Social Media Salary Craziness

It's been a while since I've blogged about my favorite topic: social media salaries. Since a lot of you find this blog through Google searches for "social media salary" I figure I'm not the only one who's obsessed with the topic, so I may as well do another post about it, right?

What's there to obsess about, you say? Plenty. The fact that social media salaries are all over the place, for one. The fact that you have social media consultants charging a fortune to do the same things other companies are hiring interns to do for either free or close to it. And, while you can feel free to leave a comment about "you get what you pay for" or "price is an indicator of quality" or something like that, in the case of social media, that just doesn't hold true. There are plenty of snake-oil sales people out there charging--and making--a killing who don't know what the hell they're doing but, for now, continue to dazzle and snow clients with talk of "potential reach" or other sleight of hand nonsense. Just as there are plenty of of super-smart people who "get it" and are doing great work but not getting any credit--or making any money.

And let's not forget the gender gap in social media salaries...something that seemed plenty news-worthy to me yet you read nary a whisper of in the billions of social media blogs, industry newsletters, white papers, press releases, etc. You're telling me that it is not blog-worthy, news-worthy or any other kind of worthy to pause to wonder why the ONE social marketing compensation study done recently reports that "On average, the female participants earned an annual salary of $64k, which is significantly lower than the average annual salary for men, which was close to $104k"? Here's the thing: IF NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THIS NOW IT WILL ONLY CONTINUE AND GET WORSE.

Social media is such a new field that there aren't many established benchmarks so it's the Wild West as far as salaries are concerned. There are consultants out there charging thousands of dollars a month and providing nothing--I've heard and seen LOTS of this. A guy charging $10,000 a month to maintain a company's Twitter and Facebook Accounts and giving excuses every month about why there are only a handful of followers/fans. Companies being clueless enough to continue to pay that. Big-name firms offering social media strategy and services for tens of thousands--if not hundreds of thousands--of dollars, while the staff performing those functions don't even come up in so much as a Google search--let alone have active social media presences themselves.

Then the flip-side; interns or low-level staffers successfully managing their companies social media presences totally under the radar, making peanuts and being required to be on call 24/7. I've heard from people who make salaries in the twenty-thousand range whose bosses are requiring that they check Twitter and Facebook literally around the clock and respond to any/all issues immediately. Plenty of people in low-paying positions writing their companies' social media policies and procedures, managing their social media presences--doing the work that consultants or agency staff make a mint doing--and having to take side jobs to pay their rent. LOTS of ads--especially in the DC area--looking for volunteers to manage an organization's social media strategy/presences. I'm talking create strategy and content, do blogger and community outreach, analyze and report data, train staff...the same stuff others are getting paid a fortune to do. But for free, or almost free.

What say you? Is this no different than any other job/field and therefore totally not noteworthy, or are others noticing these same kinds of discrepancies?