Most successful businesses in this era are boosting their growth further through the help of social media. At the same time many business owners and managers do not have a deep understanding of social media.
There is a clear need for an ultimate business guide to employing a freelance social media manager. This is because many businesses cannot afford to employ full time a social media manager, but they need the skills and expertise to manage their social media professionally. This article is aimed to help these businesses choose the right freelance social media manager to fill their needs.
While social media is an essential part of a business's marketing strategy it does require specialist management skills, it is undoubtedly very effective when managed well.
Apart from having a solid email list and a well-optimised website (amongst other things), marketers and business owners are also leveraging social media platforms. Whether to spread the word, reach more prospects or increase sales, marketers need to be present on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
However, managing social media isn't for the faint of heart. While it seems easy on the surface, social media marketing needs actual work. Like creating website or email content, curating social media content takes time and expertise.
Every social media platform is different, hence the need for different kinds of content. For instance, YouTube requires a focus on video, Pinterest needs poster-like images, Twitter requires constant one or two-liner updates, while Facebook takes a bit of everything. Each platform is unique and requires different levels of attention.
That's why business owners need social media managers. Regardless if you're a small or a big business owner, you'll eventually need a skilled social media to grow your brand organically on the various social platforms.
That, essentially, is what this article is about: social media managers. Particularly, you will learn:
What social media managers are and what they can do for your business and how to find the right freelance social media manager for your business.
You can see a growing trend among people across various demographics and their use of social media. Don't take it from me--here are a few social media stats proving the increasing engagement of people in social media:
Why are brands so hyped with social media? Perhaps it's because a chunk of consumers is starting to do brand or product research on social media (instead of or) alongside with the search engines. About 40% of consumers do social research.
However, despite the hype, companies admit that what's challenging about social media is measuring progress. Of all the companies on social media, only 34% are measuring their return on investment on social efforts.
There are plenty of factors at play here, but it is understandable given that social media management with a goal of increasing brand revenue is a very complex topic. What is clear, is that you need to understand why social media managers matter to your business.
Out of the 7.7 billion people in the world, 3.5 billion people are online. And of the 3.5 billion people who have access to the internet, 2.5 billion people are using Facebook. Social media platforms WhatsApp and YouTube, on the other hand, have about a billion users each.
Since nearly half of the world's population is on social media, marketers discovered the value of social media as an important marketing tool. That's why it's no surprise that the most successful businesses have a strong presence in social media. Also, aspiring online-based brands are leveraging social media to increase their following and to fulfil their business goals.
While there's no question about the need for businesses to become active in social media, brand owners are still wondering about their need for a social media manager. True, social media managers are a must-have for large-scale businesses; however, start-ups and small business owners are still half-hearted when it comes to hiring a social media manager.
As a small business owner or a start-up owner, you've worn so many hats. Many business owners are their own sales, marketing, and social media manager, graphics designer, copywriter, and many more! Most business owners do everything including managing their social media accounts because of:
Limited budget. Business owners are often hands-on and would often rather take care of their business' needs on their own. Some business owners take care of social media marketing on their own in order to save and use the savings in other areas of their business.
Difficulty in finding the right people for the job. For some without the budget issue, the problem is finding the right people for the job. Many business owners want someone to handle their social media affairs, but don't have the time to make this happen. In some cases, they might have the time and are willing to look for people but don't know where and how to start.
If you're still unsure if you need a social media manager, I have just the reasons to convince you otherwise! There are plenty of benefits to having a manager to take care of your social side of business and they include the following 10 reasons:
If you're planning to build better brand authority and get more recognition, it's better to work with a social media manager.
Better Social Strategy. Getting someone to manage your social media channels makes you more strategic in gaining recognition and more followers. Remember, a social media manager knows a lot more about you in terms of strategies to use for becoming more visible in the social media channels.
Different social media channels require different strategies. Social media managers know how to work on different social media channels and know which posts will be able to reach your followers in these different channels.
Some channels need just one or two liners, other channels need video, some need longer social media copy-your social media manager knows how to organise posts specific to each social media network.
