I had the pleasure of speaking with a friend’s younger sister about what it means to be in the Social Media space, how I ended up here, and what she can expect upon graduating and looking for her first job.
Since I get asked so frequently about how I got here, what tips and advice I have to offer, and what it looks like to be a Social Media Manager, I thought I’d share her piece here. Enjoy!
Visual Arts Business Procedures
On September 26 th at 5:30 p.m., I interviewed Mia Taylor, who was recommended to me by my brother. He gave me her information and from there I emailed her about my interest in knowing more about her career. We then set up a phone interview as she lives in Seattle.
According to Mia, usually her job would be titled Social Media Strategist or Digital Marketing Manager. However, currently all of her clients are celebrities so she’s been using Celebrity Social Media Manager as her job title. I chose to interview Mia because the social media industry is something I’m definitely considering pursuing a career in.
My goal for this interview was to learn about what social media has to offer in terms of career opportunities rather than just using it for personal entertainment.
As a freshman at Manhattanville College in New York, Mia was recruited for their Psychology department. Although she loved psychology, she left after a year when she realized that it wasn’t what she wanted to do long-term. She then did Semester at Sea where she started blogging and reviewing food. She would send her blog posts in email newsletters and that’s when she learned that she enjoyed sharing information with people. After Semester at Sea, she transferred to Pepperdine University in California, where she got a degree in communications with a concentration in journalism. She was specifically interested in online journalism, but because they didn’t have courses on social media and how it connects with journalism, Mia worked closely with one of her professors to add it into the curriculum for one of their classes.
Later on, she eventually graduated from Pepperdine University. While Mia was in school, she was also working at an agency called Wingman Media, that included services like marketing and advertising for businesses in the southern California region. At the time, social media marketing wasn’t really established yet; it was called earned media. Her position at Wingman Media was what got her on the path from earned media to social media as it started emerging through Twitter. While already having around 3,000 Twitter followers in 2009, Mia said that her active use of Twitter (25-50 tweets a day) and all the networking she did were what led to the start of her social media career. Something she wishes someone had told her before pursuing her career, was that from the very beginning, you have to establish defined boundaries for yourself, know when it’s time to disconnect, and have time away from social media. Mia’s been working in social media since 2009 and celebrity social media since 2010. A typical day in her job starts at 8:00 a.m. where she starts off in her home office and works off and on throughout the whole day.
Typically, she’ll have one conference-call every day and she’ll post 3-5 posts across all of her clients’ social media accounts. On average, she probably posts about 20 social posts a day, not including engaging with previously posted content. She tracks social statistics for the pages she
manages to see which posts are performing well and which aren’t. Communication by email is constant throughout the day regarding subjects such as press tours, book releases, season premieres, and red-carpet events.
For times when she has non-celebrity clients, things like what
sale the store has going on and how to promote it is covered. Mia also uses an application called Slack which allows her to communicate with her clients and their teams. I then asked her what she considers has been the lowest point in her career so far. She said that moving away from California, her birthplace and home until the age of 27, was hard because it meant she would have less face-time with her clients and some of them would want to work with someone local.
Now all of her clients are in Los Angeles and she flies there once a month or once every month and a half. As for the highest point in her career, she mentioned how she’s been able to choose clients who she has respect for and who return that respect for her and her work. A high point
for her has also been doing good work that people are willing to refer to other clients. As for the work experience and educational requirements for Mia’s position, you should start out on an intern level and find a mentor that can help teach you about the process of how they do things like creating an editorial calendar, making social posts, and scheduling clients ahead of time. It’s important to have skills in organization and creative thinking. A background in writing is also very important because you have to spend a lot of time adapting your voice to fit the voice of the brand or the person that you’re representing on social media. I also asked Mia what she liked and disliked most about her job. She likes that there’s flexibility that allows her to create her own schedule and lifestyle, and that she can work remotely. As for the things that she finds most challenging about her job, she said that working with multiple clients can be overwhelming at
times and that while her schedule is more flexible, she also has to be available at all times to ensure that she doesn’t miss anything. Social media changes quickly and the biggest part of social media is being in the moment and ready to talk about things that are constantly happening.
It also means working on weekends and holidays. Then I asked her to give me one piece of advice in order to pursue a social media career and she told me to read, study, and follow a mentor and their process. I then asked Mia how she got her first big job, which was at WingmanMedia. She told me that she had a friend who worked there and that they needed a new writer.
She eventually got a job at a social media marketing agency for celebrities because someone was following her on Twitter and thought she’d be interested. It was about knowing the right people and being really verbal about the things she was looking for in work. I also asked her how she
promotes her business and finds new clients, and if your location matters. She said for someone like me who lives in Charleston, it would probably be easier to get a job at a company that needs someone to do the social media marketing and from there you could eventually open your own
business. Starting your career by working for a company would teach you a lot of things and you’d have the reputation of working with them behind you. In regard to money, I asked Mia how she decides what she’s going to charge a client. If you’re in Los Angeles, for example, you would charge higher due to cost of living but you would also be doing a lot more work. There’s websites like PayScale that tell you what people are making in your area. As a beginner, you don’t want to charge so much that clients are disappointed when you aren’t providing what they feel the value is. On the other hand, you don’t want to charge too little that they think that they
can walk all over you and take advantage of you. What makes Mia stand out from her competition is her experience. She uses a portfolio to show how diverse she can be.
When asked how she saw the role of social media in relationship to being a successful creative, she told me that because social media is always changing, you as a creative professional have to keep up with
it. It keeps you on your toes and makes you think outside the box. Lastly, I asked her what the general salary range is for people with jobs like hers. Although freelance is different, a new-to-social media “associate” working on a team generally makes 70,000/80,000 a year. It depends on where you live. The cost of living is lower in certain areas and higher in others.
After doing this project and talking to Mia, I learned that social media definitely requires a lot of skills. Networking is crucial if you want to succeed in a social media career and a background in writing is also recommended. Honestly, I don’t think anything surprised me because I knew social media was a hard job. You have to be willing to really put in effort in order to be successful in the industry because there’s so much competition. I think a pro is being able to create my own schedule because that can teach me how to become more organized. On the other hand, organization is also a con because it’s something I’ve always had trouble with. I think I have so much more to learn before I can even consider taking a position in social media.”