A Digital Marketer's Awkward Social Dilemma.

How do you explain what you do for a living to friends and family?
Chris Sugrue
December 28, 2016 - 3 min. read

Social media management. Content marketing. Engagement. Customer experience. As digital marketers we work in a space replete with concepts and terms that are often younger than we are.

That can pose a challenge when that inevitable question of “what do you do for a living?” comes up at social occassions.  

So what do you say? What is a digital marketer in layman’s terms? We put the big question to members of our Falcon.io marketing team. See if some of these replies are familiar – who knows, there could be something here you can use.

Alexandra – Social Media Manager
“So you post things on Facebook all day? Is that a real job?” they ask.

It’s not easy explaining concepts like targeting and sharing relevant content. I usually make the case that social networks now only show you the posts they deem most important. “So if our company wants to be seen on social, they– well, more precisely I – have to put out the content people care about.”

I also try to explain: “So, you know that you don’t actually see every Facebook post, right? The ones you see from companies are down to their targeting of you and people like you? No? OK…so, well yes…all I do is post things on Facebook all day.”

Chris – Content Strategist and Copywriter
I think my family lost track of my professional path when I moved from the agency side. Mad Men kind of clarified what a copywriter is to a lot of people, but ‘content’ is where eyes start glazing over. “It’s still marketing, only these days we need to inspire prospects to come to us,” I say. A polite nod and distracted sip usually ensue.

With the older crowd the very thought that ‘that there’ Facebook they’ve all signed up to recently has a professional application simply doesn’t fly. “No one really pays attention to it,” they assure me, smug in their insider knowledge. Cue my turn for a polite nod and sip pause.

Manita – PR and Communications Manager
I can stave off too much confusion by saying I work in PR. The problem starts with trying to explain what the company does. My mum still doesn’t understand that Facebook (the company) knows when she’s logged into her Facebook account. “Well I’m sure Facebook don’t know anything about me, I only log in from my PC at home.” Sigh.?

Caitlin – Digital Content Strategist
Depends if I’m inclined to tell the truth or feel like spurting some buzzword malapropisms of my own invention. (Like sin-ergy, diss-ruptive or lev-rage.) In truth, I tell the truth. “I write emails, blog posts and content about social media/marketing/customer experience/and the Falcon platform.” Or the condensed version, “a writer for a dope social media management platform.” I only say ‘dope’ when talking to my younger cousins so they think I’m cool. This probably makes them think I’m less cool.

My mom is Falcon’s #1 fan on our social channels (thanks mom!) so she’s well versed. As for the rest of my family, they’re happy knowing I work for a company I love. What more could a family want for a daughter who thinks buzzword malapropisms are funny??

Joe – Customer Experience Manager
Parents: “So, Joe, what do you actually do?”

Me: “Well, I help people to learn how to use a SaaS product for managing their company’s social media profiles at scale.”


Me: “You know, I make videos and write articles to demonstrate how companies can plug their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter profiles and more into a single tool. And how they can get closer to their customers by partnering with Falcon.”

Parents: …

Me: “It’s really easy. Remember that time you got the discount on that new refrigerator after you complained about that company on Facebook?”

Parents: …

Me: “Well, they used Falcon to manage your messages. I helped that company learn how to coordinate replies across their teams, show them how they could listen to what else you’ve said about them and, ultimately, helped them provide you with that great customer experience you told all your friends about.”

Parents: “What’s SaaS…?”

Me: … ?

Ready for 2017?
The Prepared Marketer's Guide lays down the trends all marketers should be aware of in 2017.