Connecting With Influencers. Part of a social media manager's job is to connect and establish a good relationship with influencers in your niche. Good social media managers can forge working relationships with various influencers in your niche and use these relationships to build more credibility for your brand.
Interpreting Key Performance Metrics. Managers know exceedingly well that social media is beyond merely 'posting stuff' online. They know how to create specific social media posts tailored to your audience. Managers will know how to interpret key performance metrics (we'll dive into this later) to recognize whether the social media efforts are bearing fruit or not.
In addition, social media managers will know how to use metrics to make better plans for your brand's social media strategy in the future.
As you have someone working on your social media strategy, you can build more authority in your niche. Social media management isn't just about getting out social media posts on a regular basis. It's also about knowing what kinds of posts are getting you the results you want for your brand.
Much like the first point, having a designated person to work on your social media profiles will allow you to gain more traffic and increase your rankings on social and on Google.
Traffic-generating Social Media Strategy. As opposed to blindly publishing posts on social media channels, your social media manager would have a specific strategy in mind to reach your audience. With strategic posts on social media channels, you will be able to reach more people who are already interested in what you must sell or offer.
Leveraging Social Media Trends. Social media managers are tech-savvy and know how to keep up with the latest trends in social media. As they can leverage every viral article, news, or video that's relevant to your brand, they can effectively direct more traffic to your social media channels and increase your following.
Social media managers live and breathe planning. They can plan and schedule posts for you one or two months in advance and are also able to deal with surprises that may come along the way.
This eliminates inconsistency in getting your message out across social channels. If you're the business owner and you're doing everything by yourself, you may tend to neglect social media since you have more important things to deal with.
A social media manager ensures that you have enough content to deliver to your audience, so you can consistently interact with them and nurture them as leads.
While it may seem rather easy to post pictures or share videos on social media, it can be difficult to plan these posts ahead. Most businesses without a social media manager may struggle to get engagement from their audience without a solid, long-term plan for their social media posts.
It takes a good strategy to keep a stream of posts flowing and their resulting social engagement. Social media managers are great in identifying the cadence and the kind of posts that will surely stimulate your audience's interest. And they can replicate this strategy, so you'll have months' worth of posts to share with your followers.
As they can plan your posts ahead, they also know when it's time to spend more money on your social media efforts using paid ads. They know which posts to promote and which ones to remove entirely from your social media strategy. With the help of your social media manager, you can create short and long-term goals for social media and connect these plans to your larger goals for your company.
Business owners, especially in the early stages of their business get to wear plenty of hats. While social media marketing can be a very effective tool (especially for online-based businesses or services), can become the least of your priorities if you have A LOT to do.
Hiring a social media manager can take so much off your plate. Often, social media managers are a one-man-band-they are basically content writers, graphic designers and social media strategists rolled into one. With a social media manager on your team, you can take your mind off tending your social media profiles and focus on more technical aspects of your business, like nurturing your existing clients or doing long-range planning for your brand.
While this does not mean that you will give total control of your social media strategy to your social manager (but yes, in some cases you can!), having a social media manager to work on the social profiles instead of you can give you more time to focus on where your business needs you the most.
Remember, even if you can, you can't always do everything. Social media management is something you can delegate. If you have the right person (or team) for the job, you can rest assured that your social media efforts will bear fruit even if you're not the one doing it yourself. Social media management is a full-time commitment and having someone to take care of it for you will free much of your time.
Having a social media manager to make sure you have a steady stream of posts going on your social media accounts will make your brand appear more active. Customers are attracted to brands that are active on social media; the more you're visible, the more they would want to engage with you.
Getting more active on social media is becoming a trend even in big companies. Nike, Starbucks, Sephora and GoPro are only some of the most active brands on social media. These brands recognise the importance of getting active on social media to help them connect better with their clients.
Some companies get comments and suggestions from their consumers and even use social media to subconsciously sell their products to their audience.
Social media management also involves responding to your audience when they leave comments or suggestions on your social media profiles. Your social media manager can help you create a framework for the ideal responses should your audience connect with you. With carefully planned canned responses and a strategy to connect with your prospects.
