The unglamorous life of a social media manager in the travel industry

Nicolle White is the social media manager for Peterpans Travel Group.

You’ve just been offered the job of your dreams: travel content creator. Images of jet-setting around the globe dance in your head. You imagine rushing to work down foreign, cobblestoned streets, starting your day with a local confection. You are living the dream of being paid to travel.

Enter: Reality.

For many social media managers, managing travel platforms is as far from glam as Paris is from New York.

Here’s why.

You won’t be navigating the globe as often as you think.
One of the biggest disappointments of working in the travel industry is a lack of, well, travel. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ll be sent on trip after trip. After all, you’re expected to write about this all day long, it makes sense for you to know the product, right?

Not quite. From a business perspective, it makes sense to have you in the office. The closest you’ll get to wandering the world is vicariously, through an Instagram dashboard.

But you will have to carefully navigate social media influencers’ egos.
While you might not frolic with lions in Namibia, you will have to tame the wild media influencer ego. These influencers get paid big bucks to do what you were hoping to – travel. They know their Reyes filter from their Brannan and also know what influence they can have from your company and therefore can be demanding. A huge part of your job will be working with this new breed of celebrity — and learning how to harness their egos to boost your social visibility.

You will inadvertently spend hours scrolling through pornography.
We can almost guarantee that in taking a social media role you had no intention of looking at strangers naked. Oh, but you will. Any time you need to search through social media hashtags for the perfect photo to get your own audience liking, you’ll be greeted with pornographic material. While it might leave you nervously hiding your screen from co-workers on the first day, you’ll soon be scrolling past these like your friend’s boring breakfast post.

You will have to justify your role.
There aren’t many jobs where you get hired and then have to justify why you’re there, but in social media, you probably will. Boards of directors are usually focused on one thing: return on investment. In social media, particularly with platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, ROI isn’t as straightforward as adwords or eDMs. Unfortunately, your boss is going to quiz you on what your function is, why branding is important and why you can’t push sales through it.

You will get everyone’s opinion what you should be doing.
Facebook has more than 1.5 billion users globally, so it’s a safe bet that most of your office is using at least one social media platform. Unlike a position in, say, accounting that most people can’t —  and would never want to — do, everyone uses social media. And they are going to offer their unsolicited advice on how you should use it.