles are constantly evolving. The responsibilities are diversifying, and the skill sets required are broadening. Professionals find the variety rewarding but also face the challenge of constantly adapting. It’s essential for the industry to respect these roles and offer adequate support and compensation.

Jennifer emphasized the importance of continued support within the social media community. Practitioners, educators, and industry leaders must unite to foster an environment of respect, continuous learning, and mental well-being.

The takeaway from this episode is clear: the world of social media marketing is as exciting as it is challenging. From navigating platform changes and socio-political impacts to emphasizing mental health and the value of certification, the landscape is continually evolving. As professionals, we must stay adaptable, support one another, and never stop learning.

Show Notes:


NISM 2024 Social Media Job Study


02:01 Evolution of Social Media Job Studies

03:24 Themes in Social Media: Respect and Adjacency

05:16 Challenges in Social Media Strategy

06:27 The ROI Dilemma in Social Media

15:17 Educational Gaps in Social Media Marketing

20:45 The Importance of Communication Skills

25:00 Balancing Social Media Responsibilities

28:38 Strategic Planning for Social Media Platforms

29:47 Understanding Social Media Usage

30:09 Consumer Behavior Insights

33:53 Addressing Mental Health in Social Media

36:59 Challenges and Rewards of Social Media

39:29 Building and Supporting Communities

46:55 The Importance of Certification

Transcript: Social Media Careers: NISM 2024 Social Media Job Study

[00:00:00] Jennifer: I do believe even in the marketing space, we have gotten so corporate in our approach that we forget to actually communicate intelligently with our consumers in a way that is meaningful to them instead of just meaningful to us. So that is something we’re constantly talking about and, and challenging folks to get better at right.

[00:00:22] At the same time, we are making that hard and this might be an unpopular opinion, but we as humans, especially in the last few years. Have gotten very quick to tear down something that goes out, cancel culture is alive and well and that makes anyone, whether they’re a marketer or not hesitant about what to post because it can and likely will, especially if it’s at all polarized, be shared with way more people than we intended in, in context that we probably didn’t have.

[00:00:56] Voice Over: Welcome to endless coffee cup, a regular discussion of marketing news. Culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

[00:01:18] Matt: Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the endless coffee cup podcast. As always, I’m your host, Matt Bailey, and bringing you more in digital marketing education. And we’ve got a returning guest. Those of you who are familiar with the National Institute of Social Media, you know, Jennifer Radke, and she has joined us today to talk about their recent job study.

[00:01:40] Jennifer, how are you doing today?

[00:01:42] Jennifer: I’m doing great, Matt. Thank you so much for having me on again.

[00:01:46] Matt: Oh, thank you for joining me. It is always, always a pleasure to talk with you and, and talk social media and education. It’s like kindred souls. I love it when we get together. I agree. It is so much fun. Well, let’s just dive into this.

[00:02:01] Tell me a little bit. You’ve done this job study a couple of times and I love how you compared it to 2020 and then 2024 and doing some comparisons about how things are growing. What’s the earliest when you started doing those job studies?

[00:02:19] Jennifer: Yeah. So the National Institute for Social Media did its first job study back in 2011.

[00:02:24] And the reason that we did it was to actually create the certification exam. So the social media strategist certification exam is based on the research that we get done every couple of years. So that was the first, we try to do it about every two years, 24 and 21 are our most recent.

[00:02:46] Matt: I would love to see that 2011 job study of social media.

[00:02:52] How much of that was. Yeah. How much of that was forums and blogs?

[00:02:57] Jennifer: A lot of it was done very differently than how we gather information today, but a lot of it was study groups and, oh goodness, I’m thinking, I’m blanking on the word, but, um, focus groups,

[00:03:10] Matt: agency

[00:03:11] Jennifer: experts, marketing experts to really make sure that we were getting all the things.

[00:03:15] It was much more in depth that first year. That it has been since, even though we still cover a wide breadth of material.

[00:03:23] Matt: Absolutely. And I love how, you know, the themes throughout, and it seems like every year it progresses, but yet you brought out two themes in the job study. One is the area of respect.

[00:03:38] Those that are working in social media feel that in a lot of the ways they don’t have the respect of. Other disciplines. We’ve talked about that in the past, but also this adjacency. And I think it’s a very interesting concept that the social media just seems to be like an add on. To marketing or an add on to what’s happening digitally, rather than within a company, a discipline or a specific responsibility in itself.

[00:04:08] Those are two pretty strong themes

[00:04:12] Jennifer: are huge themes, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t very surprised to see that in our early studies. Because in our early studies, a social media was new and fresh and something that companies were just trying to figure out and harness. It was often given to the person. Maybe at the front desk who was a little bit younger and felt more comfortable on those platforms or somebody who had a little extra time or whatever the case may be.

[00:04:37] And so the idea around it being adjacent started all the way back. What is sad to me is that now, 12 years later, we are still experiencing this. Adjacency, we’re still experiencing the lack of respect and the lack of understanding. People just don’t understand what it takes to do social media strategy or social media marketing in today’s world.

[00:05:05] And therefore they don’t respect the work that’s being done. They’re not given a seat at the table. They’re not asked opinions. And that is frustrating for us to see for sure.

[00:05:16] Matt: I was wondering if some of that comes out of, I guess the natural evolution of how technology has influenced marketing that at the turn of the century, SEO was.

[00:05:29] Really what people wanted to know, how do I increase visits to my website? How do I, and that leaned into some UX and UI and there was ROI from it. There was trackable ROI that came out of SEO. And then I would say after that, you got into more disciplines of paid search. There was ROI from that conversion optimization, ROI from that.

