As the need to leverage the power of digital marketing continues to rise, the demand for social media consultants is increasing. Social media marketing is one type of content marketing that can come with great returns when done right. Several social media consulting businesses have sprouted over the years to make use of this growing trend.
If you are looking to start your own social media consulting business, then you need to take time to do a detailed market research to see if this is the right form of business for you. While you might be fine as a social media consultant freelancer, running a business is an entire different story.
To help you jumpstart your social media consulting business, we have compiled 13 of the best and snackable steps that you need to follow to ensure a successful launch of your social media marketing business.
Who is a social media consultant?
A social media consultant is a prowess in the field of social media management and marketing.
They are responsible in helping businesses and brands in effecting their social media strategy so that they can reach wider social audience, increase engagement, boost brands awareness and drive traffic to business websites as well as sales.
Staffing a complete in-house social media team is an expensive affair, and so small scale and medium businesses may not afford this addition. Luckily, outsourcing social media consultancy services has never been this easier, with the advent of marketplaces such as Fiverr, Upwork, iHire etc.
While responsibilities of a social media consultant tend to vary from one firm to another, they are always charged with two main tasks:
- Increase social media presence of their clients
- Grow traffic to their client’s social media accounts
13 Steps to Starting a Social Media Consulting Business
Let’s now dive in and explore these steps one by one.
1: Acquire Necessary Social Media Consulting Skills
As a consultant, your social media clients view you as an expert in all things social media. You can only provide value if you’ve got it within you. Take time to learn everything there is in social media marketing. For instance, you need to:
- Know how to set up various social media accounts and pages including Whatsapp for Business
- Keep up with the ever changing algorithms that affect ranking of posts in social media
- Have an understanding of social media branding
- Have an ability to find, portray and maintain brand’s voice
- Have an operational understanding of how to make social media posts more effective across various social networks
- Know the best posting times for various social networks
- Have ability to run social media ads e.g. Facebook ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter ads etc.
- Ability to comprehend and breakdown social metrics in a way that they can be turned into useful information that will help a brand effect their social media strategy.
- Possess technical know-how of working with various social media schedulers and analytic tools as well as collaboration tools such as Slack and Trello.
There are various guides online that can help you acquire the skills above. If unsure, head over to Udemy and you will find a comprehensive course on almost any topic at discounted prices.
More Resources? Social Media Management School offers extensive social media management training that will prepare you accordingly.
2: Network as early as you can.
Believe it or not, it’s hard to break through a market where you barely know anyone. Networking takes time, so you need to start making real connections as early as you can.
The best places to meet awesome people who share in your line of thoughts are meetups that are specific to your niche. Visit Meetup.com and search for relevant meetups such as social media marketing, digital marketing, coaching, consulting businesses etc. Find those near your area and mark your calendar.
Twitter chats can also help you meet some awesome people who are into what you are doing.
3: Start saving for your social media business.
Starting any business requires an investment. Even if your consulting is purely online, you still need living expenses before you can close a client or two.
Saving up for at least three to six months of living expenses will not only save you from some stress of paying your bills when not having booked a client the entire month, but also prevent you from taking on bad clients or selling yourself short just to get by.
If you don’t want to bootstrap your own business, then you can work on your own business plan and start soliciting funds from family, investors and banks to help you with initial marketing and branding costs that can quite quickly add up and fall out of control. There are various start-up business loans options that you can leverage as well
4: Timing is everything.
When it comes to deciding when, and how to create your own social media consulting business, you need to be as calculative as possible.
When want to set out to starting your consulting business when you have saved a fair amount of money, done a bit of networking and have some local businesses in mind that you want to give them your first shot.
It’s okay to taste the waters before diving in. You don’t want to quit your job before you are certain that social media consulting is something you want to pursue, and having your facts right.
You can start off as a freelance social media consultant while still keeping your day job. This allows you to keep your job if your business doesn’t pick up, continue saving as well as grow your side hustle on the side, before you can fully commit to turning it into a full-time business.
