Because the expectations have grown for companies to have a stable social media presence, so has the demand for social media consultants.
Do you may have a ardour for digital communication, a eager understanding of social media platforms, and a need to assist others get probably the most out of their on-line advertising technique? Then changing into a social media advisor may be the right avenue for you.
However what does it take to turn into a profitable social media advertising advisor? Apart from a ardour for the craft, you’ll want some expertise. After you have that, it’s simple to get began. Beneath, we’ll clarify the 5 key steps to changing into a social media advisor.
Social media consultants provide social media expertise to businesses and clients. Consultants offer advice and recommendations to help clients build and execute their social media strategies.
Social media consulting work is flexible and can be done anywhere with a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Consultants may work full-time with one client on a project, juggle many clients and contracts at a time, or do it as a side hustle on top of a full-time job.
Social media consultants may offer a variety of services to businesses, including:
- Creating evergreen social media strategies
- Helping launch a new social media channel
- Conducting social media research
- Doing social media audits
- Setting up social listening dashboards
- Planning social media campaigns
- Providing comprehensive analytics reports
- Facilitating social media training sessions and workshops
The keyword in many of the points above is “strategy.” Social media consultants are usually more experienced and senior in their careers than freelance social media managers. Consultants additionally are inclined to work extra on technique moderately than execution and content material creation.
An instance of the companies provided by Josh Klemons, a social media advisor primarily based in Wisconsin, USA.
Whereas the pliability and freedom of being a social media advisor can appear very enticing, it might not be a match for everybody.
First, there are a bunch of consulting-specific expertise required on high of social media management skills:
- Content material creation. Though consultants might not need to create content material for purchasers, they need to nonetheless have expertise in design and copywriting. You’ll want to have the ability to edit posts for purchasers and create mockups for example your proposals.
- Public talking and gross sales. Pitching is a vital step in securing new purchasers. You should be comfy promoting your self and your companies, usually in entrance of executives. When you land the shopper, you’ll usually current proposals to them as a part of your consulting work.
- Mission administration. As a enterprise proprietor and workforce of 1, you’re chargeable for every little thing. That features managing invoices, monitoring bills, submitting taxes, speaking with purchasers, and arranging contracts. And that is all on high of precise social media consulting work.
- Shopper relationship administration. “One factor I do: Reply to emails shortly. Doing this has set me aside from so many others within the discipline. Potential purchasers usually say they reached out to a number of folks, and I used to be the one one to reply” – Josh Klemons
- Superior analytics & reporting. Shoppers can do day-to-day reporting, however they usually depend on consultants for extra superior, in-depth analyses and experiences. For instance, social intelligence advisor Ben K. Ellis makes a speciality of social intelligence: “I ship analysis and information tales to reply something from ‘what are the most recent developments in our sector and the way can we leverage them?’ to ‘what are the whitespace alternatives we might use and to enhance our product positioning?’”
Listed here are among the execs, as shared by social media consultants themselves:
“Flexibility. A lot of the work could be performed remotely and within the hours that swimsuit you finest. For instance, in the event you do your finest work after 9 pm, that’s tremendous so long as you produce & ship high-quality content material on time!” – Shelly Terry, founding father of Sheldon Social
“The number of work! Every single day is totally different. I get to make use of numerous expertise, platforms are continually altering, and I get to work with folks throughout many industries. I’m at all times studying, honing my current expertise, and gaining new ones.” – Sara Hodge, social & digital advisor
And among the downsides:
“The unending gross sales course of. Though I had a steady shopper base, this didn’t imply the work was fixed. To get new purchasers or upsell the outdated ones, it’s a must to be continually pitching.” – Mark Valasik, CMO at Kontentino
“Since social media is open 24/7, it’s good to be ready to work at unsociable hours.” – Justine Maher, advertising strategist
“It may be arduous to take time to disconnect and keep offline when it’s good to.” – Jennifer Kolbuc
Nonetheless enthusiastic about changing into a social media advisor? Maintain studying to search out out the 5 steps to get there.
