The job of a social media consultant is more important than ever before. More and more individuals are choosing this marketing career path. There are plenty of great things about this role, and it’s useful in many industries. Consultants work with companies on their platforms, blogs, and channels.
Therefore, these freelancers need business knowledge and good Internet etiquette. While this position can be enjoyable, it isn’t all fun and games. This guide can aid others to decide if this is the path for them. Consulting involves lots of dedication and networking. With all of their social responsibilities, these professionals wear many hats!
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The Perks of Social Media Consulting
One of the top benefits of this job is that it’s often a work-from-home position. This means that consultants can do the job wherever and whenever they want. There is a lot of freedom and flexibility with this position. Being in the freelancing world provide many chances to learn new marketing skills, too. Plus, they will develop personally and professionally. A social media manager can contribute to a wide range of industries, so they have many career opportunities.
Technology, fashion, and travel are just a few examples of possible clients. Moreover, managers get to meet many different clients. They can serve for multiple groups and interact with new individuals every single day. The combination of flexibility and learning opportunities makes this one of the most popular career choices. Of course, this isn’t the whole story. There is plenty of effort involved. A person doesn’t get this kind of job out of nowhere.
Downsides of Working For Yourself
The sound of being one’s own boss is pretty great. Most individuals picture lazy days, operating without pants. There is no boss to answer to, and assignments start and stop on their own schedule. Unfortunately, that’s only half the picture. Working for oneself means handling all of the business operations. These are the employee and the employer, so things can get messy. No one’s going to be there as a reminder. Entrepreneurs must be self-starters with a knack for discipline. Sometimes it’s a learning curve, but the perks can be worth it.
How to Become A Social Media Consultant
This section will describe the necessary toolkit this job requires. There are many steps involved and lots of useful skills. Follow this guide to learn how to make the most of this new job. Take it one step at a time to get everything right.
1. Learn the Right Skills
To become a social media consultant, a person must know their stuff. This means learning everything there is to know about platforms, channels, and tools. The world of social media goes much deeper than Facebook. Consultants should understand advertising, networking, and content creation. They should be able to identify a target audience and research this market. They need to know how businesses use social media. This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, email, and more.
They should be able to recognize brand voice and image. They should be able to run campaigns and ads, as well as sales strategies. It’s easy to see that there are many skills required of managers. The first thing to do is to get a deeper knowledge of these duties. Research anything that seems unfamiliar. Over time, those skills will develop, and more career options will open up. Enjoy the process of learning these new tasks, and practice them often.
2. Sell First to Local Businesses
When they start out, managers take smaller customers and offer them lower rates. This gets them in the door, so they can get practice and more recognition. Look for local businesses that could use a better social media strategy. Offer consulting services and establish a relationship. It will be a growing experience for everyone involved. It can also boost confidence and perfect those skills. Think about some local organizations that could use consulting assistance. Do they need a better online presence? More sales or foot traffic? There are plenty of ways a media manager can aid. Don’t be afraid to offer assistance. It’s more jobs to put on a LinkedIn profile.
3. Define Policies & Rates
One of the toughest parts of working for oneself is deciding on a price. It’s hard to put a rate on a person’s services. However, this is the only way to make money as an entrepreneur. The average hourly rate for consultants is between $20 and $40. Of course, freelancers usually have more than one client. They might want to set some policies or a contract. This will help them file invoices and get paid on time. Also, take into consideration any additional staffing. Some managers might hire an accountant or personal assistant. Remember this when deciding on a rate.
4. Organize a Workplace
Working from home can be great, but not without a decent workplace. Think about what kinds of equipment or accessories are necessary. Maybe a laptop isn’t enough. It’s best to keep labour stuff away from personal things. Mixing work and life can get messy, so balance is important. Set up an area of the house to be the official office. No browsing Twitter or blogs here. If working on the go, have a work satchel that can hold everything. An organized space is a freelancer’s best friend. Imagine if a client saw the work desk. Would they be impressed or disappointed?
5. Freelancing & Establishing A Focus
Working from home is great, but it can get tiresome. A lot of marketing managers have success with freelancing websites. Some examples are Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. This is often how to be a social media consultant with a large following. More clients will notice and operate with the manager. They will give great reviews, and that person will gain a better reputation. It gives them portfolio pieces and samples of their expertise.
Of course, starting out is bumpy. Everyone has to start from the bottom. Try taking smaller jobs with multiple clients. Maybe even do a job for free. This will build momentum and confidence. Then, decide if it’s time to establish a niche. Is there a certain area of focus? Or, is the work more general?
