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Would you like to become a social media manager? Do you want to learn what a social media manager does, what services to offer and how to attract quality clients to help you make a good living?
There are 2.307 billion social media users. This has spurred businesses to take social media marketing seriously. 81% of small and medium sized businesses are using social media. 94% of these use it for marketing purposes. Large businesses including the Fortune 500 take social media marketing seriously too.
There are over 50 million business pages on Facebook alone and over 2.5 billion comments are made on these pages every month.
In 2015 businesses spent $23.68 billion on paid social media ads. By 2017 this figure is expected to reach $35.98 billion. This shows that businesses are investing heavily in social media marketing. Hence, there is a ton of work for social media managers now and in the future too. The pay is also very good.
Social media managers can also charge between $50 and $500 for consulting. Some even make extra income running workshops and speaking at conferences and other events.
The average salary of a full-time social media professional is between $35k and $79k according to Payscale. Wages will mainly depend on your experience. The best social media managers will earn more.
If you’re interested in becoming a successful social media manager, then you must read this post. As I am going to cover everything you need.
The post is divided into 2 parts. The 1st is comprised of text and images and is over 5,000 words long. As it is literally a complete guide to social media management and your role as a manager. The 2nd part is an infographic that summarizes the post.
If you are very serious about getting hired as a social media manager make sure you read both the post and the infographic.
If you haven’t got the time to read the entire post now, then CLICK HERE to Download the PDF version of the post. I will also email you some tips on how to get well-paying clients along with the social media manager PDF.
This post will be useful for both beginners and advanced users. I am going to cover what a social media manager does, how to acquire the necessary skills, social media tools you must have, and how to find work.
Make sure you read all the way to the end as I am going to share a free bonus on how to attract quality clients and negotiate lucrative prices with them.
Mainly those who want to work as freelance social media managers will find this post useful. I will share a tiny bit on finding a full-time job too. But it is going to be a very minor part.
Therefore, let’s get started with the guide on how to become a social media manager…
Click the below button to download a PDF version of this post on how to be a social media manager.
What does a social media manager do?
Here’s a quick social media manager job description…
Social media managers help business manage their social media accounts and other types of social media marketing.
Most businesses see social media as a way to directly drive traffic to their website and force people to buy their products or use their service.
Social media managers know that this is wrong. They understand that real people use social media. Hence, they run digital marketing strategies that are focused on building relationships with these people. Managers turn the spotlight on the ‘social’ in social media by creating & sharing engaging content and asking & answering questions. This helps build a royal fan base.
These royal fans return the favour by buying from the company again and again and get their friends to do the same. All this isn’t done randomly, but with the implementation of a detailed strategy.
Now let’s learn how to become a social media manager
Services offered by social media managers
In order to become a social media manager, you need to know the services you need to offer and the skills and knowledge you require to offer them.
Here are the most popular social media marketing services offered by managers…
Social media account set up:
In social media, the first impression matters a lot. The best way to make a strong first impression here is by creating professional looking pages.
Businesses understand this. This is why they hire social media managers to help them out. If people like how the page appears they will follow them, read what they share and visit the website address located on the account.
As a manager, you need to know what the most important parts of social media profiles and pages are and that different social media pages require different things.
For example, when you set up a Facebook page the main things you will do are add a profile image, create and add one big cover image, add the most important call to action and write page descriptions.
When you set up a Pinterest page you will need to do very different things like writing a short bio, verifying the website, creating several boards and their separate cover images, writing board descriptions, etc. And when you create a Tumblr page you will do something way more different as you need to install a theme and set up custom pages.
You need to know all this.
Most people will hire you to set up accounts from scratch. While some will hire you to make minor modifications like changing the Facebook cover image from time to time.
You will see a high influx of modification work when a social network makes some major changes to the way their business pages look. This is why it is important for you to keep track of these changes and use them to serve your clients better.
Social media management:
Social media management is when you post social media updates on behalf of the company that hired you. This could be on pages, profiles, and communities such as Facebook groups.
A lot of planning (creating a management strategy) goes into this. As you need to post the right kind of updates that will attract the correct audience and engage them. The updates need to reflect the brand the business wants to project. They also need to be sent out at the right time.
You will even need to perform other tasks like following people, creating visual content, responding to comments, studying analytics, creating reports, and keeping your clients updated on the progress you have made.
Time management and communication skills are critical to get this right.
For running a proper social media management business you will need to invest in management tools. I will discuss the most important ones later in this post.
