A lot of people can’t wrap their heads around the idea that your social media job is a real job.
The irony is everybody thinks it would be a cool job to have, but they look at you with the skepticism of someone evaluating a waiter who says he’s an actor.
Here are five reasons why this happens:
1. Your job is something most people do for fun.
Most people’s experience with social media is tweeting about their dinner, posting selfies and creeping on their friends. They can’t imagine you could have a job that allows you to do that all day. “It must be like working at an ice cream place,” they say, “or a bar that never closes.”
2. Your job is hard to explain without sounding like a boring wizard.
The truth is social media management isn’t as glamorous as it seems. People may ask you about it, but by the time you get through the list of all the things you really do, they’ve lost interest and are tapping through their iPhones.
The flip side is their expectation that you can perform amazing feats of wizardry and get instant likes, followers and views with a wave of your magical social media wand. They’re often disappointed when they find out you’re going to need more time, money or at least a bribe for such last-minute miracles.
3. People confuse social networking and social media.
Confusing social networking and social media marketing is like confusing someone who clicks the TV remote with someone who makes TV ads.
Social networking is keeping in touch with friends and family, finding new things, hunting deals, reading news and sharing. Social media marketing involves taking advantage of people’s need to do that, and persuading them and their friends to buy your stuff in the process.
4. Social media marketing happens under most people’s radars.
People don’t realize that when they watch a video, comment and got a comment back, enter a contest or get an issue resolved with their favorite brand on Facebook or Twitter, you are on the other end. They think it was actually the brand itself, personified, as if by social media magic.
When they find themselves buying a certain brand of shampoo because they thought that video their friend sent was funny, reposting it and sending off a comment thread about how other people love the shampoo, even though it costs more than the leading brand that does the same thing, they have no idea you made that happen.
5. You must show the connection between social media and sales.
We’re getting there, but it’s still hard for a lot of brands, businesses and startups to draw a direct line between social media activity and sales. This is a huge problem for job security.
You still may find yourself spending more time on selling yourself and your department to the CEO and CFO than selling product, but keep your head in the game and take every opportunity to show results large and small.
Tell your marketing team to look at your sales before you start, and then after. Excluding anything else your company did, did your sales go up? If so, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, figure out what went wrong. Stop doing the things that didn’t work and do more of the ones that did. It’s simple.
David Murdico is the executive creative director and managing partner of Supercool Creative. Connect with David on Twitter @DavidMurdico. A version of this article originally appeared on the Supercool Creative blog.