[00:05:54] I think what social media has suffered from is, and you bring this out in the report, that lack of direct ROI and trackable ROI for a number of reasons. And I think that is in large part, what’s contributes to that lack of respect and that these other areas came in strong and strong financial and data ties.

[00:06:17] Social media just seems for lack of a better word, very fluffy, very soft and fluffy

[00:06:23] Jennifer: comparably. Yeah. I think you’re completely on point with that. We found that it is difficult for folks in the social media marketing space to really value what they’re doing and make that tie as you’re talking about with a return on investment.

[00:06:37] Part of it is because the platforms make it difficult. They are constantly moving. The line, right? Renaming things, taking data out, adding new stuff in. So it’s really tough to keep a target and go towards that target. But I think the other piece is that a lot of the people in social media strategy didn’t have the proper education around how to measure what it is that they’re doing.

[00:07:07] And so from the very beginning, they were using things like vanity metrics to measure what they were doing, but that doesn’t turn into ROI. It doesn’t actually. mean, you know, 10, 000 followers on Instagram does not equal 10, 000 in business or 1, 000 in business. And that return on investment is being a huge struggle for people to tie them to the line.

[00:07:31] And unfortunately, when the marketers who are doing this in the space were growing up. The CEOs or the leadership teams were also and they’re hearing about these vanity metrics and they think that that should be a clear tie. And we have to go back and really educate them about what we can track, how we can track it and how it can show that return on investment.

[00:07:54] Matt: It’s almost like the, the early, the early emphasis on those vanity metrics really undercut the reputation moving forward. And, you know, similarly, you know, I grew up with the SEO, that’s where I started. And I think it was probably, I’m trying to think of the last time someone said hits. And we want more hits to the website, not knowing what it meant.

[00:08:19] It’s just that became part of the vocabulary, and that was what people wanted. And it led to people asking for the wrong things. And I think we, I think in SEO, that was part of it. Social seems to have this, this even larger, broader context. And I’m absolutely right with the platforms. They don’t make it easy.

[00:08:41] And especially when they, people feel like they fight against Google, but we’re fighting against social platforms because they demote your post when you put links in it, so it’s an antagonistic relationship with the platforms when you’re talking about social media, the way they limit, the way they keep that down.

[00:09:04] There’s a lot of obstacles. In this industry,

[00:09:10] Jennifer: there are, and we keep uncovering more every day. Um, It’s i’m really proud of where we’re We are and where we’re going But yeah, it’s frustrating to see that some of those obstacles some of those things that should After 10 15 years have eliminated themselves They haven’t and so we just have more work to do around educating.

[00:09:32] Not only those practicing in the industry But those that are supporting those in this industry and I think the job study this year really does Help speak to that and we can get it in enough hands of of leaders Right so they can read it and understand a little bit more deeply about what challenges we’re having in the industry Maybe they can support folks better

[00:09:52] Matt: How much of that challenge is from the the social media platforms trying to monetize with ads?

[00:09:58] You And, you know, that, that struggle and, you know, I, I hesitate to use the term, but the, and shitification of technology that they’re trying to squeeze every penny out and in doing so social media marketing is not what it was. Five years ago, and it’s certainly what it wasn’t what it was, and I would say probably that the golden era of social media was probably that 2015 to 2018, you know, those three years before the platform started focusing on that monetization aspect.

[00:10:35] Jennifer: Yeah, I definitely think that plays in to all of this, making it difficult, making it harder. Instead of just putting out good content that people can connect with and your consumers can engage with, you now have to add money behind it and do it in the way that the platforms want you to do it, right? If, if that means not leaving their platform in order to communicate, then that’s.

[00:11:01] A new hurdle we have to overcome. I think there will be a balance at some point, but unfortunately each of these platforms, I mean, even Google, but each of these platforms are in it for themselves, right? They want the dollars and cents to keep themselves building and growing. And so we have to recognize that.

[00:11:20] And figure out how to put the puzzle pieces around that will help us build the bridge to our consumers.

[00:11:30] Matt: Hey everyone, this is Matt, and thanks for listening. Just a quick break in the middle of the podcast here to let you know there’s a couple ways that you can connect with us. The first is learn. sitelogic. com. That’s the learning site where you can see courses on analytics, Courses on digital marketing across paid search, SEO, multiple disciplines.

[00:11:53] And then also you can connect with us on Slack, go to Slack. If you’re there and look for us at endlesscoffeecup. slack. com connect with us. I’d love to hear from you. Hear what ails you in the realm of digital marketing. Are there courses you need information that you’d like to hear, or maybe some past guests at you’d like to hear more from, thanks again for being a listener of the endless coffee cup.

[00:12:21] And I look forward Yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see, you know, that is one area that I’ve been watching and seeing a few articles pop up lately too, that make me smile because one of the recent ones I read was like, the internet isn’t fun anymore. That it used to be this place where you could find anything and just crazy stuff.

[00:12:46] And their complaint is now it’s all corporatized. Everyone’s doing the same thing. Everyone’s trying to match the algorithm. Rather than having fun. And I thought that was a really interesting view of things. It certainly caught my attention because now I’m thinking back to some of those viral campaigns, the fun that people had.

