Starting a social media marketing agency or becoming a social media freelancer is a very popular career choice these days.
I know firsthand how rewarding it can be to build a social media business with little investment to work with some of the biggest brands in the world.
In this post, I will give my best tips on how you can build your business and get better-paying clients so you don’t have to worry about making rent this month.
Freelancing can be a glamorous lifestyle but it takes hard work and a lot of mistakes to get to that point. Hopefully, this blog post can help you cut down on some of these mistakes so you can be profitable quicker.
1. Deciding on Your Product
If you are just starting or you have been a social media consultant for a few years and haven’t worked with your dream clients it could be that you haven’t decided on your product.
You may think that your product is “social media” but this isn’t true because you can’t be good at everything.
Some people are experts in Facebook ads while others are experts in Pinterest growth while others may decide to only create content for a certain niche.
To be successful as a social media marketer you have to know your strengths and play to them.
If you can generate a positive return on investment through Facebook ads but can’t gain a following through organic posts it makes sense to just sell your Facebook ads marketing services, this is going to allow you to attract better-paying clients as you are seen as the expert for that service.
As a freelancer or even an agency, you may think that only providing one service is going to hurt your income but this isn’t true. When I decided that I would only offer Facebook ads to my clients my hourly rate quadrupled and clients would wait weeks to work with me.
Eventually, this waiting list was what made me go from a freelancer to building an agency.
Only working with one type of client is a difficult choice especially when you are starting, but it is important to understand who your ideal client is so you can build up your skills to work with them.
At times you will have to take clients that are not an ideal fit because we all have bills to pay. When you learn how to get clients later on in this post you should then be able to turn down clients who aren’t a good fit for your business.
Turning down clients can help your business grow. Some clients take up too much of your time, they don’t provide the resources you need or they work in an area that is difficult to produce content for.
2. Does a Social Media Marketer Need a Website?
Yes, you will need a website for your social marketing business.
I see many social media freelancers who don’t have a website and you can operate without one but, in my opinion, you are missing out on potential clients.
Most people want to know what you can do for them, what past results you have had, and want to feel safe when they consider hiring you.
Having a website can do all of the above, especially if you get testimonials from other clients.
If you niche down you can take this a step further and hammer home these testimonials because business owners love it when you have worked with similar businesses and have got them great results.
3. Landing Clients
When your website is up and running and you have decided on an offer you are going to need clients. You can use PPC marketing or SEO on your website but these take time and money.
As a freelancer or startup social media consultant agency you may not have either. To get your first clients you will have to hustle.
4. Social Selling
Social selling can take time, but I’ve included it because it should be a long term strategy of your social media marketing business. If you use social media and have seen how businesses operate on them you will see that they generally try to sell their product with every post.
These businesses throw their product out there and scream buy, buy, buy. But this approach doesn’t work. It may catch a client here and there but we want to provide value that will build your brand and will make you the go-to source for anything related to your product.
Social selling is more about selling by adding value rather than beating your reader into submission. How you add value is up to you. If you run a social media agency that focuses on ads you could show your readers ways to get more click-throughs on your ads.
Some people may be cautious about this as they think if they give too much knowledge away then they won’t get hired but the opposite is true.
People like working with experts and if you can show that by creating video or blog content and sharing it with your following you will build up this trust and people will reach out to you.
5. Cold Email and Direct Messages
Cold email gets a bad reputation because it is used by spammers, but cold email isn’t spam if you do it right.
How often do you get emails from individuals talking about how great their service is and what they offer and who they work with and everything you can think of that isn’t about you. I would say multiple times a day. This type of cold email doesn’t work.
Cold email is a numbers game but not in the way that you think. People think that you have to send 2000+ emails to get a few replies and that’s true if you send automated and templated emails.
You shouldn’t concentrate on sending thousands of emails you should concentrate on metrics such as your open rate and response rate.
If your open rate is low you know that your email subject line is poor and needs more work.
