The pandemic has caused us all to look at new ways to earn an income. A career change can be scary, but with the right information and tools under your belt, it may be just what you need to secure a financial future in these crazy times.
Full-time staff is less enticing to businesses now than ever before, which means a freelance position may help you secure the position that you’ve dreamed of while freeing up some of your own time.
If freelancing sounds exciting to you, let’s dive deep into the world of becoming a social media freelancer.
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What Is a Freelance Social Media?
A social media freelancer is an expert in the social media marketing field who offers services on-demand. Rather than simply providing social media marketing services for one brand that employs them, a social media freelancer can work for multiple clients on contract. These clients can be startups to more established brands.
It is not uncommon for a social media freelancer to perform freelance work while also having a full-time job in digital marketing or social media marketing. Of course, many will work solely for themselves.
As a social media freelancer, you should have specialized skills in the field of social media marketing, which allows you to offer tailored services to brands that may or may not have a marketing team in-house.
These services may include handling social media accounts or offering insight into the brand’s existing social media strategy.
What Does a Social Media Freelancer Do?
A social media freelancer will help brands manage their various social media accounts and assist with other forms of social media marketing.
Many social media freelancers will offer various services like content creation, scheduling and publishing social media posts, community management, social media strategy creation and implementation, copywriting, content calendar management, and social media reporting and analytics.
Skills a Good Freelance Social Media Manager Should Have
Regardless of whether you have a background in marketing or not, you must have specific social media marketing skills if you want to become a freelance social media manager. Here is a look at some of the skills any good freelance social media manager should have under their belt.
Although it is not necessary to compare yourself to Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, or Jane Austen, you must have the ability to create informative, interesting, and compelling content.
One of the main reasons for this is that you will normally be the last person to check over the content before it is submitted.
Since screenshots live on forever, you need to feel confident in your ability to create engaging content that is free from typos and fact errors.
Before social media came around, there were chat boards and forums. These methods of communication were generally kept under control by moderators. Unfortunately, this is not something that exists on social media.
Therefore, as a social media manager, it is your job to find problems within the brand’s community and address them as necessary.
At the same time, you must be familiar with the rules of each social media platform so you can follow the to when posting, commenting, etc. Otherwise, the brand you’re working for may suffer the hit.
Flexible and Ability to Multi-Task
When you’re a social media freelancer, you don’t get to wear just one hat. Instead, you wear multiple hats, meaning you may need to step out of your comfort zone.
When freelancing, you may find that a client asks you for assistance with logistics, crafting blog posts, etc. It is important that you are flexible and can handle whatever clients throw at you.
So, apart from being flexible, you must also have the capability of multi-tasking. There will likely be times when you need to perform customer service, craft a new marketing campaign, give updates to social media followers, and more, while also handling your accounting!
Further, as a freelance social media manager, you may find that your hours are not specifically defined as they would be if you were an employee of a company.
You must be ready to tackle social media efforts in real-time, which may mean at night and on the weekends.
Things change quickly in the digital world, and you must be ready to work alongside those ever-changing needs of consumers.
How to Become a Freelance Social Media Manager
Register as Self-Employed
If you intend to earn money as a freelance social media manager, then you will need to ensure you are properly registered with the government. This means you should register yourself as self-employed.
The process you take for registering as self-employed will vary based on your location, but as a general rule, a form will need to be filled out and you will need to ensure you file your taxes as mandated by the government.
In doing so, you will gain personal liability protection as well as tax and legal benefits that you otherwise would not have on your side if you failed to register, meaning you would be personally responsible for any liabilities, taxes, etc.
Set Up Your Business
Aside from registering with the proper authorities, you must also get a tax ID number from the IRS. This number will be used when tax time comes and helps identify you as a freelance business.
You should also sign up for a business bank account. A business bank account will allow you to keep your personal and professional spending separate, which makes it easier for accounting purposes.
Speaking of accounting, you will want to invest in accounting software. This will help reduce the amount of time that you spend sending out invoices, tracking your spending, and following up on late payments.
And don’t forget to at least get a simple website. Your website doesn’t need to be fancy, as long as it has the basics: an about page, a services page, a portfolio page, and a contact page.