[00:13:07] And it’s almost like people now are kind of scared to go outside of the circle. Oh, you brought up a couple of different things there, but

[00:13:17] Jennifer: yes, I think the fun is missing. I do believe even in the marketing space, we have gotten so. corporate in our approach that we forget to actually communicate intelligently with our consumers in a way that is meaningful to them instead of just meaningful to us.

[00:13:34] So that is something we’re constantly talking about and challenging. Folks to get better at, right? Make sure it’s not about me, the brand, but it’s about our consumers and the information that they’re trying to find the platforms make that hard or harder, I guess, because you have to go through each of their hurdles at the same time.

[00:13:53] We are making that hard. And this might be an unpopular opinion, but we as humans, especially in the last few years, have gotten very quick to tear down something that goes out. Cancel culture is alive and well and That makes anyone, whether they’re a marketer or not, hesitant about what to post because it can, and likely will, especially if it’s at all polarized, be shared with way more people than we intended and in context that we probably didn’t have.

[00:14:28] So,

[00:14:29] Matt: yeah, that’s another factor the past few years that has really affected how you’re going to play something, how you’re going to work it, and, and wow, and I was reminded of that. I saw a recent article about how the show Parks and Rec, if it were today, It wouldn’t have worked, but it was, it was just in this nice little climate that it would work, and people weren’t as polarized then, and you could enjoy the show, but they said, we don’t think anyone would enjoy it nowadays.

[00:15:03] Jennifer: No, I don’t think so. It’s really interesting to watch. It really is.

[00:15:08] Matt: Yeah, well, we’ve shaded into into some cultural things, but let’s, let’s snap back in here because you said something that was really interesting that I want to dive into a little more. And that’s the education aspect, you know, just talking with my, my own employee.

[00:15:22] She, she does our social media and she was telling me that in her marketing courses. They did analytics that were at such a high level that she said, you know, you can’t possibly understand how this is going to work, but the only way you would have access to that much data is if you work for a global company.

[00:15:44] And you had incredible data mechanisms to capture, to process. And she’s like, no one has access to that kind of data now that she’s been in the business and been working through that. But that was her, her observation is that it’s. It’s either taught at an incredibly high, impractical, unusable level, or it’s not addressed at all, especially in marketing.

[00:16:10] And I see that in all aspects, not just social media. No,

[00:16:15] Jennifer: I absolutely agree with you. It’s a challenge and it’s hard for me to say because I spent 15 years in higher education, right? But the reality is, is that as fast as things are changing within marketing, maybe other industries as well, but marketing, we’re seeing this across the board.

[00:16:32] The educators teaching the theories and the applications behind it aren’t able to keep because they’re not practitioners, most of them, right? Some of the schools are doing a great job of bringing adjuncts in who do this work on a daily basis, but it’s really difficult for somebody who hasn’t practiced marketing in a while.

[00:16:53] To be able to speak to things like analytics, because the tools change, the metrics are changing, everything is moving. And so by the time you get your curriculum created and approved by whoever the accrediting body is in traditional higher ed, it’s outdated. Right, I think the other challenges, and this is something that I think references what your employee was talking about is Google, for example, has a.

[00:17:20] account you can use for educating individuals. And it’s an e commerce type platform shows you a lot of data, but it’s got a huge number of analytics to pull from the traffic levels are high, you know, all these fun things that are about it. And so you’re small to medium sized businesses. Look, nothing like that, how you get it set up because it’s already been set up, right?

[00:17:43] It doesn’t look like that. And so the folks that are leaving their traditional Master’s or bachelor’s degree programs are going out and going, wait, where do I start with this? It’s not just all collected for me in a pretty little package, you know, and how do I know what my goals are and how do I set that?

[00:18:00] So yeah, it’s, it’s a huge challenge, which is why I honestly love the things that you’re doing. You’re keeping up with different applications. We try to bring speakers in at the National Institute for Social Media that have different backgrounds, can focus on different platforms, perhaps, so that people who can, who are working in the field can find where they’re at and information that fits into what they’re working through right now.

[00:18:26] And that’s really hard to do in a

[00:18:27] Matt: traditional setting. Absolutely. And thank you, by the way. I appreciate that. And, and that’s the thing. I’ve done some adjunct work, but you know, when, when they’re only offering an adjunct, I believe like between 25 and 50 an hour. It automatically is going to limit who’s willing to do that.

[00:18:47] Because if you are customer facing, if this is your business, you’re making much more than that. And it, now it’s a step down. It’s also hours and it’s a lot of work. And I know a lot of universities are going that way because it’s so cheap. One professor told me that he would, he would love to incorporate this.

[00:19:07] He says, but offering you an adjunct would be an insult. And that’s how. I think some of the professors in education, they realize they need this, but they’re not being given the ability to bring in practitioners at a reasonable level. Most of my engagements from the education standpoint have been with professional education.

[00:19:30] Where they do like a mini MBA or a professional program, that’s where the money is. And so they can do that. As a result, I think your undergrads are the ones that are suffering because they’re not getting practitioner level information. So I 100 percent agree.

[00:19:47] Jennifer: Yep. I 100 percent agree. I I’ve taught adjunct as well.

[00:19:50] I haven’t in the last few years. Many of the things you referenced are why I don’t do it anymore, right? It’s not a good use of my time, even if I am passionate about helping grads or undergrads find the answers that they need, right? Schools need to figure out how to embrace this better and compensate people who have the skills.

[00:20:12] Properly so that they can get that information. And maybe it’s even sending some of their full time faculty through a program, letting them go out and take a sabbatical so that they can do some contract work. I don’t know what that looks like. It depends probably on each institution, right? But we need to help our educators actually keep up with what’s happening in this space.