Some consultants have a specialty, such as fitness or product sales. General isn’t better than niche, and vice versa. It is up to the person to decide what they want to do. Maybe they can try working with the general public. They can see which clients they like best. That can then turn into a niche focus. Just remember that each customer requires full attention and dedication. They might even require new skills.
6. Choose Services & Resources
A freelancer makes it their responsibility to market themselves. Self-promotion is an important part of entrepreneurship. Without this skill, no one will know what that person does. A good place to start is deciding what products or services to offer. Maybe they assist companies in developing a social media strategy. There are others who run ad campaigns for businesses. Others create content for personal brands and online influencers. The possibilities are endless.
Consultants should make a decision about what they do and how they show clients their offerings. This is also why they have to set a price or rate. How much are all of these services going to cost? Freelancers can have a personal website to show off their work. The site can include a description of what they do and how much it costs. This is a great way for potential clients to get a better idea of what they do. A professional marketing email is also a good plan.
7. Developing A Strategy
All great businesses start with a strategy. How can they do anything without a mission? Successful social consultants create a vision for their social media career. They think about what they offer, how they do it, and who they do it for. A good place to start is with the questions who, what, where, when, why, and how?
8. Creating Content & Schedules
Consultants use online calendars to plan days, weeks, and months in advance. They also know how to create content on multiple platforms. For example, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Squarespace, email, etc. There are even free resources out there. Social media posts can also include linking to blogs and websites. Managers have to understand the target audience and when they’re likely to go online. This helps them create posting schedules. It also ensures they make stellar content.
9. Find A Tribe
There’s nothing like having a community of encouraging go-getters. This is necessary for freelancers, so they keep their motivation up. Find friends and acquaintances in the field that will challenge each other. Consultants can build a following online to generate buzz about their products and services. It will entice more clients, too.
10. Analyze the Findings
One crucial skill that consultants must have is measuring ROI. They should be able to measure a business’ growth. This lets them know which campaigns work and which have to go. Different channels measure analytics in unique ways. This makes it especially important for managers to learn how to view results. It is very hard to get a job without these capabilities. Spend some time focusing on analysis and market research.
11. The Basics of Graphic Design
What does a social media consultant do that doesn’t involve aesthetics? Nothing. Graphic design is essential in this job. Media managers have to create Instagram posts, blog images, and more. It helps to have a sense of color and space to make designs that pop. This is part of bringing more awareness and sales to a company.
12. Generate Sales With Ads
One of the biggest parts of being a social media marketing consultant is leading ad campaigns. Pay-per-click ads are a great way to generate revenue for businesses. Advertisements can bring more sales growth and success. Managers must understand how these work so they can bring more leads and prominence to clients.
13. Online Authenticity
There’s nothing worse than hiring someone who is full of false promises. Never lie on a resume or portfolio. Consultants should be upfront about what they can and can’t offer. Play up strengths and explain how they’ll help the client. Maintain a true profile online and don’t share inappropriate content. The community will look at a manager’s social media page to see if they know what they’re talking about. They should be impressed, not disgusted.
14. Top Social Media Consultant Pitfalls
Let other people’s mistakes be a lesson. Of course, it’s impossible to avoid failure. Still, being wise and learning from others can help. There are some common errors that social media managers make. First, they tend to sell themselves short. This is bad because they have many skills and talents. They should charge more for their services. Too many individuals don’t understand what they’re worth.
Secondly, lots of consultants fail to get a written contract. It’s easy to take someone’s word, but there needs to be documentation. If someone is unwilling to sign a contract, that’s a red flag. So many freelancers lose valuable time and money because they don’t get an agreement in writing.
This leads to the third mistake. Effective communication is a must-have for contractors. They should always stay up to date with their customer. Explain any problems or confusion right away to avoid more issues. Job seekers need to be specific in their applications about what they do and how they work. Don’t leave any room for error or misunderstanding. Sometimes people don’t clarify their area of focus, which leads to arguments and disappointment. Communication really is key. This includes clear texts, emails, phone calls, and contracts.
15. Hire People to Help
No one can do it all by themselves. It is okay to hire another person or an entire team to help out. Remember, social media managers wear many hats. They don’t have to put all of that on their shoulders though. If finances aren’t a strong suit, hire an accountant. This will definitely come in handy for tax season. Maybe there is someone who would be better at lead ad generation. Be on the lookout for other freelancers who might want to team up. As they say, teamwork makes the dream team.
