I have a 20-something number of alarms on my iPhone, each concerning a different time of the day, each for a different time zone than that of Europe, and each ready to be set the day before I have to post an Instagram post (or four, for that matter) so that they go off as a reminder when necessary.
Allow me to explain.
I found myself as a 20 year-old, part of a small company for digital and handmade design solutions working mainly as a social media manager alongside being responsible for other things. Small in terms of the scale, but otherwise very big in terms of the customer profile, talent & creativity and the scale of production.
I met the couple who now run the design collective over 2 years ago, during a job I had for a street culture festival in Istanbul. Our relationship gradually developed, turning into a rather emotional one that resulted in them being my mentors for life. Ecem and Can are former modern slaves; Can, having worked in advertisement agencies as a senior art director and Ecem having worked for magazines and buying departments for concept stores as a project manager for numerous brands and digital projects. In the past they each have created their own brands for leather goods and individually acquired expertise in the broad field of design, until life gathered them as lovers. They are talented, passionate people who work together perfectly creating a balance between the business and the creative aspects of their company.
I was asked to join them over the summer as Ecem’s assistant. Little did I know I would be running Instagram accounts, writing hundreds of captions, thinking about whether a schnitzel looked good with a certain cocktail glass side by side on Instagram, emailing customers asking for confirmation on the latest packaging design we have for their new café, and writing brand manifestos.
The company, alongside its many services entailing every aspect of concept design, provides consultancy and services for social media platforms. I prepare monthly files that include visual content, as well as textual, indicating the date for when to post the content, carefully chosen hashtags and an overview of how the “grid” would look like with all the visuals. After having the client’s confirmation, I then set my alarms for each day so that I know exactly when to post them on Instagram. I work with a junior art director, a friend of mine working at the company, to further create post and story series with graphic design elements and hand-drawn illustrations accompanying photographs and videos.
Never in a million years I would have thought I’d be making money off of running Instagram accounts, let alone (involuntarily) becoming a somewhat connoisseur for how Instagram works.
My job, above all, entails creating a brand language through a certain voice of tone, a usage of selected emojis and a consistent visual language. I had an idea about the importance of social media platforms and their role in building, representing and communicating a brand; however only until I started doing the job myself that I understood how big of a work it requires to portray a true reflection of the brand. Along the way, I have done menu photoshoots for bars and pubs, learned terminologies otherwise I wouldn’t have in order to write accurate captions, and had the chance to star in the behind the scenes of a beautiful looking Instagram profile.
It sounds all the more ridiculous now that I have written about it. Without being completely passionate about what I do in regards to social media, I can’t complain either. It is neither feeding my soul, nor feeling as a burden. I don’t see myself doing it for so long; nevertheless I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to be a part of such a team. It allowed me to see Instagram from a different perspective – a one that customers all over the world use for getting to know a brand through DMs, comments and likes, all resulting in a mere accumulation of data and statistics. It allowed me to see the platform less seriously regarding my personal account, given that I was posting multiple posts for multiple others anyways. Last but not least, it made me very proud of my abilities in creating online communities that link to a physical space, through visual language.
To be honest, I don’t want to find myself sometime in the future having a conversation along the lines of this:
– Has it always been your dream job to work in the field of social media?!
-Nah. It just happened to be that way.
It sometimes feels like the job of social media manager is often looked down upon by many people and written off as a particularly ‘easy’ job. While I have no experience in this field, at least commercially, I can understand that there’s a lot of thought and effort that goes into each post. The time, the caption, the content etc. Being able to make money/a living from the comfort of your phone and laptop is a great benefit of the digital world, especially because it allows people to not be tied down to one city or place.
Thank you for your comment! I also feel like it’s a job being looked down upon, so it’s nice to hear someone acknowledge that. I try my best in taking any kind of job I do seriously, as there is a lot of effort that goes into doing Instagram posts, too. The result we see is only the tip of the iceberg; however the part that people don’t get to see is where all the work lies, through which a brand identity gets created on one of the most popular visual platforms.
I can definitely confirm that me living in two different cities did not stand in the way of my work. Rare occasion of actually being grateful for digital media I guess!
Hi! Your post was really interesting, it is always nice for me to read about personal work (and life) experiences, in particular regarding to social media. From one year my boyfriend is working as a social media manager and a new world has been opened in front of my eyes. I always regarded social medias with a sense of superficiality, because in my head they were linked with entartainment. I never took them seriously, so I never considered the hard work one has to put in it in order to establish its presence online when it comes to business. For the first time, I saw what was behind a social media page; choosing valuable content, designing the image to post, select strategic ashtags and emojis, doing periodically “calls to actions” and many things you surely know better than me. As you said, what I was seeing before it was only the tip of the iceberg, I can not find a better expression. I think this is what success is: the tip of an iceberg made up also by sacrifice, perseverance and hard work. People we will always see the tip, and they will judge your work from what they see, but your work will always value much more than that.