We teamed up with SoCrowd to survey comms and social media professionals about their jobs – the pluses, as well as the pressures.
A whopping 422 people responded, building on the results from previous years.
It’s given us a rich picture of what’s going on in comms and digital teams in 2023.
Here’s what we know:
Not everyone is stressed
There’s a popular narrative doing the rounds that everyone working in comms or social media is stressed or burnt out.
The problem is – this can become a self-fulfilling narrative in itself.
If you’re not all aboard the busy bandwagon – destination Doomsville – you might ask yourself, what am I not doing that others are?
Should I be busier to keep my job? Am I really a quiche?
Our results are complex and nuanced, revealing a significant minority of social media professionals (40%) frequently experience workplace stress- with the remainder experiencing stress sometimes, or not at all.
It’s worth remembering that stress as work is almost inevitable.
But when it becomes a regular thing – that’s when it’s a good idea to look at what’s happening.
For example, is company culture the problem? Is the stress self-imposed? Or is it simply the pressure of working in a cash-is-king capitalist environment?
Whatever the reason, when stress is severely affecting your health, it’s time to get help. You can start by talking things through with your GP.
If your job is causing suicidal thoughts, call the Samaritans on 116 123. They’re open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You can’t know it all
When asked about what causes social media professionals stress at work, one if four told us that not having platform specific skills was a biggy.
Hardly surprising really – particularly if you remember a simpler time when everyone on Facebook saw your posts, and Twitter was mostly Stephen Fry.
The never ending changes to algorithm and ‘best practice’, not to mention the emergence of new channels from TikTok to Twitch, can feel overwhelming.
But be kind to yourself. There’s no way you can do everything well. Perfectionism is the enemy of progress. Sometimes even just a basic working knowledge of a platform will be good enough for most businesses or organisations.
Training can help (we would say that) and your workplace should see it as an investment: if you have a better knowledge of digital platforms, your organisation should see better results.
Rethink what it means to be productive
When we asked you about your daily niggles as a social media professional, almost two thirds of you told us they had zero time to be creative.
One way around this common conundrum can be to think about your time differently.
Instead of seeing your working day as one, long never ending to do list which never, ever ends day after day, try breaking it down into smaller chunks.
Setting yourself a smaller list of carefully prioritised tasks each day can make you feel more like you’re making progress, whilst also allowing yourself the opportunity to complete some more creative tasks.
Here’s a 100 year old productivity tool that lots of people use to help with this.
Your experience is undermined
Half of you also felt your value as a social media professional was consistently undermined – either because colleagues felt like anyone could do your job, or because colleagues or clients didn’t consult you before going off and doing their own thing.
Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
To the untrained eye, lots of what we do must seem like mucking about on the internet, right? But we know the full story – the experience, skills and training (not to mention patience) you’ve got in bucket loads to make it all seem so easy.
The solution? Repeat after us: “I must share my wins”.
If your work has cut helpline waiting times, increased revenue for the business or delivered outcomes in some other way, don’t be shy in coming forward.
If you’ve defused a complaint online, got great engagement with your community or had a really high-performing post- tell your boss.
No one else is going to do it for you.
Get back on the hore
We asked what common nightmares you’ve experienced as a social media professional.
Nearly half of you said they’d made embarrassing typos.
Have you ever written ‘pubic’ instead of ‘public’, or ‘hore’ instead of ‘horse’?
We’ve all been there. Even the great make mistakes.
Edit the post and move on.
What have you done today, to make you feel proud?
Yet it’s not all doom and gloom.
It’s not popular or trendy to say it, but comms and social media can actually be one of the most rewarding careers there is.
Nine in 10 of you told us they’d created content they felt truly proud of – with almost the same number of respondents being congratulated on doing a good job, by a colleague or a friend.
So congratulations to YOU.
It’s clear from the survey that a career in social media isn’t without its challenges, but with the right tools, training and mindset, you’re in a great position to thrive.
To learn more about results of this survey, you can download the full report here.
Discover the stresses and pressures UK comms professionals face, and get tips and tricks to be a happier, more successful communications professional.
In this webinar social media expert, Hel Reynolds, shares the latest research and loads of tips and tricks to help you thrive and feel happier in your job.