Introduction to start an online business as a social media consultant
Hi friends, today we are here with an interesting topic on how to start an online business as a social media consultant. If you have a zeal to become a social media consultant but you’re not sure how to get started, or you’re hiring a social media consultant for your team but you’re not sure what to look for, keep reading. Social media consultant acts as the face and voice of the business in social networks. Demand for social media specialists has grown tremendously in recent years.
A guide of starting an online business as a social media consultant
Since social media has become an integral part of the lives of almost everyone globally, it has become relevant that the internet and social media becomes integrated into the affairs of individuals and businesses seeking to boost the awareness of their brand.
With thousands of companies hiring for social media related positions, you might be wondering whether it’s time to start a social media consulting business. In this article, we will let you know the steps to start a social media consulting business, tips to be a successful social media consultant, and the pros and cons of a social media consulting business.
Do your research and acquire the necessary skills
No one will hire you as their social media consultant if you can’t prove you know what you’re talking about. If you’re starting from scratch, consider enrolling in online courses and read related books to boost your knowledge and credentials.
Like at the beginning of any new business, putting hard work can help you in the long run. While having an active social media presence can help establish credibility, just having 1,000 Facebook friends or 2,000 Twitter followers doesn’t cut it. Creating a business plan helps you work through how you’ll make your money.
Abilities of a social media consultant are mentioned below:
- An understanding of the client’s business and target audience
- An understanding of branding and the ability to maintain the brand’s voice
- To increase engagement and drive sales you need the creative ability
- An operational understanding of how to make effective posts across the major social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Some social media consultants specialize in one or more of these social networks.
- The ability to run paid social campaigns
If you’re starting from scratch, we suggest investing in online courses to boost your knowledge and credentials. Combined with credibility, you need to show the experience that you have which equates to why you can make money off of others. If you don’t have any experience in social media you can’t expect to get any business.
Find your first clients
Consider these tips to help you find your first clients:
- Find local small businesses in your neighborhood in need of a social media consultant and offer your services at a lower rate.
- If you have no experience, go through your network of people and agree to work for free to build your portfolio. Ask family, friends, or co-workers who own businesses to manage their social accounts.
- Become active in your local business community. Join the Chamber of Commerce meetings where you can connect with businesses looking for social media consultants.
- Go for internships: along with school experience, real-world experience is also needed. Look for a program that offers students internships. If your program doesn’t offer an internship, take initiative, and seek one out that does. Companies love to hire free help!
- Start freelancing: There are tons of freelance websites out there where people post social media marketing jobs daily. Up work and Freelancers are just two of the most popular ones.
Network as early as you can
Believe it or not, it’s hard to break through a market where you barely know anyone. Networking takes time, so you need to start making real connections as early as you can.
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The best places to meet awesome people who share in your line of thoughts are meetings that are specific to your niche. Visit Meetup.com and search for relevant meetings such as social media marketing, digital marketing, coaching, consulting businesses, etc. Find those near your area and mark your calendar. Twitter chats can also help you meet some awesome people who are into what you are doing.
Determine your rates & financial policies
Before you start expanding your client base, you must first establish your rates, payment schedule, and mode of payments. Knowing what to charge clients as a social media consultant can be painful, especially when you’re just starting. But you have to do it right if you don’t want to struggle with a bank account that’s running on fumes.
As a freelancer, you will most likely invoice clients for services that you provide. Some clients are chronic late payers, and that could be disastrous for your cash flow. Offer early payment discounts, or charge a small late fee if payment is not received at the agreed-upon time.
As a business owner, you also have to think about hiring an accountant or buying software to take care of your invoices, taxes, and payroll. Establish this at the start so that everything runs smoothly once you begin operations.
