Because the expectations have grown for companies to have a stable social media presence, so has the demand for social media consultants.
Do you will have a ardour for digital communication, a eager understanding of social media platforms, and a need to assist others get probably the most out of their on-line advertising and marketing technique? Then changing into a social media guide could be the right avenue for you.
However what does it take to turn out to be a profitable social media advertising and marketing guide? Apart from a ardour for the craft, you’ll want some expertise. Upon getting that, it’s simple to get began. Beneath, we’ll clarify the 5 key steps to changing into a social media guide.
Social media consultants provide social media expertise to businesses and clients. Consultants offer advice and recommendations to help clients build and execute their social media strategies.
Social media consulting work is flexible and can be done anywhere with a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Consultants may work full-time with one client on a project, juggle many clients and contracts at a time, or do it as a side hustle on top of a full-time job.
Social media consultants may offer a variety of services to businesses, including:
- Creating evergreen social media strategies
- Helping launch a new social media channel
- Conducting social media research
- Doing social media audits
- Setting up social listening dashboards
- Planning social media campaigns
- Providing comprehensive analytics reports
- Facilitating social media training sessions and workshops
The keyword in many of the points above is “strategy.” Social media consultants are usually more experienced and senior in their careers than freelance social media managers. Consultants additionally are inclined to work extra on technique somewhat than execution and content material creation.
An instance of the providers provided by Josh Klemons, a social media guide based mostly in Wisconsin, USA.
Whereas the flexibleness and freedom of being a social media guide can appear very engaging, it is probably not a match for everybody.
First, there are a bunch of consulting-specific abilities required on prime of social media management skills:
- Content material creation. Though consultants might not should create content material for shoppers, they need to nonetheless have abilities in design and copywriting. You’ll want to have the ability to edit posts for shoppers and create mockups for instance your proposals.
- Public talking and gross sales. Pitching is a vital step in securing new shoppers. You have to be comfy promoting your self and your providers, usually in entrance of executives. When you land the shopper, you’ll usually current proposals to them as a part of your consulting work.
- Venture administration. As a enterprise proprietor and crew of 1, you’re accountable for all the things. That features managing invoices, monitoring bills, submitting taxes, speaking with shoppers, and arranging contracts. And that is all on prime of precise social media consulting work.
- Consumer relationship administration. “One factor I do: Reply to emails rapidly. Doing this has set me other than so many others within the area. Potential shoppers usually say they reached out to a number of folks, and I used to be the one one to reply” – Josh Klemons
- Superior analytics & reporting. Shoppers can do day-to-day reporting, however they usually depend on consultants for extra superior, in-depth analyses and studies. For instance, social intelligence guide Ben K. Ellis makes a speciality of social intelligence: “I ship analysis and knowledge tales to reply something from ‘what are the most recent tendencies in our sector and the way can we leverage them?’ to ‘what are the whitespace alternatives we might use and to enhance our product positioning?’”
Listed below are among the execs, as shared by social media consultants themselves:
“Flexibility. A lot of the work could be achieved remotely and within the hours that swimsuit you greatest. For instance, in the event you do your greatest work after 9 pm, that’s high quality so long as you produce & ship high-quality content material on time!” – Shelly Terry, founding father of Sheldon Social
“The number of work! Each day is completely different. I get to make use of varied abilities, platforms are continually altering, and I get to work with folks throughout many industries. I’m all the time studying, honing my present abilities, and gaining new ones.” – Sara Hodge, social & digital guide
And among the downsides:
“The unending gross sales course of. Though I had a secure shopper base, this didn’t imply the work was fixed. To get new shoppers or upsell the previous ones, it’s important to be continually pitching.” – Mark Valasik, CMO at Kontentino
“Since social media is open 24/7, you must be ready to work at unsociable hours.” – Justine Maher, advertising and marketing strategist
“It may be onerous to take time to disconnect and keep offline when you must.” – Jennifer Kolbuc
Nonetheless enthusiastic about changing into a social media guide? Maintain studying to seek out out the 5 steps to get there.
