Quick Guide to Become a Freelance Social Media Manager
By Craig Cannings
A freelance social media manager is a lot like a circus performer. You know the one who balances plates on the ends of sticks and keeps them all spinning at once?
They start with one plate, then add the next one, and keep adding until a whole row is going. When one plate starts slowing down and threatening to topple off the stick, the performer deftly reaches out a hand to steady it and get it going again.
Now imagine each one of those plates is a social media platform. Your client starts with one and feels fairly confident she can keep it spinning. Then she adds another one, and with limited time tries to keep them both spinning.
If she adds a third or fourth, she starts feeling like the whole row is going to come crashing down, and sometimes it does. What she needs is a freelance social media manager.
Navigating the social media landscape can be both thrilling and demanding, so this guide will provide the knowledge and insights needed to thrive in this ever-changing field. We’ll explore various aspects of becoming a successful social media manager, from understanding your roles and responsibilities to honing essential skills.
We’ll share strategies to help you find clients and establish your career as a social media professional. And we’ll discuss indispensable tools and resources that will allow you to manage multiple clients while growing your freelance business.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your existing client base, our aim is to provide valuable information that empowers you on your journey toward becoming an accomplished freelance social media manager. Let’s take the first step now!
Table Of Contents: How to Succeed as a Freelance Social Media Manager
What is a Freelance Social Media Manager?
A freelance social media manager is an independent contractor who helps businesses and individuals manage their online presence on various social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
They develop content strategies, create engaging posts, monitor analytics to measure success, interact with the audience, and manage paid advertising campaigns. The ultimate goal is to increase brand awareness and drive customer engagement.
These professionals use their expertise in digital marketing strategies and trends to help clients grow brand awareness online while driving traffic toward websites or other desired outcomes. They are keenly aware of their clients’ audience and nurture relationships with the clients’ brand.
As a social media freelancer, they may specialize in one or more social media platforms. And, like a circus performer, they keep each one spinning steadily so their clients can focus on other essential parts of their business.
Roles and Responsibilities
A social media manager job involves a number of tasks you can choose to perform for your clients. These roles provide a solid base for your business and give you many options for social media management services.
We discuss many of these roles in our Social Media Management Success course:
– Social Media Strategist: With an understanding of the target audience, you’ll audit and assess your clients’ current social media activities. As you identify gaps, you’ll build a measurable strategy and set clear goals to increase influence and results.
– Content Creator and Curator: A key responsibility for freelancers in this field involves creating engaging content that resonates with target audiences across different channels. As a social media freelancer, you’ll research and curate relevant content that’s educational, interesting, and informative.
– Project Manager: After identifying your clients’ goals, you’ll coordinate their campaign and manage the social media calendar. Planning when posts go live on each platform requires careful consideration of time zones and peak engagement hours.
– Community Manager: You’ll moderate online communities by screening new members, ensuring members obey group rules, and responding to questions. You’ll also encourage interaction by initiating discussions through relevant posts and managing group campaigns like contests and challenges.
– Social Media Analyst: Frequent analysis allows freelance social media managers to adjust the social media strategy based on data-driven insights into what’s working best for client accounts. You’ll track your clients’ “Return on Influence” (reactions, follows, comments) and “Return on Investment” (website visitors, email subscribers, sales).
– Paid Ads Specialist: You’ll build, manage, and optimize Facebook or Instagram campaigns, creating target ad sets that involve certain audiences and designing content for the ads.
– Funnel Marketing Specialist: Your key tasks will include planning the specific funnels and setting up the email program and sequence. You’ll also help identify which lead magnets your client will give away and then track leads and sales once the campaign is underway.
– Influencer Marketing Specialist: When planning promotions for your clients, you’ll research and connect with micro-influencers, seeking collaborative partnerships where you can market each other on social media.
– Customer Service Rep: You’ll respond to comments on social media posts, answer all direct message inquiries, and make sure current customers have the support they need.
Above all, as you’re performing any of these roles, your job will be to ensure that messaging aligns with the overall brand identity. This will help maintain consistency across all channels.
Depending on which roles you take on for your clients, you may have monthly tasks, weekly tasks, or daily tasks.
– Monthly Tasks: For example, if you work as a Social Media Strategist, you would review next month’s specific campaign goals.
– Weekly Tasks: If you’re a Project Manager, you’ll set up the content calendar for the week.
– Daily Tasks: If you’re a Community Manager, you’ll join conversations and monitor hashtags and keywords.
