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Social Media Consulting: 11 Freelancers Reveal 12 Ways They Landed Their First Client

I have probably half a dozen freelance writers that I stay in touch with on a regular basis. When I say regular, I mean every three, five or six months, they’ll email me updates about how their businesses are going.

A couple of weeks ago, I received the following email from one of my “regulars.” She wrote:

I [have had] to reinvent my business a bit, however, since I am known for writing and social media, that’s what people are asking me for! Most of the new clients or potential prospects that have been coming my way have been through word of mouth or referral.

A bit of my challenge is, people are still stuck on my rates from 9 years ago! I tell them no, I raised my rates and they still tell me they have no budget, etc, etc. So, that’s what I struggle with a bit too. I guess once I find out a way to be more assertive and stick to my guns, I wouldn’t be so opposed to offering my gifts for the RIGHT PRICE.

You probably already know this, but I just wanted to give you insight of what is being requested so you can share with your readers. Blogging and social media management.

That’s what gave me the idea for this post. You see, she’s right, blogging and social media account management are huge for clients right now … and that’s not about to change anytime soon. The web runs on content — all kinds of it. And for it to be effective, it has to be shared. And boy, is it getting shared!

Why Social Media Marketing Is So Important Now

A big reason is because social media is one of the biggest referrers of online traffic these days. Proof?

According to a 2014 report released by content marketing hub Shareaholic, social media is the #1 driver of all website referral traffic. As of December 2014, 31.24% of all referral traffic was from social media; compared to 22.71% from the same period the previous year.

Facebook has overtaken Google as the main source of traffic referral for news and media sites, accounting for about 43% of the traffic to the Parse.ly network of media sites, while Google accounted for just 38%.

Which Social Media Site Refers the Most Traffic?

Without a doubt, it’s Facebook, as the graph below illustrates. Following are some stats from the Shareaholic report this graph was taken from.

Which Social Media Site Refers the Most Traffic?

1. Facebook: From December 2011 to December 2014, Facebook sent 24.63% of the total visits publishers received in December 2014, swelling its share of traffic swelled 277.26% during this period. Americans are also spending considerably more time on Facebook, from 15.5 minutes per day in 2011 to 42.1 minutes per day in 2014.

2. Pinterest: Pinterest delivered 5.06% of total visits to sites across the web, overtaking Twitter and StumbleUpon in 2012.

It increased its lead in 2013 and 2014, plateauing in March of 2014. Experts think this is due to its image of being “for women only,” saying it needs to shed this to have more mass market appeal in order to keep growing.

3. Twitter: Twitter, the 3rd largest referrer of social traffic, contributed 0.82% of overall visits to sites last month.

Other traffic referrers mentioned were …

StumbleUpon: Formerly the 2nd largest driver of social traffic, StumbleUpon has dropped to 4th place.

Reddit: Today it delivers just 0.15%. of traffic. Users there reported aren’t fond of brands and tend to be part of a more “insular community.”

Google Plus: It sends 0.04% of traffic. Many report being too busy with Facebook and Twitter to actively participate here, which is required in order to be effective on the network.

LinkedIn: It is the largest social media network for professionals. During the period mentioned, it held a 0.05% traffic share, and is still a great way to make connections and generate leads.

YouTube: While it delivers the most engaged social visitors, it drives the fewest — just 0.01%. Its sharp decline in traffic referral is due to the rise in popularity of Facebook, which has cannibalized YouTube’s traffic share.

Instagram: This is a fast-growing social media network that can no longer be ignored. It has more than 400 million active users, placing it well ahead of Twitter (310 million active users), Snapchat (200 million active users), and Pinterest (100 million active users).

Online adults who use the site has doubled since the Pew Research Center first started tracking social media platform adoption in 2012. So if it fits your clients’ demographics, it’s a site you definitely want to be on.

Which Social Media Outlets Should You Offer Services For?

At my SEO writing company, I only offer social media account management for two – Facebook and Twitter. That’s because, for the market I target (mostly small to mid-size B2B companies), these are the outlets that work best for them.

You can offer it for all, or a few, or one. It’s really up to you. But, the first question you need to ask is, “What social media outlet will best suit my client needs?” You see, each social media outlet has its own demographic. Sure, some of them overlap with each other, but select the best one that’s going to give your clients the biggest bang for their buck (if they can only afford you to update one for them).

Marketing for Social Media Work Tip: Bundle accounts.

It’s not that much more work to handle updating two accounts than one. Now, you may have to put in more research time, so keep that in mind. But be mindful when setting your social media consulting rates to bundle two or more sites together to make it easy for a prospect to say “Yes!”

Demographics: Who Uses Which Social Media Site?

