Diana Kelly Levey

How to Get Started as a Freelance Social Media Manager

Person typing on a laptop.

December 29, 2022

Have you ever considered becoming a freelance social media manager? If you love consuming and posting on social media, crafting clever copy, and want to help brands grow their audiences and reach, now is a great time to take on a freelance social media manager role. (Yes, you can work for a few brands and companies at once!)

Working as a social media manager is an excellent and gratifying career move. You have control over your schedule, choose which clients you want to work with, and make a difference for companies worldwide. (BTW, these tips will help you become your own social media manager.)

Who wouldn’t want that?

If you want to start a career as a freelance social media manager, here’s what you need to know.

What Do Freelance Social Media Managers Do?

Before we can get started, we will first discuss what a social media manager does. These people create campaigns on social media platforms that will help their clients achieve results. This campaign can either be visual, text, or with mixed elements. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Marketing Services)

Social media managers work to produce content for the companies that they work with regularly.

The typical duties of a freelance social media manager include:

  • Planning or scheduling content across various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn
  • Responding to comments, messages, and other interactions on social networks
  • Posting content that is relevant to the company’s brand and addresses their audience’s interests
  • Managing external communications (think of when you post on social and tag a brand’s social media handle with a complaint–yes, they are in charge of handling that!)
  • Analyzing, tracking, and reporting a campaign’s performance to the client
  • Growing social media networks by posting on social platforms daily
  • Generating quality leads
  • Enhancing a business’ visibility
  • Monitoring trends and conversations in order to identify opportunities for marketing campaigns or new content ideas
  • Incorporating trends into their social media strategy

How to Become a Freelance Social Media Manager

Here are steps to follow if you’re thinking about starting a freelance career as a social media manager.

1. Learn Online Marketing Fundamentals

Remember: Social media is included in most companies’ overall online marketing campaigns. Therefore, a company has to put in the effort to gain online visibility and enhance its leads.

If you don’t have a degree in marketing or come from a marketing background, you might have to start from scratch and learn the basics. A communications degree or something similar might be an asset when you’re doing this type of freelance writing.

You need to learn the fundamentals of online marketing. It also helps that you seek appropriate training to become the best in what you do. Learn how you can use different social platforms effectively and how they can complement your entire digital marketing efforts. There are plenty of free online courses you can take through platforms like HubSpot and LinkedIn in order to learn more social media manager skills.

It’s also imperative that you’re comfortable using a variety of social media platforms and are knowledgeable about how they work. (Yes, mastering TikTok is a unique skill that you can offer freelance clients!)

When you’re pitching a potential client your freelance social media marketing services, it’s important to educate them on what social media marketing can do for their business. A freelance social media manager needs to be able to communicate to the client how their services–and budget–will positively impact their business. (To kick start your own freelance writing business, sign up for my “Get Paid to Write” course for beginners.)

2. Master Some Online Marketing Skills

At first glance, becoming a freelance social media manager might seem like an easy job. However, that’s not entirely true. There are a specific set of skills that social media managers need to master. (This freelancer FAQ also busts myths about required skills for writers.)

These include:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Data analysis skills. A/B testing allows social media managers to optimize posts, especially now that marketing has become more data-driven.
  • Understanding social media data. You’ll need to be able to look at weekly and monthly analytics and communicate what worked, what didn’t and how you’ll apply those learnings to future posts for your clients. They might want you to pull data each month and translate it into simple learnings that everyone at the company can understand.
  • Flexing creative muscles. This allows your client to stand out from the rest of the competition. Social media platforms give you plenty of room to experiment. The key to success is trying out different posts and understanding what sticks and what doesn’t.
  • Graphic design skills can also be handy if you’re planning to publish compelling and engaging posts. Creating attractive images and graphics via Canva and Photoshop gives you a competitive edge over your competitors.
  • Knowing how to write social media ads, how to work within the parameters and limits established for ads on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more. When you’re spending money on social media ads as a freelance social media manager, clients will want to know how the ads are performing and if they are converting audiences into customers.
  • Creating a brand kit of certain colors, fonts, images files, and types of posts that speak to the clients’ audience base will go a long way when you’re planning out your social media content.
  • Providing exceptional customer service is also crucial. Drawing in more customers is the number one reason most businesses have social media accounts.
  • Be willing to take risks with different types of content, videos, music, graphics, illustrations and more if the client allows it. Experimenting with new social posts can be very informative.