Social media audits:
Social media auditing is when you examine a client’s social media presence. You first study it directly to see if it has been set up properly. You also make notes of things like number of followers.
After that you use a good analytics tools to measure things like follower growth, traffic referrals, unfollows, posting frequency and engagement levels. You then compare this against the industry social media statistics (norm) and the competitors to see how well the company is performing.
The audits help estimate if the company is doing the right thing to achieve its goals.
Social media strategy:
The social media audit is usually followed by a social media strategy. In this you will outline what the company is doing wrong and the steps they need to take in order to accomplish their marketing goals. You must detail what they should do with both, their social media accounts and their website.
Some companies will hire you to only prepare the strategy as they themselves will want to implement your input. You will also need to perform an audit at regular intervals like every month or quarterly to see if the they are progressing.
While others will want you to both create and run the strategy or at least be partially involved.
This will usually be your most expensive service as it requires a lot of work. If you are a strategist, you will love this!
Social media consulting:
Social media consulting or coaching is when you speak to the client face to face or over the phone or Skype.
You listen to their business problems and tell them what they need to do to improve their social media marketing results.
Social media advertising:
Organic social media marketing will not be sufficient for many businesses as the competition is immense. Therefore, it will be necessary for them to invest in advertising. You should learn as much as you can about social media advertising to help your clients get the best out of it. This should include setting up landing pages and funnels.
You must mainly place your focus on understanding Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin advertising. As 65.5% of the $23.68 billion spent on advertising in 2015 was spent on Facebook ads, 8.8% was spent on Twitter ads and 3.8% on Linkedin ads.
Pinterest promoted pins were recently released to the public, therefore ad spend on the network might grow this year. You should learn more about running ads here too.
Content creation and management:
Content creation and social media management go hand in hand as content helps build trust with the audience. Businesses are investing heavily in content marketing.
Currently they are spending close to $200 billion. This number is expected to rise to $313 billion in 2019.
This includes services like writing white papers, blog posts, ebooks and designing infographics, slides, etc. Some will also hire you to help with the managing. Content managers create strategies, write, publish and promote the content.
There is always going to be a ton of content marketing work waiting for you.
Workshops and speaking:
You can also organize workshops where you teach a group of people how to get better at social media marketing. These can either last half a day or a full day. Sometimes you can even team up with other social media managers and organise one together.
Many managers even make money from speaking at conferences and events.
Some of the top ones get invited regularly to speak and are paid really high amounts. They also get free accommodation and transport.
For example, Mari Smith earns between $15,000 and $50,000 every time she speaks because she is one of the top Facebook marketers in the world. If you want the best Facebook marketer in the world you go to Mari.
Another added benefit of speaking is that some of the attendees will hire you after listening to you. This is why several social media managers speak for free at conferences. You can give them your contact details after you finish speaking and then set up a consultation call, create a marketing proposal (or use one of these proposal templates), and develop a plan.
This career path has many more niches such a working with influencers. You should look into them.
Would you like to download the PDF version of the post on how to become a social media manager? Click on the below button to download. I will also send you some tips on how to attract better paying clients.
Skills and knowledge required to become a social media manager
To provide the services listed above you will need to know what the pages look like, how users interact with them, what content to publish and how to run ads. It is also important for you to stay up to date on the latest changes the networks are making.
You will even need to learn how to perform other things like audience research, studying analytics and using social media tools. But before you do this there is one thing you must decide on. This is whether to specialise or not.
To specialize or not
There are mainly two kinds of social media managers, those who offer all social media marketing services for all networks and those who focus on specific networks or services.
The biggest benefit of focusing on one social network is that it helps you dominate a niche. You can create marketing material that is focused on attracting the right customer easily because the more focused your strategy is the more customers you will generate. And if you build a reputation for specialisation in a one social network you can charge higher rates too.
For example when I think of top Facebook marketers the first people that come to my mind are Mari Smith and Jon Loomer. When I think of Pinterest marketing Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media comes to my mind and when I think of Instagram Marketing Sue B Zimmerman comes to my mind. If I am looking for the best advice on these networks, I will contact these top marketers.
But when I think of Tumblr marketing no one really comes to my mind. So it would be a good place to build a niche. An idea for you.
Some people specialize in several networks, but chiefly offer services in one. An example is Andrea Vahl. She is great at marketing with various social media, but she places emphasis on Facebook marketing. She wrote an entire book on it.
Then there are several others who offer all social media services on almost all of the top networks.