[00:20:33] Matt: Absolutely. And the, so the job study also brought up another aspect beyond just the data. And, and this is one that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s the reporting, it’s the, the communication. And I, and I think that’s something that’s lost in education is, is we teach the skill, The hard skill, but once you get into that agency, once you get into that organization, you need to persuade people that you know what you’re talking about.

[00:21:01] Here’s what the data, and yes, I know how to read the data, and here’s what I recommend and why it’s going to work. That is a skill unto itself, and I, some education is working that way, but it’s sorely deficient.

[00:21:15] Jennifer: Oh, absolutely. I even talked with some of my kids and I’m like, what are you doing in class to prove this?

[00:21:21] Right? Like you’re doing all this research, you’re putting things together. They’re not even doing, you know, presentations or things like that very often. And when they are, it’s very superficial or spread out so that the introverts in the group can kind of hide if you want. And that’s unfortunate as much as I dislike group work, right, getting up in front of a classroom and presenting or speaking about something that you have knowledge on is teaching you the skills to communicate.

[00:21:50] And I think it’s really important, you know, like, even debate, for example, is something that we should do more in a classroom setting. Because not everyone’s going to agree with you. So, okay, put out some numbers, for example, put out your analysis and why you think we should make a change, but then have someone play devil’s advocate for you.

[00:22:08] How do you respond to that? How do you get buy in from them, even when they’re not sure that they can trust what you’ve asked? These are skills that we have to keep teaching our professionals. And unfortunately it starts a lot earlier than when they get out in the forest.

[00:22:25] Matt: Absolutely. And this is something I repeat that, and I do feel for the introverts.

[00:22:32] I do feel for them. This is not comfortable for you. I know there are many people that would rather be, I, I, you know, that they list the top fears and being buried alive and snakes and stuff like that. And public speaking is above that. People would rather be buried alive with snakes to then stand in front of a group of people.

[00:22:51] And I get it. I get it. However, in a work setting. Your credibility and your knowledge are measured by your ability to communicate and, and that’s unfortunate, but that’s, that’s what it is. The better you can meet and many of us could name, there’s, there’s a lot of people that, that they can, they can communicate, but they don’t always know what they’re talking about, but they can communicate it.

[00:23:16] It’s, it’s the baffling with BS ability

[00:23:21] Jennifer: and they win, you know, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. And so, yeah. The fact that public speaking is an elective in high school and in college is sad, right? We need to equip our young people with the skills to work in this space. And yes, I get that you can be a data analyst who is constantly behind the computer, but at some point you’re going to be asked to share your expertise or your findings.

[00:23:47] And if you can’t do that without just giving them a big stack of paper that they can’t comprehend, then it doesn’t work,

[00:23:54] Matt: right? Yep. Absolutely. I had an analyst, great guy, very smart, but beyond getting something on paper, you know, and I told him this is going to limit you until you can summarize what you just gave me in 20 pages of paper in 30 seconds.

[00:24:10] You’re limited and that, that is a skill that is something that can be learned. That’s what the, I think the most beautiful thing is it can be learned. It can be practiced and you can transform your career by learning how to do that.

[00:24:26] Jennifer: Yeah, you absolutely can. And what is great about the study is yes, it was identified as a huge gap currently, but it was also identified as something people want more of.

[00:24:37] They recognize the value and importance in it. They’re just not sure how to get started, and so that’s something we’re gonna continue to work on.

[00:24:45] Matt: Absolutely. I look forward to that and if I can be a help to that, absolutely. , um, I’m sure you’ll be tapped for that. , one of the questions I had in, in this, and I, I’m trying to decipher my notes here.

[00:25:00] The responsibility, when you’re asking people how much of your responsibility is social media, I wanted to know how does that break down? Because, you know, as I observe, you know, my social media person, as I look at what I do, does that count the amount of time writing or purposing content, or is that time spent on a platform?

[00:25:26] If I’m doing video, And, you know, I’ve been through a huge video and editing project. Does that count towards social media or is that a different skill? How has that broken down?

[00:25:37] Jennifer: So that is a fantastic question. And I cannot answer with a hundred percent accuracy that everyone answered the, the survey questions in the way we intended, but what we found was, yes, it includes all those activities if their role is social media.

[00:25:56] And they have to create content as a part of that, or even reports as a part of that, those things would fall into social media. Really, the question is really designed to figure out, okay, I’m a project manager, but because I know social, I’ve also been tasked with, you know, 25 percent of community management.

[00:26:19] And so really trying to figure out how many people still in our corporate structure have roles that are not social media related or not social media marketing related and are, are being tapped to do those types of things. Another example might be faculty members who are required to run the Facebook page for their university, right?

[00:26:41] That’s not their full time job, but it’s a portion of it. In the study, less than 25 or right about 25 percent of the study respondents. Were what we considered social adjacent, so they were in a different role, but they were doing some social media

[00:26:57] Matt: work as a part of that job. That makes a lot of sense.

[00:27:01] You know, depending upon the size of the organization and what’s happening there. And also that was something that really interested me is the number of platforms. So when we talk about someone who’s socially adjacent, but yet, you know, the number of platforms they might be responsible for, that is always blow in my mind when I see how many were seven plus, I don’t know how you do that, but do you see the number of platforms?

[00:27:29] Are we getting smarter about this or are we just chasing everything that comes along and hoping it sticks? And I know it’s a loaded question, Jennifer.

