Do you want to become a freelance community manager or social media manager? You are right, because it is a job in which you never get bored, and what a pleasure to be your own boss! But you don’t really know what the job, especially freelancing, involves?
Of course, this cannot be improvised. I can attest to that because it has been my job for over 7 years. I am a social media manager, consultant and trainer for all kinds of businesses, from the smallest to the largest. Each project is unique and I can tell you that I’m really having fun! I reveal in this article the 9 steps that will allow you to become a top freelance social media manager.
1 – Calculate the feasibility of your project
First, ask yourself the basic questions:
- What financial goals / annual turnover, when do you want to get paid?
- What status (self-employed, self-employed, company)?
- How will you live the first months?
- What are your current resources?
- What are your needs (rent, loans, children…)?
These questions will already determine the feasibility of your project.
Then, your own strategy must be foolproof to be able to convince your future customers. Before you start, survey the market, follow influencers, and think about the market you want to offer your services to. The more precise you are in defining your target customers, the more your speech will be adapted to them.
2 – Create your website
You don’t need a website with 50 pages to start promoting your services, but at least you need a web page. On this page, you can simply introduce yourself, detail your services in a clear and simple way and include your contact information. You will direct interested people there if they want more details on your services. With simple and inexpensive tools, you can have your site in just a few hours.
If you want to go further, you can create a blog, detail your services, add more, work on your SEO, etc. But to start, one page is enough.
Once you have your site URL, it’s time to promote it! Add your site address to all of your web presences. This includes your profiles on social networks, a mailing to your contact list and signing your emails.
3 – Set your rates
In most cases, freelance community managers or social media managers offer their services in the form of a pack including specific tasks. For each of the packs, the freelancer will determine the number of hours allocated to his assignments, without giving the hourly rate to his client. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. They would prefer to hear “For so many € per month, I post x times a week around themes X and Y” rather than “I charge x € per hour and I would work x hour per month on your project”. For what result?
You can start with 3 service packs. The first at a fairly low price which covers the basics of a professional presence on 1 social network, the second where you add some services and the third, the most expensive, of the “Premium” service type.
For example (the prices here are indicative and are only used for the purposes of the example):
- pack 1 for a price of € 270 excluding tax for 4 Facebook publications per month (represents 3 hours of work);
- pack 2 for € 450 monthly excluding tax for daily Facebook updates (represents 5 hours of work);
- pack 3, € 1,000 excl. tax for daily updates on Facebook and Twitter, customer service and advertising management. This pack represents 10 hours of work at a higher hourly rate, because it includes the management of social ads.
The hourly rate here is € 90 and € 100 (for pub management), but the customer will not know.
(If you are starting / have the project to become a social media manager or community freelance manager or if the subject simply interests you, I have set up a questionnaire simple to know you better. It only takes 2 minutes!)
Hourly rates can vary from € 50 to more than € 200 per hour. Rates will be determined by the skill level required for the tasks you offer as well as your experience. Services like ads on social media justify a higher rate due to the necessary advanced freelance training. Also, a freelancer who can justify several years of services with clients with high demands may set a higher hourly rate.
4 – First develop your own community
The profession of social media manager has, in my opinion, the particularity of being a profession which can be mastered without the need for an “official” diploma. This does not mean that there is nothing to learn, on the contrary. For me, the best way to get started is to learn the trade – by doing – by getting your hands dirty. To do this, first work on your own social media presence. It’s the principle of proving your knowledge through action, because very few people will hire you without having tangible proof of your community management skills.
The more you will experiment on your own profiles on social networks and learn with specialized blogs and online training, the more you will understand the ecosystem and feel the trends. You will know for each social network what works and what does not work. You will know the tools to use, the right publication timing, the right frequency, the type of content that works with your communities, etc. You will have the good knowledge to work in an agile way, modify certain parameters of your strategy and optimize the presence of your customers on social networks.
So, start by highlighting your services on the main social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Two or three are enough at first. It is not necessary to be present on all social networks, because you will have to have an active presence worthy of an effective community manager on each of them. Not only will it be as much media to publicize your activity, but in addition, you will learn and experiment the techniques and tips for your future missions as a freelance.
5 – Find customers
So, you learned to create and animate your own social platforms and you loved it. You are now ready to make money as a freelance social media manager. But where to find your first customers?
For beginners, register on freelance platforms
There are a few sites that offer to link freelancers and companies for missions. It’s a good start to make references, but you have to keep in mind that prices will tend to pull down. The fact remains that this can allow you to find your first missions which will become your first references.