Earlier than you possibly can construct a viable enterprise as a social media advisor, you’ll want some expertise. Meaning doing social media advertising for purchasers or corporations, not simply your pet’s Instagram account. Expertise gives you the arrogance to reply any shopper’s wants and worth your companies accordingly.
For those who don’t have expertise but, don’t have any worry. Take a look at our information to getting started as a social media manager first.
We’ve already coated the elemental expertise and data required to be a wonderful social media advisor. For those who reviewed the checklist and located any gaps, now’s the time to brush up and fill them. One factor which will show you how to construct your authority is to get licensed, reminiscent of by way of Hootsuite Academy.
Subsequent, you need to establish a strategy to keep up-to-date on social media trends and updates. For those who’re transitioning from working as a social media supervisor to being a advisor, you’ll spend much less time within the day-to-day work noticing developments and what’s working. So, you need to discover different methods to remain educated concerning the social media trade. The Hootsuite blog is an efficient place to begin!
Lastly, you need to construct your toolkit as a social media advisor. Usually, purchasers will ask you for suggestions on what instruments to make use of. Try to be aware of the principle classes of social media instruments, together with scheduling, analytics, listening, and engagement instruments. You must also know your most popular instruments to work with. Here’s a complete list of social media marketing tools to get you began.
Earlier than pitching your self to potential purchasers, you’ll want a portfolio to showcase your previous work and expertise.
For those who’ve solely labored in full-time company positions, you need to use examples from these roles. Simply ensure you deal with the outcomes you straight contributed to.
The format doesn’t matter for many purchasers, so long as the content material makes them assured in your experience. Listed here are some concepts to get you began:
- Share your LinkedIn profile. Ideally, this could have endorsements and hyperlinks to work samples below every place.
- Create a PDF portfolio. If design isn’t your sturdy swimsuit, we advocate utilizing Canva.
- Share a Google Drive folder or construct a web site with previous technique decks and work samples.
Tip: Create a grasp model of your portfolio containing all of your work examples and case research. Then, tailor it for every new shopper pitch by eradicating any examples irrelevant to their trade or enterprise mannequin.
A snapshot of Jennifer Kolbuc’s social media consulting portfolio
Probably the greatest and worst components of being a social media advisor is that you’ve full management over pricing your companies. On the one hand, setting your charges could be probably the most difficult psychological components of being a advisor. Alternatively, nobody is limiting how a lot you possibly can earn (not like a day job).
Earlier than discovering purchasers, you need to have your charges in thoughts. We’ll share some benchmarks and extra detailed steerage on figuring out them under.
Now that you simply’ve constructed your skillset, toolkit, portfolio, and charge card, it’s time for probably the most essential step: discovering purchasers.
I gained’t sugarcoat it — touchdown purchasers and consulting alternatives is grueling. And sadly, it’s a course of that by no means ends when you turn into a advisor.
Listed here are suggestions and sources which have labored for me, in addition to recommendation from different consultants:
- Fb & Slack teams. Many Slack and Fb teams have channels or tags for “jobs” the place members can put up consulting alternatives. I’ve discovered nearly all my consulting gigs by way of these kind of teams.
- Phrase of mouth & referrals. “85% of the purchasers I work with come from earlier company relationships or referrals.” – Christoph Schachner, social media advisor
- Private branding. “At all times put your self on the market for podcasts, workshops, and occasions.” – Jennifer Kolbuc. “Most of my purchasers discovered me by way of my on-line writing or talking at conferences.” – Ben Okay. Ellis
- Mentorship. “Lots of my purchasers come from mentoring on platforms like Growthmentor.” – Christoph Schachner
- Viewers-building. “Construct an e-mail checklist! I’ve spent two years working arduous to construct an e-mail checklist that commonly brings in gross sales and new purchasers.” – Jennifer Kolbuc
Deciding what to cost is among the most difficult facets of being a social media advisor.
Not solely is it tough to know what you need to cost, but in addition to know what purchasers are keen to pay, what different consultants are charging, and what worth you’re giving to purchasers.
