Posted December 21, 2010 9:35 am by with 34 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Here is a question that I always have and want some input from our readers on. This morning I was alerted by Paul Gillin about a social media manager’s job with USAToday that is listed on CareerBuilder. Pretty nice gig, right?

Well, considering you would need to live in the Washington, DC area (job is listed in McLean, VA) and you need to do the following (see description below), what is this job worth? What should it pay?

Since USAToday doesn’t post anything about salary let’s play the hottest new social media game “HOW MUCH DOES THIS SOCIAL MEDIA JOB PAY?!” It’s fun and I hear it’s all the rage (which is an out and out lie but whatever).

Here’s how you play. You read the job description below then in the comments you tell us how much you think the job pays. You can clamor on about what you think it SHOULD pay as well but we are looking for just your best guess at how many pennies are in the Social Media Job Jar at USAToday.

Here’s the job description:

The USA TODAY Social Media Manager will be responsible for setting social media strategy as part of developing new and existing products. Additionally, the position will be responsible for keeping on top of changes in the social media space, understanding their implications and guiding social media integration for the purpose of user engagement and advertiser fulfillment. Position will manage a Social Media Analyst position and work closely with research assistant, SEO and UI analysts to guide the development of product optimization across all platforms.Responsibilities include:

· Drive social media strategy for USA TODAY and best practices for product development and optimization. Oversee social media implementation and monitor/track performance of social media aspect throughout product lifecycle. Work with Social Media staff and across departments to coordinate and maximize efficiency of efforts.

· Social Media R&D: Stay on top of latest social media platforms, tools, and services, enabling an environment for experimentation. Guide application of such for product iteration as relevant and appropriate for the brand.

· Work closely with social media counterpart within Sales Solutions in order to provide new revenue-generating product solutions to advertiser needs

· Maintain and continue to grow the voice for USA TODAY on social media platforms that increases exposure to and engagement with the USA TODAY brand amongst new audiences. Actively participate in communication with site visitors and audiences outside of USA TODAY about new developments in social media, product development or other relevant areas. Desired skills include:

· Omniture, ComScore, Hitwise experience
· Social media monitoring
· Strong project management background
· Strong writing and presentation skills
· Contract and business development experienceUSA TODAY recognizes and appreciates the benefits of diversity in the workplace. EOE.

So what’s your guess? Please play “WHAT DOES THIS SOCIAL MEDIA JOB PAY?” today because we are pretty bored here at Marketing Pilgrim.


UPDATE 1: With our first two guesses setting the range from $45k to $150k per year there is a lot of room here!

  • SMB

    I’ll guess $45,000

    • @SMB – Great! We have our first guess. Oh, I didn’t mention the prize. Hmmmm, let’s see here. Well, I likely won’t have one unless USAToday gives us the real number since we will have no way of knowing who is right! That’s part of the fun of “HOW MUCH DOES THIS SOCIAL MEDIA JOB PAY?”

  • $275k

  • well according to payscale:

    PMI certified project managers in D.C. start around 107k/year (they asked for strong project management background)

    Add specialization and high visibility of the brand.. I’d say in the neighborhood of $120-150k/year. Crazy.. you really can make a bunch of money to mess around on the internet all day. Guess mom was wrong 😛

    • @Kris – But who says you are right? What if SMB is closer? Can Project Management and Social Media be the same classification? So many questions!

      • Shot in the dark but SMB is probably not from the U.S.

        D.C. is one of the highest paying Metro’s in the states right now, if not THE highest (Boston, L.A. and New York are damned close). If you are in any of those 4 locations and working in anything search (SEO, PPC, Social) and have at least a bare minimum of a year experience, you are looking at 50k ENTRY LEVEL.

        They aren’t looking for entry level. They are looking for “strong experience”. Even without the Project Manager experience (which they specifically asked for) you are probably talking 100k at the bottom end.

        • @Kris – Thanks!

        • SMB

          I am from the US……well, Detroit 🙂 Jobs pay not nearly enough here so I’m stuck in that frame of mind. I should probably have done some research on how much jobs pay in the DC area. Honestly though, you’d be lucky to get $45K for that job here in Detroit.

  • For those types and the amount of responsibility, and living in that area I would guess the job is worth $100k.

  • funny.. i do this for multiple clients..

    • @Steve – Ok Steve how much do you make? 🙂

      JUST KIDDING! (Kind of …….)

      What’s your thought on this job though? What would USAToday have to pay to get the person they are asking for?

  • I’m gonna go with $72,000.

    Do we actually know the answer? Is there going to be a big reveal?

