How to Become a Social Media Manager

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

Do you want to learn how to make money on social media?

I have both good and bad news for you.

Let’s start with the bright side; many small businesses rely on freelancers to manage their social media accounts.

It is a golden opportunity to make money online.

I did the math, I made $21 per hour publishing photos on Instagram and running Facebook ads.

So what’s the catch?

In a word: competition.

Making money on social media isn’t as easy as it seems.

But don’t worry! I will share my hard-earned knowledge in this guide: how to learn social media marketing and make money on social media.

The topics covered are:

Let’s jump right in!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links (learn more).

Introduction: My social media marketing journey

My journey: How I became a freelance social media manager.

Let me take you back to 2018.

At that time, I was unemployed and spent my days on social media.

Memes, quizzes, photos of yachts… I saw the ins and outs of social networks!

So I thought to myself: is there a way to monetize this knowledge?

I researched a bit and found an article about 15 ways to make money on social media.

Let’s be honest; I’m pretty shy. And for that reason, I didn’t want to become an influencer.

One of the ways described in the article was: managing social media accounts.

Now that’s interesting!

I contacted a friend of mine who has a restaurant.

Together, we created a Facebook page for his restaurant, where I advertised his menu.

So you went to know how it worked out? It was a complete failure…

That’s when I realized that I needed to follow blogs and attend online courses to strengthen my marketing skills (more on that later).

As I grew more confident, I started to reach out to blogs and magazines: “Hey, I can promote your blog posts on Pinterest and Facebook”.

I landed a job for an outdoor blog that paid well. All I had to do was create Pinterest visuals for each blog post, find the relevant hashtags, and publish it on the platform.

With persistence, motivation, and hard work, I was able to earn a decent living on Pinterest and Instagram.

And you? Do you think you have what it takes to become a social media manager?

Be warned: social media marketing is not for everyone.

To guide your decision, I have gathered some interesting information about the job: the pros, the cons, and how much money you can make.

Pros and cons of being a social media manager

There are some aspects of social media marketing you need to know.

Let’s start with the bright side:

  • I never get bored when I do social media marketing: every post is different, and there is always room for creativity.
  • Working from home is perfect for me.
  • There is no required equipment besides a computer and internet access.
  • The job doesn’t require degrees or certifications.

And let’s face it, social media marketing is fun!

But nothing’s perfect; there are also some disadvantages to consider:

  • It is annoying to see how random your success is: sometimes it flops, sometimes it goes viral. There is no method to hit the nail on the head consistently.
  • Social networks change their algorithms every month. It’s hard to stay up to date.
  • The workload isn’t consistent; you have to hustle every day to find jobs.
  • There are a lot of new trends you need to be aware of.

Finally, let’s not forget about the exciting part: the salary.

How much do social media managers make?

According to CareerExplorer, the average salary of social media managers is about $15 per hour. Note that there is a significant discrepancy between starting level earnings ($12 per hour) and top-level earnings ($25 per hour).

That’s what I experienced as well: I had a low income at first ($10 per hour). After gaining some experience, I was able to make up to $25 per hour.

What’s the bottom line? Your income mostly depends on your skills and experience.

So let’s get down to work.

Step 1: Learn social media marketing

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

Before you start building your social media marketing agency, you need to make sure you have decent marketing skills.

The basic skills you need to master

At first glance, social media management may seem like an easy job.

That’s not true. There are some skills that all social media managers need to master:

  1. Communication is essential for social media managers.
  2. Data analysis is a skill that you will develop over time. For example, most social media managers use A/B testing to optimize their posts. And it’s only the beginning, marketing is becoming more and more data-driven.
  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 to try different types of posts and understanding what sticks.
  4. Graphic design is also useful if you want to publish engaging posts. Making beautiful images with Photoshop and Canva will give you a competitive edge.
  5. Customer service is crucial; bringing customers back is the number one reason businesses have accounts on social media.

Now that you know which skills you need to improve, it’s time to learn them.

Learn with online courses

Most social media managers think they were born with whatever talent they have, and they’re not going to get much better.

They’re wrong!

When it comes to social media marketing, practice makes perfect!

From my own experience, following online classes was the best way to stay motivated. Here are the classes I recommend:

Let’s explore another way to learn social media marketing.

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 with different kinds of posts: image sizes, best times to post, type of content, layout…

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 with your very own profiles. It is an excellent opportunity to experiment with different strategies.

Once you’ve cracked it, we can explore the business side of social media marketing.

Step 2: Build your social media marketing agency

Build you social media marketing business: competition analysis, services and rates.

Now that you have some experience, it’s time to build your social media marketing business.

I’ve already been there, and believe me; some steps are essential to becoming a successful social media manager.

Let me break it down for you:

  1. Pick your niche
  2. List the services you want to cover
  3. Set the right price

Let’s dive in!

Pick your niche

There are two schools of thought when it comes to social media: you can either be everywhere or focus on one social network.

In my experience, it’s easier for beginners to focus on one platform.

Here are the hottest niches right now:

  • Pinterest – Pinterest can be a fantastic way to showcase products and bring traffic to blogs.
  • Instagram – like with Pinterest, if you’ve got a product or services that can be showcased via images, this is a fantastic platform to get active in.
  • Facebook – one of the trickiest platforms. Marketing on Facebook requires regular posting, viral posts, and ads.
  • Youtube – Youtube is the top place to post video content. Publishing creative videos or tutorials is one of the best strategies to get brand awareness.
  • Twitter – A lot of politicians and news websites hire social media managers.

List your services

There are so many ways to make money as a social media manager:

  • Paid advertising – Believe me, there is a lot of money to be made when it comes to running ads. Businesses invest more and more money on social media ads to gain new clients.
  • Content creation and publishing – It can be difficult for small businesses to create and post engaging content. It is a unique opportunity to use your marketing skills.
  • Account/profile creation and branding – Setting up accounts for your clients is an excellent way to start them off with other social media services.
  • Responding to customer service issues – Bringing customers back is the number one reason businesses have social media accounts. So if you can do customer service, you can earn a few bucks.
  • Education and consulting – Many business owners want to manage their social media accounts by themselves. You can teach them out to get more clients on social media.

You do not need to offer all of these services.

I’ve seen many social media managers get a bad reputation because they were not up to par.

So here’s my advice: focus on what you’re good at, and nothing else!

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.

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

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

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

And you’re good to go!

Step 3: Find clients

How to find clients as a social media manager.

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!

Of course you need to have a 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 jobs.

Starting is always challenging. But there is no need to worry, it will get easier with time.

The more experience you gain, the more jobs you’ll land!

Find clients on freelance websites

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

It amazes me: there are a lot of job offers on freelance websites!

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

  • Fiverr – the world’s largest freelance services marketplace.
  • PeoplePerHour – a website where freelancers can bid on jobs.
  • 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.

These platforms are not perfect either. If you want to land high-paying jobs, I recommend the following methods.

Outreach

It is my favorite way to find new clients: contact magazines, blogs, small businesses, or politicians who might need help managing their social media accounts.

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.

Team up with 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.

Final thoughts

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. Find more clients with outreach.
  5. Create an online portfolio to showcase your skills.
  6. And don’t forget to keep an eye on all the latest trends in the industry.

Now, it’s your turn to make money on social media!

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