[00:27:39] Jennifer: Yeah, that is a very loaded question. We preach being smart about this. And I think the more educated your social media marketing team is, or at least your, your leader within that team, The more that they’re being respectful of what are the platforms we should actually be spending time on.

[00:27:59] Where do we have bandwidth? Do we have the talent to create content in each of these ways? But there are still a ton of business leaders who are requiring their team to be absolutely everywhere they possibly can be. And that’s where we’re seeing that seven plus. In most cases, I would venture to guess they’re not doing it well, but they’re doing it.

[00:28:20] And that’s what their

[00:28:21] Matt: leaders are asking for. How do you teach that? I mean, you kind of, you know, hit that there, but you know, for the, the certification, how is that, how do you dive into that? How do you build people work through that question of platforms?

[00:28:38] Jennifer: Yeah. So we hit it right away in the strategic planning module of.

[00:28:41] Our certification or the content domain area and talking about, you know, who is your audience? Where are they and where do they want to talk to you? And so you go through the analysis of answering those questions 1st and then pick those platforms. That are one alive currently, because you know, we can’t just pick everything.

[00:29:02] Some platforms come and go. And after that, we talk through resources, right? So you identify your platforms, but then you talk through your resources, man, hours, capabilities, you know, just bandwidth tools. Sometimes it’s software. You know, if you’re going to be on YouTube, do you have a video camera and editing software?

[00:29:22] These are things you will probably need, right? So we talked through all of those. And then. encourage them to whittle down two to three platforms that they believe they have the bandwidth and can do well, and not to add more until they have the strength to do it. You know, if you have a team of 25, then be on 25 platforms.

[00:29:41] I don’t care, but most of us

[00:29:44] Matt: don’t. Nice. I love that. I love that. Now one of the things I like adding into that is, and this was a survey I think we looked at about a year ago, where the average person has, I think it’s eight social media accounts. And I’m thinking, I’m like, you know, I’m going through, I’m here like, wait a minute, I’m missing a few.

[00:30:03] I’m not sure what, what counts as a platform here. What, what counts as this, but what’s interesting. And, and even in my courses, I will ask people, why do you go to Instagram? And when is it that you do it, what would you say is your average time? And it’s very interesting to get. People’s perspective when they actually start thinking as a consumer, how I use these different platforms, how, and when, you know, my, my question is, if you’re standing in line at the BMV, which now most of it’s online, so it’s great, but if you’re standing in line and it’s going to be about four minutes until they can serve you.

[00:30:41] Which app are you opening and that’s it’s a very telling way to learn how my audience might be using the platform and from there, does it make sense for me to try and reach them in that context at that time at that moment? How will that work? And so again, that goes into areas of how do I package the content?

[00:31:03] How do I deliver it? How do I try to get their attention? But I think there’s a lot of times we’re not thinking of the consumer. And how they use the platform instead, we’re looking like you said earlier, we’re thinking about ourselves, about our company, but not about what’s the end user doing and what do they need?

[00:31:22] Yeah, and I

[00:31:23] Jennifer: love that question that you pose. I think it’s fantastic. I would actually take it one step further and say, think of your consumer and what they are opening because a lot of times and I just did this in an audit workshop that I did last week. Where I ask people, you know, go out and take a look at the social channels that are doing well within your own company and now go look at some competitors.

[00:31:48] What’s different, right? And a few people were surprised to see that some of their competition was a lot more active, engaged with their consumers on platforms where they spend very little time. And sometimes that comes in with our own personal bias, right? I, I am of a certain age. Tick tock is not my go to, right?

[00:32:09] Matt: Yes. Yes.

[00:32:10] Jennifer: But the people who are getting certified as social media strategists. Yes. Are they probably because they’re a few years younger, right? And they’re looking there in that DMV line for entertainment, something to break the stress or monotony of the day. TikTok’s probably the last place I go. So I have to make sure I take my bias out of it and really try to figure out, okay, if I’m the consumer, it works great, right?

[00:32:39] Like if somebody is targeting me. I can easily answer that question. But if I’m not targeting someone who looks like me, then I have to kind of say, well, where are they spending their time? And sometimes it’s as simple as having to ask our customers that question, right? Where are you spending your time?

[00:32:56] Where do you find value in what we’re sharing?

[00:33:00] Matt: And we forget to do that. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think also when we ask our consumers, when we ask our, our audience, those types of questions, many times they’ve never even considered it. It, it is fun to, to see that process and almost like the, Oh yeah, because one of the other questions I ask is when you’re at home at night on the couch, are you watching YouTube on the big screen?

[00:33:22] And I’m amazed how much that is growing, that YouTube is becoming an evening watching channel rather than, you know, I can go to prime, I can go to cable. YouTube is now competing on the big screen and that’s its area of fastest growth. So it’s very interesting to learn those types of things. I was happy about that because that’s my behavior.

[00:33:47] It’s where I watch all the British shows that we can’t get.

[00:33:53] One quick thing kind of on this subject, there seems to, there is a growing social media backlash in terms of the mental health community community. Jonathan Haidt’s book and what we’re seeing with teenagers and those that have been on social media since about that 2012 2013, the kids that have grown up with it and contributing to the mental health crisis, and then also, I’m seeing more and more adults.

[00:34:25] Deleting apps, realizing that they need to control their day. Otherwise, you know, when you get that screen time report every Sunday, my family compares it and we’re, and we’re challenging each other. Are you, are you seeing any of this? And if so, how’s that being dealt with among the professional community?