    • @Garrett – TBD. Depends on the good folks at USAToday I suppose. Anyone in the know at the org who is willing to lend a hand?

      • nice domain you got there frank 😉

        • @Kris – Thanks. I try to give people the impression that I can actually do what the domain implies ………

  • As a canuck, I’d have to guess that the “wampum” you’d get for this task aint worth the “whomping” you’d be taking just by living in DC….

    So I’d guess say $65k US….



    • @Jim – Living in the DC area has its challenges both logistically and ideologically for sure. What’s the pay like “north of the border” for an equivalent gig?

      • dunno here Frank….but I’d think as a mid-level Mgr’s position up here it’d be about $60k to $70k or so….

        but that would of course, include the mandatory week off each November for Moose Hunting, eh!



  • Aimee

    My guess is based on the fact that the title is Manager and NOT Director, it prob pays +/- $50K. However, it really *should* pay $120K based on the description.

  • Jordan C

    I’m going to say somewhere in the range of $50K – $85K

    Social Media management is still a tricky business and there is a lot of unknowns. The experience they are looking for is not terribly difficult to acquire either. The big factor is really how much they respect Social Media as a company and feel they can do with it. If it will really impact their brand, get them some conversions, create a more interactive experience with their user base, etc. etc. Therefore, at the lower end they could be looking at someone with a couple years of experience right out of college/MBA or someone from the SEO/SEM industry with a 5-8 years experience.

    Obviously, factoring in where the position is located could add another $5-10K.

  • Ryka

    I’d say 100K plus. The impact of social media on a brand is huge these days and is getting even more so. To ask for that kind of knowledge, management and expertise within the space and only offer 45, 62, or under 100K is crazy. You should really liken this person to a marketing manager role within a market. Just my 3 cents.

  • Where is my first comment??


    • @Michael – Don’t know. Sorry about that.

  • Bob

    Even though the cost of living is higher in the DC Metro area, the pay isn’t as good as you might think. Companies also think they can underpay if there is a prestige factor in the position. I’d say $85,000.

  • MC

    The position requires managing an analyst (one step above an intern). It is a newspaper…they traditionally tend to pay less than tech companies….and it is a huge brand. I believe this is a classic case of the employer wanting to fill a position between $80K to $100K — yet a qualified person with the right experience could fetch 30% to 50% more as a contractor with an agency.

    What do I know…I have only been around 20 years, the last 10 in corporate marketing 😉

  • Based on location, Company they might be looking for an MBA I would say 95K to 110K and this is without negotiations. With Relocation, Vacation, Medical, Bonus, 401K it could come to 130K for total compensation. @live_alpharetta

  • Based on location, Company they might be looking for an MBA I would say 95K to 110K and this is without negotiations. With Relocation, Vacation, Medical, Bonus, 401K it could come to 130K for total compensation. Without and MBA and no connections within the organization I would say 90K. @live_alpharetta

  • LOL! Good question about the pay scale! I just delivered the news, but I admit I didn’t ask the hard questions. Nice to see you building a good discussion around this mystery.

  • I agree with the previously mentioned $75k – $105k. Although I would not be that surprised if told they were low balling the position knowing they will receive plenty of candidates. There’s more SM “pros” (demand) than positions (supply) and I believe this ultimately has to drive the cost down.


  • Aimee

    I really hope you guys are right, as this position commands a salary of $100K+. However, having been in the job market for 4 months, in NYC, prior to starting my own company, I have to stand by my original post. The sad fact is any “Manager” position is only in the area of $50K. Companies (even the largest ones) are lowballing everyone right now because so many people are out of work and it seems they would rather pay less for someone with limited experience then pay the 6 figure salaries that seasoned professionals command.

    • @Aimee – Is it still really that bad out there? Funny how that all depends on who is telling the story. I would much rather hear it from someone like you who has to live it rather than through some politicized machine.

      • YES! It’s worse than bad – It’s awful! I have 20 years experience, applied for 200+ positions anywhere in the country – All of which I am qualified for and after 4 months of being unemployed or offered $10 an hour positions, I decided to start my own company! I just couldn’t take it anymore! Even Director and VP positions being offered at under $100K – These are from HUGE corporations too! My resume is posted on my website, so you can see that I’m experienced: . And, it’s not just me: No one I worked with at the company that went out of business in July has been able to find a position at what we were paid, and believe me, we were all unpaid then too!

  • Hahaha! Great game.
    The demands of the job seem like the pay would be high, but possibly since social media jobs are so in demand by people looking for work, I’m going to go with $61K.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • Incredibles wow..