Social Media Management Will Be a Secretary’s Job In the Next 5 Years

Social Media Management Will Be a Secretary’s Job In the Next 5 Years


I’ve noticed a rise in social media professionals pushing services for social media management.

While I’m not trying to pick on anyone individually, I just can’t seem to figure this one out.  In fact, if the only value that you’re trying to bring to a company is to Tweet and Facebook on their behalf, you may soon be needing to look for another job.  Over the course of the next five years, this will just become part of the computer literate office manager.

This is pretty much the same fate as the social media purists.  If you really want to be able to work in social media, you’d better be prepared to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to the table, including:

  • data visualization/infographics
  • SEO
  • SEM
  • User experience
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Online reputation management
  • Actual business experience!
  • Sales

and many more.

You really have to know what you are doing to successfully execute a well-vetted social media strategy.  Facebook updates are important but they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the way one must be pervasive in all these moving targets.

What else are you bringing to the table? Why should people hire you? Why should they keep you? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Adam Bockler

    Depending on how you’re using social media outlets, I agree that they’re not all that time-consuming on their own.

    I’ve noticed already in my social media marketing internship this summer that the skills I possess in SEO are helpful. I’m writing blog posts that need to generate traffic, and I can’t do that without using some keywords. Then, I can share that quality content on any outlet I desire.

  2. Scott Clark

    Even if you strip the job down to simple social media posting (it never is,) you are still representing the voice of the company to potentially tens of thousands of self-selected followers, customers, journalists, and investors. I don’t know any company in their right mind who would give the reigns of even this basic tactical activity to someone with such a tiny investment in their future.

    It’s like listening to a great guitarist. They sound great, but it’s only because they practiced for 10,000 hours when you weren’t there to see them prepare.

  3. Brian Wallace

    Well said, Scott. A social media manager with 10,000 hours brings up the curve and most likely picks up other tools in the process if they have not done so already.

  4. Brian Wallace

    They can be time consuming, that’s the thing. Deep knowledge of different networks certainly will help clients along in understanding the technology, though it is through the marriage of social expertise and business acumen that makes the world go ’round. Glad to hear your SEO skills are paying off!

  5. Brian Wallace

    Nice one Scott. Companies have had department vs IT battles in what seems forever a deadlock. Social media really is a nice way to get the corporate types thinking across IT, Marketing, R&D, Legal, Customer Service and other departments as well.

  6. Amanda Cosco

    Hey all: interesting post. I’m a social media manager at a modestly-sized design firm, and while I take your point that the work may be secretarial in the future, I think you may be underestimating the role of social media marketing. The person authoring a social media account, be it a Twitter feed, Facebook page or blog post, is, as Scott mentioned, articulating that company’s voice to the world.

  7. Brian Wallace

    Hello Amanda, appreciate you weighing in on the topic as a social media manager. I’m not trying to downplay the role of social media marketing. Quite the contrary – I’m saying that it is ever increasing and demanding. Oftentimes, companies try to downplay this as “just a guy that updates my Twitter and Facebook.” If this is all they want, my point is that eventually their office admin can do that.

    Much to your point, there is a difference between this low level activity and really doing it right. My point is that there is doing it right plus additional skillsets that make social media rock the Internet for the company.

  8. Lyndit

    Kudos for writing about this. One the reasons I cringe when someone tells me there are a “social media expert”, I try to hold back my assumptions that are quickly confirmed when they tell me things like “I tweet and update Facebook fan pages with updates.” Sadly, sounds more like a Twitter/Facebook admin, or a Twitter/Facebook status writer. I hope that social media gives professionals a gateway to exploring other skills to add to their career.

  9. Jeffrey Mann

    I run several Twitter and Facebook pages for the companies that I work for. We have about 10,000 followers on our main account, and even that doesn’t require a dedicated person to watch it full time.

    I’ve found bringing new tools to the table like Hootsuite, Eventbrite, and other services makes my position more valuable for the company. I use Hootsuite to track keywords to be able to know when we/our products are being discussed online. Also things like setting up Google Alerts and monitoring online forums are things that every “social media manager” should be doing IMO.

    If all the company wants is to post approved status updates/tweets and reply to customers, it could easily be handled by a savvy receptionist with good writing skills.


  10. Jeffrey Greenman

    I work at a social media marketing company called From my experience every client and project has different needs. Sometimes we find ourselves being creative geniuses, sometimes we are simply syndicators, and sometimes we are community managers. The goals of each of our clients and needs will drive the requirements. Technology is in fact simply a tool that when used properly will yield the highest results.

  11. Jay

    Yeah, I totally agree with this article. As a matter of fact, while I offer this service to my SEM customers, I suggest that they or an employee do their own Social media postings. I mean seriously it takes less time to do it themselves than to call me and tell me what today’s post should be about. Besides, if they are like any other employees they are on facebook already anyway LOL

  12. Heather_Akrete

    I get the points that he’s making, but I also think he greatly underestimates ( as MANY do) what it takes to be an office manager.  In addition to keeping multiple plates spinning ( which a Community Manger must bring to the table) and an appreciation for the bottom line ( no one cares how fantastic you are if the lights aren’t on.  Likewise, it doesn’t matter how awesome your tweets are if you have no audience, and if that doesn’t ultimately impact whatever your goal is – which is not always as simple as ” sales”  )  being  ” just the secretary” also requires a ton of soft skills that frankly, aren’t appreciated in most *any* part of the marketplace today.  

    How knowledgeable are you about the client?  Can you discuss it in an interesting fashion?  How are you as a listener?  Can you build and sustain engagement, and do so on multiple levels within the same general audience? Are you willing for your level of expertise to be defined as being one page ahead in the manual ( or having bothered to open it?) than everyone else?  Because as an Executive Administrative assistant, that’s what I did for more than a decade, and as a Communications Associate at a new PR start up, I am surprised at just how much of that was a training ground for the work I do now.

    While I see the point the author is trying to make, that if you want to be in the industry, you have to bring more than a twitchy retweet finger, I also think that his ideas of what it takes to manage an office are as quaint and outdated as the image he chose to represent the “secretary”