How to Make Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Social Media Marketing Manager

The following is a guest post.

Social media marketing is one of the more fun and profitable side hustles. You can do it on your own schedule from anywhere with a WiFi connection. And, there’s very good money to be made helping local businesses drive sales via their social accounts.

Still, learning social media marketing without an actual college marketing degree and finding clients who are willing to pay you a liveable income just to update their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts seems kind of impossible, right? … The truth is, not at all.

The Demand for Social Media Experts

Freelance social media managers are in huge demand from local businesses. Even though social media has been around since 1997, it’s still a new frontier for marketers. And with over half of Americans on social media, businesses understand that they need a social presence to grow their company.

Further, there are a ton of free resources available on the internet to learn social media marketing, so no marketing degree is required to start this side hustle. Just time and dedication to learning the craft.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

4 Steps to Earning Your First $1K as a Freelance Social Media Manager

Is freelance social media marketing something that interests you? Good, because in this article, I’ll show you four steps to making your first $1,000 as a freelance social media manager.

1. Get the Skills and Tools You Need

First thing’s first: you need to become the best social media manager possible.

If you already work as a social media manager or are knowledgeable in the social media space, you can probably skip this section. However, it’s chock-full of good resources and tools that are useful to newbies and social media veterans alike.

Free & Cheap Social Media Marketing Resources

If you don’t have social media marketing knowledge, don’t fret. There’s tons of good resources on the web that can take you from zero knowledge to full-blown social media manager with enough time and dedication.

For example, I learned social media and content marketing by watching instructional video series, reading marketing books, and subscribing to marketing-focused blogs.

Many of these resources are free, and the ones that aren’t are usually inexpensive. Here’s a list of my favorite social media blogs, books, and podcasts.




The Tools You’ll Need

When working as a social media manager, you’ll need a set of social media management tools at your disposal too.

At the core of social media management is a good social media scheduling too. This allows you to schedule posts to multiple social media accounts, view analytics, and produce reports. This is important so you can manage multiple clients and prove that you’re driving them real results.

My social media management tool of choice is Social Report as it supports the most social networks and offers amazing automation features. Other alternatives include Buffer, Sprout Social, and Agorapulse. Do your own research and find what tool is best for you.

Other helpful tools include Unsplash for free images, Canva for making social media banners, and Storyheap for making Instagram and Snapchat stories on the web.

2. Market Yourself and Build a Portfolio

Before you can get a paid gig, you need to build a portfolio. Unfortunately, this often means working for little or free. But trust me, it’s worth it.

One of the best ways to get experience in the field is to reach out to community, academic, or religious groups you’re a part of. For example, my first social media gig was running social media for my church’s high school group.

Why do this? Simple: you’ll build a portfolio, gain experience, and you’ll get an awesome testimonial. You can use the volunteer client as a reference when searching for paid clients (more on that later), giving you a huge leg up on the competition.

Once you find a viable organization, it’s time to get to work. Put the knowledge you learned in Step #1 into action and manage your organization’s social media for 3-4 months.

Option Two: Creating and Promoting Your Own Blog

If you don’t like the idea of working for free, you can try starting and promoting your own blog too.

Find your niche, and promote your content. After building readership via social media, pull reports using your social media management app and save them for step four.

Need help building a blog? See this post on making your first $1,000 as a freelance writer.

The only downside to making and promoting your own blog is that you don’t have any references to pull from. Unfortunately, this means no testimonial or recommendation, but you do get the upside of being able to grow your own blog.

3. Define Your Business Plan

Now you have the skills and experience; it’s almost time to start looking for your first paid social media client.

But before you do that, it’s important that you come up with a business model and decide how to price your social media management services.

After all, starting a social media management side hustle means running a small business too.

Don’t fret though: your business plan doesn’t need to be a 50-page document of the ins and outs of your company.

In fact, in the beginning, your business plan should be a one-pager that lays out business goals and how you plan to meet them.

3 Points Your Freelance SMM Business Plan Should Cover

For the first iteration, your business plan should lay out:

  • What your 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month business goals are;
  • How much money you hope to make during these months; and
  • And how you plan on meeting those financial goals.

