The Social Media Marketing (SMM) Freelancer Beginner's Guide

The Social Media Marketing (SMM) Freelancer Beginner's Guide

The popularity of social media has made it a huge digital marketing channel for brands today. Many businesses spend a significant part of their advertising budget on social media outreach. But without a well-thought-out approach, social media marketing (SMM) can be a time-consuming financial drain. Businesses need workers with the skills and experience to advertise their brand on channels like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to be a freelance social media marketer, now is a great time to do it. But how do you become one? This guide will provide a road map for starting your journey toward a career as a freelance social media marketer.

Freelance social media managers and marketers: Skills and responsibilities

Social media management requires the use of social media programs and websites to build internet traffic, promote brands, reach target audiences, and drive e-commerce sales. It’s no longer enough for businesses to market on TV or in print. They have to launch multi-channel marketing campaigns to reach their intended audiences using email marketing, online ads, and social media.

In 2020, there were over 2.7 billion monthly active Facebook pages. Companies want that business. Facebook groups give even further insight into potential customers’ interests. To reach social media users, companies have looked to integrate SMM as a central role in their marketing strategies, and they’re turning to independent professionals to handle their social media efforts.

But being a freelance SMM professional isn’t always easy. If you want to become successful, you’ll need a broad scope of knowledge and skills. Here are a few abilities that will help you manage SMM effectively.  

Skills and Responsibilities of Freelance Social Media Managers and Marketers
  • Analyzing audience composition: If you want to get the attention of a particular audience, you’ll need to get to know them intimately. An SMM expert should develop a social media strategy by researching a target demographic’s interests, whereabouts, dialogue, and other valuable information.
  • Crafting messaging: An SMM expert should speak to their audience’s needs in an appealing and relatable way. A brand’s messaging needs to be tailored to prospective clients.
  • Developing visual assets and copy: Images are essential to certain social media platforms like Instagram, while content creation is great for sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. An SMM expert should have at least some knowledge of photography, graphic design, and copywriting.
  • Targeting by demographic: For businesses to have a high marketing return on investment (ROI), they must target every advertisement toward a specific demographic. SMM experts need to know how to alter their work to appeal to many different groups.
  • Analyzing campaign performance: Just because a business’s social media page has 2 million followers doesn’t mean it’s successful. Unfortunately, a bigger following doesn’t always mean more sales. An SMM expert must be able to analyze data to attract the right traffic.
  • Engaging with followers: Staying connected to their audiences lets businesses know their prospective clients’ needs and wants. An SMM expert needs to put forth the effort to stay in touch with a brand’s followers directly, through content marketing, or by sharing their posts.
  • Social media marketing: How to build your freelance business

    Over the next few sections, we’ll look at a few ways you can start to build your freelancing SMM business. Remember, though, SMM requires a wide range of knowledge, various skills, and constant effort.

    However, SMM can be rewarding. You can measure the impact you’re making on a company’s social media presence. If you decide this career is right for you, the following tips will help you get started.  

    Start small

    Having a good portfolio is key when it comes to landing SMM work. If you don’t have proof that you can get results, a client might be less likely to hire you.

    To build up a solid body of work, consider offering to handle social media for small businesses or nonprofits and building support for the causes you care about.

    Another strategy is to offer to help people who are social media marketing experts or marketing managers. If you don’t know any SMM experts, search LinkedIn to connect with people in your industry.

    Take training and get certifications

    You don’t need a marketing degree to become an SMM expert, but you do need skills. As an independent SMM professional, you’ll constantly need to retool your skill set and build your knowledge.

    Besides knowing how to post effectively, you’ll need to know about graphic design, data analytics, and search engine optimization (SEO). Here are some training resources that range in price from low cost to free:

    As mentioned, clients want to see a history of success as a freelance SMM expert. Use these resources to learn your craft, but don’t forget to apply them to your portfolio.

    Get to know reporting tools and platforms

    When you launch a social media campaign, you have to make sure that it’s working (attracting your target audience). Social media reporting tools help you gather the data you need to analyze an ad campaign’s effectiveness. You’ll need to know things like a user’s:

    • Age
    • Location
    • Career
    • Interests
    • Background

    This may sound intrusive, but social media reporting tools only gather the information that a user publicly shares. Some quality social media reporting tools you can use to gather data include:

    Keep your social media up to date

    If you want businesses to trust you with their social media accounts, you should keep up with your own. How are business owners supposed to believe that you can improve their social media presence if you can’t use hashtags or only have three followers on Instagram?  

    Practice what you preach. The greater your social media reach is, the easier it will be to work in social media marketing. Show that you can do what you advertise by taking control of your brand as an influencer.

    Get testimonials

    Whenever you complete work, try to get a testimonial. They do wonders for increasing your credibility. A glowing review from another business or startup could be just what it takes to land a new client. Build on the good work that you do to increase your client list.

    The role of SMM manager is very involved, and you won’t be able to juggle unlimited clients. Testimonials grow your reputation so that you can land a few high-ticket clients instead of many smaller ones.

    Keep up with industry trends

    Social media trends and practices are always evolving. You need to stay up to date with them. You should know which platforms are used the most by which demographics, what new social media platforms are on the rise), and what topics are trending at a given moment.

    Social media is about what’s hot now. As an SMM expert, you’ll have to pay constant attention to current events. With the speed of information, trends can become obsolete in a matter of hours.

    Launch your SMM career on Upwork

    There’s a lot to remember when you’re trying to launch your freelance career in SMM. It’s not something that you can start doing overnight. You’ll need various skills and a bevy of knowledge to be good at it.

    However, if you thoroughly enjoy social media and are willing to consistently apply yourself, it could be the career for you. The demand for SMM workers is huge. Businesses worldwide are seeking these types of independent professionals.

    Upwork is one of the best places to launch your career as a full- or part-time freelancer. Whether you specialize in Facebook marketing or Google Ads, we give you a platform to advertise your skills to clients across the globe and connect you with the companies that are best suited for your abilities.

    Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this section. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.


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    The Social Media Marketing (SMM) Freelancer Beginner's Guide
    The Upwork Team

    Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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