You may have used some or all the social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc… you may have used them so much you’re now an expert. Know how each works, the best way to get likes, which images and photos work etc…
You may perhaps have a good flair for creative slogans, short sentences and generally have a manner which gets attention and followers.
If you have answered yes to at least some of the points above, you could become a freelance social media manager for a small business.
All business large and small want the same thing. They want customers, sales and profit. They can create great advertising campaigns but talking and communicating with their customers and future customers requires a different set of skills all together.
Social media marketing is less about advertising and more about creating a community of shared values. Providing help with answers to common questions, creating engaging posts and messages and building a hub where people want to contribute.
If you feel you could help build this, you could find yourself becoming a social media manager for not just one small business but several. Of course, you shouldn’t take on customers who compete or who have conflicting interests as this will create lots of challenges for you and means you can’t provide the great service you need for your clients equally – but there is no harm taking on multiple clients in different industries and sectors.
This freelance world could see you working your own clients, your own hours. Part time or full time it’s up to you.
What is a Social Media Manager?
It sounds an obvious question, but it’s really important to understand exactly what a social media manager is, what they do and what services they can provide.
A social media manager can take on many roles and can be as involved as the client needs. Here are some roles carried out by a social media manager:
- Creating engaging posts for your client’s visitors to read, like, share and follow;
- Monitor feedback of posts and highlight positive and negative replies;
- Reply to questions or comments on posts;
- Keep a track and record of new followers, number of people who have un-followed (and potential reasons, for example after a less than favoured post) and engagement increases;
- Suggest improvements or provide recommendations for posts based on topical issues, regional news or company updates;
What skills do I need to have to become a social media manager?
There are no qualifications needed. A good grasp of the English written language will be a big advantage. You need to be able to create engaging content for your clients, continue to grow the audience numbers and get positive participation likes and comments from existing followers.
Taking a copywriting course could be advantageous, especially if your client wants you to create their company’s posts – or a number of them. It’s really key to create such a curiosity with your headlines so people can’t help but click and read.
Think of how many times you’ve spent longer than you should have browsing social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube etc… although the post’s image or photo may draw you in, you might have noticed the headline is too.
Spend an hour of your time browsing through and see which headlines are making you want to read – and more importantly ask yourself why. What drove your curiosity so much that you were compelled to click.
Your headline is one of the most important part of any article or post. Learn how to write an amazing attention-grabbing headline.
Your client may want to write most of the content themselves but have a social media manager to keep a track and monitor of the results and add filler posts to help keep followers coming back. You may need to answer questions and keep the community flowing in conversation.
It’s key to spark conversation where possible. Conversation keeps people engaged and makes a visitor a returning visitor.
Finally, a very good understanding on how each social platform works is a must too If you feel you can do this then you have the skills you need.
What social media platform should I choose to become a social media manager in?
To start with, it should be a platform you are very familiar with. You need to not only know your way around the platform but also what’s important to users of that platform.
For example, Twitter users and followers are looking for something much different than your average Pinterest or Instagram user.
Each social platform has an army of followers who are very quick to point out when you’re not conforming. Every platform hates advertisers and those who are not looking to become involved and participate, but those just looking to ‘make a quick buck’.
Brands and small businesses can do very well on social media, but your profile – or in this case your client’s profile – shouldn’t be a page of adverts! This is a big no-no.
However much someone may like your client’s brand or products, you have to ask yourself who wants to go online and be bombarded with adverts. The answer is no one.
As more and more businesses are creating a social media presence there has naturally become a pattern as to which platforms are used by each business, and if a business has a social media presence on more than one platform, how different the campaigns on each will be.