Benefits of Being a Freelance Social Media Manager
Becoming a freelance social media manager comes with several advantages including flexibility in work schedules, allowing you more control over your work-life balance. Additionally, working as a freelancer can provide opportunities for higher income potential compared to traditional full-time positions since you have the freedom to set your own rates and work for as many clients as you wish.
Finally, freelancing allows you to work with a diverse range of clients and industries which can lead to valuable professional growth and networking opportunities. As Latasha James points out in a FreeU Podclass episode titled “The Social Media Manager Class,” social media continues to be an in-demand niche for freelancers. Since it’s constantly changing, all kinds of business owners need help keeping up with different platforms, algorithms, and best practices.
Having discussed the fundamentals of social media management services, we now delve into the expertise required for success in this niche. In the next section, we’ll discuss technical skills required as well as soft skills necessary for achieving your goals as a social media professional.
How to Succeed as a Freelance Social Media Manager: Essential Tips
1. Develop the Right Skills for a Freelance Social Media Manager.
Becoming a successful social media manager requires a combination of technical and soft skills that will enable you to effectively manage your clients’ online presence.
Technical Skills Required
– Social Media Platform Expertise: Up-to-date knowledge of various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest is crucial for managing client accounts efficiently.
– Content Creation (Writing and Design): The ability to create engaging content including graphics, videos, and written posts using tools like Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud is vital for attracting followers and driving engagement on social media channels.
– Research: Knowing how to do targeted Google searches will help you find relevant content, key stats, and industry trends to share with your clients’ audience and market.
– Digital Marketing Skills: Your social media manager job could benefit from skills like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, marketing funnels, and affiliate marketing.
– Analysis: Monitoring analytics data from platforms like Google Analytics or native social media insights helps identify trends so you and your client can make informed decisions about content and social media strategy adjustments.
– Technical Aptitude: To manage your clients’ social media platforms, you need to be comfortable learning how to use new tools and apps.
– Paid Advertising: Knowledge of paid advertising strategies on different platforms can help increase visibility for your clients’ brands through targeted campaigns with measurable results.
Soft Skills Necessary for Success
– Creativity: Being able to think outside the box when developing unique content ideas will set you apart from other social media managers in the market.
– Communication: Excellent communication skills are necessary not only for presenting your ideas clearly but also maintaining open lines of dialogue with clients regarding their goals, expectations, feedback, etc.
– Personability: Since you may be handling many customer service inquiries and comments on posts or within groups, you need to be comfortable meeting new people, establishing and building digital relationships.
– Organization: An organized workflow helps you manage multiple social media platforms and client tasks so you can keep all the plates spinning at once.
– Time Management: Balancing multiple client accounts and projects in your schedule requires efficient time management skills to ensure deadlines are met without compromising quality.
– Adaptability: Social media trends change rapidly, so being able to adapt your clients’ strategies accordingly is crucial for staying ahead of the curve and providing excellent service.
How to Develop the Necessary Skills
Developing these essential social media skills may seem daunting at first, but with a strategic approach, you can embrace continuous learning and become a successful freelance social media manager. To hone your skill set, consider enrolling in online courses such as those offered by Freelance University or gain hands-on experience through practicing on personal social media accounts or pro bono services.
– Online Courses: Enroll in online courses like those offered by Freelance University, which provides comprehensive training specifically tailored for freelancers looking to start or grow their businesses.
– Practice: Create personal social media accounts or offer pro bono services for friends, family, or local non-profits as a way of gaining hands-on experience while building your portfolio.
– Mentorship: Connect with experienced professionals in the field through networking events or LinkedIn Groups who can provide guidance and support throughout your journey. Our FreeU online community is another great place to find support from mentors and fellow freelancers.
– Blogs and Podcasts: Stay up to date on industry news, trends, and best practices by following reputable blogs like the Buffer Blog and listening to podcasts such as The Social Media Marketing Podcast by Social Media Examiner, The Science of Social Media Podcast Series by Buffer, or FreeU’s Freelance Podclass. Social Media Examiner also shares valuable blog posts and reports.
Having the necessary skills is essential to becoming a successful freelance social media manager. Next, by developing networking strategies, creating an effective portfolio or resume, and using online platforms, you can find ideal clients.
2. Find Clients as a Freelance Social Media Manager.
Connecting with potential clients and showcasing your social media skills are key steps to building a successful freelance career. Here are some strategies that can help you find the right clients:
Networking Strategies for Finding Clients
1. Attend industry events: Participating in relevant conferences, workshops, or meetups can provide excellent opportunities to network with potential clients and other professionals in the field. For example, you can search for relevant events on websites like Eventbrite or Meetup.