(Looking to bring in more money as a freelancer this year? Get a freelance marketing PDF that shows you exactly what to do each month in order to bring in more clients.)

3. Build Your Social Media Presence

Creating your online profile is one of the best ways you can look for new clients.

When you build a solid social media presence online, you can use it to show off your social media skills and prowess to prospective clients.

Ideally, it would help to create an online profile that lists all the social media marketing services you offer. This includes social media management (SMM) strategy development, social media audit, social media management, and more. Put these skills in your bios on Twitter, Instagram, your Facebook page, on your. LinkedIn profile, and on your website.

Use your social media profiles to experiment with some tactics you learned doing freelance social media manager work for other clients. That way, you would know what strategies you would recommend to your clients.

Freelancers, building a social media presence should be on your monthly freelance marketing strategy.

4. Choose Which Social Media. Platforms to Master

This brings us to our next point – picking which social media platforms to use and master. As a freelance social media manager, you should be proficient in using a particular social media platform.

If you learn to use a couple of them, you’ll attract more companies searching for someone with your skills, whether that’s Instagram, TikTok, Facebook marketing skills, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or another. freelance platform.

Note that every platform is different from others. Start by mastering the platform you like the most, knowing everything about it, and don’t forget to practice your skills. Keep track of what’s working on each platform on your accounts so you can try those tactics out on freelance clients’ social media platforms.

The more you demonstrate your expertise on a particular platform, the more clients will want to work with you. They will be compelled to hire you as their social media manager because they believe that you know what you are talking about.

5. Create a Website

Your website serves as your resume. Use that platform to show who you are as a person so others will trust you to manage their social media. The most attractive candidates out there are the ones that are trustworthy and reliable.

Your website is a great place to show some examples of your work for other freelance clients, as well as quotes of recommendations from some of your clients. Make sure you have a professional photo and an easy way to contact you through your website.

Also, make sure that you place the links of all the social media profiles you manage on your site so potential clients can see who you’ve worked with. (Wait, how much does it cost to hire a web developer?)

This is a good reminder that you should always be checking your inboxes and DMs and comments on your social media platforms in case a potential freelance social media client reaches out there.

6. Pitch Relevant Prospects

The next step is to research the companies you want to work with and create a strong pitch on how you’d like to help. (Check out these article pitch examples to land a freelance writing gig.)

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can pitch yourself to new clients:

  • Identify the brands that you want to work with on Google, social media, etc.
  • Search for a brand or company’s contact details, and list them out in a spreadsheet.
  • Come up with a pitch that details who you are, what type of services you offer, and how you can provide value to the client.
  • Personalize it with your client’s name, send it over via email or any other channel you contact.
  • If you don’t receive a reply, follow up in a week or two.

7. Plan Your Content Strategy

Planning is vital to keep things in order. This frees up your valuable time as well. Keeping a weekly (or monthly) content calendar takes off the pressure of planning up to the very last minute with your content.

Crafting a content calendar will guide you through this process. Also, using free tools like Google Spreadsheet can help. It’s how I plan out my blog content and the LinkedIn posts and article I plan to publish in the future. Get LinkedIn tips for freelance writers to help you grow your following and attract clients.

To become an effective freelance social media manager, you need to develop the skills you will need in order to deliver results for your clients. This includes knowing the ins and outs of social media marketing and how to maximize each platform for business growth.

You should also be well-versed in running various social media marketing campaigns to achieve the best results.

You should also be aware of the top key performance indicators (KPIs) that you need to track:

  • Engagement
  • Social shares
  • Conversion
  • Follower growth
  • Referral traffic, and more.

(If you’re looking to hire a content strategist for your company, contact Diana Kelly Levey here.)

How Much Do Social Media Marketing Jobs Pay?

According to Zip Recruiter, the average hourly pay for freelance social media marketing jobs is about $23 an hour, but that might be for an entry-level role. Annual salaries for a freelance social media manager can go as high as $100,000. (Related: How Can Freelancers Make Six Figures a Year?)

It’s also worth noting that freelance social media managers have salaries ranging from $35,000 to $75,000. Rates may vary, with plenty of opportunities for advancement. There’s also an increase in pay depending on one’s skill level, location, and experience.

To become an effective freelance social media manager, you need to develop the necessary skills. This includes knowing the ins and outs of social media marketing and how to maximize it for business growth.

You would also want to know how to run various social media marketing campaigns to achieve the best results.

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Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.