Once you build up your customer base, you can upgrade to a flashier website if desired.
Build a Portfolio
As a freelancer, you must be prepared to show a potential client some of your previous work. Therefore, before you even start applying for jobs, you must build yourself a solid working portfolio.
A portfolio is designed to convince prospective clients they should choose you to work with.
Your portfolio should always include your best work, and it should also include different types of social media work.
You can include developed marketing strategies, results from previous social advertisement campaigns, and social media posts that you’ve posted (along with the stats, such as likes, comments, shares, etc.).
Don’t forget to create your own social media profile(s) for your freelance business.
Price Your Services
Determining your rate of pay as a freelance is probably among the most daunting tasks. However, it is also one of the most important, as it is what will make or break your overall business.
If you set your rate too low, you may find it difficult to generate a solid profit. If you set your rate too high, you may be unable to convert leads into clients.
As you determine the rate for your services, take into consideration the amount of time it will take you to complete the services, any tools that may need to be purchased, and whether you want to set a retainer or hourly rate.
Keep in mind that your services are likely to be similar for your clients across the board. Therefore, you may want to develop some standard packages with a basic price quote for the services within that package. You can always develop custom packages per the needs of your clients.
Build Your Network and Promote Your Business
Once you get the business side of things done, it is time to figure out how to get your business name out there so people can start hiring you. As a freelancer, you will need to promote your services online and reach out to prospective clients.
There are many ways in which you can do this, including LinkedIn, Facebook community groups, and more. Content marketing can play a significant role in building your network and promoting your new freelance business.
Proactively offer your services to those who are looking for or maybe in need of social media marketing.
Best Practice Tips to Stand Out as a Social Media Freelancer
Since you are going about this on your own, you will want to ensure you are standing out from the rest of the freelance social media managers.
So, how do you do that? Here are a few tips that will help you succeed with your new freelance business.
Gather Testimonials and Create Case Studies
Your portfolio of previous work will only take you so far. You must have testimonials and case studies that showcase your experience and expertise.
When you have something to back up your services as well as your work, you will find that you will go much further when looking for new clients.
Prospective clients will feel far more confident in choosing to work with you when you have reviews and case studies regarding prior work.
Always Keep Your Resume Up to Date
Although you may have a portfolio to show examples of your past work, your clients are likely going to also want to see your resume.
With that being said, you must keep your resume current at all times. When updating your current position as a social media freelancer, make sure to use bullet points to showcase targeted skills and specific services that will be offered.
Invest in the Right Social Media Marketing Tools
Social media marketing tools are designed to make life easier for social media freelancers. Therefore, take advantage of them!
Many are free, while others are paid. Regardless, you will want to ensure you opt for tools that will help you be the most productive without breaking the bank.
Some examples of social media marketing tools to invest in include Hootsuite, Slack, Calendly, and Canva.
Learn How to Say No
As a freelancer, you are responsible for virtually everything, including your finances. Your bills will not be paid from your freelance work, which can cause you to want to take on more work than you can honestly handle.
Unfortunately, when you do this, you hurt yourself in almost every aspect, as the client may not want to work with you again in the future, you may need to cancel the project, etc.
With that being said, you must learn how to say no. Sure, you may need that contract, but if you won’t be able to finish it on time, you may not get paid.
Don’t take on more clients and/or projects than you can handle in a given period. You should also avoid toxic clients and projects that may cause too much stress.
Develop Retainers and Ongoing Relationships with Your Clients
One of the most effective ways to grow your freelance business and create a business that will offer long-lasting results is to secure recurring clients and/or projects.
The good news about this is that you are likely to find it relatively easy to set up recurring projects with clients since social media management tends to occur every month.
To help yourself out, lock in client retainers from the get-go. This will provide you with a level of financial security while also helping you to plan out your commitments and avoid unnecessary late nights.
Now that you have a grasp on becoming a social media freelancer, it is time to execute what you’ve learned. Remember, standing out from the competition is what will help you get and retain clients.
With the right social media management tools at your disposal, you will work smart instead of harder.