I’ve been writing a lot about how to make it as a freelance consultant, with posts that are relevant whether you’re trying to make it as a freelance writer, designer or developer.
But I haven’t written too directly about own area of expertise, which is as a freelance social media consultant.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – there are plenty of snake oil merchants who work in social, blinding their clients with technical jargon and promises of large social followings (as if numbers of fans and followers are the only things that count).
Many people think that because they use social media on a personal basis that this gives them the necessary skills to sell those skills on a professional basis. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While you may see some success at first, especially if you get a few clients who are clueless about social media, you’re not going to make it as a professional social media consultant without backing up your avid usage of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and the many, many other channels out there.
My own start as a social media consultant came in 2008. I was fresh out of university and working in a boutique financial PR agency. If you know anything about the finance industry in 2008, you know that there was a big financial markets crash caused by sub-prime mortgages in America (among a multitude of other reasons).
This meant that work for a PR executive at a small agency inevitably started to dry up. With the extra time on my hands and with the rise of platforms like Blogger, I took to blogging and started to write about my experience working in the PR industry.
As well a a develops my writing skills, I learnt how to promote my posts through social media. Mainly to my Facebook friends at first, but increasingly to my small group of followers on a burgeoning social media platform called Twitter.
I was through blogging and tweeting that I got an offer to a tech and digital PR agency – as clear an ROI of blogging and using Twitter if there ever was one.
I’ve kept learning ever since I got that job and learnt that despite landing that next job through using social media, there was a lot to learn before I could consider myself as a consultant.
And even more to learn about freelancing after that job, before I could consider myself a professional freelance social media consultant.
Here are the additional things I think you need to make it as a freelance social media consultancy.