Day in The Life of a Social Media Associate

By: Claire Hamilton

Since I live in Chicago and probably have a Vitamin D deficiency, I bought a sunrise alarm clock to wake me up each morning with the sounds of gentle waves and a warm LED light. Yes, I totally feel like I’m at the beach. 

Today, my sunrise alarm clock goes off at 7:10am to welcome me to Thursday. You would think, with social media being my job and a huge part of my personal life, that the first thing I do each morning is look at my phone—however, I try to use that time (if I haven’t snoozed my sunrise alarm clock to no end), to start my day without looking at my screen. This is especially important, since I know I’ll be on my laptop or phone for the majority of the rest of the day. 

With no phone in hand, I crawl out of bed to get ready.  

As a Social Media Associate at RyTech, LLC, I go into our office at the Central Loop Industrious in Downtown Chicago three days a week. The other two days of the week, I stay at my house to the north of the city. Today, I’ve decided I’m going into the office. 

Once I’m dressed and ready, I leave my house and take the L to the RyTech office at the Industrious in the Central Loop. On the train, I briefly check my email, scroll through some of the Instagram accounts that I manage, and look for any new messages on Slack. 

chicago sunrise over buildings

I get to the office around 8:45am, which matches my usual office arrival time. I decided to treat myself, which has been happening a little too often lately, and grab the iced coffee I mobile-ordered from Starbucks on the first floor of our building. I then take the elevator to the 21st floor to see that the food spread today includes breakfast burritos. A silent cheer: these are my second favorite breakfast offering at the Industrious office, behind the bagels on Mondays. 

After grabbing a plate, I head back to the RyTech office and say hello and good morning to my coworkers at their desks. We chat about our upcoming plans for the weekend, client news, and of course, the weather. I take my spot at my desk and start to work.  

claire and justin at the office

I begin my day on my laptop by checking Sprout Social, the platform that we use to manage all of our client’s social media accounts. Here, I check the inboxes of all of my clients and see if there are any new messages or comments that I need to respond to. 

Then, I open up the Instagram app on my phone to further check up on the current accounts that I manage. I look for direct messages, scroll through the home feeds, like or comment on any pictures from users or companies that may be relevant, and spend some time following new users on each of the accounts. 

Next, I have a 9:45am meeting on Zoom with my coworkers Eileen, the Social Media Manager at RyTech, and Sam, the Chief Digital Officer at RyTech. This morning, we met with a client who we previously worked with on a one-time social listening project, and went over some of the new projects she has in mind for us. 

We end the meeting with a game plan to start creating graphics and copy for the social media posts and paid aids as soon as possible. We’re aiming to have them ready by Friday morning—a quicker turnaround time than normal, but we’re feeling confident.  

Around 10:15am, I start working on the content calendar for one of my clients, a catering company in the Chicagoland area. For each of the clients that we do organic social media work for, the main duties we have include coming up with a content strategy, scheduling posts within that strategy to go out on the clients’ respective social media pages, and then creating reports each month that analyze the posting data from each platform. Normally, I schedule the content for my clients a week in advance, so I can send it to them for their approval before it is officially uploaded.

laptop coffee and notes

I head to my email and download the pictures that the point-of-contact from the catering company sent me from last weekend. There was a wedding and a baby shower that the company helped to host, so I start to plan out the week’s content around the pictures from these events. Their point-of-contact in our last meeting also asked me to start promoting their BBQ catering services that they offer during the summers, so I take some time looking at the professional photos they had taken of the grill and meats to include. 

With a client like a catering company, it’s important for me to showcase all of their abilities, from the delicious food that they make, to their venue availability, to their seasonal services. 

After I edit the photos, write the copy, and proofread everything, I send over the week’s worth of content to the company’s team. This includes five Instagram posts, four Facebook posts, and three LinkedIn posts. 

Now, I have just a few minutes until my 12:30pm meeting with the rest of the Social Squad at RyTech. Almost every Thursday during our weekly meeting, one member of the social media team finds a relevant article or news story to share with the group, usually pertaining to digital marketing, the internet, or (surprise!) social media. Today, I am leading the meeting.

