By now, most businesses know social media needs to be an aspect of their marketing strategy and a way to stay in contact with contact with customers.
However, a large number of businesses have no idea how to create a successful social media strategy. This has led to a huge demand for social media managers. The great news is social media management is the kind of work you can do from anywhere and it only requires one person (at least when you start out). This makes it an ideal choice for a home business.
Unfortunately, the high demand for services has also meant more social media-savvy professionals are turning to this business idea. To stand a chance at success, you need to set up your business the right way.
Step 1: Choose a Specialty
You’ll struggle to compete unless you specialize in a particular niche. You have several options for specialization.
One option is to specialize in a certain sector. For instance, if you have experience working in restaurants, you could offer your services to companies in the food industry. Whatever you choose, make sure you understand the sector well and that you’ll be able to target businesses who can afford to pay for your services.
An alternative is to market your services to businesses of all types in your local area. Use your knowledge of the area and its residents to present yourself as an expert.
Another option is to specialize in a particular platform. A huge number of social media managers know virtually everything there is to know about the biggest ones (for instance, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube), but you may be able to find success focusing on a smaller platform. Just think of how well the social media managers who specialized in TikTok in its early days are doing now! Even if you don’t land on the next big hit, you’ll be in the ideal position to serve a subset of businesses who need your skills. Check out this list of smaller platforms for inspiration.
Organic vs Social Ads
Although the majority of social media will always be organic posts, ads are critical. Many agencies offer just social media advertising services.
A final option is to provide social media content of a particular type. Images and videos perform best on social media, but it’s difficult for businesses who lack expertise to create professional-looking visual content.
Step 2: Increase Your Knowledge
Once you’ve decided what you’ll be offering, spend some time acquiring new skills and credentials. One way to improve your knowledge and demonstrate your skills is to gain certifications. Top choices include the free Social Media Marketing Certification from HubSpot Academy, one of the many courses on Coursera (such as the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate), and the Social Marketing Certification Course from Hootsuite Academy.
Step 3: Create Your Offerings and Decide on Pricing
To market your business, you need to create specific services for potential clients to choose from. Even if you prefer to customize your service for each client, you’ll need to define the kinds of services you offer.
Next, you’ll need to set a rate. Bear in mind that the average rate for a social media manager ranges from $20 to $40. You may need to set your prices near the low end to start. As you gain experience and demand for your services increases, you can raise your prices.
Lastly, you’ll need to decide how you’ll charge clients. One option is by the hour, which is appropriate if you’re unsure how long it will take to complete the work, such as in the case of training or
mentoring. Alternatively, you could charge a monthly retainer rate or, for one-off projects, have a set rate.
If you opt for a monthly retainer, an effective approach is to create different packages aimed at your different buyer personas. Just don’t create too many, as potential clients will feel overwhelmed by the choice. Three tends to be a perfect number and you should definitely avoid more than five.
Step 4: Make a Business Plan
Every new venture needs a business plan — and that includes one-person, home-based businesses. Use your business plan to detail your short-term objectives, long-term goals, strategies for competing, assets and expenses, how you’ll market your services, and any other relevant information.
Your business plan should also include a value proposition that specifies what makes you different from every other social media management company. Make sure to cover how you’ll solve clients’ problems and what benefits working with you will bring.
Finally, use the opportunity of writing a business plan to decide on a business name. Choose something that reflects what kinds of services you offer but also allows room for growth. Research requirements where you live to find out what you’ll need to do to operate under this name.
Step 5: Choose Your Business Structure
Your business will automatically be a sole proprietorship without you needing to do anything. You’ll include the profits from your business on your personal tax return and there is no need to pay any registration fees.
However, a sole proprietorship may not be the best option for you. For instance, if you’re concerned about the possibility of a client suing you, it may be worthwhile registering as a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets. If you want to start the business with someone else, an LLC is again an option, as is a general partnership.
Step 6: Set Up a Website
Web design likely falls outside your area of expertise. If this is the case, it’s best to hire someone to design your site for you. It is essential you present yourself as a professional in everything you do, as potential clients will make snap judgements based on things like the appearance of your website.
A critical part of your website is the about page. This is your chance to show that you’re qualified to handle companies’ social media accounts. In addition to displaying your certifications, write about all
the relevant experience you have — in your sector, in your local area, with advertising, or anything else. Tell a story and include a photo of yourself to give your business a face.
Step 7: Reach Out to Businesses
Gaining those first few clients will be one of the greatest challenges when you start out in business. Instead of waiting for people to come to you, be proactive. If you know any businesses that may be interested in your services, talking to them is a good place to start. Otherwise, use networking to find opportunities — LinkedIn is ideal for this.
Step 8: Create a Process to Ensure You Convert Leads
Gaining an interest in your services is only half the battle — you then need to make sure that you’re converting as many leads as possible. If leads are warm, you may be able to invite them to a consultation call straight away. However, some may need more nurturing first. Premium content that explains the benefits of a great social media strategy and that presents you as the expert is ideal for this.
Once you’ve managed to schedule a call, make sure you ask all the right questions. Find out what leads want to achieve with social media, who makes up their target audience, what their brands stand for, and where they have had successes and failures with social media in the past. Allow leads to do much of the talking to ensure you fully understand their requirements.
After the consultation, send leads a proposal that lays out exactly what you’ll do. Personalize each proposal by bearing in mind the answers to your questions. Make sure you include expected results, benefits, and timeframes.
Step 9: Develop a Portfolio and Publish Testimonials
Use your early clients to build your portfolio of work. Create a section of your website where prospects can check out your top projects and add some statistics to explain what you achieved. It’s a good idea to even create a couple of full case studies, where you can go into more detail about what your client wanted, what actions you took, and what the results were. Finally, ask clients for testimonials that you can include on your homepage, where they’ll be extra visible.
Step 10: Expand Your Business
Satisfied clients combined with great marketing may mean you soon receive more requests for work than you can handle on your own. When you reach this point, it’s time to expand. You could hire someone to help you, but it will likely make more sense to rely on freelancers — at least in the beginning. Use contract workers to fill any gaps in your own skills to provide a wider range of services for clients or ask them to take over routine tasks that are less interesting for you.