Earlier than you’ll be able to construct a viable enterprise as a social media guide, you’ll want some expertise. Meaning doing social media advertising and marketing for shoppers or firms, not simply your pet’s Instagram account. Expertise will provide you with the boldness to reply any shopper’s wants and worth your providers accordingly.
In case you don’t have expertise but, don’t have any concern. Take a look at our information to getting started as a social media manager first.
We’ve already coated the basic abilities and data required to be a wonderful social media guide. In case you reviewed the checklist and located any gaps, now’s the time to brush up and fill them. One factor that will enable you construct your authority is to get licensed, corresponding to via Hootsuite Academy.
Subsequent, it’s best to determine a technique to keep up-to-date on social media trends and updates. In case you’re transitioning from working as a social media supervisor to being a guide, you’ll spend much less time within the day-to-day work noticing tendencies and what’s working. So, it’s best to discover different methods to remain educated in regards to the social media business. The Hootsuite blog is an efficient place to begin!
Lastly, it’s best to construct your toolkit as a social media guide. Typically, shoppers will ask you for suggestions on what instruments to make use of. You need to be conversant in the principle classes of social media instruments, together with scheduling, analytics, listening, and engagement instruments. You must also know your most popular instruments to work with. Here’s a complete list of social media marketing tools to get you began.
Earlier than pitching your self to potential shoppers, you’ll want a portfolio to showcase your previous work and abilities.
In case you’ve solely labored in full-time company positions, you need to use examples from these roles. Simply make sure you concentrate on the outcomes you instantly contributed to.
The format doesn’t matter for many shoppers, so long as the content material makes them assured in your experience. Listed below are some concepts to get you began:
- Share your LinkedIn profile. Ideally, this could have endorsements and hyperlinks to work samples below every place.
- Create a PDF portfolio. If design isn’t your robust swimsuit, we advocate utilizing Canva.
- Share a Google Drive folder or construct a web site with previous technique decks and work samples.
Tip: Create a grasp model of your portfolio containing all of your work examples and case research. Then, tailor it for every new shopper pitch by eradicating any examples irrelevant to their business or enterprise mannequin.
A snapshot of Jennifer Kolbuc’s social media consulting portfolio
Among the best and worst elements of being a social media guide is that you’ve full management over pricing your providers. On the one hand, setting your charges could be one of the difficult psychological elements of being a guide. Then again, nobody is limiting how a lot you’ll be able to earn (in contrast to a day job).
Earlier than discovering shoppers, it’s best to have your charges in thoughts. We’ll share some benchmarks and extra detailed steerage on figuring out them under.
Now that you just’ve constructed your skillset, toolkit, portfolio, and price card, it’s time for probably the most essential step: discovering shoppers.
I received’t sugarcoat it — touchdown shoppers and consulting alternatives is grueling. And sadly, it’s a course of that by no means ends when you turn out to be a guide.
Listed below are suggestions and sources which have labored for me, in addition to recommendation from different consultants:
- Fb & Slack teams. Many Slack and Fb teams have channels or tags for “jobs” the place members can put up consulting alternatives. I’ve discovered nearly all my consulting gigs via a lot of these teams.
- Phrase of mouth & referrals. “85% of the shoppers I work with come from earlier company relationships or referrals.” – Christoph Schachner, social media guide
- Private branding. “At all times put your self on the market for podcasts, workshops, and occasions.” – Jennifer Kolbuc. “Most of my shoppers discovered me via my on-line writing or talking at conferences.” – Ben Ok. Ellis
- Mentorship. “A lot of my shoppers come from mentoring on platforms like Growthmentor.” – Christoph Schachner
- Viewers-building. “Construct an electronic mail checklist! I’ve spent two years working onerous to construct an electronic mail checklist that usually brings in gross sales and new shoppers.” – Jennifer Kolbuc
Deciding what to cost is without doubt one of the most difficult points of being a social media guide.
Not solely is it tough to know what it’s best to cost, but additionally to know what shoppers are keen to pay, what different consultants are charging, and what worth you’re giving to shoppers.