Start small for your 3-month goals. Make it a goal to make $500 per month in the beginning, and then slowly ramp up as you get into the groove and can take on more clients.

Be specific on how you plan to meet these goals. Define how many clients you’ll need to take on to meet your 3, 6, and 12 month income goals and define how much you’ll need to charge for your services (more on that in a sec).

How Should You Price Your Freelance Social Media Marketing Services?

When defining your prices, think about what you can provide to your client beyond just updating his or her social media feeds.

Have good design skills and can make awesome social media graphics for your client? Factor this into your pricing. Same goes for if you can write blog posts or take original photographs. These skills aren’t directly related to social media management, but are good value adds to make note of.

Once you’ve put together a list of all the value you can provide to your clients, define how you plan on charging for your work.

There are two ways to price your so social media management work: by the month or by the hour. Hourly is nice because you can make more money, but budget-conscious clients may be wary of going over their budget.

Monthly is often the more attractive pricing model to clients. Your clients can budget accordingly, and you’ll know exactly how much money you’ll make in any given month.

4. Find Paid Gigs

So you have a portfolio, a few months of experience, and a great testimonial from your client. Now for the fun part: getting your first paid client.

Think locally for your first paid gig. The best way to find your first client is by making a list of local businesses and searching for their social media pages. Take note of the businesses that either don’t have a social presence or have one that’s rarely updated.

Of the businesses you find without a social presence, find the ones that your interests most align with. Are you a pizza lover? Reach out to the local pizzeria before the vegan restaurant. Extra points if you regularly visit this establishment and know some of the staff.

Then, reach out to your top five companies. I recommend going the email route versus a phone call as it’s less intrusive and gives the potential client more time to think about the benefits of social media marketing.

What to include in your marketing email

When reaching out to potential clients, don’t just ask them if you can manage their business’ social media. Instead, open with a compliment, discuss the benefits of social media marketing, and ask for an in-person or phone meeting to discuss further.

What don’t you include? A price-tag. If your potential client sees a number before hearing the many benefits of social media and the extent of your services, there’s a good chance that they’ll get sticker shock. Save this discussion for after you get them hooked.

Social Media Marketing Email: Template for Potential Clients

Here’s a sample email that I’ve used in the past. Adapt it and make it your own, and you might find yourself with your first paid client!

Dear Ms./Mr. Potential Client:

My name’s Andrew Kunesh and I live right around the corner from your store. I’m a huge fan of your pizzas—the spicy Italian is a favorite of me and my girlfriend for a Friday night treat!

I’m reaching out because I was browsing the menu on your website and noticed that you don’t have social media accounts for for your business. With over 61% of North Americans using social media on a daily basis, you may be missing out on new customers (and they’re missing out on your awesome pizza!)

I’m a freelance social media manager, and I’d love to handle social media for your business for a very reasonable rate. I currently run social media for the local YMCA and a local Czech-American organization, and am hoping to bring on one more client!

Can we schedule a meeting this week to discuss my offerings? Happy to swing by the shop or discuss over the phone at your convenience.

Thanks for your time!

Andrew Kunesh

Send this to a few local businesses every day and you’ll soon find yourself with a meeting to discuss your offerings. Show the potential client your past work, positive results, and further chat about the benefits of his or her business having a social presence.

Make sure to follow up with clients after your meeting too. This keeps you fresh in the potential client’s mind, and ensures that you have the best chance at scoring your first paid social media client.

Once you sign your first client, don’t look for others right away. Get into the groove of working with a paid client for a couple of months and ensure that they’re happy with your work and results.

Freelance Social Media Marketing Contract: What to Include

When you sign your first client, make sure to produce a contract and have them sign it. In this contract, outline your:

  • services;
  • prices;
  • any particulars discussed that cover thing like type of content to be posted and when; and
  • when and how you expect to get paid.

This will save you major headaches down the line.

When you feel comfortable with your results, ask your current referral to write you a testimonial. Use this when reaching out to future clients, and you’ll be earning $1,000 (or more!) per month managing social media in no time.

About The Author: Andrew Kunesh is a freelance writer and digital marketing manager. He spends his days writing content and helping others to better market their products and jump right into the social media marketing. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

P.S.: Start a Social Media Consulting & Online Writing Biz TODAY!

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