5: Creating an Engaging Instagram Account.
If you are a general social media consultant, then there are three main social networks that you need to hone your skills on: Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter. Instagram is big for branding yourself.
You want to focus on growing a loyal audience rather than amassing thousands of followers who will not be interested in what you are or what you do. Share tips relevant to your profession such as social media tips, PPC etc.
You want to sprinkle a bit of your personality as well so as to have a fully engaging account with a real person on the other end of the platform.
6: Build a Compelling Portfolio
Booking new clients require a level of trust. Your portfolio is what will convince your prospects to go ahead and contact you, or proceed to your competitors.
Be creative when it comes to displaying your case studies and asking for testimonials. Custom design your portfolio single pages with branding that pops out.
Detailed testimonials do exceedingly well than generic ones. If you offer awesome work, your clients will give honest reviews about your services.
7: Find Local Businesses as Your First Clients
Finding your first social media clients is perhaps the real step in propelling your business forward. Local businesses can help you build a great portfolio. Identify local businesses that can benefit from your businesses and offer them a discounted pricing.
Every client is a gold, but your first clients are a rarer form of jewel, and you should treat them as such. Amaze, no, dazzle them and they will write raving testimonials, get you referrals etc.
The goal of your first clients is not to make you profitable, but to build your portfolio so that you can organically acquire high-end long-term clients. Business of consulting requires a good deal of patience, but it all pays off in the long run.
8: Establish Your Rates
Now that you have acquired your first clients and built an engaging portfolio, it’s time to establish your standard rates.
Depending on your expertise and level of value that your business brings to your clients you can charge anywhere between $50 and $100 per hour as a freelance consultant. You can also come up with monthly packages that can be customized to include additional services at an extra cost.
You want to be cautious when it comes to pricing your social media services packages as wrong pricing can break your business’ credibility.
9. Develop your business processes.
Running a full-service social media consulting business is a huge task. By grouping tasks together and organizing a work flow, you make it way easier.
Your processes could include pitching, on-boarding, consultation, monitoring, analysis, reporting, writing case studies etc. Use tools such as Slack or Trello to visualize these processes and keep track of every stage.
10: Set-up a convenient Workstation.
While you can get away from juggling coffee shops, study area and living room as a freelance social media consultant, you will be forced to have a steady workstation as your business unfolds into full-suite enterprise with a dozen clients or two.
You may want to transform one of your rooms into home office or rent a office if you can afford, especially if your team has grown to four and above employees who do not work remotely.
Staying organized is the key to being successful in business
11: Decide if it’s necessary for you to niche down:
Nicheing can help you wade through competition. For a social media consulting business, you can choose to only work with clients in particular industries e.g., SaaS, Real estate, Law firms etc.
Another way you can niche is the types of social media services that you choose to offer. You can see yourself as a generalist, data analyst, community manager or a content marketer. This will affect the types of service that you get to offer, thus clients that you get to serve.
Some of the social media services that you can offer include
- Training for specific social networks
- Coaching sessions
- Social media accounts audit
- Social media management
- Account creation and set-up
- Social media strategy sessions
- Social media graphics
12: Hire a team/ Outsourcing
To make your work easier, you need to streamline your processes. Different processes should have specific people in charge. This way you will get a lot more done, deliver better results and wow your clients.
However, hiring a full in-house team comes with a cost and thus may not be a smart move when you are starting off. A better alternative is to find freelancers who you will be able to outsource work from and pay them per projects.
Make real connections with your remote workers as they will have a major role in the success of your business. Some of the tasks that you can outsource could include market research, graphic design, ghostwriting, scheduling posts etc.
13: Embrace tiered approach
The needs of your clients will be diverse and so your packages should be designed in such a way that they allow your clients to customize their services. Give your clients ability to add more services at specific additional costs. This way you will be a one-stop for all their social media marketing needs
What do you think of these steps to starting your own social media consulting business? Let us know in the comments section below