Here are some of them:
Promote your online and offline business
Almost all meetings, afterworks and conferences offer networking sessions. So many opportunities to meet interesting people, future clients or influencers, whether in the trade or in the industry in which you want to specialize.
Being competent in social media is an obligation for a social media manager, OK but it is not enough. Knowing how to sell your skills is absolutely necessary! Being a good salesperson will allow you to sign with new customers. In a few lines or sentences, you must make prospects want to work with you. Be subtle and don’t spam, it will scare away your potential customers. On the contrary, start online or IRL conversations, write an email, be personal, find out about the company you are working on.
Activate your network
When you are looking for new assignments, the first thing to do is to let your colleagues, acquaintances, friends and clients know. You might as well call on those who already know your work. You never know who can introduce you to someone who knows someone who has community management needs. Present it as follows: “I have room for x new social media clients, do you know someone who would have these needs?”. And you will certainly have prospecting leads.
Write guest blogging articles
List the most popular sites in the niche you have chosen and offer to write an article for them. This is very rarely refused, because it is a win-win offer: you create quality content for them and you make yourself known to their community. At the end of the article or in the section reserved for authors, briefly explain what you are doing and put the link on your site.
6 – Manage your schedule like a minister
Once you’ve found your first customers, you’re going to need an agenda set to the minute. Without this, the tasks that you will have to accomplish for your customers and to develop your business can quickly become invasive. And there, say goodbye to your evenings and weekends …
For example, I organize myself as such. Once I have implemented my clients’ strategies, I create the corresponding editorial calendars. I program everything using my programming and monitoring tool so that I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week. Friday afternoon, I prepare for the following week. I write down all the tasks to do for my clients, the communication actions and the administrative tasks for my own activity.
Every morning, I check the publication statistics, answer questions and comments, manage spam and trolls, if there are any. I also take 5 minutes in the evening to start this task again. I am especially not on social networks all day. I would waste too much time!
7 – Use the essential tools for freelance community managers
There are great tools that allow you to program for multiple pages and multiple clients in one place. These will save you a lot of time and most provide advanced moderation reports and tools. There are several like Hootsuite and Buffer, but my favorite is AgoraPulse. This tool, specially created for the professional social media manager, is very user friendly and complete. It allows you to follow conversations on different social networks, to plan and make detailed reports (and in addition, it was created by a French team. Cocorico!).
There are thousands of tools out there that will make your freelance social media manager job much easier and more efficient. Test them! Most of them offer free trial periods.
8 – Keep your eyes on your numbers
Numbers and statistics are essential in the business. Besides, I think it’s impossible to succeed without that. You can’t know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t follow your stats and you don’t know where you started, right?
Your mission as a freelance social media manager is to deliver results for your clients. You are therefore required to provide them with statistical reports. They will justify your work on the one hand and allow you to orient your strategies on the other hand. Most monitoring tools offer reports, but you can also track your metrics on standard Excel files.
9 – Be an eternal student
Follow social media news
A successful social media manager is someone who is constantly on the lookout for the latest techniques, news, trends. This is one of the reasons why I love working on the web and social media. I love to learn and be curious about everything. Every day, there is something new: a new tool, a new functionality, a new technique, a new platform… The will and the capacity to keep up with this rhythm will also determine the success of your activity as social media. manager. If you do that, you’re going to be a step ahead of everyone else!
Get information from Facebook groups and read expert articles on a daily basis. Here are some reference websites and blogs on which you can follow the latest news in the field of community management:
As you noticed, there are a few blogs for social media monitoring tools in this list. Their articles are very interesting and, what I really appreciate, is that they are always at the forefront of current affairs in the field of social media.
Learn Social Advertising Techniques
You’ve heard of the decline in natural reach, haven’t you? Ads are one of the solutions to counter this trend. On the other hand, it is necessary to control the advertisements to have good results and not to spend too much! Most companies do not master this tool (another service to offer to your customers! 😉 Try, test, learn!
Learn the basics of natural referencing (SEO, SMO)
On social networks too, you have to know how to use keywords wisely. Pinterest, for example, has become a search engine in its own right, but do you know how to optimize pins so that they are found by as many people as possible? Knowing about SMO (social media optimization) will allow you to offer your customers effective services.
9 – Invest in your social media skills
When I started and still today, I selected high quality online courses to be on top of social media skills. It is not a cost, but a real investment that allows me to stay on top in my field. Another advantage and not least, it allows me to save a lot of time in the learning curve. And time is money!
These were the 9 essential steps to become an effective freelance community manager or social media manager. Leave us your comments and questions under the article!
And if you have arrived so far, I am sure that this short questionnaire will interest you! Take 2 minutes to answer this questionnaire. Thank you ! 🙂