Freelance Social Media Manager: How to Become One

by Hassaan Khan
15 minutes
Freelance Social Media Manager How to Become One

Brands and influencers who dominate the social media space are the ones who have a social media strategy in place. One of the fundamentals of establishing a successful social media strategy is the system behind social media content publishing.

It’s no secret that the more quality content you put out on social, the faster you grow. However, it’s hard to keep up with social media publishing unless you have a social media manager who monitors content creation, scheduling, and publishing.

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In today’s economy, many brands hire freelance social media managers to keep the ball rolling. 

It’s important to understand who a freelance social media manager is, what skills the person should bring to the table, and how someone could become a freelance social media manager.

So, let’s dive deep into this.

What is a freelance social media manager?

A freelance social media manager is a social media expert hired hourly or fixedly by companies, entrepreneurs, and influencers to manage their social media channels.

The primary focus of a freelance social media manager is to help brands or individuals in running their social media accounts on their behalf. 

Hiring a freelance social media manager ensures that the company or individual is ticking the social media checkbox even on a tight budget.

Related Read: 40+ Social Media Manager Interview Questions

The job descriptions of different freelance social media managers may vary depending on the business scale, but the basic responsibilities are the same.

Most freelance social media managers help brands and individuals with:

  • Content ideation and topics research
  • Social media post designing
  • Content scheduling and publishing
  • Running social media handles for engagement
  • Social content analytics and reporting 


Dana Burke freelance social media manager

Dana Burke is a freelance social media manager. She has worked with brands like Coveteur and Allure. 

One of the things that makes her Twitter bio stand out is that she has clearly stated “freelance social media manager” in her bio. It sure makes a difference when you’re open to work. 

So, let’s explore further and see how a freelance social media manager fits into your social media campaign.

P.S. If you’re looking for short bio examples that will impress your audience with your handles, we have just the thing for you!

Who is eligible to become a freelance social media manager?

No hard and fast rules exist for becoming a freelance social media manager. However, the eligibility criteria revolve around expertise, knowledge, and experience.

A candidate needs to establish their persona according to the industry standards. A social media manager is considered someone who understands social media better than an average Joe.

Also Read: 10 Must-Have Tools for Social Media Managers and Businesses

To comprehend the eligibility criteria for this post, one should pay close attention to the key factors required for this job.

Key factors to become eligible for a freelance social media manager position

Let’s take a look: 

1. Industry exposure

Industry exposure means the person has a basic knowledge of the industry. As a result, this person won’t take much longer to understand how your product works and why your potential customers need it.

The most suitable candidate for the freelance social media manager position would be someone who understands the client’s genre inside-out. 

For instance, if a social media SAAS tool hires a freelance social media manager who happens to be a digital marketer by day, then it’s a perfect match. 

2. Social media relevance

Social media relevance means the person must be relevant to social media platforms. There are certain norms on social media platforms that only the relevant person can understand and implement.

For instance, mention is a social media engagement tactic that means tagging a user using the “@” and “username.” It works on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms. A newbie might not get it unless this person is told about it. 

Clearly, it won’t work out if this person is just getting started with social media. You won’t want to hire someone who hasn’t been active on social media before.

3. Sizeable follower base

It’s vital to have a follower base upfront. You might not want to hire a social media manager who only has 230 followers on Twitter. Make sure to watch out for the numbers this person has managed to get on any social media platform.

Interestingly, some micro-influencers have 5k to 20k followers on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube – that could work too. 

The reason is that they have done something right to get there in the first place. So you can cash in on them and squeeze whatever you can out of this opportunity.

Some social media experts run successful social media communities, such as Facebook groups or forums. Such experts could come in handy as well. 

4. No commitment issues

Availability of the freelancers you’re hiring is crucial to the success no matter what job you’re delegating to them.

One of the problems with freelance staff is that sometimes they can take up multiple clients at once, making it difficult for them to juggle all the projects simultaneously. 

Ensure the freelance social media expert you hire doesn’t have commitment issues.

5. Managerial skills

The managerial skills refer to the expertise regarding managing the subordinates. The freelance social media manager may be responsible for dealing with freelance content writers and social media content designers to get things done.

Therefore, communication and managerial skills would help them perform their duty effectively. 

These are some of the factors to look out for when hiring a freelance social media manager. 

7 required skills for becoming a freelance social media manager

Acquiring a bunch of skills is a prerequisite for this position. Let’s try to understand the most required skills for becoming a freelance social media manager:

1. Team management:

Freelance social media managers often work with clients or alongside other freelancers. Creating a safe and collaborative environment that allows everyone to grow together is necessary. Furthermore, strong team management skills are crucial for coordinating tasks and ensuring smooth collaboration. 

