There are now over 4.4 billion internet users worldwide (that’s over half the world population!).
And thanks to our 24/7, always-tuned-in culture of online access, social media is the fuel that feeds the information fire.
It’s no longer the “frivolous time-waster” it once was… where people went to relax, chat with friends, and of course, watch kitten videos.
Today, people use social media to get things done.
And that simple transition… from passive to active use… has solidified social media into a multibillion-dollar opportunity for companies.
So today, I want to dig into writing for social media as an opportunity, and show you how you can get started quickly — whether you’re brand-new or have been getting paid to write for a while.
YOU Can Be Their Superhero
From a business perspective, one things is clear: Social media is no longer an “optional” marketing channel for companies.
That’s because the benefits of being on social media are too significant to overlook. For most any company out there, it’s where their customers are reachable… where their customers spend their time… and where their customers make their buying decisions.
And that’s why clients need your writing help ASAP. Because they know they need to be taking advantage of it…
But they don’t know how to write for social media… don’t want to learn… don’t consider themselves writers… and/or just don’t have time to take care of it themselves.
And the longer they spend without an effective social media presence, the more money they’re leaving on the table… day in, day out.
So, what’s in it for you?
Besides getting paid well to do it, the biggest benefit of writing for the social media industry is the stability.
You see, you don’t just write a few posts, send an invoice, and call it a day.
When a client hires you, it’s for the long-term… and they want a flat fee that covers everything, month after month.
Yes — that means that as a social media writer, you can pitch a monthly retainer.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, a retainer is money you’re paid at the beginning of every month, regardless of how much or how little work you do.
And standard rates for writing for social media start at $2,000 per month. How’s that for security?
A Variety of Opportunities: Social Media Services for Clients
Being a social media writer is much like being a content writer. You have an audience, and you write relevant content to engage them, build trust between them and your client, and reinforce how your client’s products or services can help solve a problem they’re having.
But what does a social media writer actually DO? Here are a few of the projects you might take on in any given month…
- Set up social media profiles
- Manage the communities and engage members in conversation
- Write messages and updates
- Answer questions
- Write advertisements to build followers
- Write content that can be shared
And you’ll do this every month… which, as I mentioned, means you can expect to get paid month after month, simply by using your writing skills to help a company stay connected with its audience via social media.
Capitalizing on Social Media for Your Own Interests
Along with being a great retainer deal, you can use social media to land clients too.
You can use it to research potential clients and connect with them. You can use it to drive traffic to your website. You can use it to attract new clients to your own profiles/pages and demonstrate your own expertise and niche. And you can use it to connect with potential clients by participating in groups where your clients are likely to be.
As a bonus, using social media to land clients is the ultimate training ground…
The more you practice using social media tactics for your own freelancing needs, the more value — due to your growing knowledge — you’ll be able to offer clients.
The “Best” Social Media Platform Is…
One of the daunting things about social media opportunities is that there are simply so many to choose from. But you don’t have to know them all…
Just pick one or two you’d like to focus on and start there.
Instagram and Pinterest are ideal for images. YouTube is best for step-by-step videos. LinkedIn provides a ready base for expert and authority-based articles. Facebook offers you the ability to combine different kinds of messages, whether that means posts and images, short videos, or links to articles and blogs.
If you have a niche already, you might check out which social media platforms are used most frequently by companies in that industry.
Or you might make the decision by the type of audience you’d like to work with…
Add on Social Media to Amplify Your Income
While you can specialize in writing for social media, you can also use it to increase the value of other projects, too…
For example, if you’re hired to write blogs or editorial for a client…
You can offer social media services to bring traffic to that content on your client’s website. When your social media posts bring in more readers, everyone wins.
Or if you’re hired to write web copy…
You might offer to also convert campaigns into social media promotions to maximize the revenue potential.
Either way, you get your original fee, and in many cases, might be able to turn that into a retainer deal that gives you reliable income from month to month.
How to Break into Social Media
The best way to get started writing for social media is to get involved in it…
Identify the platforms you want to focus on, and then pick companies/industries you want to service. Then, get involved in their social networks…
Post comments, participate in discussions, answer questions… demonstrate your expertise in a public setting before ever reaching out. That way, they’ll know who you are when you do and be excited to hear from you.
Next, determine how they’re using the various platforms…
Are they consistently engaging with customers (having conversations with), or are they simply pushing out sales messages?
- Do they use direct-response marketing tactics to spark interest, attract customers, and drive sales?
- Do they have content written in a way that makes it shareable?
Look for opportunities where you can provide additional value… or support their objectives.
Then research and join similar groups. (All the social media platforms are great at showing you “related” groups that you can join.) Not only will this open you up to more potential clients, but also will give you some information on your clients’ competition that you can use to provide even more value.
And finally, reach out directly and be specific with your proposal. “It looks like your social media goals are _____.” I can help you accomplish those goals.
When you’re ready to talk fees, here are some price guides to go by:
- Brand management and customer relations: $250 to $2,000/month (varies based on goals)
- Community creation: $500 to $1,000/month (includes discussion moderation and membership management)
- Account setup (Facebook page, Twitter account, etc.): $500 to $1,500 (beginner), $500 to $2,500 (more experienced social media writer)
- Training or consulting: $50 to $500/hour (may include consultation about social media campaign, training of in-house staff, and tactics on how best to pull off a successful campaign)
- Ongoing account management and training: $500 to $3,000 (the more content you provide, the higher your fees go)
- Short-term event promotion: $1,500 to $20,000 (creation of a 1-3 month promotion or contest for Facebook and possibly other channels, includes branding, posting, and promotion)
- Long-term event promotion: $25,000 to $75,000 (creation of a 3-6 month promotion or contest for Facebook and possibly other channels, includes branding, posting, and promotion)
5 Steps to Successful Relationships with Social Media Clients
Before you accept a social media writing project, it’s a good idea to do your research first. Nick Usborne recommends asking any potential client the following five questions:
1. What is their primary purpose for using social media?
In other words, what do they hope to gain? It could be a greater reach, more engagement with prospects and customers, more credibility for their brand, a solid platform for customer service, or greater exposure, among other things.
2. What is their current experience level?
Find out whether the client already has an established social media presence, or whether they’re starting from scratch. The latter situation will mean more work for you, but also a higher fee.
3. What is their overall level of commitment?
Not only is it smart to get potential clients talking about their goals, it’s also important to get it in writing and make sure they’re committed to the same goals on paper. Everyone will be on the same page, and have clarity about how success will be measured.
4. What resources do they have available?
Along with making sure the client commits on paper to your agreed-upon fee, you’ll also want to know what else they’re committing to their social media goals. Talk to them about the tools they have available, such as tracking and scheduling services, or resources that measure their social media metrics. Ask whether they have any employees dedicated to working with you on social media goals.
5. Your way, my way, or the highway?
Find out what process works best for them. Here’s where you’ll want to outline the details of your plan on a practical level. Find out whom you’ll report to, what types of posts need formal approval (if at all), and where you’ll get topics for your posts (if that hasn’t already been stated). In addition, make sure you talk details when it comes to the frequency of posting, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or something else.
Remember, all companies need a presence on social media… it’s where their prospects and clients are getting things done. As a writer, you can help them get set up, build relationships, and continue the conversation month after month…
And in return, you can get the stability of a predictable income!
Editor’s Note: If you’re ready to get started writing for social media, I recommend looking at social media expert Nick Usborne’s program How to Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert. He’s written it in a way that helps you understand how social media fits into web-content creation as well as an overall online marketing campaign.