Before starting a social media management business, make sure you have the basic know-how and the commitment to stick with it. If you’re ready to get started, here are the steps to take:
Build your own social media following. More than a huge number of followers, you should have influence. A large number of followers means nothing if none of them are paying attention to what you post. Your goal is to build a following that engages with you. That means they comment, share or like what you post. One way to quantify your influence is through PeerIndex (Brandwatch) , all of which monitor your social media activity and assigns a score that reflects your influence.
Study social media. Social media platforms change, and the marketing tactics to use them evolve, which requires that you stay on top of these changes and trends. Also, pay attention to people who have a lot of engagement on social media. What sorts of things do they post that are causing people to respond?
Decide what services you’ll offer. You can offer several packages, such as a start-up service that creates the accounts and then passes the management back to the client, and/or a full-service package that does everything from creating the accounts, posting content, and moderating the community. As you decide what to offer, consider if there are industries you want to focus in. For example, you can be a social media manager for Realtors or authors. Finally, determine which platforms you’ll specialize in. While knowing something of all the major platforms is important, sometimes focusing on a couple that reap big results for the client’s industry is better. Further, some clients may have Twitter and Facebook down pat, but need help with Pinterest or YouTube.
Write a business plan. Your business plan doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Instead, it’s a roadmap for your business success. In it, you outline your business goals, services, assets and liabilities, marketing information and how you’ll compete against the competition.
Determine your pricing. Payscale reports that social media managers earn a median of $48,150 per year, with a range of $31,015 – $74,738 (as of 12/2017). As a new business, you may have difficulty charging higher amounts initially. Referrals and testimonials will be crucial to helping you earn the big bucks. What you charge will depend on your experience and the work you do. You can charge by the hour or offer package plans.
Decide on your business name. A business name becomes your brand, so it’s something you want to choose carefully. It needs to reflect your service and your market. Any name you choose a name that is not your given name should be checked at the USPTO to make sure it’s not already trademarked.
Determine your business structure. Starting out, you can operate under a sole proprietorship, which is free and doesn’t require any paperwork except for a business license. However, since social media can go wrong, and a client might sue you for any problems it might incur from social media, you should consider forming a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC doesn’t prevent you from getting sued but does protect your personal assets (i.e. your home) if you are sued. Most states offer single-person LLCs now. Although it requires a little more paperwork and money to start than a sole proprietorship, it’s worth the extra protection.
Obtain licenses and permits as required in your city or county. Contact your local city or county about getting a business license. In many places, you can do this online. If your business name is something other than your given name, you may need to file a fictitious name statement (sometimes called “assumed name statement” or “doing business as statement”), as well.
Develop a marketing plan. As a marketing expert, you’d be remiss not to make your own plan for getting clients. This should include social media, especially LinkedIn. Networking will be your best bet for getting your initial client(s), but also include methods for getting testimonials and referrals.
Work your plan and build your business. Once you have everything in place, your job is to get clients and provide the best social media management service possible.
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