Social Media Consulting 101
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
A social media consultant is a business advisor with an in-depth knowledge of branding and marketing techniques with proven success on social media.
What is a social media consultant?
Most people today interact with a business online before either visiting a store or restaurant in person or making a purchase. Too, a majority of the adolescent and adult population today are influenced by social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and social platforms (such as Yelp) when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Subsequently, nearly all businesses––from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses alike––need to incorporate social media into their marketing plans. Some businesses choose to create in-house social media teams, while others outsource the work to a social media consultant.
A social media consultant is a business advisor with an in-depth knowledge of branding and marketing techniques with proven success on social media. These types of consultants may work broadly as a consultant with many different types of clients, or specialize in a specific industry (such as a fashion or apparel industry social media consultant). Moreover, a social media consultant may choose to coach individuals (such as influencers), groups (such as musical acts), or entire corporations.
What services does a social media consultant provide?
Social media consultants may offer a number of services to their clients, including:
Social media account creation and/or management
Social media marketing strategies
Content creation for social media accounts and/or client’s website
Customer service via fielding customer questions/complaints on social media
Hiring and working with influencers in client’s industry
There are a variety of tasks involved in each of the above services as well. For instance, social media account management may include writing blogs or designing graphics to post on clients’ accounts. For this reason, social media consultants may need to build skills in several fields, including article writing, photography, graphic design, video editing, and copywriting, in addition to business marketing.
How much can a social media consultant charge for their work?
Social media consultants can charge per hour, on a monthly basis (commonly known as a retainer), or per project. Per hour, most social media consultants charge between $15 and $250. Newer consultants with fewer projects in their portfolio generally charge between $15 and $40 per hour. Consultants with five or more years of experience can range from $100 per hour into the thousands per project.
Many companies have fixed budgets for the marketing of a particular campaign (from $500 to $5,000, depending on the size of the company). For these projects, a consultant may direct the use of the campaign’s budget as well as receive a portion of it.
What is the annual salary for a social media consultant?
The annual salary for a social media consultant varies depending on their client list and workload. In 2017, Social Media Manager was listed among the Top 100 Best Jobs in America with 9% expected job growth over the next ten years. The article also listed the median salary as $57,400; the top percentile of surveyed social media managers made $89,900. Other job titles earn more or less, depending on their scope. For example, a social media specialist earns an average of $35,600 annually, while a senior social media strategist brings in $110,200.
How do I get my business started as a social media consultant?
With a business license, anyone can get started as a social media consultant. If you don’t have a degree in marketing or a lot of professional experience you can showcase in a portfolio, consider taking online courses that offer certificates for LinkedIn––both Udemy and Lynda offer free courses.
You’ll also need to decide what type of social media consultant you will be. Essentially, you’ll choose how to brand your own business and will likewise need to build and market it. Will you specialize in a certain industry (such as restaurants or food marketing) or offer your services to certain types of customers (such as sports fans or non-profit organizations). Too, decide if you’ll offer services for all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Yelp, Google Business, etc) or specialize in a few.
Unless you have a well-known and established brand in social media (having a few thousand followers online doesn’t count), potential clients will want to see that you are capable of managing their social media accounts and representing their brand. To do this, ensure you’re creating just as much content for your own brand (for instance, writing a blog about brand marketing on Twitter or editing a series of high-quality photos of a national park) as you would for your clients.
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“6 Steps To Start A Social Media Consulting Business” by Maggie Aland. Accessed August 26, 2019, via http://www.eggmarketingpr.com/blog/6-steps-to-start-a-social-media-consulting-business/
“Best Jobs in America” by Beth Braverman. Updated May 9, 2017. Accessed August 26, 2019, via https://money.cnn.com/gallery/pf/2017/01/05/best-jobs-2017/42.html
“How Much to Charge for Social Media Management?(Freelancersand Consultants)” by Jeff Bowdoin. Published on May 15, 2018. Accessed August 26, 2019 via https://blog.socialmediastrategiessummit.com/how-much-charge-social-media-management/
“How to Become a Successful Social Media Consultant” by Jenn Chen. Published on August 22, 2017. Accessed August 26, 2019, via https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-consultant/