Your industry will have different average open rates but by personalizing them you can beat that average very easily. Personalizing a subject line could be along the lines of using a person’s name in the email or company name.
If you aren’t getting many replies it could be that you are contacting the wrong person at the company or could be targeting the wrong companies.
When I started freelancing as a social media consultant I targeted builders as most of them have terrible social media and my family’s background is in construction so I had an idea of some of the content that we could run.
It was a total failure.
The builders were more focused on cost and didn’t understand the value of social media at that time. This made it very hard to get builders as clients and the ones that did sign up didn’t stick around long enough to provide value to their business.
If you aren’t getting replies be sure to test your offer, the companies you are pitching, and the people you are sending the offers to. This may take a while to perfect but once you can get this system in place you won’t worry about gaining clients ever again.
6. Sliding into the DM’s
DM’s or direct mails for us older readers are another way to generate social media clients.
Once again you need to contact businesses in a non-spammy way and the best way that I have found is to send a business a short 30 seconds to 1-minute video to introduce yourself and see if they need help with the service that you offer.
You could use something along the lines of:
“Hey [Brand Name],
Congratulations on hitting 50,000 followers, you guys are killing it organically. Just reaching out as I help [company type] like you with their Facebook ads and wanted to see if that is something you need help with?”
As you can see, it’s personal, short, and doesn’t talk about you that much.
If you send enough of these short videos you will land clients. You should always make the first part about the company too as it gets them to listen for a few seconds before you can go into your mini-pitch.
If you have time I would recommend doing both cold email and pitching on social media.
Businesses respond in different ways and having more than one touch point can get their attention and put you on their radar
7. Delivering Services
Every social media guide out there talks about getting clients and charging them $x,xxx amount a month but not many of them cover delivering the service.
The reason for this is social media marketing is hard.
It’s very easy to gain clients but the hardest part is delivering the work. For this reason, you should know what you are doing before taking on clients. This is obvious but I see it all the time online where someone lands their first client and doesn’t know what to do next.
If you don’t know social media, don’t sell it until you do.
Thankfully everything you need to learn about delivering services for social media can be found on Google and Youtube. You don’t need to spend thousands on a social media course, as most of them won’t cover delivering the work anyway.
If you are good at sales but don’t have social media marketing experience you could also consider partnering up with another agency that can white label their service.
This works out great for some as they don’t have to deliver results and can simply prospect and build their business this way.
8. Expanding and Hiring
If you have followed the above tips and have multiple clients, eventually you will need to make a choice. That choice is to stay as a freelancer or to build an agency by hiring staff.
I’ve done both and they have advantages and disadvantages. I won’t persuade you one way or the other, that is a personal choice you will need to make.
For me being a freelancer allowed me to be more flexible while an agency allowed me to take on more clients and earn more money, the downside was I had little time and had to oversee everything which ultimately made me sell the agency.
If you would like to go down the agency route the biggest tip I can give to you is to not rush your hiring process. You could even hire social media consultant freelancers from websites such as Upwork as it minimizes your risk of hiring a bad candidate on a long term contract.
If you do consider hiring someone as social media consultant from a freelance website I would try a few out before deciding on the one you want to hire full time. Some people take a while to learn your processes so be patient with them and offer guidance where you can.
Some of my best employees were freelancers but it did take a while to find them. If you are constantly finding that the freelancers you are hiring aren’t providing the necessary quality that you want, you may have to up your budget.
I find some business owners will hire a freelancer at a lower rate and then be shocked when the work isn’t as expected. Good freelancers are hard to come by so when you find one treat them well and pay them a fair rate.
The social media marketing consultant space is only going to grow in my opinion and it’s never been a better time to jump into social media marketing.
You may be put off because there seems to be a lot of competition out there but don’t be. If you take time to learn your skill, can communicate well with clients, and be reliable you are already on course to becoming a successful social media agency or freelancer.