10 top jobs by salary for social media pros in 2016

Of all social media focused job roles, vice presidents of communications typically earn the most money, according to PayScale, though the average annual salaries for many leading social media jobs dropped in 2015. What will the new year bring?

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Highest paying social media jobs

The value of many social media skills to employers declined during the last 18 months, according to data provided exclusively to CIO.com from PayScale, a company that performs corporate compensation analysis. Of the 20 most common social media jobs, nine pay more than the 2016 U.S. national average salary of $51,300, the company says. The highest concentration of social media jobs is in California, but the average pay in regions such as the San Francisco Bay Area dropped 10 percent from $66,600 in 2014 to $59,900 in January 2016, according to PayScale.

To derive this list of the highest-paying and most common jobs in social media, PayScale tapped its database of more than 54 million salary profiles. And for context, CIO.com searched LinkedIn in late January to find the social media job titles with the most open listings.

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Vice president of communications

Social media is now practically a required skill and default responsibility for all high-level communications executives. Vice presidents of communications lead the pay pack with a typical national average salary of $133,200, PayScale says. Currently 3,563 U.S. job listings exist on LinkedIn with the terms "vice president" and "communications" in their titles.

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Public relations director

The role of PR director can be thankless at times, but the money often makes up for what the position lacks in gratitude; PR directors take home an average national salary of $84,600, according to PayScale. The position is the second highest paying role that requires social media skills, PayScale says, and it is also in high demand with more than 6,648 current open positions on LinkedIn.

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Marketing communications director

Marketing communications directors take home an average annual salary of $81,500, according to PayScale. The job title is also the third highest paying position based on average salary, and it's among the most common jobs that require social media skills, PayScale says. A query on LinkedIn for the job title returned 11,029 open positions in the United States.

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Marketing communications manager

Marketing communications managers in the United States typically earn an average yearly salary of $65,100, according to PayScale, or substantially less than the first three jobs listed here. That number is also an increase of nearly 3 percent over the average marketing communications manager's salary of $63,300 in July 2014. LinkedIn currently has 22,592 open listings for marketing communications manager jobs.

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Marketing consultant

Marketing consultants earn an average annual salary of $64,900, PayScale says, and LinkedIn has 19,826 open U.S. job listings.

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Digital strategist

Just 18 months ago, digital strategist roles were the second-highest paying jobs in social media on average; today they're the sixth highest paid social media job roles on average, according to a comparison of PayScale's data. However, the digital strategist's average salary is up $100 during that period to $63,900, and LinkedIn has 5,452 open digital strategist job listings.

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Public relations manager

The average salary of a public relations manager dropped $200 during the past 18 months, down from $61,100 in 2014 to $60,900 in 2016. LinkedIn currently has 19,697 open job listings for public relations managers.

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Content manager

Content managers earn an average annual salary of $55,600, according to PayScale. Content managers' responsibilities vary greatly, but the market for these positions is among the strongest of all social media jobs. LinkedIn has 32,393 openings for content managers positions in the United States.

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Social media director

Social media directors make average annual pay of $51,800, and a search for open positions on LinkedIn returned 8,941 results.

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Web content specialist

The only job role on our list that typically earns less than the 2016 average U.S. national salary of $51,300, according to PayScale, Web content specialists take home average pay of $49,200. Today LinkedIn has 2,545 Web content strategist job listings.