Creating teams. Shaping futures.

Results are in! Social Media Employment in the SW

First up, a huge thank you to all of those who have contributed and provided us with the information that has helped shape ADLIB’s 2018 Social Media Employment Report (SW). As with our previous surveys, we hope it is received as a valuable tool for employers and employees alike. Our objective was to provide real insight into today’s social media employment market across the South West, as well as sharing a little bit about how those working within social media use social media.

The data has been collated via direct respondents of an online survey, combined with ADLIB’s extensive internal data and knowledge gained from the digital sector.

We’d like to say a special thank you to our friends at Social Media Week Bristol and Bristol Media for their support in promoting the survey.
Please feel free to make contact if you’d like to get involved with one of our future surveys.

Whether you are an employer, an employee, a business considering opening operations in the South West or you are simply reading with interest, we hope you enjoy.

A few key findings:

  • Over 50% of respondents expect headcount in the team to remain the same.
  • Positive! One-to-one time is a ‘regular’ thing within the majority of businesses. More than 65% of respondents are committed to making them happen.
  • Nice! More than 60% of respondents feel that their employer communicated the business vision clearly.
  • A clear majority of businesses don’t offer a structured career path for employees working within their social media teams.
  • For a whopping 63.2% of employees within social media, salary reviews aren’t a structured process.
  • Only 60% of businesses are confident that finding the right social media skills has not held the business back, leaving a whopping 40% thinking that this could well have been an obstacle.
  • Evidence suggests that a key factor in businesses being held back is a shortage of skills within the market, cited by 80% of respondents.
  • The most popular reason for contracting is the variety of work.


Here is our full 2018 Social Media Employment Report

Life as employee or employer within social media

Here is our take on what life as an employee or employer within Social Media is like here in the South West.

Demand for talent

In comparison to 2016, the demand for digital talent remained consistent in 2017. The main shift noted has been the decrease in pure social media roles, to a greater emphasis on combined content and social. The percentage of jobs registered with us within digital marketing in 2017 that was categorised as being purely ‘social media focused’ more than halved. This supports the general notion that social media is less often seen as a stand-alone discipline, more and more often rather being recognised as one component of a Digital Specialist’s role.


Within the requirements we see as part of Job Specifications we’ve been working on, we continue to see the increasing importance of ‘good’ content writing / copywriting skills, an understanding of SEO practices, and both their relevance and involvement in the context of social media. There has also been uplift in Community Management roles and a desire for businesses to tap into their audience, and to use listening tools which are important in helping to define a content and social strategy. Relevant content is absolutely crucial in your marketing strategy and with the time required to make an impact on your audience reducing, a content piece needs to capture its audience quickly. With the length of time reducing in user sessions, it is important to define your audience, and stay true to that by providing what they want to see, and what will be valuable to them, to encourage conversions.

Get some more insights into Social Media Employment here in the South West, have a look at our 2018 Social Media Employment Report.

A career in social media – Laura Farrington

This year’s Social Media Employment Survey revealed a confusion around what a career in social media can look like and that a clear majority of businesses don’t offer a structured career path for employees working within their social media teams.

To shed some light, we are catching up with a range of Social Media Professionals to showcase some career journeys and paths into the industry.

Here, our chat with Laura Farrington, Content Marketing Executive at SunLife and former Social Media Manager at British interiors brand, Brissi to find out about her career in social media so far.

Laura Farrington is a content creator with experience both in house and agency side, working with brands on their social media and wider marketing strategies. Laura has worked with a wide range of brands from lifestyle and food and drink, to the financial services industry.

ADLIB: How did you get ‘into’ social media. What has been the career path that lead you to it?


Laura Farrington: I was at University when social media was still really in its infancy. All I knew was that I wanted to write in some way, and that I wanted my job to be creative. I naturally began leaning towards social media as I saw bloggers of the time getting bigger, and I myself was living a life online (nowhere near as much as I do today!) and my social media footprint was growing along with the channels of the time.

Looking to come out of University with some sort of experience, I applied to be an unpaid Social Media Intern at a media agency in London and began running their social accounts remotely. I also wrote at online magazines and saw how they pushed their content online via social channels. Once I graduated I was ready to start applying for jobs in the marketing industry and I was getting nowhere without any experience – until I landed an apprenticeship as Social Media and SEO Executive at an amazing agency in Bath called AgencyUK.

Even now I still come across people I worked with at the agency, and it really gave me such a good grounding for working in the industry. I learnt so much and still think highly of my time there. From there I moved in house as a Social Media Manager and again I moved on and now create content for social channels in my current role.

ADLIB: What does a typical work day/ week look like for you now (if there is such thing) and what do you like most about your job?


Laura Farrington: Working in social media your day can vary hugely. You might spend a more ‘normal’ day in the office running social media accounts and scheduling content, or be involved in planning meetings, looking 6 months ahead with the wider marketing team. You will attend events and photoshoots, and maybe end up covering both, live-posting via the brand’s social accounts.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend festivals, work with influencers, contact and build relationships with journalists, write blog posts and articles for print magazines, work closely with web teams to assist in SEO and boosting web traffic through social media – the role is so varied and fluid and I think that’s something that people still don’t understand. If I had a penny for every time someone said, ‘so you post tweets for a living?’.

ADLIB: What avenues would you recommend to people within social media to keep their skills and industry knowledge up to date?


Laura Farrington: I find following a select few people and industry accounts on social media really helps, or swapping your daily news read of say the BBC or Buzzfeed for Mashable and LinkedIn so you can keep an eye on what’s happening. I also love attending a few events each year – BrightonSEO being my favourite – which you can get a free ticket for and has amazing talks from incredible people across varying sectors. The social media talks are always great.

ADLIB: If you came out of school today, what would you find helpful to encourage more people to pursue a career within social media?


Laura Farrington: It’s the same as what I would say to anyone in any career- get some work experience! If I did anything differently – it would be to complete a sandwich course with a year in the industry. I know it means your degree lasts a year longer, but you are herds ahead of everyone else who is graduating at the same time as you. That in-office experience is invaluable and the year will push you further than you think. And you never know – if you impress enough they might even ask you back in a year’s time.

ADLIB: And finally, what piece of advice would you give your younger self, just entering social media as a professional? Is there any advice that could have helped you along the way?


Laura Farrington: I would say don’t get your back up when people don’t understand what you do for a living. Although it might feel like it’s not respected as much as other professions, times are changing and you will soon be asked by every Tom, Dick and Harry to help them build their online business via social media! You can prove your worth with results. Also, to just trust your voice and be loud when there is reason to be loud – don’t just say something for the sake of saying something and your colleagues will respect you for it.

Thank You Laura for sharing!

New faces at ADLIB