Hiring a social media manager gives you an edge over your competitors. While handling social media by yourself is better than not taking care of it at all, hiring an expert is even better.
Social media managers can help you analyse your competitors and help you identify the tactics that work best for them. Also, as social media managers help bring up your Google rankings, having an expert to manage your social media accounts may help keep you on top of your competitors.
If you're thinking that you're saving when you try and do social media management on your own, think again! By managing social media, you lose precious time you could have invested in growing your company in other ways.
Having someone to manage your social media accounts for you frees you more time to focus on more income-generating aspects of your business.
While you may spend a bit on your social media manager and your ad campaigns, having someone else to handle your social media can help you generate more income in the future. It's easier to capitalise on your social media efforts when you have a solid strategy in place.
Customer engagement drives more customer satisfaction. With a good social media plan for consumer engagement, you're assured of better customer satisfaction from your clients.
A good social media strategy involves having better interaction with your audience, addressing their concerns, replying to their inquiries, taking their suggestions into consideration and learning more ways to serve them better.
Your social media manager's efforts will help you build more trust from your audience and help you gain more client approval.
While your social media manager will eventually expand your brand reach, they know that it's not just about the likes, hearts, shares or retweets. They know how to use your newly found impact into something that gives more revenue to your brand.
Your social media manager knows that his or her effort on building your social media authority is just the part of the bigger picture in your marketing and sales efforts.
If you're a business owner and still without a social media manager, it's good to make time for finding the right person for the job. Having someone to manage the social media aspect of your business will help get a lot off your plate and will help you focus on other important aspects of your business.
Hiring a social media manager doesn't mean that you'll have no control over your social media efforts. Of course, you'll not have to think about scheduling posts or analysing metrics, but you can still give your suggestions from time to time.
You and your social media manager are a team, so the more interaction you have, the more you'll be able to perfect your social media strategy.
Obviously, brands are trying their best to become more visible on social media. Especially online-based entrepreneurs and businesses. After all, visibility is everything…
But what does this have to do with social media managers? Well, social media marketing has everything to do with social media managers.
A social media manager is a person who curates and prepares content for your brand and posts it on various social networks. He or she also develops a social marketing strategy (whether for short or long term) and uses key performance indicators (KPIs) to demonstrate the actual return on investment (ROI) as a result of the strategy.
In easier terms, social media managers are the ones you hire when you want your brand to be successful in social media.
Social media managers are expected to have the skill set to increase customer engagement and traffic to the brand's social profiles. They may be required to significantly increase their followers, likes or hearts, view rates and so on, depending on the goals of the company/client.
Social media managers usually do all the work, from planning the monthly social media calendar to creating content, finding relevant images and videos (or creating them) and doing follow-up work after they've done the work.
In some cases, a social media manager does all the planning, but delegates the work to the team and makes sure that everything is executed almost seamlessly. Social media teams are typically comprised of at least one graphic designer and/or video editor, and a content writer.
However, in most instances, social media managers come as an all-in-one package.
While it's instinctive for you to look for social media managers with KPIs to prove their calibre, there are several things beyond the KPIs you should look for in a social media manager.
Look for a social media manager who is:
One place to look for a social media manager for your brand is through recommendations from your network. Perhaps you have a social-media-savvy friend who's curious about helping you expand your social media reach.
However, if you do not wish to hire someone from your own network for some reason, the easiest places to look for a social media manager are online talent marketplaces like:
When looking for social media managers in these places, make sure to read reviews, compare social managers, and communicate with the prospects before making a hire.
You should hire a social media manager when you're planning to expand your social media strategy.
However, before hiring a social media manager, have clear goals for your brand and make sure to be straightforward with your expectations for your manager. We'll get into this in detail in the next section.
It's hard to tell exactly how much it would cost to hire a social media manager, since social media managers have different rates. Depending on their experience, their proof of competence, and depending on what social media managers can charge as low or as high as they can.