Following is a quick “demographic personality” of each social media outlet (click image for larger view, and feel free to share it on your social media outlets).

Social Media Demographics

12 Ways to Land Your First Social Media Consulting Client

Now that you know why social media is growing and which outlets may work best for your clients, following are 12 ways 11 freelancers have used effectively to land their first social media consulting client. You can too!

1. Previous/Existing Clients

This is how I got my first social media client. It was for an Australian business that hired me to write weekly content for their website. After about a year of writing for them, one of the editors left to do her own thing, and she contacted me and asked to handle updating her social media platform.

It consisted of finding relevant content to post daily (M-F). It took me anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour to find six to eight relevant tweets to send out. Then I was charging $247 per month. Sometimes, I would sit down and find a week’s worth of tweets, then pre-schedule them to go out using SocialOomph.

Most days I would schedule two to three days worth of tweets at one time, so I was only in the account a couple of times per week. In addition to finding things to tweet, I also forwarded any inquiries that were generated by the tweets to her, which she handled/answered.

Hour-wise, it only worked out to about $25 in income, but it was some of the easiest, stress-free money I ever made. That’s how I got my feet wet in managing social media accounts.

You already write content for clients. Without distribution, it’s practically useless today though, so ask clients if they need you to handle this for them. You can increase the size of a few invoices by 25, 30 or 40 percent of more. Imagine what that’ll do to your income over a year’s time?

2. Chamber of Commerce

I’m a big proponent of networking via Chambers of Commerce where possible, because as I say in the linked-to post here:

This is exactly where most of the “real money” (ie, commercial writing) is in freelance writing.

Chamber members are made up of businesses from the local community. Here you will find such diverse businesses as print shops, staffing agencies, real estate agents, insurance agents, mortgage brokers, catering services, marketing and graphic design firms, banks, etc.

And they need all kinds of services — from blog posts to social media account management.

Be sure to read this post to find out what to look for before joining a Chamber of Commerce.

10 More Ways to Land Social Media Clients

The post, How to Find Your First Social Media Client, showcases 10 freelancers who share how they landed their first social media consulting clients. Following is a quick rundown.

3. Facebook Ads

Social Media Manager Marian Schembaria got noticed by a publisher at HarperCollins after she put up her ad and was hired to write ads for authors.

4. LinkedIn

Social Media Marketing & Community Manager Kalyani Deshpande, Was hired as a freelance contractor after responding to post on LinkedIn in a social media marketing group.

5. Leverage Professional Contacts

Candice Fortman, a Social Media/Marketing Consultant, approached small business owners that she’d built business relationships with through her previous job.

6. Conference Networking

Carrie Smith, the blogger behind Carefulcents.com, and a Freelance and Community Strategist, says she met the Head of Marketing at a conference.

They discussed a common passion — helping others get out of debt — and six months later, he contacted her to do some editing work — and to handle their social media needs.

7. Business Card Marketing

Social Media Consultant Tiffany Mayberry put a new spin on an old marketing technique.

She says she landed her first client by sticking her business card in a “Social Media for Dummies” book. She advises “strategically placing” business cards in books that your target market may be interested in reading.

You can’t get more unique than that!

8. Freelance Jobs Sites

Social Media & SEO Strategist Annelise Carter says she built freelance profiles on oDesk and Elance (now UpWork.com). She made sure to optimize her profiles for keyword associated with the services she was offering (ie, SEO and social media).

While some are averse to these sites, they can pay off.

9. Referral from a Friend

Natalie Sisson, a successful “Suitcase Entrepreneur” says that she was referred to al ocal startup by a friend she was informally coaching on business development.

See … giving back comes back to you in so many ways.

10. Magazine Reading

Digital Strategist Shawndra Russell says she was doing some reading of a regional magazine and spotted a story on up-and-coming entrepreneurs in her area.

She fell in love with the idea of one of the business owners, so shot off a note congratulating them on their success and their media coverage. She also pointed out that she’d “love to help him with his social media.”

She got the gig. … Industry reading; it can pay off big.

11. Tell’em, Then Do It

Social Media Consultant Jen Havice of Make Mention Media took a more straightforward approach. She says she simply explained to businesses how much they need social media — and then she offered to do it for them.

You can’t get more direct than that.

12. Friend Referral

Writer and Digital Strategist Alexis Grant, founder of The Write Life blog and currently head of the editorial team for Taylor Media, (which owns ThePennyHoarder.com and other sites), got her start from a friend too.

On a hike with a friend she was brainstorming with him about how his company could land more clients. She suggested social media (Facebook and Twitter). Her friend introduced her to his boss — and the rest, as they say, is history.

See … exercise is good for you in more ways than one!