[00:34:47] Jennifer: Yeah. So we are seeing that in the professional community as well. And I’m, you know, I keep abreast of, uh, The reports that are happening outside of our community, but for the purposes of, you know, the work that I do every day. It’s how do I support those in this industry? Mental health is definitely something that has become even more strained in the last few years since COVID.

[00:35:13] It was there before the stress and anxiety, the trolls that are constantly attacking you. People need to remember it was there before. That there are humans on the back end of the computer that are dealing with the comments that they’re sharing and and those humans Need to be able to and have permission from leadership to step away Uh, we cannot expect someone to spend eight hours a day Every day managing negative community comments.

[00:35:44] They need A break, they need mental health and then they need support. At what point do you escalate this to somebody who gets paid more, frankly, to handle some of the BS that we see? So we continually try to, you know, put out resources for have, you know, happy hours where people can just come in and decompress.

[00:36:09] and just share feedback. Here’s how we suggest you unplug if possible, right? If you’re spending the weekend off of work, then why not just take the phone and put it in a drawer for now, right? You don’t need to add that extra stress. Get outside and go for a walk at lunchtime. Talk to your leadership, talk to your team about what it is that you need because this isn’t going away.

[00:36:32] In the report, we hypothesize that one of the reasons People are leaving the industry that have been here for 10 plus years has been impacted by this There are other reasons that we’ve identified through our research and our interviews, but that is one that has been the case. People are burned out and therefore they’re exiting the social media marketing space.

[00:36:59] Matt: Yeah, it definitely has its own unique set of challenges compared to other digital, you know, And I saw that in, in some of like, what, what’s the most rewarding part of being in social media? I think number one response was the community. And then if you were to ask people, what’s the worst part of social media, it would be the community.

[00:37:20] It’s almost like the old thing. Like I would, I would have, I would have so much fun in business if it weren’t for customers. Uh, you know, it was, it seems to be that, that love, hate relationship that, I can be elated one moment because of something that’s happened, but then be brought down in a second. That is, you know, most other digital disciplines are not that public facing.

[00:37:44] Jennifer: Yeah.

[00:37:45] Matt: Oh, I

[00:37:45] Jennifer: absolutely agree with that.

[00:37:46] Matt: Yeah. You’re behind your money. We talked about this

[00:37:48] Jennifer: earlier too, the respect and understanding. A lot of things that people said were kind of the worst part was The fact that they are constantly having to do something different, but one of the best parts was the variety of their job, right?

[00:38:02] One of the worst parts is no one understands what I’m doing. One of the best parts is I get to teach and educate people, you know? So, so they’re incontradictory and so perhaps we’re doing it to ourselves, right? That’s the

[00:38:17] Matt: thing. Certain, certain aspects can make you just so happy about it, but then it can eat.

[00:38:24] You know, what you love the most when it goes wrong can really hurt you more than something, something that you’re just not, you know, you don’t care about that. There’s definitely a passion there, and I think that’s part of it is, you know, when that passion is fulfilled, it’s amazing when that passion is dashed against the cold rocks of, you know, reality or, or trolls or whatever.

[00:38:49] It hurts. It really hurts. And you can’t not take that personally when you’re that public facing. I think that’s a big part of it.

[00:38:57] Jennifer: Yeah. And the public facing, I think the way that I tend to think about it is this, most of us are communicators at heart, whether it’s through the written word or verbal, we are doing social media marketing because we want to communicate something to someone.

[00:39:15] And even though it’s on behalf of a brand, we still take ownership of that. We take pride of that. And so, like you said, when someone insults or attacks what we’ve taken pride in doing, it becomes hard not to take that personally.

[00:39:29] Matt: One of my recent conversations was with crisis communicators. And people working for the government, people working for local municipalities, for police departments, and it is an association of spokespeople that are, they are the forward facing, they are the ones that are managing the crisis.

[00:39:49] They’re, they’re the public information official. And it was very fascinating to hear that when there is something that goes on, the community. Bonds. The community comes together. They were talking about, there was an incident, I believe in Colorado, I think it was a school shooting. And the woman who was in charge said within two hours, there were people from PIOs from other organizations that just showed up.

[00:40:17] What can I do to help? It was just amazing how that community bonds. And she said, it’s because we know the importance that you can’t do this alone. And it’s a stressful situation, but it’s also a tragedy most times and you can’t bear that alone. And so it creates a very strong community. And that’s what I love about, you know, NISM is being able to provide that, that board and, you know, hopefully bring a lot of these resources and people together that can be that support mechanism.

[00:40:48] Yeah, that is a huge goal

[00:40:49] Jennifer: for us. And it’s interesting that you brought that up for the professional crisis communicators. There’s a group that NISM is part of called Higher Ed Social. So it’s the folks who do social media in the higher ed space. It’s kind of a unique little niche group. But if you were watching any of the news last week, you understand that there was a graduation where the Kansas City kicker decided to share his thoughts and it did not go well.

[00:41:16] Right away. People in that higher ed social community were trying to support the folks at the college that were, you know, impacted by what that backlash is going to bring. Right. Even though this is an individual making these comments, the organizations that I saw this on on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn yesterday, even the Kansas City Chiefs, right?

[00:41:38] Whoever manages that brand has been attacked everything they’re putting out today. Okay. But this week, last week is being attacked because of that one individual’s comments. And so all of the communities that understand how hard that is to manage, right, are definitely rallying. And I love that. And we do that within the NISM group as well.

