It’s time to take social media seriously – and that means paying higher salaries


At The Drum’s Predictions Breakfast, I was interested to hear how 2017 is going to be the year social takes its rightful place at high table of digital marketing.

I’m normally suspicious about ‘years of anything’ being proclaimed, but after I saw some fantastic presentations on the use of social data and about how a complex ecosystem of tools has evolved around the discipline I had become a convert.

The biggest area of growth seems to be around influencer marketing with the smart money moving from celebs to micro influencers as the centre of this world. And of course tech and agencies are growing up around this sector as well. We really are seeing a lot of growth in the requirement for staffing in this market already in 2017.

As we are all well aware, organic reach and effectiveness continue to diminish and most brands are increasingly have to pay to deliver the strongest results. Even organic posts which do perform well need fantastic content and more often than not, that will need funding as well.

So it’s becoming clear that brands need to put the social channel at the heart of their marketing. Its also become clear that they need to do it well and to do it well is going to cost. No longer can social be seen as something you can do on the cheap. There’s nothing more off-putting to a prospective customer than untended or abandoned Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Sadly, when we look at the data we gathered for the seventh edition of our Propel Digital Salary and Industry Insights Report, we see that this is not a view that is prevalent across the board. Social media salaries remain below the average marketing salaries at all levels. This suggests that businesses are still to be convinced that effective social media marketing influences the bottom line enough to increase remuneration.

We found that the average mid-level salary came in at £35,583. Compare that with a general marketing role at £40,296, email marketing at £38,688 or SEO at £39,422 and you can see that social staff are getting a raw deal.

We see the same patterns at junior level where the average social salary is £25,379. A general marketing role is £27,376, email is £27,419 and SEO is £27,038.

So we can see a disconnect here. We know brands want to invest more in social. We know that social marketing is growing as a medium as brands move away from traditional display. Surely it should follow that if social is an integral part of your marketing strategy then you should pay to get that expertise?

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About Author

Melina Jacovou

Melina Jacovou is chief executive and co-founder of Propel. The Propel Digital Salary and Industry Insights Report combines internal salary data with over 1300 respondents to a survey carried out over three months in 2016.

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