Of course, like any other position, your salary will depend on your experience: mom Janelle Dominique Swing, 25, a social media manager and trainer, says that she started with a monthly pay of Php24,000 (working part-time) before eventually earning a monthly average of Php150,000 to Php200,000 (working full-time).
What is a social media manager?
Social media managers are in charge of handling companies’ social channels like Facebook and Instagram. They are in charge of posting content and engaging potential customers by responding to likes and comments. One of their main responsibilities also include coming up with a content plan and social media strategies that are in line with the marketing strategy of the company, according to Janelle. “To sum it up, social media management is a mix of strategy, graphic design, and copywriting,” she says.
How much do social media managers earn?
According to Janelle, inexperienced or “newbie” social media managers can charge $3 to $5 per hour (Php151 to Php252) per social media account. This means the hours she spends on a client’s Facebook account and Instagram account are charged separately. Based on her experience, she can spend around three to five hours per week for each client’s account and she can earn a minimum of $100 monthly (Php5,000) per account. After accumulating around three to six months of experience, Janelle says you can raise your hourly rate.
Experienced social media managers who cater to different clients can earn around Php150,000 to Php200,000 monthly. Janelle says she handles about 14 clients in total and charges $20 per hour.
How to be a social media manager?
Janelle shares that you don’t have to be a college graduate to become one. At 18, Janelle put her studies on hold to support her mom and siblings and applied at a call center. A year later, in 2014, a colleague told her about ODesk (now called Upwork), a legitimate work-at-home platform that connects freelancers and companies. She resigned from her job to pursue her bachelor’s degree again, hoping to get an online job to fund her studies.
She borrowed a laptop from a family friend, bought a pocket WIFI and signed up at ODesk. “Two weeks akong nag-apply, anything from assistant, customer service, outbound representative… basta feeling ko kaya ko, ina-applyan ko,” she shares.
Her first ever job involved writing a formal letter for a real estate company. The pay was $5 for the whole project and Janelle says she accepted it “para at least may earnings sa profile ko.” After she submitted the letter, the owner of the company contacted her again to offer her a full-time virtual assistant (VA) position. (Learn how to be a virtual assistant here.)
Janelle worked as a VA from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. (Philippine Standard Time), earning $3 per hour. She juggled her online job with her university classes, which started at 7 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m.
After a few months, she applied for other VA jobs. In 2015, she met a client who was a food blogger in need of a marketing VA. Janelle was in charge of the blogger’s website and social media. That’s when she discovered her love for social media management.
“Yung social media, combination siya ng graphics, copywriting, and strategic planning. Exciting siya kasi kapag hindi nag-work, kailangan mong gumawa ng bago. So, hindi siya repetitive na task,” Janelle shares. “Kailangan may something new kang na-bi-bring sa table. Kapag iba-iba ang clients mo, iba-iba rin ang strategy na kailangan mong gawin at i-implement.”
What skills do you need to become a social media manager?
Janelle says that the job is for creative, tech-savvy individuals who have excellent written and oral communication skills. Though the job involves graphic design, you can take advantage of free design tools like Canva and Crello to create content. She also uses apps like Ninesquare to plan the look of her clients’ Instagram feeds, as well as scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Planoly.
For newbies, Janelle suggests practicing with Canva to create graphics and then uploading it on your social media pages to create your portfolio. You can also volunteer to manage your friends’ online shops or pages in exchange for a testimonial.
What it’s like being a social media manager
When Janelle got married in 2016 and then got pregnant in 2017, she only worked part-time as a social media manager. After her son Jesse was born, that’s when she decided to apply for full-time work.
Janelle starts her day late at 10 a.m., so she can stay up and hold meetings with her international clients in the evening. The first thing she does is to check her emails and then looks at her to-do list to see what tasks needs to be prioritized for the day. She also does content research for each of her clients and updates herself with the trends, especially against her client’s competitors. Then, she works on her content bank and plan.
After, she does graphics and captions for social media accounts and then sends it to her clients for approval. Then, she schedules the content for posting. In the evening, Janelle dedicates her time to client meeting and social media engagement. Her work ends at 12 midnight and she is in bed by 1 a.m.
The challenges and benefits of working at home
Janelle admits that having flexible working hours is actually harder to manage, so you really have to be organized. “No one’s looking after you, so you’re responsible for your schedule — what you want to do and how you’ll be productive,” she shares.
She’s also learned the importance of break times. “I learned that I am more productive if I have one-hour breaks. Kasi I need to refresh my mind, lalo na after graphics and caption writing. Sobrang nauubos ang creativity ko so I need to get away from my workstation.”