[00:41:59] Another interesting thought, because I had no idea you were going to go here today, but I did a conversation last week in Kansas City at a digital summit around building community. And the actual title was building community in good times and bad. And one of the things I talked a lot about is each individual brand.

[00:42:17] If you do a good job and you go back to some of those glory days that you were talking about with social media, and you really try to build a community around your brand, engaging your consumers, providing them with what they need. When there is a crisis and your brand is in the middle, your consumers, your community outside of the social media marketing space will.

[00:42:40] likely rally against you as well. But if you don’t build that community, if you’re a transaction based business and that is all you ever want to be, then they likely have no loyalty and won’t do that. And so it’s important to think through that and try to communicate with leadership too. There’s a value that is not directly tied to ROI in building that community on social.

[00:43:03] Matt: Yeah, it’s tough. I mean, we, we alluded to this earlier that, you know, any company right now takes any type of a stand and I think this is what’s going to turn us into a very bland, generic, you know, it’s going to continue to make the internet more not fun because you, you say anything and you’re going to offend people.

[00:43:23] You know, whether it’s half the country or the other half or this part or that part. And so everyone realizes we’ve got to play it safe. And I think some people feel shell shocked because it’s like, I don’t even know what to say, like, you know, and that’s, that’s sort of my, you know, for our social media, it’s like, we are digital marketing education.

[00:43:45] We don’t talk about anything else that is our lane and we’re staying in it. My opinion and other matters is not valid.

[00:43:54] Jennifer: And I absolutely applaud you for that. But if there is something controversial in digital marketing education, I would expect that you would have an opinion on that. And we’re going to, we’re going to set somebody off.

[00:44:05] I probably do.

[00:44:05] Matt: I probably do.

[00:44:07] Jennifer: I know that just the existence of the national Institute for social media set some people off. They don’t feel that certification is required in this space. All of the reasons we’ve talked about today, everything else in the job study and so many more tell me that it is.

[00:44:22] Matt: Oh.

[00:44:22] And

[00:44:23] Jennifer: so we’re gonna keep fighting that ballot a battle and forget those naysayers out there.

[00:44:29] Matt: I hear the same thing in the SEO space and I tell people, just go to the Reddit SEO form and listen to all the businesses complaining about I’m paying this much. They did this. I’m look, I’m worse off, you know, shouldn’t there be some level, you know, if you buy services, do you know what they know?

[00:44:50] Do you know how they practice? Do you, there were so many questions and if you don’t even know the questions to ask. Then you’re asking for problems. So absolutely. It’s just, yeah, just go to Reddit, look at the forum to see what people are doing and get back to us on that. Right. Well, and that’s where I feel in the early days in the SEO community, we were all on forums and we were communicating in long form content.

[00:45:18] We were comparing notes. We would, you know, how’s that working for you? Someone’s doing e commerce, someone’s doing this. And there was a, I felt it was a strong online community. But then when we started having conferences. And you learn that there is this SEO community and that SEO community and they, the niches or the clicks were all based on what forum you are a part of, but you got to meet everyone and everyone kind of had their handle for their, their forum and you knew who they were, but what it created was an incredible network of, I have this problem.

[00:45:55] I have this question. You had somewhere to go share it. And it was powerful. Uh, I think it’s what made that movement so strong in those early days is you, you had some alignment, you had resources to go through at the same time. You know, you didn’t have people attacking you every moment for your, I do remember at one point someone was standing up presenting at a.

[00:46:19] At a conference and there was like some individual in the back of the room who stands up and like, that’s BS. No, it shocked me. I, you know, that, that made me so nervous when I was speaking, then like, someone’s going to stand up and yell BS in the back of the room.

[00:46:37] Jennifer: So I have not actually envisioned or seen that in practice.

[00:46:42] I’ve seen the little huddles at the table saying, you know, I don’t think that’s right. You know, kind of thing. But yeah, on social, everybody sees it when somebody stands up and says B. S.

[00:46:52] Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, Jennifer, I want a couple of things here as we start to wrap up, that I was very surprised at the end we talked about education.

[00:47:03] So, of course, you know, we’re going to dive into that. I loved that stat that for continuing education, 50 percent of social media professionals are doing it weekly or monthly. Absolutely. Yeah. That was surprising. I was so happy to see that.

[00:47:20] Jennifer: Yeah. And it’s a nice increase. We are doing a great job, I think, of helping one, filter out what’s good education and providing them with opportunities to learn and grow.

[00:47:32] And they’re taking advantage of that, which is huge. We need to keep that number. Nice and high.

[00:47:39] Matt: Absolutely. Like you said, especially in this industry, when things are moving quickly and changing that ability to learn very quickly, you know, weekly or monthly, that is fantastic. And then it drops off pretty quickly.

[00:47:54] Yes, it does.

[00:47:55] Jennifer: Some people annually or maybe not at all,

[00:47:58] Matt: right? But that 50 percent mark for, for at least monthly, it’s so strong. And that, that says a lot, I think, again, for the passion of the marketers that are in this industry, that when half are continually trying to learn new things, that is an amazing stat.

[00:48:17] I agree. The other side of it was. Absolutely. Absolutely. You had some great statistics on the results of certification that how it helps your career. Those were amazing.

[00:48:29] Jennifer: I

[00:48:29] Matt: was

[00:48:30] Jennifer: thrilled to see that we had 54 percent say that they had see a raise. I think it was, and 54 percent said they had gotten a new job as a result and those are fantastic outcomes.