2. Audience communication:

One of the fundamental skills a freelance social media manager should possess is public dealing. Freelance social media managers must excel in communicating with readers, subscribers, and customers. This involves understanding customers’ needs, responding to comments politely, and crafting engaging content that solves their problems.

3. Social media user engagement:

Social Media User Engagement

The freelance social media manager must be good at user engagement on social media platforms. The ability to create and implement strategies that boost user engagement is key. The social media manager must know how to craft compelling social media posts, run engaging contests, and use interactive features like polls and Q&A sessions to keep the audience engaged across multiple social platforms.

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4. Customer care:

Customer care is one of the underrated skills in the role of a social media manager. Since social media is an effective customer service channel, the freelance social media manager should know how to cater to potential customers on social media. Moreover, effective customer care requires prompt and courteous responses to inquiries, feedback, and complaints.

Related Read: Social Media Customer Service: Proven Tips to Solve Customer Complaints

Customer Care

5. Graphics designing:

Graphics designing is a huge plus on the resume of a social media manager. Sure, nowadays, tools like Canva, Crello, and Adobe Express have popped up. Still, basic graphic design skills for creating eye-catching visuals and images would put you ahead of the competition. Don’t sleep on learning how to design social media content, including social media posts, memes, infographics, banners, etc.

6. Copywriting:

Copywriting is a valuable skill to acquire if you want to dominate social media. It’s one of those skills that are essential for crafting persuasive captions, posts, and ad copy that resonate with the target audience. Moreover, effective copywriting brings authority and trustworthiness to your message. 

7. Market research:

Market research is quite an underestimated skill from social media managers’ standpoint. A social media manager should be well-equipped with certain market analysis and research skills to understand and discover the latest trends, competitors’ strategies, and audience behaviors. An informed and updated social media manager can design better social media campaigns daily.

These are some of the important skills one should be looking for in a freelance social media manager. 

How to become a freelance social media manager

Several steps involve getting on board with a brand as a freelance social media manager. Let’s shed some light on how to put yourself out there and get hired as a freelance social media manager:

Step #1: Build your brand persona

Becoming a freelance social media manager is easier said than done. First, you must be passionate about being a social media manager. Otherwise, you won’t get there, or it will take a lot out of you. 

So, once you’re ready to go down this path, you’re all set. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. 

Building a brand persona means carving out your image for the industry. You must mold your social appearance according to the industry to make it happen. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Follow social media experts and influencers on Twitter and LinkedIn

Follow social media experts and influencers on Twitter and LinkedIn

  • Hang out with relevant people in the social media marketing industry
  • Interact with social media managers on Twitter, YouTube, and Quora

Interact with social media managers

  • Optimize your social media profiles to sound like a social media manager

Optimize your social media profiles

  • Connect with small and mid-sized businesses and offer them free help

Once you continue to do this, you’ll start to get recognized in the industry. The experts and influencers in the social media marketing industry would start to notice your tweets, comments, and content. 

We’re talking about the next step here. It would happen slowly but surely. Once things start to happen, you never know what opportunity will knock on the door.

However, it would be possible to put yourself out there and clarify what you do, your expertise, and how you can help brands. For more on this, pay close attention to the step no. 5. 

Jamie Oliver is a famous British Chef, YouTuber, and social media influencer. He has established his social media career by sticking to cooking videos and developing his brand persona around that.

Jamie Oliver a famous British Chef YouTuber

Related Read: How to Leverage Social Media Influencers to Discover New Audiences

Step #2: Establish yourself as an authority

Authority doesn’t mean you must have a million followers, or you should be making hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. Instead, establishing yourself as an authority means your face gets recognized in the industry. 

Work on the brand positioning to make that happen. Brand positioning means how the audience perceives your brand. 

You can start by putting out valuable content, consuming others’ content, interacting with other creators, and building a connection with influencers. 

Furthermore, to make your offer compelling, you must have some authority and trustworthiness to make an impact. Winning on the brand positioning front, you could leverage your brand perception to your advantage. 

Make sure you lay the foundation before you reach out to a brand or influencer for a freelance social media manager role.

Julie is a social media manager for the Novak Djokovic books brand called Novak Books. She has been a big fan of Djokovic, which led him to work for his brand.

Julie social media manager for Novak

Step #3: Make connections with brands and influencers

Searching and connecting with influencers, experts, and brands isn’t a walk in the park. You have to put in the work before you hope for magic to happen. 

The power of building strong connections can only be witnessed when you get recommended by an influencer or executive at a reputable brand.

One of the easiest ways to get hired as a freelance social media manager is through a referral from a former client or a colleague. All those connection-building efforts pay for themselves when you win a big account.