2. Join online communities: Engage with others through forums or groups dedicated to freelancing or social media management on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit’s r/socialmedia subreddit, or the FreeU online community. As we discuss in a previous blog post titled “5 Keys to Finding and Attracting Clients Using Social Media,” it’s important to “find out where your ideal audience is hanging out (which groups they belong to, which hashtags they use, which Facebook Pages they follow, which lists they belong to on Twitter, etc.)”
3. Leverage your existing network: Reach out to friends, family members, former colleagues, or classmates who might be interested in your services or know someone who could use them.
Creating an Effective Portfolio or Resume
A strong portfolio showcases your work samples and demonstrates your expertise as a social media manager. Consider including the following elements when creating yours:
– An overview of your experience managing various platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram).
– Campaigns you’ve managed that highlight measurable results (e.g., increased engagement, followers).
– Testimonials from satisfied clients.
– A professional-looking design that reflects your personal brand.
If clients require a resume, it should be tailored to highlight relevant skills and experiences. Be sure to include any certifications or courses you’ve completed in social media management.
Using Online Platforms to Find Clients
There are several online platforms where you can find work opportunities as a social media manager:
– Upwork: A popular platform for freelancers offering various services, including social media management.
– Freelancer: Another well-known site connecting businesses with freelance professionals across multiple industries.
– PeoplePerHour: A UK-based platform that specializes in digital marketing services and other niches, including social media.
To stand out on these platforms, create an engaging profile showcasing your expertise and experience. Also, consider bidding on projects within your niche or skill set to increase the chances of landing suitable clients.
Networking and using online platforms are essential strategies for finding clients as a freelance social media manager. The next step (and a fun one for many of us) is to access tools and resources that can streamline and optimize your social media management services.
3. Access Tools and Resources for Freelance Social Media Managers.
As a social media manager, having the right tools and resources handy can be key in managing multiple accounts successfully. In this section, we’ll explore the must-haves for freelancers such as necessary software and apps, time management techniques, and professional development activities to help you build and sustain an enduring business.
Essential Software and Applications
To effectively manage various social media platforms for your clients, you’ll need reliable software that streamlines content creation, post scheduling, analytics tracking, and more. Here are some popular tools used by successful freelance social media managers:
– Buffer: A user-friendly platform for scheduling social media posts across multiple networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
– Hootsuite: An all-in-one tool that helps manage multiple social media profiles while providing comprehensive analytics reports.
– Canva: A graphic design tool perfect for creating eye-catching visuals without needing advanced design skills.
– Sprout Social: Offers robust features such as post scheduling automation and monitoring conversations on different channels to improve engagement rates with audiences.
– Mention.com: Allows you to monitor sources on the web, listen to trends in your target audience’s conversations, and publish posts on multiple social media platforms.
We discuss these and many other tools in detail in the FreeU course mentioned above.
Time Management Strategies
Balancing workloads from several clients requires excellent time management skills. Here are some strategies that can help keep you organized:
– Create a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule: Allocate specific hours for each client’s tasks, including content creation and administrative tasks.
– Set deadlines and prioritize tasks: Establish a clear timeline for deliverables to ensure you meet your clients’ expectations.
– Take breaks and set boundaries: Remember the importance of self-care by scheduling regular breaks and setting limits on working hours to prevent burnout.
Professional Development Opportunities
To stay competitive in the ever-evolving world of social media, it’s essential to invest in professional development. Here are some resources that can help:
– Networking and Conferences: As mentioned above, attending industry events allows you to connect with fellow professionals and learn from their experiences. For instance, Social Media Examiner hosts an in-person conference called Social Media Marketing World. You can also research smaller in-person events through your local chamber of commerce.
By leveraging these tools, resources, and strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to manage your clients’ social media accounts effectively while continuously improving your skills as a social media manager.
Your Career in Social Media Management Awaits!
You know the best thing about being a circus performer? The delight you bring the audience, many of whom could not do what you do. And that’s the delight you’ll bring your clients as a freelance social media manager.
As you keep all their plates spinning, they’ll gain peace of mind and greater freedom to build a business. And so will you! You’ll enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a freelance lifestyle.
So, embrace the challenge and develop your technical and soft skills. Remember that networking strategies, an effective portfolio or resume, and online platforms are all important for finding clients and promoting your social media management services.
And enjoy the journey! We’re here to help you navigate challenges and stay up to date in the exciting and ever-changing social media landscape.
At FreelanceU.com we offer clear-cut training pathways to enhance your skills in social media management. Join our freelance community now to gain insight into how we can support you in achieving success as a freelance social media manager!