Profit from posting: Analyzing the recent growth of jobs related to social media

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Alyse Zuiderveen

Many Instagram users utilize the app’s insights to determine the level of engagement they are receiving on their posts.

Alyse Zuiderveen, Copy Editor

During the pandemic, the popularity of various social media platforms rose exponentially as social media became a form of communication and a way to feel connected. Many individuals capitalized on this popularity by finding ways to make social media their primary source of income. Despite the potential odds against them, influencers across a variety of platforms shared one common journey – pursuing a dream career in social media.

Careers in social media are not new, however. Many Instagram influencers started their careers by making videos on YouTube, eventually carrying their platforms over to Instagram. While lifestyle influencers and celebrities have gained fame through their platforms, social media popularity has expanded beyond the typical profile. This shift can be attributed to the creation of features such as Reels on Instagram, which create engagement and generate views.

The term “Reels” on Instagram refers to short video clips often set to music. These are often republished from TikTok but have grown in their own popularity recently as Instagram has expanded to accommodate businesses. Many large organizations and companies such as the NFL have found that publishing videos as Reels rather than regular videos creates 67% more engagement within a one month timespan.

The growth of Reels and social media marketing has created an increased demand for positions such as “Content Creator” and “Social Media Manager.” Job postings to fill these roles have increased by more than 1000% in the past decade, and the number of individuals with the job title “Social Media Manager” on LinkedIn has doubled since 2013.

What does the role of a Content Creator or Social Media Manager entail? This varies slightly by position. While some Content Creators also work as Social Media Managers, their jobs work with slightly different aspects of the apps. 

Many Social Media Managers work with businesses to ensure their online platforms are appealing to customers, utilize their analytics to create engagement and build a community online. They often create online campaigns and target their posts to create a specific type of engagement such as likes, shares or profile visits. 

Features such as Instagram’s insights can help Social Media Managers become aware of the demographics of their followers, which posts are receiving the most attention and when their followers are most active. This can help in scheduling posts or Reels as well as planning future posts. 

Content Creators, on the other hand, focus most on what is going into a post, whether it be for a personal or business page. This focus typically includes the creation of content such as Reels. A job in content creation requires creators to stay up-to-date on trends and utilize them to gain popularity.

But is this a profitable career field?

While social media management has only recently grown in popularity, it has created stable jobs for many. The average base salary for a Social Media Manager as of December 2021 was $71,220, and the total compensation for Social Media Managers was $77,839

Sabrina Schmeichel is a Quad Cities-based Content Creator and Social Media Manager who uses her page, @sabrina.schmeichel, to promote content. She has worked to make social media her job and described her experience. “I started focusing on growing my own Instagram account a few years ago and grew to love the creative side of it and interacting with my audience,” she shared. “I quickly discovered that social media is a vital part of any business whether it’s a boutique, coffee shop or simply an online Etsy store.”

Schmeichel continued, “Business owners are so busy filling orders and fulfilling their day-to-day duties that Instagram can be put on the back burner and forgotten about. That’s when I found my passion for social media management! I step in and create content, engage with customers and give behind-the-scenes looks for my clients all while driving sales to their website and bringing a new audience to the store.”

Schmeichel currently uses her Instagram stories to describe her everyday life, often showcasing aspects of her job in social media management. She frequently shares content-creating tips and believes that finding a “niche” is incredibly important to developing a brand. A niche will help direct your content in a direction which Schmeichel believes leads to profit. “Once you feel you’re in a routine of creating content, begin reaching out to brands that match your niche and that’s where the profit begins,” she shared.

While social media has proven advantageous to individuals or businesses seeking to make a profit from it, its benefits extend to organizations as well. 

Senior Caroline Sierk served as the Lead Communications Officer for the Iowa Thespian State Thespian Officers (STO) Instagram and shared about the ways the group has remained connected and experienced growth from the page following the annual Iowa Thespian Festival. “Social media has become an integral part of teenagers as a whole,” she shared. “At the festival, we were definitely promoting social media as a way to remain connected after being in-person for such a special event and to keep the community going.”

The Iowa Thespian STO Instagram page remains an important form of connection for many thespians and is a space to promote values such as mental health.

Social media is rapidly becoming a form of advertising, news and connection; however, it is important to also recognize the future of careers related to marketing and creating on social media. While the future of content creation is rapidly changing, its relevance remains crucial as the jobs related to social media grow exponentially.