It’s some of the easiest money I’ve ever made as a freelance writer. When you couple this with the fact that a lot of it can be pre-scheduled, it can literally take minutes per day to complete.*
Yesterday, I received the following email from a fellow freelance writer asking about strategy – as in, how to come up with one for a new client for which she’d already accepted the gig.
Following is our back and forth conversation. It’ll give you some insight into what it takes to come up with an effective social media marketing strategy. FYI, some details have been changed/omitted to protect this freelancer’s privacy.
I Need an Actual Social Media Marketing “Strategy” for My Client: Help!
Good Morning, Yuwanda,
This is a longshot email, but I need help…fast! Do you happen to know where I can view an “actual” social media strategy? All I’ve been able to find online are descriptions, guides, discussions, etc.
Having no experience in this area, I was asked to create one for a new client. Being that I am working on diversifying my services, I accepted the gig (and the 50% deposit), but what I submitted isn’t what the client was looking for. She says that my document was more of a guide and she was hoping for “…the actual strategy, listing what each post should be”.
If I could take a look at a real-life SM strategy, I’m sure I can hit the mark. You and I have communicated a few times in the past and I don’t expect you to remember me, but I know you’ve been in the game for a long time and I’m just hoping against hope that you can steer me to where I can read an actual strategy.
Either way, thanks for taking the time to read this, Yuwanda, and have a blessed day!
The short answer is, it depends on what the client’s actual end goals are. For example, is it to increase website conversion; grow their presence (get more likes, tweets, pins, etc.); create brand awareness; get more foots into their brick-and-mortar presence from their online efforts? So ask this first.
And if a client says, “Well all of that, of course.” Then you have to explain to them that each goal requires a different strategy — eg, a different kind of content, a different kind of call to action, etc. So they have to be very clear about what their SPECIFIC goal is. Then and only then can you come up with an effective strategy.
Also, you’ll need to know what timeframe you’re working with. Social media is a long-range game. Depending on where they are right now, you may see some traction right away, but let them know not to expect miracles.
The problem I’ve seen with most clients is they don’t want to stick with it. So make sure your client has reasonable expectations — and with tracking mechanisms, it’s very easy to show them results. But again, make sure they’re not expecting unrealistic results (and what’s unrealistic varies, eg, by industry, competition, where they are now in their SMM efforts, BUDGET, timeframe, etc.).
Hope this insight helps, and good luck!
P.S.: Don’t give out to much info — eg, a step-by-step plan — UNLESS they’ve already hired you. This is rare, but some clients will take the specific strategy you’ve composed for the and either do it themselves, or hire someone cheaper to implement it (and if you’ve put together a specific plan just for them, you’ve done some research — so don’t give that away for free). Just a heads up!
Second Email Exchange
Thank you soooooo much for taking the time to reply to me, Yuwanda!
Your help is extremely appreciated. The client’s end goal is to create a buzz about the nationwide launch of a new product. It is already available in two cities, they have some major backing and the product will be made available to the rest of the country next month. I was actually hired by a third-party company who is handling all of this for the startup that created the product, so I haven’t had any direct communication with the actual client.
I accepted this gig for the experience of learning how to do something new that I can then add to my menu of services. The pay is unbelievably low, but I’m really wanting to move into other areas of freelancing and thought this would be a good starting point. The tricky part now will be getting around the not giving out too much info part. I suspect that this is exactly what they want.
Off to figure this all out now and I’ll keep you posted on the outcome. Please let me know when I can return the favor and help you in any way. I’ve been following you for years and I already owe you so much.
My Final Response
Just FYI, I’d say, since you’ve already given them so much for “free”, go ahead and give them the rest. You’re doing this for experience. And, they may have feedback you can actually use to see if you’re on the right track, what you need to tweak, etc. This can help with future clients.
So if it were me, I’d actually go ahead and dive in with both feet. Give away the store on this one (you already have anyway), and look at it as a learning experience. That’s the “pay” for this one.
Again, good luck!
Summary: Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy
When it comes to creating an effective social media marketing strategy, always start with what the client’s end goal is. Why? Because it will determine how you proceed; everything flows from this.
Also, don’t “give away the store” as I alluded to up front – unless and until you’ve been hired. Creating an effective social media strategy can require a lot of work (depending on what the client’s end goals are). This is all part of your fee.
So make sure your proposal/synopsis that you present to secure the job is not all of your hard work up front. It’s a fine line, but you want to give clients enough so that they know you can handle the job, but not so much that they can take it and use your blueprint and hire someone else to do the job. Most clients won’t do this, but it does happen.
Also, things change once you get “in the thick of it,” so be sure clients know that if they’re wondering, “why can’t you provide x or tell me about y up front.” For example, you may do a post that goes viral and instead of moving ahead with a pre-calendered topic, you may decide to stick with Topic X because readers are responding to it.
See what I mean?
Hope this insight helps, and good luck if you decide to add social media marketing/account management to your list of service offerings as a freelance writer.
*Note: This is for simple “account management.” There are more complicated social media initiatives that take more time, and of course, you charge more for that.
P.S.: Fact — Social media consultants earn on average of $200-$300/Hour. You can too!
P.P.S.: If you want to start a career as a freelance social media consultant / SEO writer and start landing jobs almost immediately, this ebook package gives you everything you need.