The biggest marketing turn of the century came in May of 2012 when Facebook went public. Since that day and beyond social media as a capital juggernaut has redefined the idea of social media as an advertising space and marketing platform in its entirety. Ironically the platforms used by hundreds of millions to define and sell themselves are now one of the biggest proprietors of business-to-consumer content in existence.
Now, you’ve elected to ride that wave and take social media as a legitimate career. What does it take to cover your bases as a social media entrepreneur? Here are 5 easy steps that will take you to become a social media freelancer.
1. Know Your Structure
Depending on how you plan to execute your business and the scale you are trying to reach, there are several keys and slightly different ways to best go about setting up your business.
- Establish your Sole Tradership/Sole Proprietorship
- Set up an LLC
Sole Proprietorship’s are intended for one person that is running the company, as the company. It offers essentially no legal distinction. You can employ others, and it offers the ability to get you up and running quickly.
LLCs (Limited Liability Corporation) conversely take more time and money to establish but offer a legal distinction between the business and the individual. Consider if you had a campaign that went incredibly far south and wanted legal coverage. They do need to be registered with the State.
- Look to Register Trademarks
- Register for a Tax Number
This will set you up to avoid any major headaches come tax time. For many of those just starting a business this number if not managed properly can take an amazingly large cut of any would-be profit, you are assuming.
- Create a Separate Business Bank Account
Build an account distinction between yourself and your company. This will additionally help in the early days as you are pioneering out into the world of business ventures. The software can help in this regard to streamlining your payment and billing pipelines. Stripe is a very common form of such software.
As you begin to do work you will generate pieces that receive either enough accolades – views, likes, shares, etc. or enough creative merit to add to a special area of regarded work. This area will become your portfolio. This is what you can demonstrate to potential clients to help them buy into your vision.
A strong social media portfolio typically involves, an indication of the KPI – Key Performance Indicators and metrics, the actual visual piece, an explanation of the creative process, and the ultimate results of the piece. This is a huge indicator of analytic and creative proficiency as well as a major bartering chip in the client acquisition process.
3. Proper Pricing
As you begin to create as a social media freelancer, you will be able to measure and allot out your creative process. Knowing your timetables, skillset, and affinities will let your best price and understand your deliverables. Knowing how long it will take you will help you lay out your timeline. Your skills will help reveal areas to focus on and develop as well as your own personal best marketables via your growing portfolio. All of this will come to comprise the packages you offer and the scale at which you price them.
Here are several pricing models:
- Hourly Rate
- Monthly Retainer
- Set Campaign
Additionally, there are experience levels that can help you differentiate yourself and understand your relative place in the market:
- Junior – 2 Years: 20-30 per hour
- Mid – 3-5 Years: 40-75 per hour
- Senior – 5-8 Years: 80-100 per hour
- Expert – 10+ Years: 100-250 per hour
4. Build Your Network and Market Yourself
This comes after you’ve made headway into the market. You know your aptitudes worked out your vanguard pricing plan and begun situating yourself in the space. That portfolio is getting fat and you begin to garner a bit of a reputation. Now you need to begin networking.
This brings in new business and allows you to connect to other social media entrepreneurs that are, like you, trying to dominate the space. Your peers can offer tips and insights and also help volley jobs and projects off you. By being in the space you can begin to saturate the market with yourself and start to grow in even greater prominence.
This can even go further with employing the tactics you’ve learned to serve others to begin to work for you. Additionally, even taking the time to market through your own identity and name both directly and indirectly can put you in public consciousness outside of your space.
This is the final step to reaching the pinnacle of the industry. While this is largely a business step, at this point you are deep in the social media marketing business. This means that you look to take on salaried employees, gain new clients and outsource work accordingly as you scale your business and its identity up the ladder.
At this point in the business, it is important to:
- Gather Testimonials
- Perform Case Studies
It was the review feature that was allotted to much of Amazon’s early success. Testimonials and referrals are some of the easiest ways to score high-quality, like-minded clientele in the future. The higher the quality of the testimonial or the referee, the more likely it is that the inbound client will be of a similar nature and quality.
As your work and work management grow, so shall your reputation, size, scale, hopefully, quality, and most of all ability to take more work as a social media freelancer. At this point, your fledgling social media upstart has become a dominating force within the space simply by doing the easy, difficult thing, consistently over time.