The secret to building connections with brands and influencers is to genuinely consume their content, invest in their books or courses, and talk about them honestly. 

Also Read: How to Find Influencers to Promote Your Small Business in 2023

Once you start to get noticed, you’ll surely develop a connection with them. One thing could lead to another; you never know what happens next. You must ensure your social media profiles are well-optimized for getting hired.

Kasra Dash is a famous British SEO and website operator. He runs multiple profitable website projects. His recent tweet is a perfect example of connecting with industry experts and influencers.

Kasra Dash

Step #4: Hunt for the job openings

Staying active within the community and building relationships with the relevant people would only make things easier for you. Establishing a strong connection with the relevant people in the industry goes a long way. 

Brands and organizations are more comfortable hiring a well-known face rather than going through all the pain of finding the right candidate. You only need to be vocal and active on social media to get noticed.

Keep an eye on the job openings on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Companies and agencies post about their job openings on their social media channels before they go for a job posting on a job site.

Hassan Sarwar is a Pakistani entrepreneur based in the UAE. He shared several job opportunities on LinkedIn. It shows that job opportunities are available everywhere; we all must try to find the best ones.

Hassan Sarwar

Step #5: Capitalize content marketing opportunities

Don’t simply sit down and wait for the opportunities to pop up. Instead, go out there and express yourself. You need a proactive approach to get noticed and eventually get hired as a freelance social media manager.

The best way to do this is to capitalize on the content marketing opportunities available at your disposal. Here’s what you can do:

  • Guest blogging on the relevant blogs:

Don’t underestimate the power of guest posting. Many SEOs used to guest post on others’ blogs for backlinks. Since most blogs set guest post links to no-follow, it doesn’t work anymore. However, you should guest post to build identity and face recognition.

  • Publish articles on Medium and Vocal:

Medium and Vocal are two major online publishing platforms that allow users to publish articles. These publishing platforms have amassed a larger reader base. So, try to capitalize on these platforms to attract eyeballs and drive some visitors to your landing page or website. 

Publish articles on Medium and Vocal

  • Write appealing Twitter threads:

Write relevant yet engaging Twitter threads, as they are a hot social media content trend at the moment.

Write appealing Twitter threads

You can attract a lot of retweets, followers, and likes by putting together a compelling Twitter thread. It could turn out to be a fantastic prospect engagement strategy on social media.

Related Read: An Ultimate Guide to Twitter Threads

  • Make vertical videos for Reels and TikTok:

One of the best content marketing strategies to use these days is vertical videos. Create a vertical video or repurpose the horizontal video to put out on the vertical video platforms, such as TikTok, Shorts, and Reels. These vertical videos could bring a ton of views once the videos start to get some traction. Eventually, you could market yourself through that traction. 

All these content marketing strategies work for influencers and experts but don’t jump the gun if these strategies don’t work for you immediately. It always takes some time before your content starts to take off; just post consistently. 

Read Up: Instagram Reels Vs. TikTok: Which is Better for Content Marketing?

Also, make sure you’re using the right call-to-action at the end of the content, no matter what type of content you use to spread the word about yourself.

Tim Denning is a blogger and Medium influencer. He has been using the Medium platform to get attention, drive traffic to his website, and generate leads for years. 

Tim Denning blogger and Medium influencer

All he does is publish content and attract the eyeballs. Tim is an excellent example of utilizing content marketing opportunities.

Step #6: Over-deliver when get hired (Bonus Step)

Most freelance social media managers don’t do this. So you can easily stand out from the crowd. Just try to over-deliver to your client. 

For instance, if you’re managing social media for a client, you could provide a detailed social media analytics report to showcase what social media posts are performing well. 

detailed social media analytics report

ContentStudio is an all-in-one social media content management tool. It has a social media analytics tool that provides insights into social media content performance.

Similarly, if your client is struggling to find a freelance content writer, you could recommend the writers you know to make it easier for your client. If things work out for them, it will surely put them in the good books. 

Moreover, try to go the extra mile regardless of your expertise. Over-delivering to your clients would help you gain their trust and confidence, which will pay off 3x in the future.

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6 best practices for freelance social media managers

Here are the six best practices for freelance social media managers to make a difference:

  • Understand your niche quite well

Understand your niche quite well

You must embrace your client’s niche and go deep into it to make an impact. Try to learn the terminologies, concepts, and ideas that are being floated in your industry. The more you know about the niche, the faster you see the results.

  • Keep an eye on the latest trends 

Keep an eye on the latest trends

Following the latest trends means keeping up with the trendy news/talks, hashtags, and the latest apps that pop up. Social media is all about discussions, putting forth your ideas, and helping the audience.

latest trends

If you’re well aware of the new trends in your industry, you can have a good time on any social media platform. So you better find those trendy topics to have chats to get attention on social media. 