For a general overview of the rates, here is a rates table from Upwork :
While these are the usual rates employed by social media managers in the United States, companies can negotiate the prices as they see fit. Freelancers are often highly flexible and may agree to work within a budget depending on their clients.
While it is tempting to visit online talent marketplaces like Upwork and start inviting freelancers to apply as your future social media manager, don't rush.
It's good to prepare a good space for the social media manager to work with, rather than rashly invite someone without knowing what to do with them once they're on board.
Everything starts with your goals. What are your short-term and long-term goals for your brand? Be specific. Make a list of the improvements that you want to see in your brand.
Do you want to establish a presence on Facebook and use the platform for ads to generate more leads on your website? Regardless of your goals for your company, make sure to include them in your list. These goals will be the basis of what comes next in this process.
After identifying your goals for your company, determine your specific needs for social media. No two companies have the exact same needs, so that's why it is important to assess what your company needs in terms of social media strategy.
In some cases, brands do not have their own social media profiles. Some, however, may have existing network profiles but are not successful in maintaining engagement with their consumers. Be sure to identify your social media-related needs before trying to hire a social media manager so you can give your manager specific goals to work on.
Most importantly, identify your unique selling proposition and define your target audience. Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the main thing of value that your company is offering.
It is what sets you apart from your competitors and the "why" your target audience should choose you instead of the others. Your social strategy will largely depend on your USP and your target audience, that's why they are important.
It is important to be clear about the work you need done. As you create the job description, indicate what your social media manager should be doing, like for instance, the following:
Regularly create content. A social media manager is responsible for creating content to post on various social media networks. Since each social network is different, the manager should be able to identify which kinds of posts are well-suited for each social channel. Some of the common posts expected include images, blogs, videos, quotes, links, news and more.
Populate the social media calendar. Apart from posting content on various social media channels, social media managers must also plan the content in advance. Whether one day or one month in advance, your social media manager must be able to create a content plan for your brand's social media profiles.
Schedule posts using social media tools. When defining the role, clarify that the person must also know how to use productivity tools for social media. Since posting manually takes a lot of time, the manager must know how to use at least one social media publishing tool for your social posts.
Engage the audience. While planning the content calendar and posting on various social media networks are the main responsibilities of a social media manager, the tasks don't end there. Social media managers are also responsible for creating brand engagement on social networks. They must also have a plan on how to respond to comments, direct messages, likes (or dislikes), and negative interactions.
Monitor trends. Social media is fast paced. In order to get on top of everything, a social media manager must leverage current events and viral topics. Apart from monitoring trends, social media managers must keep learning best practices for better engagement from the audience.
Monitor KPIs and make decisions based on the results. Lastly, make sure that your social media manager knows how to use key metrics and make decisions for your brand depending on the results. Be clear about this on your job description.
Besides defining the responsibilities of your ideal social media manager, make sure to also include your expectations for your brand in the future. May it be X new followers, X website visits or X clicks to your link, make sure to include your expectations in the job description.
Before advertising the job, make sure to have a framework of the screening process ready. While this may take you a while to prepare, having a template hiring process ready is worth it and will make you more efficient in hiring a social media manager.
A typical hiring process looks like this:
Your screening process can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. What's important is that you have a framework you can work when hiring your social media manager.
After defining your objectives and the job requirements, it's time to advertise the job. Here are a few tips to help you create a compelling job description:
Expect plenty of applications to come your way after posting your job on various talent marketplaces, so be prepared to sift through a sea of applicants for the position.
If you have a clear picture of who you want to hire, your choice/s for a social media manager should be obvious. You'll find that most applicants will stand out from the others in terms of their freelancer profile, their application letter or their resumé.
There is no rule against creating a list of potential candidates to consider for the position. List the candidates whom you see you see potential or feel a connection.
Sometimes, the potential may be obvious as you go further along the hiring process. However, there may be instances where you feel that you've got the perfect person right from the start.
But if in case you find it difficult to tell whether a candidate would be a good fit, here are a few expert-approved signs of a good candidate:
Informed. A candidate who knows his stuff is a good candidate. He must have done his research on the company at the very least and has a good idea of the kind of candidate you're looking for.