Take a deep breath — we’re right here to assist. First, let’s begin with the totally different ways in which consultants can cost:
- Hourly. Advisor tracks their hours and payments the shopper primarily based on complete hours multiplied by their hourly charge. Finest if a shopper’s wants are unpredictable or the scope of labor is unknown. Nevertheless, this can require extra admin work for the advisor (time monitoring, invoicing).
- Retainer (month-to-month). Advisor quotes a hard and fast month-to-month charge to cowl all work required by the shopper every month. Finest for long-term tasks or purchasers that want the identical help on a recurring foundation.
- Mission-based. Advisor expenses a hard and fast one-time payment. Finest for tasks which have a transparent set of duties and a particular begin and finish date.
We surveyed ten consultants to establish benchmarks for freelance social media advisor charges in 2023. The charges ranged from $30 to $200 per hour, various primarily based on the advisor (years of expertise, related experience), the shopper (measurement of the corporate, price range), and work scope (size of mission, variety of companies required, hours required).
With that mentioned, many consultants don’t cost by the hour — most want month-to-month retainers or fastened project-based charges.
Ben K. Ellis shared this instance: “For those who present benchmarking experiences, take into account the variety of hours it sometimes takes you to provide these experiences and the ability set and instruments wanted. Then, choose a worth level that honors the worth the mission supplies to your shopper’s enterprise.”
Do not forget that as a freelancer, your charge must cowl your overhead prices (enterprise registration, taxes, provides & bills, laptop computer, software program & device subscriptions, and so on.), and the shortage of stability of a everlasting contract and advantages.
Tip: When you set your charges, they shouldn’t keep the identical over time. Jennifer Kolbuc explains: “With my first purchasers, I used to be very inexpensive (undercharging) in order that I might construct up a shopper checklist. Now that I’ve 15+ years of expertise, I cost extra.”
Ben Okay. Ellis recommends that you simply discover a group of fellow consultants.
“Shifting from a job with colleagues to a consulting function could be a lonely expertise. I’ve discovered a group on wonderful platforms like The Dots, Social Intelligence Lab, and Contra, partaking with and studying from different consultants and sharing suggestions, answering questions, and serving to one another.”
“Developments come and go, however a superb technique works for much longer. Don’t promote your purchasers on ‘extra followers.’ Promote them on the long-term imaginative and prescient of constructing a group. Social media shouldn’t be about short-term success, it’s about constructing one thing that can profit your corporation long-term.” – Jennifer Kolbuc
Christoph Schachner’s finest tip is to deal with bottom-line outcomes, not followers or engagement metrics.
“You have to outline the way you add worth to the enterprise. Not every little thing is 100% traceable or may have a direct impression. However utilizing a mix of self-reported attribution, qualitative metrics, and correlated income will earn you belief and purchasers.”
Shelly Terry emphasizes the worth of experimentation.
“You need to at all times be testing, theorizing what techniques will ship the technique you’re engaged on, and repeating what works till it doesn’t! Every thing continually modifications within the social panorama, and we should be adaptive.”
“EVERYTHING must be in a contract. Your scope of labor, a buffer for out-of-scope work you’re keen so as to add at no cost, and your hourly charge for further work past that. Doing this can show you how to to barter work you haven’t agreed on or increase costs.” – Mark Valasik
Social media consultants present companies with recommendation and steerage to assist them construct and execute their social media technique.
Social media consultants can cost a variety primarily based on numerous components, reminiscent of their expertise, the scope of the work, the scale of the shopper, the mission’s size, and extra. They could cost by the hour, a month-to-month retainer, or a hard and fast payment for the entire mission.
Being a superb social media advisor comes right down to placing your shopper first. You need to at all times take into account their enterprise priorities when offering suggestions and deal with serving to them obtain their enterprise targets by way of social media.
The principle distinction is seniority. Consultants are extra skilled, specialised and infrequently cost larger charges than social media freelancers. Each roles present recommendation and companies to assist companies obtain their targets by way of social media.
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