Working from home or while travelling is the ultimate dream for many people, including myself. One such job that allows you to do this and work on your own schedule is by being a freelance social media manager.
Social media is one of the top ways that businesses, bloggers, and YouTubers can connect with their audience, and believe it or not, many of these business owners don’t have the time or energy to focus on their social media.
That’s where a freelance social media manager comes in!
For a long time, I was wondering exactly how to become a freelance social media manager, but after graduating from university a few months ago, I decided to finally take the leap and learn more about this high-paying online job.
Over the past few months, I’ve managed to make a few thousand dollars just by being a freelance social media manager.
Here’s my expert advice and information on how to make money as a freelance social media manager!
Table of Contents
What is A Social Media Manager?
Since I started in this line of work, I’m consistently asked: “what is a social media manager?” Well, it’s quite simple!
A freelance social media manager helps to craft content, write captions, gain followers, and ultimately manage a variety of social media accounts.
Some freelance social media managers will focus more specifically in a specific niche, such as working with only travel bloggers or sports businesses, while others are more general.
Another way to be in a specific niche is to manage only a certain social media account — such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Social media managers also sometimes delve into other areas of work in order to curate content for the accounts they manage. For example, I’ve helped to create short videos, proofread posts, taken photos, created graphics, and more for some of the clients that I’ve worked with.
How To Become a Social Media Manager
Unlike a lot of jobs today, you do not need a degree to be a social media manager. Though I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Arts and Graphic Design, I have never once been asked by a client if I have a degree.
A lot of the tools you need to become a freelance social media manager can quickly be learned online through platforms like Skillshare or YouTube.
There are also a lot of different courses created by successful social media managers that you can take to make sure that you have all the pieces necessary to start your business.
Though I studied communications and took a few courses on social media while at university, I still felt that it was worth it to invest $50 into an online course by Latasha James to make sure that I had all the right ideas about what is needed for working with clients.
For instance, you need to have an onboarding process, a way to get passwords, a contract, a method for your client to pay you, and also a social media scheduling tool so that you don’t have to post every day manually.
There are a wide variety of platforms that freelance social media managers can be in charge of. Most will choose to be a general manager, meaning that they can help out with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
However, if you want to be seen as a specialist (which also allows you to charge a lot more money because you’d be a potential expert in your field) then consider focusing on only one platform.
Choose the platform that you know best and that you’ve seen the most success with and sell your services with that knowledge in mind.
To break it down, here are easy, actionable steps on how to become a social media manager:
- Take an online course or watch a free video on what social media managers do and how they do it.
- Create your website with a portfolio showcasing past success on social media. This could even be for your own blog. The website doesn’t have to be fancy. Start your website using this link and receive a free course on how to set it up the right way.
- Plan out your packaged services and your rates. Are there specific platforms or niches that you’ll be focusing on? Have a look at those in your industry and see what the going rate is.
- Come up with a client onboarding process. Consider how you will receive passwords and set boundaries with a client such as the hours you’ll be available for them to reach out to you.
What Is The Job Description?
Honestly, the job description of a social media manager can vary depending on your skillset, and the needs of your client. However, there are some things in general that most freelance social media managers do for their client’s accounts.
The primary purpose of a social media manager is to represent a brand utilizing the brand’s voice and colour scheme across social media channels to connect with a potential audience, boost sales, and increase overall reach.
Of course, the overall goals for each client’s account might be different.
A freelance social media manager is also in charge of writing out the captions for each social channel, which can vary depending on each platform. For instance, it’s not a great idea to write the same caption on Instagram that you’d write on LinkedIn because there are different types of users on each platform.
One of the most time-consuming parts of the job description of a social media manager is planning out the content for the whole month through a content calendar. This is usually done a month in advance and then scheduled out ahead of time.
Freelance social media managers are also usually the first point of contact when it comes to customer service, even though you may not initially think that!
Many people reach out to businesses through direct messaging on each social media platform, so a social media manager has to be prepared to quickly respond with accurate information in case a customer has a concern.
The job description of a social media manager usually also includes some form of content creation, unless your client already has its own content that you can use already.
Content creation can consist of taking photos, creating social media videos, designing graphics, and even repurposing content from your client’s blog or other channels they post on.
The last thing that a social media manager does is provide reports at the end of each month to let the client know exactly how their social media campaigns did for the previous month. This is essential because sometimes you’ll find out that specific posts resonated with your client’s audience while others didn’t.
Where to Find Social Media Management Work
If you’re wondering how to become a freelance social media manager, know that once you have the knowledge and skills, it’s relatively easy to find a client online!
This is a position that is in high demand, mainly because it can be time-consuming for smaller companies to also focus on their social media presence in addition to everything else that they have going on.
Here are some great platforms for finding work jobs:
I found my very first social media management gig through Upwork, so I can’t recommend this platform enough! On Upwork, there are tons of individuals, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, and business owners alike who are asking for help with their social media channels.
When applying to jobs on Upwork, make sure to account for the fact that the platform does take 20% of your invoice, and be sure to apply to positions that have less than ten applications to increase your chances of being chosen.
Flexjobs is another excellent place to find freelance social media manager gigs. This platform has tons of new positions posted daily, all of which are jobs that allow you to work from home, so it’s a great place to get started and begin finding potential clients.
Plus, FlexJobs hand screens every single posting to ensure there is no spam or ads — just legitimate companies and job offers. Learn more about Flexjobs here and sign up using promo code NOMAD to receive 30% off your membership.
