If you're here, you might have already started taking on a social media client or two on the side and found that you totally love it and have an eye for it! Or, you're simply sick of your 9-5, you love creating content, you naturally have a "marketing brain", and you'd love to try your hand at managing a few business accounts!
Either way, you came to the right place! Having worked as a Social Media Manager in the corporate world, becoming a freelancer working for handfuls of clients over the years, to now running a small agency I've learned a lot over the course of that journey I am more than happy to share.
For starters, you want to make sure you totally LOVE social media and marketing. You may take fabulous photos of your outfits and kill it with your Reels, but that's completely different from running an account for a business. You have to learn about their industry, learn how to talk to their customer, and create content through that lens. You also have to learn how to communicate your ideas with your clients, show them results, and more importantly, make sure your services are crystal clear or you may find yourself wearing a lot of extra hats or find your client had expectations you were not aware of.
Outlining Your Services
The best place to start is to outline the services you'd like to offer. Managing a social media account comes with so many additional services that you may or may not want to add on. You also want to be clear about what they can expect from your account management.
How many and what platforms do you manage?
It's okay to narrow it down to one platform and get really good at only, such as Instagram or TikTok. However, that limits you when most companies are looking for a social media manager to take on all the accounts their business is on. Either way, I do suggest working "number of accounts" into your pricing because you don't want to find yourself charging the same price for a client with 2 accounts and another one with 5.
How often will you post?
This may vary from week to week but it's good to provide your client with an idea of how often you will post. You'll have to consider factors like when big sales or events are coming up you may post more often, or there may be a lack of content coming from the client so it's difficult for you to post as much as you'd like. Either way, give them a baseline and clearly communicate some factors that may require more posting and situations where you may not be posting as much. Also, each platform is different so this should look different across all the platforms.
How much time will you spend on engagement?
Engagement is an important piece of social media management because, for starters, it's the customer service side of social media management where you ensure any and all questions, inquiries, etc. are being responded to in a professional and brand-approved way. It's also an opportunity for your client to gain more brand awareness by engaging with their customer's content and nurturing those relationships. On the flip side, it can be very time-consuming! It's a good idea for the sake of both you and the client to set very clear guidelines around engagement. Whether that's how much time you'll spend each week on engagement or maybe you choose to handle engagement only during business hours. Either way, be really clear on this for your client so they know when they might need to tap in or hire additional help if the account requires it.
How is content creation handled?
This is one that can go so many ways and can be an area of frustration for you or your client if this isn't clear! Questions to ask yourself, do you want to be taking the photos and videos and editing them? Will you be designing graphics? Would you prefer to hire a professional photographer, videographer, or graphic designer and oversee/manage that process? Would you prefer the client handle it? Or, any sort of hybrid of those options! My only suggestion is to include your client in the decisions when it comes to content creation. Oftentimes they want a say in the photographer your choosing, to review the shot list, or they may prefer to be there as you're taking any photo or video to offer suggestions. This way it feels like a team effort and they are happier with the final product. Over time, as you gain more trust with your client they may prefer to become less involved with this process. However, it's extremely important to give them the final say on anything so you're always on the same page.
Do you also handle paid advertising?
Boosting posts and executing a paid advertising campaign are two totally different things. Will you offer both? One or the other? and what does that look like for the client? Paid advertising can help a lot when it comes to a client's success on social media. At a minimum, I suggest having something outlined within your services regarding boosting posts. It should also be clear where the AdSpend will be charged (your CC or theirs) and how it will be reflected on your client's invoice.
Giveaways, Influencers, and More
Organizing giveaways and working with influencers can be a lot of extra work! Don't forget to consider this and how it will be outlined in your services and addressed with your client.
Communicating Your Services
The final most important piece to all of this is communicating your services to your client or prospective client clearly.
Ask A Lot of Questions
In early meetings, have a questionnaire handy to ensure you are asking all the necessary questions you need so you know if you can meet that client's goals or not. What your client considers "good social media" may be different from what you consider "good social media". Some people are more focused on the quality of the photos while others pay more attention to the analytics. Get to the core of this so you're both in agreement on goals and how the accounts should be managed.
Provide Written Descriptions
Your services should be outlined in your proposal and within any contract you provide. This way, again, there shouldn't be any confusion about what you do and do not offer, and a point of reference if any questions come up. For example, a client may come to you saying, "we should be doing more Reels" and your people-pleasing response might be, "Sure! I'll get right on that." However, I want you to pause and instead try, "I love that idea! However, in the original contract (or proposal) we agreed to 4 Reels per month. Let me price out what it would like to add on a few more per month and get that to you later this week."Now, when your client goes back to that initial contract or proposal they completely understand because that service was clearly outlined.
Lastly, I don't want you to forget that it's OK if you don't think you can meet some of the requirements of a prospective client! Don't bend the rules. Outline your services and stand your ground. If your client expects more without having to pay more or they start trying to tweak your services to bring down the price ("I don't need this, instead can you do this and knock $100 off"), it's probably best to move on. They're simply just not a good fit and nothing good ever comes from trying to force anything.
I wish you the best of luck on your Social Media Management journey! A lot of highs and lows can come with the job, so my best piece of advice is to carve out full days and chunks of time each day to completely check out. Don't sacrifice your mental health for the "hustle"! 💛