So spend some deciding which networks you want to focus on. Once you know what you want to do, it will be easy to decide on what to learn. My advice would be to learn at least the basics on all the main networks, but to specialize in one.
After you have made your decision you can begin learning about social media marketing techniques.
Start off by reading and subscribing to blogs on social media marketing and sales…
There’s so much free information available online. This is where you should start. The first thing you must do is go check out Social Media Examiner.
This is the top most social media blog. They share several in depth articles on social media marketing. Most of their latest articles are for advanced users. But if you dig through their archives you will find some amazing tips for beginners.
Follow them on all social media and subscribe to their email updates as you don’t want to miss out on the latest blog posts they share.
When you sign up by email many of these blogs will give you a free gift in the form of gated content like ebooks, white papers and video tutorials. Consume this material too as they will be jam-packed with advanced tips.
Now buy some social media marketing books…
After you read and subscribe to blog posts and get a good understanding of social media managing, you should buy some good books. A great place to find the best social media marketing books is Amazon. If you visit the social media category you will find the most popular social media marketing books.
One of my favourite books is Contagious by Jonah Berger. This New York Times Bestseller was based on actual research. It mainly discusses why some things go popular online i.e. what is the science behind it. Anyone who wants to take social media or content marketing seriously must read it.
If you want to buy digital books use Scribd. It’s a service where you pay a small monthly fee and you get access to an unlimited number of fiction, non-fiction and comic books. I really like it. All the above books are available on the site. Use this link to get the first two months for free.
You can also take some social media manager courses…
You can take both free and premium (paid) social media manager/marketing courses.
Free Social Media Courses/Resources
I recommend two free social media courses…
Social Media Consultant Starter Kit
One of them is the Social Media Consultant Starter Kit. This is a bundle of resources that are useful for consultants, social media managers, and community managers. They teach you how to successfully get started as a social media manager. The free resources were created by Andrea Vahl and Phyllis Khare. The resources include…
- A social media management PDF called 3 Steps to Earning $1000 Extra a Month as a Social Media Manager or Consultant
- 3 Steps to Finding the Right Clients for Your Business
- 3 Ways to Bring New Clients in the Door
- How to Find Your Corner of This Lucrative Market
- Infographic – Roadmap to Becoming a Well-Paid Social Media Manager
- Top Tools for Social Media Managers
Download it for free
Charge What You’re Worth
The Social Media Consultant Starter Kit can help kickstart your social media managing career. But it doesn’t go into detail about other important things like determining the market rate, how to attract clients willing to pay more, how to negotiate with clients and how to write proposals.
These strategies are covered in the free course, Charge What You’re Worth by Brennan Dunn. Brennan started out as a freelancer and after three years his business turned into an agency with an annual revenue of $2 million. So he knows quite a bit about earning more money as a freelancer.
Paid social media courses
There are several premium social media marketing courses. But be vary of the ones you pick as there are several bad ones out there which have been created by people who have done no social media marketing in their lives.
Social Media Manager School
I have only ever bought one social media course. This is the Social Media Manager School created by Andrea Vahl and Phyllis Khare. Both of them are top social media managers with several years of experience. The course is good for both newbies and advanced users. It was very helpful to me.
It covers everything from how to manage social media, to attracting clients and managing them efficiently. You will find a lot of social media manager tutorials here.
There are many more useful marketing courses out there. Take a look around online to find a teacher and course that you like best.
Tools you must invest in
As a social media manager you need to have access to certain social media management tools. They will save you time and help you serve your clients better. You can use them to schedule social media posts, respond to comments, conduct audits, create strategies, find hashtags, and do various other things. Many clients will expect you to own them.
2 tools every social media manager must own are Hootsuite and Buffer. Hootsuite is the perfect tool for monitoring the feed and your clients’ fans and followers while Buffer is best for scheduling updates. You can schedule updates with Hootsuite too, but it is just so much easier with Buffer. They are both freemium tools, but you should invest in the paid plans as they are inexpensive.
Hootsuite’s paid plans start at $7.99 and Buffer’s start at $10. You can start with these basic packages and invest in the higher levels as you gain more clients.
For analytics you must use Agorapulse as it provides the best Facebook, Twitter and Instagram analytics. This is necessary for creating audits, strategies and social media management plans. It also lets you schedule updates and run Facebook contests.
Agorapulse along Hootsuite is among the top 2 social media tools according to this infographic. Sendible and Sproutsocial are good tools too, but I wouldn’t recommend them for newbie social media marketers as they are quite expensive compared to the ones mentioned above.