Similar to Upwork, Fiverr does take a percentage of your invoice, but it’s perfect when you’re just starting on your freelance social media manager journey. Use it as a stepping stone to get some great testimonials to use on your website for future clients!
Freelancer is a website where clients post jobs for things that they need help with, which sometimes is social media management.
All you have to do is apply as you would with a regular job and see if you get chosen. This platform is pretty similar to Upwork in that you place your bid (or rates, usually hourly or fixed price) which then opens up a potential client connection.
5. Facebook Groups
Believe it or not, but Facebook groups are a great place to start networking and meeting other people who could potentially be your clients.
I’m in a few groups for small business owners in my area, which allows me to connect with people in my neighbourhood who might require my services.
Often, people in these groups will even put out a post asking if anyone knows someone who might be interested in helping out with social media or other jobs that you’re qualified to do. Then, you can quickly introduce yourself and your services!
Salary of a Social Media Manager
Though the salary of a social media manager truly varies, according to PayScale.com, the average is approximately $51,000 per year. This, of course, can change depending on a few factors: your education, skill level, duties, length of contract, and the client or company.
As a freelance social media manager, you can essentially choose whether you want to use fixed pricing or hourly pricing. I’m here to tell you that it’s better to do fixed pricing so that there are no surprises at the end of your contract.
For fixed pricing, you’ll want to create different package levels for your social media management services. For example, here are what my packages look like that I currently offer:
- Package 1: $350 a month for four posts a week on one platform
- Package 2: $500 a month for three posts a week on two platforms
- Package 3: $650 a month for three posts a week on three platforms
Of course, I include different benefits for each tier, so package 3 includes inbox management on platforms, while package one doesn’t.
These are all things to consider when you create your fixed price services. And, make sure that you also think about how many hours it will approximately take you to complete the tasks.
Tips For Being Successful as a Social Media Manager
As with any job, there are, of course, some things to consider. To be successful, you’ll want to take these tips and advise into account:
Have An Onboarding Process
It’s essential to have some onboarding process when you get new clients. I recommend creating a client welcome packet PDF that you can use and send to each of your clients and include information about yourself, your business, your services, your work hours, etc. Be sure to set clear boundaries in the initial communication.
With multiple clients to juggle, you need to stay organized in some form or another. Use a task management system like Asana, ClickUp, or Trello. Come up with a way to store all files for your clients on a platform like Dropbox, Google Drive, or my particular favourite, Samepage.
Use An Affordable Social Media Scheduler
Yes, you can spend your time using the built-in schedulers on platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. Still, it’s incredibly time-consuming, and you can typically only schedule a certain amount of posts at a time. Invest in an all-in-one scheduler like MeetEdgar, Buffer, Later, Plann, or Planoly.
As a freelancer, it’s imperative to follow-through. Your name is pretty much on everything that you do, and you can’t hide behind a larger company name.
Keep in mind that you have a real business relying on you and your work. If you ever can’t meet a deadline, let your client know and keep lines of communication open.
Pay Attention to Analytics
Creating reports at the end of each month is essential for your client, but also you. This is the opportunity for you to reassess what is and isn’t working for your client’s accounts.
An excellent social media manager will notice the things do and don’t work. In contrast, a successful social media manager will make proactive changes to focus on the parts that are working and do away with the parts that aren’t.
Consider Running Advertisements
If you’ve been with a client for a while, consider surprising them with a small paid advertisement such as a Facebook boost which you can do for as little as $10 for the whole day. This is a great way to show your client what could potentially happen if they were to pay a bit extra for advertisements on their own.
Pros and Cons of Working as a Freelance Social Media Manager
Every job has its pros and cons, which is something to keep in mind if you’d like to become a social media manager. Here are some of the things that I’ve found to be positives and negatives in this line of work so far.
Pros of Working As A Social Media Manager
1. Create Your Own Hours
As a freelance social media manager, you set your own hours. Often, you will be busy at the beginning of the month when you are planning and scheduling out the rest of the month, and then you’ll have a bit of a break in the middle of the month.
2. Work in a Variety of Niches
With this line of work, you could work with many types of business, from fashion and beauty to coffee shops and pet care. If you find there’s a niche that you particularly love, you could even consider specializing in it.
3. Be Creative All Day Every Day
Social media managers genuinely get to use their creativity through a variety of different media, including video, photo, and graphic design. It’s one of the things that I love most about it because I can utilize all of my skills in one job!
Cons of Working As A Social Media Manager
1. Clients Contacting Outside of Work Hours
I’ve had many social media clients try to contact me outside of work hours, specifically on weekends saying that they need something by that very next Wednesday. For the most part, I don’t work on the weekends because I use it as time to regroup.
Though it doesn’t often happen, every once in a while, you might get a client who doesn’t understand your set hours. To fix this, be sure to remind your client of your available hours or give them a slight hint by only responding during your available hours if they continue.
2. If You Make A Mistake, It Can Go Viral
Similar to if you have a successful post, it can go viral, the same can happen if you make a mistake. This can be truly detrimental to the business that you’re representing, so you want to make sure you’re always double-checking your captions and the work that you’re posting before you hit the publish (or schedule) button.
3. It’s Time-Consuming
Many people might try to be a freelance social media manager because they think that the job is easy. Here’s the truth: it’s not easy all the time! Certain times of the month can be hectic, and you always have to be actively looking for more clients as well.
Being a social media manager is a great gig for those who are looking to get started in the world of remote work. You don’t need a degree or even any prior experience. Social media management is a great way to get involved with small businesses in many niches.
*Photos in this article were sourced on Shutterstock — a website filled with royalty-free images and videos. Learn more here.
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