Choose your niche
The social media industry is a vast one and so social media consultants are choosing what niche they feel they would be able to master to offer better services to their clients. When you get on these sites, you may notice that some companies are searching for very specialized social media services. That is because there are multiple niches within social media consulting:
Generalist – Possesses surface level knowledge on community management, ad management, and content creation
Data Analyst – Studies data and insights gathered from campaigns and provides suggestions to improve future campaigns
Community Manager – Serves as the face and voice of the brand by increasing brand awareness, engaging with customers, and driving conversations
Marketer – Conceptualizes and manages paid promotions on various social media networks to increase customer growth, profitability, and loyalty
Therefore some of the niche areas that you can major in when starting your social media consulting company are:
- Social media consulting
- Content creator
- Content strategist and marketing
- Social media copywriter
- Digital marketing specialist
- Social media graphics designer
- Obtain licenses and permits
Decide what services you’ll offer
You can offer several packages, such as a start-up service that creates accounts then passes management of them back to the client. You might want to focus more on marketing or more on data analysis. Your key talents will help you narrow it down. Go with what you’re good at.
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Some tasks of a social media consultant are:
- Social media audit
- Coaching sessions or retainers
- Social media management
- Account creation and setup for new businesses
- Social media strategy session
- Brand awareness
Make connections, both online and offline
You need to work hard to engage with others on social media channels to build out the reach of your network, but don’t forget to take those relationships offline and expand upon them. Chances are your first deals that are going to come locally, so you should concentrate on local networking before being too ambitious and thinking nationally or even globally.
Here, the deal is the more you’ll surround yourself with other social media consultants, the bigger your chances for growth. So, what about the competition?
There is no competition. There are only people like you who want to make a decent living and whom you can turn to when you’re drowning in work. In your network, you can find professionals with similar interests.
Here’s how to find them:
- Go to social media events and meet them in person
- Build a powerful LinkedIn profile, connect and engage online
- For those who manage and consult on social media join social media groups
The marketing plan for starting a social media consultant business
The social media consulting business is filled with intense competition and it is, therefore, necessary that you have the right plans in place that will allow you to not only generate the needed revenue for your business but also get the attention of your target market. Remember that the revenue you will generate is what will sustain and grow your business to the point where you can achieve all your short and long term goals.
Below are some of the marketing ideas and strategies for your social media consulting business:
- Place adverts on popular blogs and forum for your social media consulting business
- Ensure that you use social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus to market your business
- Distribute handbills and business cards and paste fliers in strategic locations
- Ask your loyal customers to help spread the word about your business
- Engage your clients’ target audience, as well as the ability to create graphics that will attract those people to the posts in the first place
Don’t fall into the common mistakes
There is a chance of doing some mistakes while starting a social media consulting business. So be careful while making those mistakes.
Here is the list of common mistakes that every social media consultant will fall under:
- Undervaluing yourself
- Not getting work in writing
- Poor communication
- Dismissing social marketing as ineffective
- Not having a social media marketing plan
- Treating all social media platforms the same
- Failing to engage in conversations
Success tips for social media consultants
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You probably realized by now becoming a social media consultant takes a lot of effort and determination. But it’s double, as long as you build the right habits.
Check out the tips for social media consultant wishes they had been told before they got started.
- Keep in mind it’s a saturated market. You don’t want to offer the same service everyone else does, so get creative and prepare to stand out.
- Starting is hard. Try not to be picky when it comes to finding your first client-consider doing some pro-bono work.
- Make sure you have a grand sales pitch. Showcase your skills and what sets you apart.
- Spend time weekly on checking out the latest social media trends.
- Don’t take it personally if some clients don’t agree with your social media advice. Sometimes, clients can’t see another way that’s not theirs. Either show your authority or look for someone else to offer your services to.
- Get organized at the beginning so you can handle tons of clients when you strike it big.
- Adjust your proposal for each client. No one wants to receive a custom proposal that’s not catered to their specific needs.
Pros and cons of starting a social media consultant business
Here is the list of pros and cons of a social media consultant:
Pros of being a social media consultant
- You can build a larger following
- It requires little investment or equipment to get started
- No storefront is needed
- You’ll get help with analytics
- You have an opportunity to find a niche and focus on that
- You can run the business from home, or anywhere else with internet access
Cons of being a social media consultant
- The success rate will change daily
- You must be available 24/7
- It’s important also to have a strong understanding of your clients’ businesses
- Not all businesses understand the power of social media
The bottom line on how to start a social media consultant business
Starting a social media consulting business is not easy. You have to build your business from the ground up like any other business. You need to make sure that you have the necessary qualifications before you can sign clients. From there, you can expand your client base, get financing, and hire people. There’s a lot of work involved, but it can be a very lucrative career in high demand.
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