In this cutthroat world of consultancy, taking up the social media mantle can be extremely hard but it is still possible for you to succeed as a freelance social media consultant. With the right skills, unique service offerings, resources, networks, creativity, and passion, you can venture into social media marketing consultancy.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind to help you understand what it takes and hit the ground running.
.Read, Read, Read
A social media marketing consultant handles everything to do with socials from developing the overall social media strategy, to managing the social media platforms, developing and designing content and visuals, engaging with communities, running ad campaigns, monitoring and analysing performance.
In order for you to be well conversant with social media marketing, you have to take time to study and get the right skills. You can complete a diploma in digital marketing, complete online courses offered Skillshare or Udemy, and also subscribe to and read blogs on Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite. At the end of the day, you want to be knowledgeable on all matters to do with marketing on social media and also apply what you have learned on your assignments. To be more specific, you need to learn the basics on social media strategy development, social media audit, benefits of each platform, key features on platforms, content strategy, paid ad campaigns, analyzing metrics, social media tools, and influencer marketing.
You can also be updated on latest trends and techniques that you can share with new/existing clients as part of demonstrating your technical know-how. As we all know, there are new innovations being introduced every day so always check if there are any new features (Marketplace, Reels, Shorts) on all platforms and how you can leverage on them.
“Each social media channel is unique. Although they have similar features, each caters to a specific segment of your target audience who prefers a particular content format. Study the way users of one channel consume content, and create your plan based on that.” Ben Larcey, founder of StoreKit.
- Build your presence online
It is true that social media accounts are now an extension of your resume/CV. Most clients looking for freelance consultants always take time to review their social media accounts or pages first. You might want to invest time and effort in building and growing your own social media pages first before promising your clients results. You can also share your portfolio of work, significant innovations, and expert opinions on social media marketing, especially on B2B platforms such as Linkedin.
Most international consultants are incorporating videos to promote their businesses. It might be time to put a face to the name and build trust and credibility. As you share your portfolio, remember to prepare a well-designed portfolio (PDF or website) with information on top brands you have worked with, successful campaigns backed by data, client testimonials, etc that you can share based on requests. Social media is a great platform to sell your services too. Take time to publish content on groups such as Career Women Kenya and Africa Leading Ladies to get noticed by potential entrepreneurs. Another powerful way to promote your business is through blogging. With platforms such as Upwork, you can start applying for online jobs that match your knowledge and skills to gain hands-on experience.
- Become a content creator and a graphic designer
As a consultant who will probably be given multiple assignments in various sectors. It is beneficial to develop and improve your skills in writing and content creation. The best thing to do is to review campaigns, content such as blogs, videos, newsletters done by similar organisations in the same industry to get a sense of what will be required. You can then develop out-of-the-box ideas that will make you stand out.
In addition to that, with free applications such as Canva, you can practice developing different simple design layouts that will go hand-in-hand with the content you create making you a desirable candidate for businesses. With the right equipment, you can also start shooting short Tiktok and YouTube videos and edit using video software. Being a consultant doesn’t mean you have to work alone. For advanced designs, do consider working closely with a part-time designer paid per project and for videos, consider working with a freelance videographer.
- Find your first clients
One best approach to widen your clientele base is to do an amazing job for the few clients you might get at the beginning to the point that they share your work and contacts with others. You can also gather client testimonials, a powerful marketing tool in this digital world, and build connections by attending key events and networking in Sacco meetings, chamas, church events, forums, expos and exhibitions, follow and engage with brands you wish to work with, join online groups and forums, build a powerful Linkedin Profile, etc. One tactic you can consider is reaching out to local businesses within your area, share your business cards and your brochures or offer services at a discounted rate. Additionally, you can tell your family and friends about your business constantly so that they can support you as well.
- Demonstrate your value
As you pitch your services to clients, do ensure that you conduct research on the business including also reviewing their online presence then proceed to develop a proposal that highlights the potential gaps and how you aim to bridge those gaps. You will also need to tie the social media marketing objectives with the overall business objectives for the executives to fully understand the importance of hiring you. If a client is only focused on an objective such as audience growth on Instagram, it is will be an opportune time to suggest holistic social media services for maximum results and showcase your ability to handle everything.
One key point to note is that social media marketing involves more than posting captions and photos/videos, it involves strategic planning on how a brand can take advantage of social media, execution of various approaches/tactics, analyzing key metrics etc to help clients achieve their designed outcomes. Explain everything that clients might not have thought about in the initial kick-off meeting to win them over. It’s as simple as that.
“Add value, over-deliver for all your clients, and make them feel as if they are your only client.”- Grace Oduor
- Get the right tools
As a social media consultant, you need access to various applications such as Canva and platforms such as Sprout Social and Hootsuite for better management of social media and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom for virtual meetings. To help you run the business smoothly, you will need software for customer management, proposal development, contracting accounting and invoicing, office applications etc.
Flexibility, ability to work with new diverse clients, space for creativity, taking lead on projects……….. the benefits of becoming an Social Media consultant are endless. But it takes a lot of effort and determination.
With these key tips, you can embark on your journey to becoming a successful social media marketing consultant. You will learn and grow along the way and also have unforgettable experiences that will propel you to greater heights.
Blog by Grace Oduor, marketing and communications consultant