Facebook works as a community. Most social media platforms do, but the key to marketing on Facebook is a combination of image and photo posts, video posts and text posts – in that order. It’s probably the best platform to promote and share stories which are a combination of photos and words. Don’t underestimate the power of company photos, especially those showing managers and workers. People will feel much closer to a company of brand when they see and can relate to it’s owners and staff;
Twitter should be used for short news updates and announcements. Also, Twitter has almost become the platform of choice for customer service portals. Tweets to customer service representatives, because of mostly text format, works wonders;
Pinterest has a much large female audience than men, so it’s worth bearing this in mind if the company or client you provide social media management services too has a mostly male customer base. Pinterest is mainly visual by way of pinned photos – but is much different to Instagram. Pinterest is to engagement what Instagram is to photographic skills and quality;
Although Instagram is another social media platform which has photos as it’s core, it works different to Pinterest by the fact Instagram’s users are drawn in by high quality photography. Photos that convey a well-crafted story. For example, a small-town ice cream parlour arranged for a local amateur photographer to come down and take a photo outside their store. The photographer took a photo of her holding one of the ice cream parlours famed three tier ice creams out in front of her, with the store front behind the ice cream. It was a very hot day, and that photo was shared on Instagram over 700 times that afternoon alone – suffice to say it was a creative success!
YouTube for me has a mixed response when it comes to marketing a small business. On one hand it can be a great way to promote what you do, plus if you post on YouTube will receive some visitors, even if just a small number to start with. It’s how YouTube gauges content. The downside to YouTube for small business marketing is a) it’s not very local, so if you rely on local searches YouTube could show your video to a national or global audience which may not fit and b) Marketing and creating a popular channel takes time. If you are promoting a business that sells online, and would be able to create videos people would want to watch, and equally share with their friends, then YouTube could be a great additional social media platform to look in to for your clients.
How do I advertise my services as a social media manager?
You may have seen us mention on a number of posts freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork. These are the best platforms to promote freelance and gig services.
Aside from the online options this is a service many local and regional small business are crying out for. Especially those in organisations where creative writing isn’t on the payroll.
This means you have other ways of finding clients. You can try approaching local businesses or leaflet dropping to them. Send them a letter explaining services you could provide. It’ll cost you the price of a stamp for each business you manage to take on as a client.
If you’re serious about starting this as a freelancer, you will want to show success and credibility. It may be worth taking on a client or two for free or a heavily reduced rate, and use your success as a marketing angle to attract further business
How much could I earn as a social media manager?
Whenever you start any new freelance venture it’s always good practice to have a few clients under your belt, with good feedback and happy to post reviews of your services. It will help give you credibility in what you do. This may mean at the start you have to drop your prices lower than the competition in order to entice clients to you – or offer an extra service your competitors are not – in order to stand out.
At the start of your freelance venture you may find earnings are low, but you should still be expected to earn £20 per hour minimum. This would steadily increase to £30 with a few successful clients as part of your portfolio.
As your freelance website or marketplace provider page (on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork) grows, this is where you can start offering more competitive rates in the industry and command a better £ per hour rate.
When you become really established, have managed a number of client’s social media platforms – and can show evidence for growth – you’ll have flourishing social media manager skills, and can start targeting medium to larger business and then be earning above £50 per hour.
Once you have a steady stream of work, you could recruit providers to help, perhaps by way of outsourcing. You can provide very clear roadmap instructions for your outsourced recruits to follow and have them carry out more administrative tasks and allow you to focus on what you do best. This will allow you to take on many more clients than you could alone and work as a management company.
How do I get started?
The very first is to decide on exactly what services you plan to provide. Write all this down, along with a rough price list you will be charging clients for your services.
Make sure your earnings are not too low. It may sound a good idea to charge half the rate your competition is in order to get more clients, but this will have two adverse effects:
- Clients will wonder why you are charging so little, and doubt your abilities – and as a result go somewhere else;
- Staying motivated on tough assignments, with demanding deadlines, when the money coming in very low and not able to support you, is really challenging. You need to stay motivated to keep with it. Under-cutting your competition by around 20% in the early days should be sufficient enough;
You will need to write out your ‘sales pitch’, along with details of your services ready to post on to a freelance marketplace (like Fiverr) or build your own website.
You will want to do your competitor research. You need to find out what your competitors are offering, and then objectionable look at your offering and put yourself in the perspective of a potential client. If you were the client, who would you take your work to (not knowing either provider personally).
If you feel a potential client would choose your competitor, you need to understand why and make amendments to your offering, or price, to make your service the chosen service.