Freelance Social Media Manager Guide 2021

The Freelance Social Media Manager Guide for 2021

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In this guide we are going to explore the four most common questions about being a Freelance Social Media manager.

What is a Freelance Social Media Manager?
What does a Freelance SMM do?
How much can you make as a Freelance SMM?
How do you become a Freelance SMM?

Social Media is a hot topic.  More than 4 billion people now use it (that's more than half of the entire planet's population).  Those numbers continue to grow by more than 10% each year.  

As far as personal use goes, we’re not talking about just a few minutes every other day.  The average person is on social media for 2 hours and 22 minutes daily!  That’s a whopping 10% of the entire day.  

In the age of digital marketing, business owners realize that they must include a social media presence in their marketing plans.  Both large and small businesses are creating social media accounts to reach their existing customers and to find new ones. 

Social Media Managers in high demand

The explosive growth has led to a huge demand for people with professional Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management skills

This has created the Perfect Storm!

How Freelance Social Media Management became the perfect storm.

At any given time, there are more than 100,000 listings in the job search directories. The number of  businesses looking to hire a social media manager continues to grow. 

However, many social media professionals are not seeking traditional jobs. They are looking to work for themselves as freelance social media managers.

What is a Freelance Social Media Manager?

A Freelance Social Media Manager is a business owner. They are their own boss and serves one or many clients. 

They provide businesses with full time, part time, or one-off social media assistance.  Rather than work as an employed Social Media Manager on a salary, they work for themselves and provide their services as an independent contractor.  

Like many other freelance professionals (virtual assistance, graphic design, etc.), a Freelance Social Media Managers work is location independent. This provides the benefit of working from anywhere with only a laptop, a mobile phone and an internet connection.  Most freelancers simply work from home. 

A growing number of people are becoming digital nomads. These are people who use the internet to earn a living and prefer the nomadic remote lifestyle.  Cafe’s and co-working spaces the world over are filled with people seeking the freedom of freelance work. 

What does a Freelance SMM do?

Businesses use social media as an extension of their marketing, customer support, and community building.  Your role as a Freelance Social Media Manager is to help a business “be social”.  You might be surprised to know how many businesses struggle to do this on their own.  

The Freelance Social Media Manager is essentially a Social Media Sherpa. They help their clients navigate social media without falling off a virtual cliff or being eaten alive by the natives.

They do this by helping their client to follow best practices for growing an audience, and engaging with that audience.  Additionally, they guide their client in following a “social approach” to introducing their products and services.

What does a Social Media Manager do?

A Freelance Social Media Manager who is just getting started might only offer basic services to a small business.  

This could be limited to posting, engaging and monitoring social channels.  For many small businesses, this is all the help they need. It’s a great place for a new Freelance Social Media Manager to gain some experience and confidence. In the Social Media Pro community of social media professionals, we refer to this basic role as a Social Media Assistant. 

A more seasoned Freelance Social Media Professional will likely have a few more tools in their toolbelt.  The role itself has expanded to include many areas of specialization.  

Some in the profession choose to focus on a specific platform.  Others will specialize in strategy.  

Many Social Media Managers will include Social Advertising in their offering.  All of the big social networks have an advertising component to their platform.  This can help a business to reach its goals as quickly as their ad budget will allow. 

Being a Freelance Social Media Manager is also a compliment to any previous experience, specialized knowledge, passion or hobby.

How much can you make as a Freelance SMM?

The answer depends on your experience, your confidence, and the services that you offer.  

While Freelance Social Media Manager rates will vary, here is what we see consistently within the industry:

It is common for a new Freelance Social Media Manager to charge a small business $250-$500 per month. That is for each social media profile!  For this fee, they are providing minimal services such as posting, engaging, and monitoring on behalf of their client. 

A more seasoned Freelance Social Media Manager may charge from $2,500 to $5,000 or more per month, per account. Fees for service depend largely on the size of the company, its needs, and the potential for return of investment. 

How Much Can You Make as a Freelance Social Media Manager in 2021?

In addition to monthly fees for service, there are “a la carte” services that can be offered for a one-time fee.  Examples of one-time services could include: A Social Media Audit of a company's past and present social media activity.  Or, a Social Media Strategic Plan that the client can implement themselves.  Pricing for these one-time services vary greatly from project to project.

How do you become a Freelance Social Media Manager?

You are already “Social Networking” in your daily life. However, social Media is no longer just for personal use.  More than 40% of all users reported using social media for work. Your experience on the social media platforms can serve as a foundation for new social media management skills. 

Chances are that you’re one of the 2.7 Billion people that already has a Facebook profile.  Your first step towards learning to become a Freelance Social Media Manager could be a small one. 

You might help a small business to establish a Facebook page. Perhaps, a business that you are already familiar with.

So for some, getting started is about diving right in and learning as you go.  For others, they may be seeking a more formal training path. 

It is difficult for a traditional college or university to teach Social Media Marketing. Training content can quickly become obsolete as the social networks evolve and expand to include new features and functionality.

Another viable point of entry into the profession is to find and work with a mentor who is already serving clients as a Freelance Social Media Manager.

Most aspiring Freelance Social Media Managers turn to online courses and certification programs like Social Media Pro®

Who is becoming a Freelance Social Media Manager?

In summary:

Freelance SMM's are independent business owners, who are assisting one or more clients with their social media. The most basic services offered are posting content, interacting with engagement, and monitoring for mentions. Fees for service can range from $250-$500 per social profile per month on the low end for a small business. For full SMM services the fees are often $2,500-5,000 (or more) per client, per month. An online training course and community is a common method for learning the skills to get started.


You can find an abundance of resources and information on Social Media Management right here on our blog.

Already serving clients?  You can look to our social media managers directory for companies listing their freelancing jobs. 

Are you ready to enter the world of Freelance Social Media Management and start a location independent business of your own? Join Social Media Pro today.

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