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How to Become a Social Media Manager (Six Easy Steps!)

how to become a social media manager in 6 easy steps

Becoming a successful freelance social media manager is a sought after job these days. Who wouldn't want to work from home, choose their own schedule, and spend their days on Instagram (although it takes a lot more than just scrolling your feed all day!)

Here are six steps on how to become a social media manager:

Step One: Determine your social media manager services

There's a common misconception that Social Media Managers need to offer services for ALL platforms. In fact, I thought the same! I tried to learn everything I could about Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine (R.I.P.)... you name it!​

I thought I had to be a full-service social media manager.

But when you try to learn everything at once, you end up diluting your knowledge and might leave your clients disappointed from your lack of knowledge.

FYI... it's okay to just focus on one social media platform, ESPECIALLY when you're just starting out!

There are plenty of entrepreneurs out there who focus on just Instagram, or just Pinterest. How are they able to actively gain clients and make money?

Because they're EXPERTS in their field.

So take this as an opportunity to start slow and learn everything you can learn about a social media platform before moving onto the next.

Start out with the platform that you feel most comfortable with, whether that's Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Are you most active on Instagram right now? That might be a good place to start.

Step Two: Identify your target market

Every company has their target market, and you're not any different! If you don't have a target market, then right off the bat, you'll have difficulties crafting the right messages to your potential clients.

#truthtime: I started off my freelance career by offering services to every possible client in every possible industry. That's how I learned what I liked and didn't like. But, what I didn't know at the time was that I unintentionally had a target market. It was small businesses, and later on that developed to women-owned small businesses.

The great thing about your target market is that it can be as broad or specific as you'd like it to be; just as long as you have a direction for your messaging and an idea of the types of clients you actively want to work with.

Some ideas of specific target markets:

  • Restaurants in New Jersey

  • Real estate professionals in Los Angeles

  • Technology companies with <100 employees

Some ideas of broad target markets:

  • Women-owned small businesses

  • Healthcare non-profit organizations

Step Three: Brand your business

Now that you have the bulk of your business idea done, it's time to set up your business name, branding, all of your social media platforms and website.

Think of your social media profiles and website like a storefront - no one's going to come in and purchase from you if they don't like what they see on first impression. And if you think about it, no one's going to understand your business and what you do if you're posting photos of cats all the time.

Business Name

First off, you should determine what you want to brand yourself as. Are you going to use your name and convert your personal Instagram profile into a business? Or are you going to start from scratch with a completely new business name, logo, and branding?

There's no right answer! In fact, I started off by just using my personal Instagram account and was still able to obtain clients simply by editing my bio to include information about my freelance social media management services.

If you're going to start off as a brand new business name, there are a few more steps to take. You'll want to:

  • Find a name that isn't taken

  • Make sure to register your business name with your city (I started off by registering my business as a Sole-Proprietorship and it cost me less than $70)

  • Create a cohesive branding guide, including logo, brand colors and brand fonts.

Again, no wrong option. If you're strapped for time, go ahead and use your personal account. You can always change to a business entity later on!

Building Out Your Social Media Profiles

Like I mentioned before, your social media profiles are the storefront of your business. Since you're a Social Media Manager, potential clients will come to your social media profiles to see what you can potentially do for their accounts.

I would recommend setting up an Instagram profile and a personal LinkedIn account to start, however if you're a dedicated Pinterest Manager, definitely put a focus on that platform too. Don't try to be everywhere at once! You'll dilute yourself and risk leaving a bad impression with your potential clients.

Stay Consistent On Profiles 

Once your social media profiles are built out, you'll want to make sure that you're posting consistently. No one likes to see a month-long lull in posting and it will show potential clients that you might not have the time or effort to post on their profiles.

I depend on scheduling tools like Later or Planoly to schedule posts at least a week ahead of time. Try to aim for 3-4 posts per week on your Instagram profile.

Build Out A Website

If you have the time to build out a website, do it! I highly recommend having he ability to send your potential clients to a website that outlines all of your services, past work, and contact information.

I like having a one-stop-shop for potential clients. It helps them learn more about me, learn about my offerings, and overall see if they're interested in working with me.

It doesn't have to be a super extravagant website either! It can be a one-pager that takes 1-2 hours to build. I love Wix just because how EASY it is to use and put your ideas to life! Their drag & drop designs are very intuitive and it's the perfect way to quickly build your website in a few hours (without the need to hire a website designer).

Step Four: Finding your first client

#truthtime: this is the area where most Social Media Managers struggle the most. Why? Because they don't know where to look! And you can't just wait around for clients to fall into your lap, because more likely than not, clients won't be coming to you from your social media profiles.

You need to have alternative methods of gathering clients. Check out our full blog post on where to find clients as a freelancer here.

Step Five: Streamlining your business


Because without some processes in place, growing your business will be a difficult task.

Consider streamlining your business by:

  • Setting up a scheduling tool to set up 30-minute intro calls with potential clients

  • Calendly is a great option!​

  • Creating a Services & Pricing Guide to share with new potential clients, outlining all the packages you offer, the different add-on services you provide, and your pricing.

  • Set up some Quick Replies on Instagram for questions that you anticipate potential clients will be asking, including:

  • "I'm looking for Social Media Management services, are you taking on new clients?"​

  • "What types of services do you offer?"

  • "How do I set up a call to discuss my needs?"

  • Have a client contract template ready to fill out & send (because you don't want to miss out on signing a client by making them wait on you to send a contract!)

  • We use this client contract template with all of our clients!​

  • Set up an invoicing software that easily & quickly send out client invoices.

  • Xero, Wave & Quickbooks are all great options.​

Step Six: Onboarding a new social media management client


Basically what happens when your client is ready to officially sign with you!

The best part about this process is that it's a process. Having a template for each onboarding step will help you save time when you sign new clients, and it also helps your new clients feel comfortable with your professionalism.

So let's make your onboarding process (even if you don't have your first client yet, this will be great to have set up & ready to go when you do obtain a client).

  • Create a Social Media Proposal template

  • This outlines some of the ideas on how you can help the client with their social media profiles.​

  • Get a client contract made up (this is the one I've used for all clients)

  • Create a cohesive list of questions to ask your client in order to develop your Social Media Strategy

  • These questions should ask about their business, target market, and competitors.​

  • Create a Social Media Audit template

  • This analyzes the current situation of their social media profiles, what's doing well, and what could be done better.​

  • Create a Social Media Strategy template

  • This presents the work that you plan on implementing for your client using the questions from before & the Social Media Audit.​

Overwhelmed? Yep, that's expected!

Luckily, we've packaged all this up into our Social Media Manager Starter Kit. It has ALL the templates you need to kickstart your freelance career and impress your new clients with a streamlined onboarding process, including the necessary contract, templates and checklists.

These are the EXACT templates that I use to sign new clients & onboard them seamlessly and professionally (aka say goodbye to the 1485 back & forth emails, and say hello to impressing your new clients!)



hi there!

I'm Michelle!

When I'm not snuggling on the couch with an addicting reality TV show or lounging poolside with my laptop, I use my 9 year Social Media Manager career to help ambitious freelancers (like you!) launch their own freelance social media management business & achieve their dream life (whether that means making $10K months or working from anywhere in the world!)

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