In this day and age of technology, careers and work lifestyles are changing. The digital nomad dream is on the rise! Lots of people are now opting to freelance and work for themselves to ditch the corporate 9 to 5 career field. Working for yourself from your computer is an exciting career direction to go in and in this article, we will discuss how to be a social media manager, one of the most lucrative and popular choices for freelancers.
Others are looking for complete career changes. Social media managers are a relatively new and fast growing field in marketing.
Do you love Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Then you are already one step ahead on the road to becoming a social media manager for other businesses and service providers.
What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
A social media manager is essentially a person that manages another person or business’ social media account. It can involve creating content, including graphics and caption writing, strategically scheduling content, hashtag research, competitor analysis, analytics tracking and engaging with other accounts from within the client’s account.
A social media manager can handle all or just some of these services. It really depends on their skill-set and what is included in their packages.
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In some cases, social media managers may be required to own or run paid social media marketing campaigns. This also depends on the size of the organization. Smaller organizations generally expect social media managers to also run the paid marketing campaigns on social media.
If you want to be a social media manager, you need to have a lot of experience using social media and all platforms, but you don’t have to be an expert on all platforms.
Most businesses are only focusing on 1 or 2 platforms for consistent marketing and posting, so you, as a social media manager, can do the same. Most managers only focus on a couple of different platforms as their main services.
Depending on the industry, different platforms work better than others, for different organizations. Become familiar with the best platforms in the industry you’re interested in working in.
Who Hires Social Media Managers?
Anyone can hire a social media manager! Public figures, brands, small businesses, service providers, local business, coaches, and the list goes on and on.
Any person or business that wants to get their name out there should be using social media to do so, and if they don’t have the time or skills to run their social media effectively, it is generally one of the first things that a business will outsource.
It is the easiest task for businesses to outsource virtually, which essentially makes it easy for a business to allow someone else to take over their social media accounts from anywhere in the world.
For individuals and small businesses, they generally contract freelancers or small agencies to run their social media accounts.
For most large organizations and corporations, their social media management is done in-house and they generally try to hire someone on a salary.
What Skills Do I Need to Have To Become a Social Media Manager?
The number one skill is the ability to communicate with your client and keep your work organized. Clients want to feel that they are working with someone who is not only reliable and trustworthy but performs quality work.
A good social media manager also needs to be on top of trends. The world of social media changes so fast every day. What’s relevant and popular today may not be tomorrow. Today it’s Snapchat, tomorrow it’s Linkedin.
A social media manager needs to have their pulse on the state of where people’s attention is at.
Beyond that, the following tasks and skills would be considered an asset to really become an amazing social media manager:
Someone who can come up with an engaging social media content calendar for a business is invaluable.
Depending on the goals of the business, someone who wants to be a social media manager should know how to craft an effective social media content strategy that can help achieve the business’ goals.
For example, an organization looking to build brand awareness will need a content strategy that works to reach as many people as possible. On the other hand, an organization looking to convert followers into customers will need a content strategy that gets people buying through social media.
A good content strategy should create content that is relevant to the business’ target audience, as well as create a lot of engagement and show a return on investment.
Finally, knowing the best social media management tools to use is a plus. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm yourself with a lot of manual work.
Having graphic design skills is definitely an asset. When it comes to social media, this means your employer won’t have to create graphics themselves or hire another person to do it.
If you can design social media graphics as a part of your management, it will prove your value even more so to your client.
Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal nowadays that can make creating and editing graphics for social media a breeze, including Canva. You don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard to be a successful social media manager. However, the more general knowledge you have around graphic design, the better it is for you and your client or boss.
One skill that is underestimated when it comes to being a social media manager is the ability to perform competitor analysis.
This means that you will be taking a strategic look at your clients biggest competitors and seeing what they are doing right, and what could be improved.
Looking at competitors is an important asset when it comes to developing marketing strategies and moving your client’s social media results in the right direction.
You can’t know what will work or how to manage a social media account if you don’t understand the landscape or you don’t know what already works very well in the industry you’re working in. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Look at what competitors are doing well, look at what they’re doing poorly, and improve upon it.
Being able to not only write well but to write in your client’s voice, is a crucial skill that social media managers should always be working to improve. Nobody wants to hire a social media manager who writes posts that don’t sound like the brand’s voice, because ultimately, that wouldn’t be a great fit.
Learning copywriting will help you craft the most compelling posts that turns followers into customers. It’s also important to understand how to write in a fun or entertaining way.
How Can I Get Started as a Social Media Manager?
You should ideally have a portfolio, brand or business name and case studies in place before landing your first social media client. Creating a portfolio or case studies before having a paying client can be a hurdle that most new social media managers can face. It’s hard to get your foot in the door if you don’t have the experience to back you up.
This creates a catch-22 scenario.
If you’re looking for a salaried position at corporation, a portfolio of work and resume is definitely important.
Below are some ideas that can help with getting portfolio samples before you have clients:
Perform a few smaller tasks for testimonials
Facebook groups for business owners and freelancers are an excellent resource for bartering smaller services for your first project. An example would be offering 10 social media graphics, or hashtag research, in exchange for a testimonial. Then, you would not only have a testimonial to share with a prospective client, but you also have some finished work examples to show off, too.
Put yourself out there and offer your services for free. This will help build up a reputation and a portfolio of work that you can share.
Manage the social media account of a business for a month or two, and record any and all of the results. How many more followers did you bring in that month? What was the overall sentiment of the engagement you brought? How many leads or customers did the social media accounts that you managed bring in?
Use your own accounts as an example
If you want to be a social media manager, chances are you’ve had success yourself with a social media platform or two. Focus on your own accounts and use them as examples of the quality work you can do for prospective clients.
Even create side projects that give you an excuse to create new social media profiles. Build them up from scratch and document and record the process and results.
You’ll get a lot of interest and you’ll be seen as credible if you can show a potential client or employer how you brought your own accounts from 0 to 1000 in 4 months.
Not only that, it gives you the sandbox to play within and fail. Learned a new way to engage people? Test it out on your accounts first. Found a new format for posts that’s becoming popular? Try it out on your own profile first.
How Much Can I Earn as a Social Media Manager?
If you’re a social media manager that works as a freelancer or runs an agency, you can expect to offer different monthly package pricing, at different pricing levels.
The base pricing for social media management is generally $500 per platform per month. This can go up or down depending on what services are included in the monthly package and the amount of experience you have.
If you’re looking to enter into a corporate career as a social media manager, you can expect to start at around $40,000 USD. Experienced social media managers and social media directors can earn upwards of $100,000 USD depending on the industry and work experience.
Becoming a social media manager can be an exciting and very profitable career choice. Getting started and getting your first couple of clients is the hardest part of the journey, but if you have the skills (or ability and time to learn the skills required) and the determination, it is entirely possible to find success as a social media manager.
What do you think? Do you have experience as a social media manager? What do you think it takes to be a social media manager? Let us know and share some tips and experience in the comments below.