Enthusiastic. Someone who's thrilled about working with you and growing with your team must be a good candidate. Find someone who's passionate and dedicated, not someone who's just after the paycheck.
Responds quickly. Find a person with good response time. A good (fast) response time may also mean a quick turnaround time, which is very ideal in social media management. Poor response time indicates disinterest and hiring such a person may be a problem for you in the long run.
Honest. According to Glassdoor, there isn't a perfect candidate and often, phenomenal ones will own up to their flaws. You may ask your candidates to give you an example of a work-related mistake and how they've handled it. Their response will show you if they're the kind of people who are willing to grow with your brand or if they're the kind to leave you hanging in the future.
Has good ideas. Creativity is one of the unique aspects of social media managers. That's why you need to be keen on individuals with potential in creating good ideas for your brand. During the interview, be conscious of the people who bring new ideas to the table.
Has a good command of the language. Most social media managers come from all over the world, so it is important to make sure that the one you will hire has good communication skills. Whether English your native language or not, find someone with a good command of the language, especially since social media marketing involves plenty of compelling copywriting.
And remember, make sure to ask the right questions during the interview. Test their expertise but also gauge your candidate's character. Find someone who's likely to be loyal to you and who's willing to learn and grow with your company.
Before hiring a social media manager for a long-term position, run a trial period with several candidates to see if they're a good fit. A test run with a few candidates will help make it clear who's the best person for the job.
Some employers would admit that a person at work may be vastly different than his portfolio, that's why it's important to have a trial period with several prospective social media managers first.
Now, this may be optional for owners who are a bit pressed for time. However, as much as possible, run a trial period first to check if a candidate is a good fit for your brand or not. With a trial period, you can see whether a candidate can work well with your team.
Also, make sure to pay the candidates for their effort during the trial period, whether you hire them or not.
After the trial period, you may now select which candidate to offer the job. However, before hiring, make sure to offer the right compensation to your social media manager. Plan your offer depending on your budget and depending on the going rate of your social media manager.
If you have been clear about the payout of your project even at the beginning, you would not have issues with regards to the freelance manager's salary. Be sure to offer what you stated in the job ads so as not to disappoint your social media manager when you decide to hire.
You may refer to the social media manager rates table in the previous section when thinking about what to pay your manager in the future. However, since the rates vary so much per freelancer per country, it is best to do your research on your niche first.
Some experts recommend the following when deciding the right salary for your social media manager:
When everything is in order, it's time to hire your social media manager.
Send the contract. If you're hiring via a talent marketplace (like Upwork), you may now send over the contract to your new social media manager. Make sure the documents are in order before sending the contract.
Wait for the person to respond. Whether verbal or written, wait for the person to respond. Some businesses prefer a written (pdf) contract signed by the freelancer, while in other cases, just accepting the proposal on the job platform is enough.
Schedule an initial meeting with the freelancer. After your new social media manager accepts, ask them to schedule a first meeting with you before starting work, whether by phone or via video call.
In your meeting, you may review the scope of work and your expectations from your social media manager. You may also ask the freelancer to state his expectations in this job as well. Your first meeting is also a good time to set your recurring meetings or discuss how you can communicate regarding the work to be done.
Most businesses hire their social media manager on a probationary period. Because a social media manager's work is based on results, most brand owners choose to hire their managers for a few months and choose to keep using their service as long as they see results.
You may choose to hire your social media manager on probation and review your contract after a few months depending on the results he or she is able to bring to the table.
Depending on the results, you can choose to keep your social media manager or to grow your company with a new one.
Most successful brands of today can grow their businesses on social media. However, this feat is only possible with the help of a good social media manager.
A social media manager can take a lot off your plate, especially if you're struggling to balance several aspects of your business all at once.
If you're planning to expand your audience reach and grow yourself through social media, it's time for you to hire your very own social media manager! Good luck!
However, if you are looking to train your own social media manager here is training that we recommend because of the experience of the trainers, certification and the Facebook Group that is essential because the professional development and support in social media is critical because it is a dynamic rapidly changing industry that spans the globe.
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