If you’re trying to have a career in social, carving out a niche for yourself as an unreliable and unpredictable contract marketer can be detrimental now and down the road. Advocacy is noble and necessary. Do it from a personal platform or borrow the audience of others. Hijacking a brand account will only put a swift end to any change we wish to see, in addition to possibly your own career.

Before you get on the social soapbox

So what is the right way to advocate for change in the social media marketing industry? If you’re considering taking steps towards advocating for better pay or working conditions, consider the following three questions before taking action.

Will this hurt someone?
The brand, peers and your career trajectory could all potentially be impacted. This type of behavior is hard to scrub off your digital footprint and any hiring manager will see it as a liability.

What change do I want to see happen and is this the best way?
When the action is more radical than the ask, that becomes the story. Had this been expressed from a personal account, it could have still gone viral on LinkedIn and rallied support behind the fight for fair pay and hours.

When trying to drive change, the best course is the one that causes the least collateral damage. Be seen as the hero and not someone having an outburst (even for all the right reasons) on the brand account. And certainly, avoid self-promotional language when making accusations.

Who is going to see this, and what power do they have to enact that change?
Would an NBA fan protest the league over how they treat social media managers? Probably not.

This SMM took to Facebook to voice his outrage, however, this point would have been better made on LinkedIn, where SMMs across the industry gather and discuss these very issues. Without a method to the madness, the crush of views also led to the crush of his own message and career. If the right people saw this, the momentum of this post could have turned it into a movement, but right now it is just another reminder of the uphill battles and downfalls that come with this job.

Nothing the former social media manager wrote about the SMM experience is invalid, especially in an industry like sports, where fans are often hired and then underpaid in the name of sports fandom and dedication.