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12 Steps to Becoming a Social Media Manager

Stock image laptop | 12 steps to becoming a social media manager

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There’s no denying it — social media is an important component in every business. As entrepreneurs and business owners, social media provides us with the opportunity to connect with and grow a tight-knit community. A great social media presence creates culture around your brand. But it also allows clients and customers to feel aligned and connected to your services, products, and overall mission. The benefits that social media brings to our businesses and daily lives can be tremendous if we use it strategically. It’s no wonder that social media managers are hot and in high demand. Whether you’re wanting to start a side hustle, or build a business that you love, here are 12 steps to becoming a social media manager.

Christina working on Planoly | 12 Steps to Become a Social Media Manager

12 Steps to Becoming a Social Media Manager

Knowing how to use social media is a skill that is highly sought after. But using social media incorrectly could potentially repel clients and drive business away. Worst of all, not knowing how to use social media could be a waste of time. A poor social media strategy might attract the wrong types of audiences for a brand. As social media becomes a staple of every brand’s marketing strategy, there has never been more demand for great social media managers. And if you love social media, creating content, and think you’re cut out for the role — here are the steps you can take to build a business and become a social media manager.

Be Your Own First Client

The great thing about becoming a social media manager is that you can prove your skills by becoming your own first client. Building an engaged, tight-knit community is a skill that every brand needs to employ. Prove your social media prowess by building a social media presence of your own. Create engaging content that attracts your ideal clients and audiences, and learn the ins-and-outs of running a business account. Don’t forget, building a side hustle or small business as a social media manager means you need a social presence. Furthermore, your presence needs to relate to your ideal clients. Whether you’re serving beauty, travel, or wellness brands — pick a niche that pertains to your ideal clients and create content that speaks directly to them.

P.S. Don’t forget to stay consistent with your own social media strategy. Consistency is key!

Find and Follow Brands You Admire

Spend some time on social media and you’ll find a brand or two that has successfully created an engaged audience. Whether it’s their eye-catching graphic design or their killer captions, there’s a lot you can learn about how they’ve managed to build their community simply by following them. 

Additionally, following a brand you admire for a longer period of time would make you a natural fit as their social media manager. Following them will key you into their style, audience demographics, and brand voice. So when the time comes, you could pitch your content creation, graphic design, and social media management services with confidence.

Learn and Adapt

One thing’s for sure with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and beyond — social media is ever-evolving and rapidly changing. Great social media managers need to be ahead of the curve, learning and adapting as they go along. Stay up to date with trends, new features, and updates on the major social networks and social media platforms. Study and test out new features as early as possible and learn the ropes so your client doesn’t have to.

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Sharpen Your Writing Skills

Writing is one of the most important skills for anyone to possess. A great writer communicates clearly, simply, and has the power to persuade and evoke emotion. As a social media manager, being able to write captivating, clear, and concise captions that spark conversation is key. What’s more, being able to write well could increase the services you provide for brands.

Say, for example, the brand you’re working for has a blog. With knowledge of SEO and the ability to write effectively, you can take your social media manager role to the next level.

Exercise Creativity

Writing aside, being able to design eye-catching graphics is a great skillset to have as a social media manager. Although you don’t have to be a master illustrator, graphic designer, or photographer to succeed as a social media manager, you need to be able to create graphics that stop the scroll. Try playing around in applications like Canva, and get some practice creating brand mood boards on Pinterest. Experiment with simple color schemes and fonts, creating graphics for your own social media channels.

Stock image phone | 12 Steps to Become a Social Media Manager

Analyze Data

A good social media manager has to tap into both their creative side and analytical brain. Being able to analyze data will help point your content in the right direction.

Given the rapid nature of social media, it’s important to analyze your insights frequently. So understand your account’s reach, impressions, and engagement, on a weekly basis. Furthermore, a great social media manager should be able to read the analytics and formulate a plan of action to improve performance.

Manage Your Time Wisely

Time management is key for every business owner — social media managers included. Being able to deliver high-quality, on-brand content for your clients means dedicating enough time to getting the work done properly. Unlike posting on a day-to-day basis, social media managers should be batching content for their clients at least 2 weeks in advance. This will keep clients in the loop as to what is going out, when, and what the goal of each post is. 

Besides, being able to manage your time wisely is a key selling point for potential clients. So set a good example and demonstrate your ability to organize and keep on top of tasks.

Systems clickup and content creation example | 12 Steps to Become a Social Media Manager

Set Up Your Systems

Ideally, you’d have a handful of clients as a social media manager. With that being said, setting up the right systems for your business will put your clients’ minds at ease. Use a project management system like ClickUp or Asana. These systems will help you track your content creation, caption writing, and engagement process. Additionally, systems will allow you to streamline communications between you and your client. For instance, ClickUp makes it easy to approve projects and posts on specific dates.

You’ll also need to invest in a scheduling system in order to auto-publish posts for your clients. Planoly and Later are great auto schedulers for Instagram and Pinterest. But HootSuite will allow you to post across more social media platforms, including LinkedIn.

