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Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in Finding Clients, General Advice, Guest Posts, Marketing & Advertising | 0 comments

7 Steps How to Start Your Own Freelance Social Media Consultant Business – Even if You Have NO Experience!

The following is a guest post written by Sonja Mishek, a Social Media/Interactive Marketing Consultant:

Businesses of all types and sizes are recognizing the importance of being on social networks such as twitter and Facebook to build brand awareness and connect with their customers.

Social media is no longer a fad. It’s now a necessary part of doing business and a credibility issue. Years ago, a business simply had to have a website. Now, they are required to be on google maps, Facebook, Twitter, and so forth for customers to find them.

Unfortunately, businesses tend to be behind in the social media race. Most are not familiar about how to implement a social media strategy, let alone have experienced employees to tackle the task.

That’s where YOU come in – even if you have no experience.

Here are 7 steps to start your own freelance social media consultant business:

1. Gain Credibility

One of the first things a potential client will ask you is about your experience.

If you have experience, then this is the easy part – tell them all your social media expertise. But what if you’ve never done a social media page or campaign before? You’ll need to get some experience before landing your first client. The fastest way to get experience is to contact a local small business or non-profit business and offer to handle their social media presence for free. After only a few months, you’ll have both the experience and testimonials to show future clients.

2. Choose a Niche

The biggest mistake you can make is to go after every type of business at once.

Choose a niche you’re interested in – such as doctors, vets, landscaping business, wedding consultants, etc and become an expert in that industry.  Learn everything you can about that business and its target market. Who are the customers? What do they like and dislike? Who is the competition? What social media platforms are used most often? Once you thoroughly understand the business, you’ll be able to answer any questions clients have and can recommend the best social media strategy to reach and engage the customers. You can add more niches to specialize in to grow your business.

3. Start Small

Start with one client at a time and do a good job.

Think about the sites you’ll use that will best fit the customers. Customers mainly use company Facebook pages to receive free items or discounts. Twitter is used to get product updates or newsy information. Pinterest is used mainly by women to pin favorite products or memorable images. Pick the social media platforms that best aligns with your client. More is not necessarily better at first. You can always add more accounts and link them together later to expand the company brand.

4. Get Personal

Anyone can re-tweet pre-written messages or news for a business.

The best social media consultant helps the business develop a “personality” so customers will feel like they’re dealing with actual human beings. Sharing a few interesting tidbits about your hobbies, interests, pets, likes and dislikes makes you – and the business – more approachable. Don’t just DO social – BE social. Inspirational quotes, sayings, and funny pictures get more interaction than posts about how great your product is.

5. Measure, Measure, Measure

Businesses want a return on their investments.

Make sure you know what your clients’ social media goals are so you can measure performance. Do they want to be mentioned by top influencers in the industry? Then measure that. Do they want more registrations for their online class or webinar? Then measure that. Do they want more sales leads? Then sales leads should be measured and tracked. Set goals and expectations right away and measure results.

6. Set Up a Social Media Calendar

Plan out your posts and campaigns so everyone knows when and what to expect.

A well planned out and executed calendar will make your job that much easier.  This is especially important if different people in different departments are contributing content. Make sure to include content that asks for participation, such as surveys, contests, polls, etc. These are fun for customers and helps them to get to know the person behind the business.

7. Money Talks

What are your payment terms and are they negotiable?

Let your clients know whether you need to be paid a monthly retainer, simply by the hour, or by the project. Other payment-related questions: How often are invoice payments due–every 30, 60 or 90 days? Is there an interest fee for late payments? Do you offer a discount for additional accounts or referring clients? Do you require a minimum contract period? All of these issues should be clearly stated and agreed on in advance.

Social media experts are in high demand and is growing every year. These 7 steps will help you get started with your own freelance business so you can work where you want – when you want.

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