If you want to focus on visual social media marketing you must get Tailwind as it lets you easily create and schedule images and videos on sites like Pinterest and Instagram. You can read a full review of Tailwind here.
A tool like Canva will also be essential, especially if you don’t have advanced design skills. You can create images, videos, and gifs with it.
For running successful Facebook adverts you should sign up for Adespresso. It lets you conduct split tests and helps you easily gain insights on how well ads are performing with its detailed metrics.
For a complete list of the top social media tools, check out this infographic.
Finding work as a social media manager
Now that you know what a social media manager does and the tools you need, I am going to show you how to find work. But first you must decide whether you want to work by yourself or if you want to work at a company.
Should you be a freelance social media manager or should you get a job
Whether you want to work as a freelance social media manager or work for a company is up to you.
I know there are many people out there who write about why everyone should be freelancing. But you don’t have to listen to them because if everyone quit their job and worked as a freelancer, then the economy would be way worse than it is now.
Freelance social media managers and every other type of freelancers need small, medium, and large businesses (with lots of employees) to function successfully so that they can afford to outsource them. So I have no idea why some of these ‘gurus’ want everyone to be a freelancer.
As a freelancer you will require to wear many hats. You will need to find clients, manage their social media, chase payments, handle the sales by yourself and do various other things.
Some people enjoy doing this while others don’t. I enjoy doing it because it offers me freedom on who I can work with among other things. But it is not for everyone. Therefore, spend a good amount of time thinking about whether you should find a social media manager job at a company or if you should work freelance.
If you want to find freelance social media manager work, then you should read everything I have written below.
Would you like to attract quality clients and negotiate lucrative deals with them? Then click on the below button to get my tips. I will also email you a PDF version of this post on how to become a social media manager.
Finding work as a freelance social media manager
Follow the below steps and you will find work…
Set up a website
If you want to look really professional and stand out from the competition, one of the things you must do is set up a really good website. You can buy your domain on Godaddy. I used it to buy Social Marketing Writing. For hosting you can use Bluehost. With Bluehost you also get a domain name for free.
When I first set up this site I used a service like Bluehost, but when traffic began to pick up I knew that I had to move to a dedicated server. But instead of just upgrading on the same service I moved to Synthesis, which has now been acquired by Wp Engine. My Site now runs on WP Engine and I am very satisfied with them.
It’s a WordPress managed hosting service which is very robust and has many advanced features. You can read my review for WP Engine hosting here. I list all the reasons why I use it. I also list the cons you should consider.
You too should set up your website with WordPress, especially if you have no graphic design experience as it is easy to use.
Once your website is set up you can add some information about yourself there, the services you offer, and include details about your clients. Add some testimonials from these clients as well because it will make you more credible. Also place a contact form to make it easy for people to contact you.
Make sure your website is optimized for search engines (SEO) if you want to drive search traffic. If possible invest in a good SEO copywriting service.
Now you can direct people to your professional looking website. It can do the job of converting visitors to clients.
Get professional email
Getting a professional looking email address i.e. something like firstname.lastname@example.org will also help. Most people send their emails through regular gmail or yahoo email addresses. It looks unprofessional.
With hostgator you should be able to get a professional email address for free with the hosting. But I would recommend you to run it with Google Apps as it will keep out spam and can be used with other Apps like MixMax which let you check if prospects are opening and clicking on your emails.
Create social media pages and network
Have you ever heard the phrase you need to practice what you preach? It means that you need to do the same deeds that you instruct other people to do. It applies to social media marketing too.
For example, if you are a Facebook manager you need to not just manage your clients Facebook pages. But you should also own and manage your own. It needs to be up to date and show good levels of engagement. Potential clients will then take you more seriously and hire you. Staying active on social media will also help you attract clients.
Don’t just work on driving traffic, but also on networking with others as the relationships you build will lead to work. You can do this by taking part in Twitter chats, following others, answering people’s question, etc.
The best place to network for social media managers is Linkedin as it generates more leads than any other social media channel for B2Bs.
Create blog posts and other content
As mentioned earlier people are spending heavily on content marketing. This is because it works well by itself and enhances social media marketing by several fold. This is why you should also spend time crafting content.
Create everything from blog posts, to ebooks, and even webinars.
Content will help display your expertise. Inform people about the secrets of social media marketing from your blog. For a detailed guide on creating content, driving traffic and monetizing this traffic checkout Blog Profits Blueprint.