To find a timely article, I go to Social Media Today and see that there has been a recent report from Social Insider published on, “The Life of a Social Media Manager.” This report analyzes the typical pasts of many social media managers and their previous educational interests, the present common tasks that they complete and challenges they may face in the workplace, and the future outlook for those working in social media management as a whole. 

I find this to be an interesting report, and acknowledge that some of my own experiences working in social media seem to be somewhat universal among others in the digital marketing realm. One quote from the report, in particular, reflects how I feel about my own work life, reading, “Interestingly, no workday is like another for social media managers, and most of the time, it means juggling between different tasks.”

In the team meeting, I start the discussion on the report and also use it as a chance to connect with my coworkers. Were any of them interested in reading, art, or theatre as a kid, as the report found 9 out of 11 social media managers to be? I am guilty as charged. 

We go over the duties and challenges of other social media managers that were mentioned in the report, talk about the flexibility that’s needed when working in social media, and discuss some of the current challenges we are facing in our job. One of the biggest hurdles for our team seems to be the ability to come up with creative copy and captions when we’ve had the same client or talked about the same services for long periods of time; it can feel a bit redundant. 

I end the meeting with a quote from the report that I find to be motivating: “With all these rapid changes in the social media landscape, the social media managers’ jobs will become more secure, tailored to specific needs, and taken more seriously overall.” That’s right, TikTok is harder than it looks! 

All jokes aside, it was nice to see that the outlook on social media management work in the future is incredibly bright, and it was encouraging to hear that the need for it will only continue to grow. 

When our team meeting ends, I go into the main cafe space and heat up my lunch. I take the next 45 minutes or so to answer some texts, check in on anything I may have missed in the morning, and do just a little online browsing (cough cough, shopping). I sometimes try to stay off of my phone or laptop during lunch, either bringing a book with me to the office or sitting outside on the rooftop. 

downtown chicago buildings

After lunch, I begin to work on the content for one of our new clients, an innovative luggage company. I only have a few more posts to create for their profiles for next week, so I experiment with editing some of the videos Eileen and I took when we traveled up to Milwaukee a few weeks ago for a fun day capturing video content. 

I also do some influencer research for this brand, taking the time to find a few more Instagram influencers who I think could be a good fit to represent their product. For this specific company, we are looking for travel and lifestyle influencers with 10k followers or less. To find the right influencers, I look at the type of content they post, if they’ve had any other product or company collaborations, and if they receive good engagement on their posts. 

I narrow down and add the final few influencers to our list and send that, along with the content for next week, to the company point-of-contact.  

Now, it’s happy hour time at the office. Each Thursday, the Industrious office puts out a happy hour spread of food and drinks in the main cafe, usually with a theme of some sort. I go out to grab some snacks with my coworkers. Today is a large summer charcuterie board; I stack my plate up high.

Claire at the Industrious office

With snacks at my side, I finish up work by starting on the content from our meeting this morning for the conference next week. The client specifically requested that we make some general promotional graphics for the event, which I spend some time creating on Canva. After coming up with a few options, I send them to Eileen and Sam to get their feedback and start to browse the other event templates on Canva. 

I end the day by making a to-do list for tomorrow, with my main priority being to create more graphics for the conference and to help Eileen write copy for the posts to start going out later in the afternoon. 

Saying goodbye to my coworkers and wishing them a nice weekend, I leave the office and head up to the top floor of the building to go to the gym. After getting some movement in and after a productive day of work, I am both sleepy and satisfied. 

Downtown Chicago at sundown

I take the L back home, cook one of my Hello Fresh meals, and spend the rest of the night catching up on my own social media feeds and watching one of the eight Netflix shows I’ve started with my roommates— tonight, it’s Anatomy of a Scandal. 

Around 10:30pm, I set my alarm for the morning and prepare for another workday that, as all the others have turned out to be, will be unlike any other. 

One thing, though, is for sure: my sunrise alarm clock will be ready. 

picture frames on shelf

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