How to Become a Freelance Social Media Manager

Learn how to become a social media manager and make money using social networks.

If you’re looking for a flexible and well-paid job, social media management may be of interest to you.

Social media managers are responsible for curating the social media channels of businesses, celebrities, and brands. They moderate comments; manage social media partnerships; and post shareable videos and images.

Most large businesses have teams dedicated to social media management.

However, a lot of local businesses and small brands rely on freelance social media managers to manage their accounts. This is your opportunity to make money on social media.

This article explains in detail how to become a freelance social media manager. The topics covered are:

Let’s explore the fascinating world of social media marketing.

Before you start

Starting a social media management business may or may not be a good fit for you.

Spending time on social media is a fun activity. Therefore, posting tweets and sharing stories might seem like the dream job. However, we are all aware of how negative things can get on social media. Working in this environment can be annoying.

Social media management is usually a good fit for people interested in working from home or remotely. This is a career-oriented job – your earnings are quite low at the beginning. However, it is a job with decent potential for growth.

How much do social media managers make?

According to CareerExplorer, the median salary of social media managers is about $15 per hour. There is a big discrepancy between starting level earnings ($12 per hour) and top-level earnings ($25 per hour).

Learn the basics

Before looking for clients, it is important to have some basic knowledge about social networks.

The basic skills you need to master

The skills you need to master as a freelance social media manager

At first glance, social media management may seem like an easy job. However, there are some basic skills that all social media managers need to master:

  1. Communication is essential for social media managers. You need to write engaging posts and adapt them to fit different platforms.
  2. Customer service is another essential skill for social media managers. Bringing customers back is the number one reason businesses have accounts on social media. Finding ways to solve problems is a big part of your role.
  3. Being creative will make you stand out from the pack. There is a ton of room for experimentation in social media. The key to being successful is trying different types of posts and understanding what sticks.
  4. Data analysis is a skill that you will develop over time. Marketing is becoming more and more data-driven. For example, most social media managers use A/B testing to optimize their posts. Therefore, it is important for social media managers to be comfortable analyzing data.
  5. Graphic design is also used in the industry to publish more engaging posts. Making beautiful images with Photoshop and Canva will give you a competitive edge.

Understand what works (and what doesn’t)

To succeed as a social media manager, you need to know the best ways to reach your target audience.

There is no magic formula, what works and what doesn’t ultimately depends on your industry, platform, and target audience. It’s all about experimenting different kind of posts.

There are also some methods that work across all industries: post format, image sizes, best times to post, type of content…

I recommend you subscribe to the following blogs. They talk about the latest methods to grow an audience on social media:

You can also start learning is with your very own profiles. This is a great opportunity to experiment with different strategies.

Learn with online courses

This course gives you easy access to the invaluable techniques used by social marketing experts:

  • Hootsuite Academy – Whether you’re looking to build your skills or ready to take the next leap in your career, Hootsuite’s courses and certifications will help you succeed.

Buffer has two email courses that might interest you:

Build your online marketing business

First things first, you need to register your business. There are three types of business structures most freelancers register under: sole proprietor, LLC and S corp. Each situation allows you to deduct for business costs.

You should consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

Once your business is registered, I recommend you to list all the services you can offer. Clients often seek the following services:

  • Account/profile creation and branding – Setting up accounts for your clients is a good way to start them off with other social media services.
  • Content creation and publishing – It can be difficult for small businesses to find time to create and post engaging content.
  • Responding to customer service issues – Bringing customers back is the number one reason businesses have accounts on social media.
  • Paid advertising – Businesses invest more and more money on social media ads to gain new clients.
  • Education and consulting – Many business owners want to manage their social media accounts by themselves. You can teach them the appropriate language to use when talking to their audience.

You do not need to offer every services on this list. However, clients usually do not want to hire three different social media managers. So make sure you cover the basics.

How much should I charge as a freelance social media manager?

To determine how much you should charge, you need to know what your peers are charging. Look up other social media managers in your area and make a list of all their pricing plans.

Then, you can adjust your own pricing based on the following factors:

  • Location
  • Platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest
  • Portfolio quality and experience

Examples of social media marketing agencies

Success starts with knowing what others are doing. You do not need to copy your competitors, but it is important to understand what they are doing and why. Here are some of the best social marketing agencies:

Find your first clients

Now that you know the basics of social media marketing, it’s time to find your first clients. And believe me, it can be hard to get the ball rolling!

As a social media manager, it is essential for you to have social media presence. It shows that you have at least some knowledge of social media. However, it’s often not enough to land your first job.

Starting out is always tough. Here are some tips to attract your first clients:

  1. Consider volunteering to manage social media accounts for a nonprofit organization. This is a great experience to add to your portfolio.
  2. If members of your family or friends own a business, ask if you can take care of their social media marketing.

It will get easier with time. The more experience you have, the easier it will be to get new clients. The key is to keep expanding.

Find clients on freelance websites

Freelance websites are platforms that connect people looking for work and employers.

The variety of job offers is definitely the best advantage of these platforms. On the other hand, employers tend to pay less and work can be inconsistent.

Here is a list of freelance websites where you can find social media management jobs:

  • Fiverr – it is the world’s largest freelance services marketplace.
  • PeoplePerHour – small businesses turn to PeoplePerHour and post jobs they need completed, freelancers can then bid on the jobs posted.
  • Upwork – a platform that connects top companies to talented freelance workers.
  • Flexjobs – for about $15 a month, you get access to a list of remote jobs.
  • TopTal – through a rigorous screening process, TopTal identifies the best freelancers and connects them to potential employers.

Contact other professionals

Another good way to find clients is to team up with businesses that might need your services. Here is a list of professionals you might want to partner with:

  • SEO agencies – they often need to manage the social accounts of their clients.
  • Other social media managers – never miss an opportunity to team up with your colleagues.
  • Digital marketing agencies – they might need to launch ad campaigns on social networks.

Attract more clients

Now that you have some experience, it’s time to step up your game and attract more clients!

Set up your website

There are a lot of bad social media managers. So it’s important to stand out enough to make yourself noticed. Unless you’re a not interested in growing your brand, you need to have a website.

Here is the most important information to display on your website:

  • Details about your services
  • Pricing
  • An online portfolio to showcase your skills
  • A contact page

Don’t forget that it’s not just about selling your services. It’s also about providing valuable information to potential clients.

Outreach

Outreach allows you to find new clients.

Whether sending an email or attending industry conferences, it is always a good idea to meet with interested parties.

However, it’s not as easy as it seems. You shouldn’t send your outreach emails to just anybody. You need to do your research to determine which company, blogger or entrepreneur is looking for a social media manager. Outreach is all about reaching out to the right people at the right time.

Final word

Here’s a short recap of how you can start your career as a freelance social media manager:

  1. Learn the most basic skills: communication, customer service and data analysis.
  2. Land your first job.
  3. Build your reputation.
  4. Create a website to display your services.
  5. Create an online portfolio to showcase your skills.
  6. Find more clients with outreach.
  7. Keep a watch on all the latest social media trends in the industry.

Terminology: Social media managers are also known as social media marketers, social media editors, social media experts, or social media coordinators.

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