BONUS TIP!

One way I’ve managed to land a slew of clients as a freelancer is by writing and distributing special reports. And the one reason I like doing this is that it works as a lead generator for months — and even years if you care to update yours.

It doesn’t have to be long — 3 to 5 pages (or less) is plenty. Just make sure it spells out benefits for prospects. Offer it as a free download on your freelance website. Also, distribute it via your social media accounts and send it to prospects via email with a note like, “Thought you might find this information helpful. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Trust me, if the report is well written and provides even one nugget a prospect didn’t know, you have a good shot of them reaching out — even months later. Of course, after you send it, follow up within a few days or a week to see if they received it and have any questions.

Learn more about how to land clients by “teaching them” in a guest post I did for Copyblogger. As a freelance writer, you will undoubtedly know more about online marketing (eg, SEO, social media) than the prospects you target. They need you. All you have to point out to them is how you can help. Then, you’re golden!

Managing Social Media Accounts: Easier Than Writing?

In my opinion and experience, yes! And I’m not the only one who feels this way. One of the freelancers featured in the social media marketing ebook I co-authored spelled out just how much easier it can be. When I responded to one of her emails with the following:

I actually find SM easier than writing, of course. And from a $$ standpoint, you earn more (less work, less time invested). So good for you!

She wrote back, agreeing, pointing out …

Oh my gosh, yes, sooooooooo much less work with social media! My SM clients pay once a month and there are no meetings, back-and-forth emails, edit requests or any of that stuff.

One client pays $600/mo and it takes me approx. one hour to set his postings up on Buffer for the entire week. Another pays $1200 a month and I spend roughly an hour and a half per day on scheduling his posts.

My writing client, on the other hand, pays $660/month and I have to have long redundant weekly video chats with a team of people who also like to email all week long.

When I asked her if I could share our correspondence with this blog’s readers, she responded:

I wasn’t even thinking about you sharing a follow-up with your audience in my last email. BUT if you do…be sure to tell them that that gig was my first official SM client and that it gave me the confidence to know that I could do it and that companies are happy to pay me to do so.

Since working with that first start-up company, I’ve had three other social media clients. One was another start-up that couldn’t afford to stick with it past a few months and the other two are still with me.

In my opinion – and maybe it’s because my firm does offer writing as well as social media account management– most clients order the writing services first. Then, they go for social media – and usually only after I make them aware that I do this.

It’s why I advise freelancers to constantly make clients aware of all the services they offer (over a period of time – don’t bombard them all at once). The reason is, even though it may be right there on your website for all to see, most clients tend to pigeon-hole you.

If they hire you to write/blog, it may never even occur to them that you can handle their social media needs too. This is why it pays to let them know,eg, when you turn in a writing project, say something like, “If you need this distributed via social media, I can handle that for you. Here’s a link to my social media service offerings.”

How Much to Charge for Social Media Account Management

Nina Lewis, a social media consulting expert and the co-author of The Social Media Marketing Bible for Freelance Writers, met with several social media consultants personally, and found the following:

The Average Rate of Social Media Consultants: $125/Hour

[Most charge] $600 to $5,000 per month for account management. The lowest price I’ve ever seen was a consultant charging $45 per hour … just for consulting.

The average hourly rate was $125 of all the social media consultants I met with.

How much to charge for social media account management is covered in detail in The Social Media Marketing Bible for Freelance Writers.

Conclusion

Social media account management is an easy add-on service for freelance writers. In fact, it’s becoming a “must have” for many businesses. And who better to offer it than you.

What Do You Want to Know about Offering This Service?

Let me know in the comments section below. I’ll answer you personally via email if you want, or in the comments section. If you already have social media consulting clients, please share a tip or two below as well.

P.S.: How to Land Social Media Consulting Clients — First-Hand Advice for Freelance Writers

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    Comments

    1. Flossie Marino says:

      Fantastic advice. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Very informative post here. Thanks for sharing these timely tips, Yuwanda.
      Jeñnifer Brown Banks recently posted…Beyond Bucks-How to Negotiate Great Perks for Your Work!My Profile

      • My pleasure Jennifer. I was amazed by how “simple” many of these mothods were. In essence, it boils down to letting people know what you do and asking if they can give you / refer you business.

        Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

    3. What an inspiring post to start the day with, Yuwanda! Social media is really a staple service that all freelance writers can (and should) offer. So many don’t know how to get started, what to charge or are shy about approaching clients. This most thorough post will change that for so many!

      • Thank you Laura. That was my goal — so that freelancers have enough info and enough confidence to just “go for it!”

        It took me about 8 hrs to write this post (creating the infographic was time consuming), so your comment made my day. 🙂

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