You can even create blog posts that are targeted to helping you attract one quality client. Neil Patel does this. He writes blog posts where he details what a company needs to do in order to get better marketing results. The plan is to attract one big client. He wrote this post to get the attention of the client Like.com.
If you execute a well-planned content marketing strategy (for your business) people will hire you to help them with content marketing as well. I mainly help businesses with Pinterest. But several of them hire me to set up powerful blogs and content marketing strategies after they read my content here and on other sites like Social Media Examiner and Content Marketing Institute.
Invest in ads
The biggest drawback with blogging is that it takes time. You need to write content, promote it with social media, email and other forms of outreach and then build links. Even if you work really hard, it will probably take you 6 months to establish it.
How are you going to attract clients in the mean time?
The answer is ads. Through ads you can obtain targeted traffic in a matter of days. The best social media platforms to advertise are Linkedin, Facebook, Snapchat, and Google. When you run ads make sure you direct the person to a landing page where you list your services or to a content landing page where you can convert them to leads. This will ensure that you have a high conversion rate.
Set up an email strategy
Not all the people who visit your website will directly turn into customers, hence you should create a good email strategy. This strategy should include acquisition of visitors, nurturing them and promotion of services.
For capturing leads I recommend OptinMonster. It integrates with ConvertKit and several other email marketing tools.
Create landing pages
As aforementioned, to capture visitors through email marketing, you should also use landing pages. Landing pages that are dedicated to converting visitors to email subscribers have a really high conversion rate.
These methods will help attract people to your website and convert them into customers. But they aren’t the only options as there are several other things you can try. I have listed them and how effective they are below.
Other ways to find social media management work…
Freelance social media manager job listing sites:
There are so many freelance listing sites like Upwork and Freelancer where people list a ton of freelance social media jobs daily. But the problem is that there is a massive amount of competition here. The employers take advantage of this and offer really low wages.
It’s not uncommon to see a job listing that asks for a ‘Social Media Expert’.
It goes something like I need a social media manager with 5 years experience to work on my project. But they only want to pay something like $50 even though they should actually be paying a couple of thousand dollars. The employers can also be very demanding as they expect you to be there at their beck and call.
Good luck to them for finding a nice social media manager at that price!
Among the many cheap jobs there will be a few high paying jobs, but they are rare. And the competition for them is immense. Landing them is an uphill task. Some people like Ari Zelmanov have had success. If you are interested in finding success here, then you should read what he has to say.
I for one didn’t like these sites. I used them at the beginning of my career. It was good to gain some experience and recommendations. But that’s it. I landed very few high paying gigs.
If you need the experience this will be a good place to start. If you are comfortable financially I would skip this and look for work using the methods I mentioned earlier. If you need the money, then maybe you should try your luck on these sites.
I frequented these sites at the beginning of my career to look for freelance social media jobs because I needed the experience and the money.
Some freelancers recommend cold calling, but I never found much success with it because most of the people you contact aren’t looking for marketing help. Out of every 100 people you call maybe 1 or 2 will be interested. Then getting them to hire you and pay you a fair amount is another painful task.
You can always try it and see how it goes.
Like cold calling, cold emails will also have a low conversion rate. But you might prefer doing it as it is less time consuming than cold calling. For best results make sure you write personalized emails to each and every person. You can create a basic template and modify it before emailing people. You must share the link to your website in this email.
Use Sidekick to see which of your emails are being opened and if people are clicking on the links you share. As you go along you can see which subject lines are leading to opens and which messages are getting the most responses.
Inform everyone you know:
Inform your friends and family members that you are offering social media managing services. Tell them to tell their friends as you never know, someone might be looking for help. Word of mouth is probably the most powerful form of marketing.
Now that you know what your role as a social media manager is, the skills you need to acquire, the social media tools you must use and how to find customers you should begin your freelance journey.
Infographic on How to Become a Successful Social Media Manager
Combine these tips with my free bonus on how to acquire quality clients and negotiate lucrative deals and you will be unstoppable. I will also email you a PDF version of this post on how to become a social media manager.
Start off by setting up all the marketing material required to promote yourself and while that is being done learn as much as you can about social media managing and marketing and invest in the right tools. The best way to put your newly learned skills into practice is by promoting your business and your customers’ business with social media itself. So go ahead and look for clients now.
What do you think about the above guide on how to become a successful social media manager? What steps do you take to sharpen your social media marketing skills and to find clients? Please leave your comments below.
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