Find yourself getting behind in the trend game? Here are the top 15 social media trends for marketers in 2023.

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  • Build relationships with influencers in the industry

Build relationships with influencers in the industry

Building strong relationships is compulsory for growing on social media. You can’t be a loner on social media and dominate. Pull up your pants and get out of your introverted closet. Talk to people on social media, ask questions, and answer queries. You’ll eventually start building relationships regardless of the platform. Wondering how to build connections with influential bloggers?

  • A/B tests different types of content

AB test different types of content

It’s vital to test out different types of content to see what resonates with the audience. You can’t stick with quote images or text-based social media posts.

test different types of content

Instead, you must try out videos, live streaming, polls, and other types of content to see how they perform. 

  • Experiment with multiple social media platforms

Experiment with multiple social media platforms

Every brand has a different persona, demographics, and targeting. Therefore, a social media manager needs to discover the social media channels with the most growth potential. 

Related Read: Choosing The Right Social Media Marketing Platforms

  • Track your social content performance

Track your social content performance

One of the best practices for a social media manager is to keep track of the social media content. Getting carried away with new content ideas, social media scheduling, and audience engagement is easy. Tracking your previously posted social content would give you an idea of what’s working and what’s not. 

These are some of the best practices anyone who wants to do well on social media can adopt to dominate and grow regardless of the social platform.

Also Read: How to Quickly Measure Social Media Reach in 2023?

5 successful freelance social media manager examples

It’s always fun to see great examples to understand the point better. Here are five successful freelance social media managers you can learn from:

1. Joy Harriman Seiter

Joy Harriman Seiter

Joy is a freelance social media manager based in Los Angeles, California. She has worked with several companies and acquired much experience in the social media marketing industry over the years.

2. Mandy Larsen

Mandy Larsen

Mandy is a freelance social media manager based in Marina del Rey, California. She also has plenty of experience working with brands. She makes sure that her LinkedIn profile speaks for itself.

3. Jeff Dixon

Jeff Dixon

Jeff is an experienced social media manager based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He doesn’t have a large follower base on LinkedIn, but it seems like he is doing well. 

4. Jim West

Jim West

Jim is a freelance social media manager from Brighton, UK. His Twitter profile tells us he is also into music and photography. 

5. Mrs. Bishop

Mrs Bishop

Mrs. Bishop is a freelance social media manager and PR consultant from Bedford, England. She is into food, baking, kids, and crafts. 

These were some examples of freelance social media managers using social media platforms to their advantage. Not only did they clearly state in their bio, but they also seemed to be doing well in the business.

Final words on becoming a freelance social media manager

Starters may struggle to get their first freelance social media manager gig. However, we tried to make it as easy as possible.

You should try to be transparent and helpful when building a social media profile and crafting social media content. Content helpfulness goes a long way; perhaps, it’s underestimated advice.

Running social media ads, managing a content calendar, posting content on every social media content, and scheduling a month-long content are all important strategies. Still, you only win with authenticity, helpfulness, and trust on social media.

If you want to get hired on social media, no matter what job you’re looking for, just try to put out helpful content and engage with the relevant people. You’ll be ahead of the majority of the people already.

FAQs about freelance social media management

Let’s address some of the commonly asked questions:

How much do freelance social media managers charge? 

There is no definite answer to this question. It depends on the experience and exposure the person has gained over the years. You may find a freelance social media manager for as low as $30 per hour to someone who makes $50k per year running social media campaigns for brands.

What does a freelance social media manager do? 

Every brand sets its own job description for the freelance social media manager. However, the crux is pretty much the same. A freelance social media manager is essentially responsible for publishing social media content, publishing, audience engagement, and tracking content performance- all this on a freelance basis.

How do I start freelance social media management? 

Fine-tune your social media marketing skills by being active on your favorite social media profiles, creating a social media content plan, putting out social content regularly, engaging with the audience, optimizing your social profiles for lead generation, and letting the audience know that you’re open to work on a freelance basis. 

Is social media management a freelance job?

Social media management is not necessarily a freelance job. However, you can delegate the social media management to a freelance social media expert based on your financial position.

Most brands hire full-time social media management staff, such as content creators and managers. Still, some businesses and entrepreneurs also hire freelance social media experts to test things out or to avoid an extra burden on the company’s finances. 

Hassaan Khan

Hassaan Khan is a freelance writer for SAAS companies, e-commerce stores, and niche websites. He has contributed to SEMrush, ThriveGlobal, BloggingCage, AllBloggingTips, and several other publications. He builds niche websites, publishes e-books, and helps website investors with his done-for-you niche site-building service.

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