As a one-person company grows, it needs to expand. That means hiring more staff to join in. This is actually a great sign that business is booming. Think of it as a benchmark of success. Just keep in mind that these persons should know their stuff. There isn’t much time for training. Also, they’ll probably get an hourly rate.
16. Need Extra Funds?
With more business growth comes greater expenses. There might be added costs for travel, staff, and better equipment. It’s awesome to expand a company, but the finances are stressful. There are loan options for start-ups. Check out Lending Club to see some borrower choices. Prosper is another website that might be able to foot the bill for a time. Think of it as an investment in achieving the next big milestone.
Considerations For This Career Path
Here are a few quick things to think about when it comes to this job. These will provide a better idea of what’s involved and how it impacts businesses.
1. What’s the Reason For Changing A Social Media Strategy?
Consulting aims to solve these riddles. Companies bring in a contractor to assist with strategies for different reasons. Maybe they need to get more sales. Or, perhaps they want to build an online following. It could be that they want to start advertising on Facebook, but they don’t know how. A social media manager is the perfect person to steer them on the right path. Those who aren’t interested in pursuing this type of project won’t enjoy this career.
2. Is There Enough Money to Put Into Consulting?
Any business that wants to delve into social media will face this question. The team needs to decide how much they can afford for consulting services. This is where contractors need to be careful. They don’t want to sell themselves cheap, but they want to be available to clients. Realize that brands are setting money aside for social media advice. This means that they deserve dedication, attention, and professionalism. The efforts of the contractor become a primary part of the corporation.
3. What Areas Need Social Media Consulting the Most?
Each company will have its strengths and weaknesses. A proper consultant should be able to find the strong and weak points. They are the authority on this topic, and the team is depending on them. A manager should point out where the strategy can improve and how it will help the enterprise. Some common problem areas are content creation, scheduling, and analytics. Be sure to give the customer a thorough explanation of each issue.
These three questions can bring contractors closer to their customers. Then, they’ll have an easier time pinpointing problems and offering solutions. Communication is always key!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Become A Highly-Paid Consultant?
Know where to start. Everyone has something that they’re stronger in. Maybe it’s an eye for images and graphic design. Or, perhaps it’s solid analytical skills. The highest-paid managers know where they shine. They use their expertise to provide professional quality services to others. It’s okay to start small, too. Begin with one or two customers and work up from there. Some individuals start by creating ads or social media posts. Over time, their abilities develop and they can offer more. As this happens, they start charging more for their services. They can ask for more money because they provide much more value.
Do You Need A Degree To Be A Social Media Manager?
Most of the time, a person needs a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Someone might not have a degree, but their experience could be astounding. Therefore, a combination of education, experience, and skills will prove most useful. The best degree programs for this type of job are journalism, communications, marketing, and management. This doesn’t mean that people with different certifications can’t have this career. Keep in mind that education isn’t everything. An individual needs to show what they’ve actually done to make a difference. How do they provide value to others?
What Skills Do You Need To Be A Social Media Manager?
Besides formal education, there are certain abilities that come in handy – for instance, excellent writing chops as well as an eye for design and media. Strategic planning and development are crucial. Leadership and community management makes a big impact. SEO, optimization, and research are necessary for this job. Consulting requires a business mindset mixed with creativity. A person in this field should have wonderful communication as well as self-motivation. A combination of these skills makes for a prime candidate in the social media market. People learn these things online, in school, and by reading blogs, articles, and books.
Useful Social Media Consultant Checklist:
- Get A Business License.
- Obtain Insurance.
- Develop A Strategy Plan.
- Draft A Proposal/Contract.
- Buy Accounting Software.
- Find Project Management Apps.
- Decide On Service Offerings.
- Target A Client Base.
- Make A Pricing Plan.
- Build A Sales Funnel.
- Create A Professional Website/Portfolio.
- Work on A Social Media Presence.
- Network With Professionals.
- Attend Industry Conferences.
- Research Trends.
- Keep Expanding.
Key Takeaways for Those Starting Out
This comprehensive guide will assist others in finding out if they have what it takes to do this job. There is a lot to think about, but these lists can make the process smoother. The important thing is to take each step as it comes. Don’t try to do everything all at once because it only leads to disaster. Each successful professional started small and built up their brand from there. The best advice is to enjoy the journey and never stop learning.
Where are you in the process of developing a social media strategy? Let us know about your goals, challenges, and ideas in the comments.