However, if you’re just starting out and you’re focusing solely on Instagram and Facebook, feel free to use Facebook’s Creator Studio — which is a free scheduling system.

Keep Up to Date with Industry Tools and Tech

Staying up-to-date on social networks and industry tools is an important aspect of being a social media manager. If Instagram is creating a brand new feature, social media managers need to be at the forefront of testing and figuring it out.

Learn how to leverage insights and truly understand each metric. Keeping up to date with the best tricks, tips, and practices to maximize your reach will be a crucial part of or your job as a digital marketer and social media manager.

Develop a Customer Care Strategy

Engagement with your established and growing community is at the core of social media marketing. Unlike traditional marketing, social media has allowed brands and business owners the opportunity to grow a community built on connection. As such, traditional customer service is just the surface of what a social media manager should provide. To really stand out from the crowd, develop a customer care strategy. Listen, interact, and understand the needs and demands of the brand’s customer. And if you’re newer, you can always demonstrate your ability to engage in customer and client interactions through your own profile.

Build a Portfolio

When you have all the backend, strategy, design, and written work done, your next step is to create a portfolio. Use Google Drive or Dropbox to generate a shareable link that showcases your ability to create aesthetically pleasing graphics, thought-provoking captions, and examples of data reports.

If you haven’t worked with clients before, you can always use your account as a prime example. And if you’re just starting out and would love to have some samples of your work for clients, offer your services for free in exchange for a testimonial and permission to add the work you’ve done to your portfolio.

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Charge What You’re Worth

With all the nitty-gritty details of becoming a social media manager out of the way, it’s time to talk about setting your rates and charging what you’re worth. A great place to start is to research your competitors and scope out what other social media managers charge for their services.

Additionally, you’ll want to figure out your rate model. Will you be charging hourly for your services? Or will you set a retainer, recurring subscription, or contract? Positioning your own rates takes time and confidence. For starters, it’s a safe bet to charge anywhere from $20 to $30 an hour. And the more comfortable you are within your role as a social media manager, the higher you can increase your rates.

P.S. Don’t forget to figure out a billing and invoicing system. Freshbooks, QuickBooks, and Honeybook are just a few of the most popular invoicing systems amongst small business owners.

Create a Winning Proposal

The onboarding process is a glimpse of what it’s like to work with you. Show your potential clients your level of professionalism by creating a winning proposal that includes an outline of the project. Make sure the proposal outlines objectives such as the potential client’s goals with social media. Then move on to an outline of any service you provide that could help them achieve that goal.

And since you’re a social media manager, creating a proposal template using Canva is a great idea. Not only do you take this chance to showcase your design skills, but it’ll make sending a proposal quick and easy. All you need to do is swap out any client-specific information before sending it off.

Best Courses for Social Media Managers

If becoming a social media manager sounds like a dream, consider investing in a course that’ll teach you everything you need to know to become one. Here are some of my favorite courses:

Social Shells: Social Media Manager Course

Nadine’s course teaches women how to quit their 9-5’s and pursue a career in freelance social media management. Her course covers business strategy, packaging, pricing, and creating content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

To find out more about Nadine’s course, head to her website or tune in to this episode of Her Life By Design, all about becoming a freelance social media manager.

90 Day VA

If social media management sounds interesting to you but you are on the fence, look into Ester Inman’s 90 Day VA. The course covers social media management for Instagram and Pinterest. But it also covers a lot of sought-after skills such as email marketing, project management, and video management. This course is perfect for anyone who wants to start a side hustle but they just aren’t sure which avenue they’d like to go down.

Tune in to this episode of Her Life By Design with Esther if becoming a VA is something that interests you.

The Influencer Bootcamp

Want to be a social media manager who focuses primarily (or exclusively) on Instagram? My course — the Influencer Bootcamp — will teach you all the ins-and-outs of growing an engaged community on the platform. We dive deep into establishing your unique brand, which would be tremendously helpful if you’re using your own Instagram account to attract potential clients.

The course walks you through everything you need to know from mastering stories, IGTV, Reels, captions, growing an engaged audience, and creating high-quality content.

The Power of Great Social Media Management

It is 2021 and most people know how to use social media. But when it comes to utilizing it as a powerful tool to build community and brand awareness, good help is hard to come by. These 12 steps will you get started as a social media manager. It’ll also set you off on the right foot with attention to analytics and personalized details such as your portfolio and proposal template. So if you’re ready to ditch your 9-5 and start a business that fully aligns with your passion for community and creating content, this post will equip you with all the best practices for success.

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  1. Gabriela says:

    Loved the content. Even though it’s not my mother language I could understand it clearly. Thank you for the tips. I am still in a 9-5 job (more like 7-15:45 job) and I started think about building my blog as a way on being creative and now I learn I can actually also make it a business. I don’t know I’m that much yet, but your tips help me a lot. But if I can be negative, the titles are a little too light for the background. I needed to zoom a bit to read it. But this remark has nothing to do with the content. Again, I enjoyed it a lot.

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