This field is ideal for people with in-depth knowledge of various social media platforms and familiarity with Internet marketing practices.
Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a pressing demand for businesses to undergo a digital transformation. According to the World Economic Forum, the companies that are surviving this crisis tend to be those that had undergone digital transformation, those that implemented platform-based business models, or those that quickly adopted digitalization.
A recent McKinsey Global Survey of executives found that the pandemic has sped up the adoption of digital technologies by several years. While the digitization of customer and supply-chain interactions were accelerated by three to four years, the share of digital products in their portfolios has been expedited by seven years.
Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that consumer shopping habits have evolved dramatically over the last couple of months, and many have moved toward online channels. According to a global study conducted by Salesforce Inc, 58% of the respondents said that they expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than they did before.
At a time when the digital transformation has become critical to sustaining businesses, many companies are using social media networks like Instagram and Facebook to promote and sell their products and services. However, as many small companies and entrepreneurs are not well-versed in social media marketing and cannot afford a marketing team, they often decide to hire a social media consultant or manager.
This is why it’s a great time to become a social media manager – it’s just a matter of skill-building and word-of-mouth to turn your knowledge of social networks into a profitable business, without even stepping out of your home.
What does a Social Media Manager do?
Often touted as the “voice of the company”, a social media manager is responsible for helping businesses, brands, and entrepreneurs build a social media presence. This field is ideal for people with in-depth knowledge of various social media platforms who are familiar with Internet marketing practices.
Depending on their expertise and their clients’ requirements, social media managers offer a range of services such as running social media campaigns, marketing analysis, improving customer engagement with unique social media posts, and developing marketing strategies – all to eventually drive sales.
Along with executing marketing campaigns across various social platforms, they also monitor the social media analytics of their clients.
With a minimum investment of around $500, a social media manager can earn a median of $51,000 per annum. You can start this as a part-time job without ever having to leave the comfort of your home, and then expand and even hire people as you go up the ladder.
Becoming a Social Media Manager
1. Acquire the relevant skills
To become a social media manager, it is imperative that you have the right qualifications. If you are starting from scratch, it’s a good idea to take a course that will equip you with relevant skills.
As a social media manager, you will have to understand your client’s business, target audience, and branding, have a creative ability to come up with marketing campaigns to increase the brand’s visibility and engagement, know how to set up accounts and make posts on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, and know how to run social media ads, among other skills.
Stressing the importance of attaining relevant skills, Senior Consultant Amy Johnston said, “I strongly believe in education and experience. It drives me crazy when I hear people say they are just going to pick up social media as a side job or a career and they have absolutely no previous knowledge or training. Find a program at your local college or University, online or offline that offers either a certificate or degree.”
There are numerous social media marketing training courses that you can take online to learn all these important skills, which will also provide you with certifications to prove your expertise. Udemy, for instance, offers social media management courses free of cost. They also have advanced paid courses starting at US$10.
2. Choose your niche
As with any other business, here too, it is necessary to find your niche and determine your target audience. You have to identify which businesses you want to specialize in – do your interests lie in tech, entertainment, food, or retail? You can start off by focusing on any one business and then expand as you gain expertise.
Along with identifying which business you want to focus on, you can also master a few social media platforms. While you will have to be proficient in all platforms as a social media manager, mastering one or two will give you an edge over others, since you will be able to refer to yourself as an Instagram consultant or a Facebook specialist.
3. Decide which services you will offer
Depending on your core skills, you can choose which services you will offer. You could do just a start-up service, where you will only create the various social media accounts and the management of them will be the client’s responsibility.
Alternatively, you can provide a full service, which would involve everything from creating accounts and posting content to running marketing campaigns, moderating the community, and running social media ads.
Depending on your interests, you can further specialize in any niche within social media management such as marketer, data analyst, or community manager, among others.
4. Build a portfolio
Once you have decided on your niche and the services you would offer, it’s time to build a strong portfolio. A stellar portfolio is a great means for clients to gauge your skills and expertise; it is what will convince clients to reach out to you.
You can start by creating your own social media profiles where you then build an engaged and active following. Use this to create some preliminary portfolios to show clients, and keep updating them as you grow your clientele. A detailed portfolio with a creative display of your case studies and client testimonials will also help you stand out.
5. Determine your pricing and financial policies
Before you start reaching out to potential clients, you should first establish the rates of your services, mode of payment, and payment schedule.
Your rates will depend on your experience and your area of expertise. You can either charge by the hour, on a monthly basis, or offer package plans. According to Salary.com, the average hourly wage for a Social Media Marketing and Communications Manager in the United States is between $43 and $57.
It is a good option for freelancers to invest in software that can handle your invoices, payroll, and taxes, to minimize delays in the payment process.
6. Start networking and freelancing
Now that you are all set, here comes the hard part – getting clients and providing the best services. Networking – perhaps through conferences and industry events – is a great means to get your first clients. However, before you launch your freelancing career, you can start off by helping small local businesses in your area. This will help you to build your portfolio.
To get your name out there, you can also distribute high-quality content on your social media platforms and engage in conversations with potential clients. This will also help with driving traffic to your website or social media pages.
Starting a career as a social media manager is no piece of cake. An ample amount of research and a relevant skillset is necessary before you start signing clients. Even then, finding your first couple of clients may be hard, but once you start building your clientele, you can start expanding and also hire people to work for you.
As a career that is constantly evolving and is in demand, it is a great online job, whether you’re looking for a part-time gig or a full-time job.
Header image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.