Take a deep breath — we’re right here to assist. First, let’s begin with the completely different ways in which consultants can cost:
- Hourly. Guide tracks their hours and payments the shopper based mostly on complete hours multiplied by their hourly price. Finest if a shopper’s wants are unpredictable or the scope of labor is unknown. Nevertheless, this may require extra admin work for the guide (time monitoring, invoicing).
- Retainer (month-to-month). Guide quotes a hard and fast month-to-month price to cowl all work required by the shopper every month. Finest for long-term tasks or shoppers that want the identical help on a recurring foundation.
- Venture-based. Guide expenses a hard and fast one-time payment. Finest for tasks which have a transparent set of duties and a particular begin and finish date.
We surveyed ten consultants to determine benchmarks for freelance social media guide charges in 2023. The charges ranged from $30 to $200 per hour, various based mostly on the guide (years of expertise, related experience), the shopper (measurement of the corporate, finances), and work scope (size of undertaking, variety of providers required, hours required).
With that mentioned, many consultants don’t cost by the hour — most favor month-to-month retainers or mounted project-based charges.
Ben K. Ellis shared this instance: “In case you present benchmarking studies, contemplate the variety of hours it usually takes you to provide these studies and the talent set and instruments wanted. Then, choose a worth level that honors the worth the undertaking supplies to your shopper’s enterprise.”
Keep in mind that as a freelancer, your price must cowl your overhead prices (enterprise registration, taxes, provides & bills, laptop computer, software program & device subscriptions, and so forth.), and the shortage of stability of a everlasting contract and advantages.
Tip: When you set your charges, they shouldn’t keep the identical over time. Jennifer Kolbuc explains: “With my first shoppers, I used to be very inexpensive (undercharging) in order that I might construct up a shopper checklist. Now that I’ve 15+ years of expertise, I cost extra.”
Ben Ok. Ellis recommends that you just discover a group of fellow consultants.
“Transferring from a job with colleagues to a consulting position is usually a lonely expertise. I’ve discovered a group on wonderful platforms like The Dots, Social Intelligence Lab, and Contra, partaking with and studying from different consultants and sharing suggestions, answering questions, and serving to one another.”
“Developments come and go, however technique works for much longer. Don’t promote your shoppers on ‘extra followers.’ Promote them on the long-term imaginative and prescient of constructing a group. Social media isn’t about short-term success, it’s about constructing one thing that can profit your enterprise long-term.” – Jennifer Kolbuc
Christoph Schachner’s greatest tip is to concentrate on bottom-line outcomes, not followers or engagement metrics.
“You’ll want to outline the way you add worth to the enterprise. Not all the things is 100% traceable or can have a direct affect. However utilizing a mix of self-reported attribution, qualitative metrics, and correlated income will earn you belief and shoppers.”
Shelly Terry emphasizes the worth of experimentation.
“You must all the time be testing, theorizing what techniques will ship the technique you’re engaged on, and repeating what works till it doesn’t! All the pieces continually adjustments within the social panorama, and we have to be adaptive.”
“EVERYTHING must be in a contract. Your scope of labor, a buffer for out-of-scope work you’re keen so as to add without cost, and your hourly price for additional work past that. Doing this may enable you to barter work you haven’t agreed on or increase costs.” – Mark Valasik
Social media consultants present companies with recommendation and steerage to assist them construct and execute their social media technique.
Social media consultants can cost a variety based mostly on varied components, corresponding to their expertise, the scope of the work, the dimensions of the shopper, the undertaking’s size, and extra. They might cost by the hour, a month-to-month retainer, or a hard and fast payment for the entire undertaking.
Being social media guide comes right down to placing your shopper first. You must all the time contemplate their enterprise priorities when offering suggestions and concentrate on serving to them obtain their enterprise targets via social media.
The primary distinction is seniority. Consultants are extra skilled, specialised and infrequently cost larger charges than social media freelancers. Each roles present recommendation and providers to assist companies obtain their targets via social media.
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