[00:48:42] Matt: Yeah. 56 percent got a promotion. Yeah. Wow, fantastic. Those numbers, I think, says it right there. You know, the advantage of certification, everything that comes with it, and the personal benefit. Now, these are, I’ll say, these are social marketers that are in an organization, whether a raise, promotion, or a job.

[00:49:05] And this is something I circled in my notes here. Do you have an idea how many people work remotely that did this survey? I

[00:49:14] Jennifer: do not. We did not ask that question this year, but that might be a good one for us to ask next year.

[00:49:19] Matt: Yeah, because that’s what I was wondering is, is either remote workers or people that do this independently.

[00:49:26] You know, to get a, a, how does a certification help someone who is a freelancer who works independently? How would that help them?

[00:49:36] Jennifer: Yeah, they’re all included in those numbers right now. So unfortunately I don’t have it broken out. The closest I can get is, you know, the freelancers, right? Where they, we asked a question about if they landed a new client or a project as a freelancer or consultant.

[00:49:51] So we asked that specifically only 7 percent had said that, which is fairly low. I don’t know how many, right? Mm-Hmm. out of the total fit in that category, it might have been all 7%. You know, it’s hard for us to know. So that is a, a data metric that we should pull out in the future.

[00:50:10] Matt: Yeah. And it’s not just landing a new client.

[00:50:13] It, it’s, you know, does it shift the way that I was doing something? Yeah. Did I learn something new and did it, you know, increase what I was doing for an existing client? Uh, there is a lot of times, you know, just getting that additional education enhances what you offer or do. And, and so, yeah, freelancers are a little bit, bit of an odd batch, but, but they, they, you know, they, they benefit from this as well.

[00:50:40] Jennifer: I loved seeing, although the number was somewhat small this time. I did love seeing that people were saying that it helped them feel more confident in their work. Anecdotally, in the interviews that we did as a follow up to this, we had a lot more of that taking center stage, but in the actual data that was collected, it was that it was that 14%.

[00:51:01] But a lot of people have said how much confidence it gives them in doing their daily work, in talking with leadership, in talking with clients. And that is a huge byproduct of something like this. If we can harness that power to make change like you’re talking about, whether that be in a corporate setting or on our own as a consultant or freelancer, it’s important that we do so.

[00:51:25] And so one of the things that we’re going to continue to work to do is, is really try to help our community of strategists figure out how do they harness that power? How do they harness that confidence? How do they talk to people so that they can? Land a new job or get a promotion or get a raise, make change in the process and procedures that their team is part of these days.

[00:51:47] So

[00:51:48] Matt: it’s a absolutely opportunity and, and this goes back to what we were talking about before with presenting data, presenting your results, the number one ingredient to presenting successfully is confidence. And that’s, that’s what got me over the fear of someone standing up in the room while I was presenting and yelling bs is that I was, you know, if I’m presenting data from my client work, that’s my data.

[00:52:14] I did the analysis. I’m making the recommendation. You didn’t have the data. So you could call bs whatever you want. This is my data. This is my interpretation. So when I realized that, That confidence all of a sudden, you know, it stirred. It makes you more. It makes your sentences more firm. It makes your claims more believable when you have that confidence.

[00:52:37] And so that is a prime, prime ingredient in, in everything you do, especially in this business realm, in interfacing with stakeholders, clients, whoever, competence is key. It is.

[00:52:52] Jennifer: It is and we’re going to try to continue to build that and with that I think our mental health will becoming a little bit more manageable too because if we have the confidence to speak up for our needs, if we have the confidence to communicate what our team needs for support, we have the community, if the confidence to step away, we should be able to better manage mental health as well.

[00:53:12] Matt: Absolutely. That, that is, I think that’s going to continue to be a key area moving forward, both external, internal, that mental health aspect is, is so critical. Jennifer, if someone is interested in learning more about the National Institute of Social Media and, you know, possibly joining or being a part of it, where can they go and what can they get, or also, Where can they get this job study?

[00:53:40] Jennifer: Yes. The job study can be found on our website at nismonline. org. Encourage you to check it out there. If it’s not still on a banner, which it should be, but if it’s not, you can locate it in the resources section along with some of our old studies. If you want to compare some of past years, you can find that there as well.

[00:54:01] You can find the National Institute for Social Media on most social platforms at NISM online as our handle. But the website is a great place to start as a landing resource. If I can ever be of support, I’m happy to do that as well. So you can find me, Jennifer Radke, on most social or jradke at nismonline.

[00:54:21] org as an email.

[00:54:23] Matt: Fantastic. Thank you so much, Jennifer. As always, it is such a pleasure to talk with you and what a fascinating study. for a fascinating industry.

[00:54:34] Jennifer: It is never dull. Thank you, Matt, so much for having us on and for highlighting some of the great things that we’re doing in this study.

[00:54:41] Matt: Oh, I appreciate it.

[00:54:42] And thank you, dear listener, for being a part of this episode of the Endless Coffee Cup. I hope you had at least one cup to get through, maybe two, because this was fascinating and maybe you didn’t need the caffeine to stay awake on this one. So thank you so much to your listener. I look forward to To the next cup of coffee with you on the endless coffee cup podcast.

[00:55:07] You’ve been listening to the endless coffee cup. If you enjoyed this episode, share it with somebody else. And of course, please take just a moment and rate or review us at your favorite podcast service. If you need more information, contact me at sitelogicmarketing. com. Thanks again for being such a great listener.

Endless Coffee Cup podcast

Featured Guest:

Jennifer Radke

President, National Institute for Social Media

Jennifer Radke



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