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Working as a freelance social media manager can give you independence while allowing you to continue working on initiatives you are passionate about, whether you are trying to establish a side business or make a new career transition.

However, it can be difficult to know where to start, and you might have more questions than answers on how to become a successful social media manager. Let’s go over your starting requirements.

Oh, and if you want to learn how to become a social media manager from our own internal Hootsuite social media team, watch this video :-

What does a social media manager’s future hold ?

greater than a content producer. The next generation of CMOs won’t just come from the traditional branding or strategy sectors, but also from social media divisions. In these positions, social media managers are developing a broad range of marketing competencies, including creative direction, content development, copywriting, strategy, and paid advertising.

What are the social media forecasts for 2023 ?

This year, there will be more people using social networks than using smartphones (3.66 billion), watching digital videos (3.63 billion), or using messaging apps (3.41 billion), even though the growth rate of new users will fall to just 2.4% in 2023.

An independent social media manager is who ?

When a client wants to outsource its social media strategy and execution, they employ a freelance social media manager who is a specialist in social media.

Freelance social media managers typically work with a number of businesses and clients simultaneously.

Typical services provided by independent social media managers include :-

Using social media
Calendars for managing content creation
generation of content (design and photography)
Writing content
postings to be scheduled and published
Community management (interacting with followers, responding to direct messages and comments)
reporting and analytics

9 competencies that independent social media managers should possess

You’ll need to develop entrepreneurial abilities in addition to your knowledge of social media management if you decide to pursue a freelancing career.

Even if you excel at delivering results for your clients, if your company processes aren’t sound, you can find yourself in trouble.

The following nine abilities are essential if you want to succeed as a social media manager.

Writing content

Social media has become increasingly visual in recent years, but an engaging community may still be built with a strong caption.

Since the most successful social media postings are brief, pithy, and witty, freelance social media managers should be proficient in copywriting and editing.

generation of content

Content production is just one of the many hats a freelance social media manager wears. You might frequently be asked to provide graphics, TikTok videos, or photographs.

Additionally, you don’t need to be an expert in Photoshop. With templates specifically designed for social media posts, tools like Canva make design incredibly simple.

Whether you’re taking pictures for Instagram or filming videos for TikTok, you need a smartphone that can capture content and edit it for several social media platforms. Make sure your content is appropriate by adhering to the picture and video requirements of each platform.

Community leadership

Numerous individuals engage with a brand’s social media pages. A social media manager might be expected to respond to every communication they get via DMs, comments, and reviews.

Because it takes time, many brands outsource this part of managing social media. Following the brand’s tone of voice rules, being organised and meticulous (to ensure no customer service issues are missed), and engaging with the community in sincere ways are all necessary for effective community management.

Reporting and analysis

This is a major issue. Your clients will count on you to be able to gather and analyse the vast amounts of data that social networks provide. To uncover useful insights from the data, you must be able to sort through the numbers.

To show your clients the outcomes of your campaigns, you’ll probably need to give them a monthly report. (Surprise! Here is a free template for a social media report.)

Your social media reports should summarise the outcomes of your efforts, emphasising audience expansion, engagement rates, reach, and, if relevant, direct sales/conversions.

sales presentation

You must possess the abilities to pitch and offer your services to potential clients in order to successfully run a freelancing business. As a social media manager, you probably didn’t need this expertise in the workplace, but it’s crucial for freelancers.

One of the most difficult aspects of freelancing? You might not have any new clients lined up to take over when current projects conclude. Learning to keep an eye out for fresh chances is a skill that will help you become successful as a freelancer.

With more practise, pitching and selling your social media services will feel more natural.

Management of client relationships

Your business can expand if your client interactions are improved. After all, if your client enjoys dealing with you, there’s a good chance they’ll keep sending you work. In addition, they might recommend you to people in their network or offer a recommendation for your website.

Being an effective social media manager requires developing and sustaining connections with clients. Even while your present clients are crucial, you shouldn’t disregard additional connections. Maintain contact with your current and former clients and let them know when you are available.


Social media managers need to stay on top of the most recent developments. This can refer to anything, including memes and current affairs. Without this viewpoint, social media initiatives may appear irrelevant or out of date.

For instance, Wendy’s advertised a unique award for the champions of the USA vs. England game at the FIFA World Cup 2022. Free fries were awarded to the winning nation on the Wendy’s app.

project administration

Another essential trait for independent social media managers is organisation. You must oversee your own company’s operations in addition to managing content calendars. When you become a freelancer, you must take on this task yourself even though you may have previously collaborated with project managers.

To guarantee that assets are provided on time and authorised by your clients, you’ll need a social media management workflow. Additionally, you’ll need a procedure to guarantee that your invoices are sent and paid.

strategy and marketing

It is essential to comprehend marketing techniques and how they will affect your social media initiatives. You might be in charge of coming up with a social media marketing strategy that works with the client’s goals, and even if you’re not, you’ll probably be copying someone else’s.

Every social media post should be carefully considered in terms of how it advances the client’s business. A social media post becomes interesting content when it is strategically written.

What to do in 2023 to work as a freelance social media manager

Step 1: Establish your company.

Consider what you must do legally to set up a firm before you can operate as a freelance social media manager.

This may comprise any of the following, depending on local and national laws :-

Choosing the sort of business (such as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company) you should register.

Registering your company name (which must be distinctive); search trademark databases if you wish to have the option of later trademarking your brand.

obtaining a tax identification number (not all independent contractors require one; be cautious to check the requirements for your scenario).

Obtaining a business licence, which is often required to be renewed annually.

establishing a company bank account (optional; consult with an accountant).

To establish how much of your income you should set aside for taxes along the road, you might wish to speak with a tax expert. They can also be able to advise you on the company model that would work best for your requirements.

Additionally, you might want to open social media and business email accounts (or at the very least, save the handles for your company name in case you decide to build them out later). When you start promoting your company more widely and need to build a brand, this will be helpful.

Build a portfolio in step two.

After you’ve taken care of the legal side of freelancing, you might want to think about building a portfolio to showcase your skills.

Several methods exist for displaying your professional portfolio. Some suggestions are :-

constructing a website
via means of your LinkedIn profile
Making PDF documents
Keeping your case studies organised in a Google Folder

If you have exclusively held full-time corporate positions, you can develop your portfolio using the projects and samples from those positions. Just be sure to keep your attention on the social media marketing tactics you’ve helped develop and the outcomes for which you were accountable.

3- Set a price for your services.

One of the most difficult aspects of being a freelancer is determining how much to charge for your services, especially if you are new and unclear of what a reasonable rate is. Numerous factors need to be taken into account, such as your desired wage, business expenses, taxes, and more.

We go over some benchmark prices below, but you might want to network with other independent social media managers to learn how much they charge. You can create a competitive price for your own social media services with the use of your own primary research.

Step 4: Make an effort to get noticed.

Finding your first clients is the exciting phase that is next. No matter how skilled you are at managing social media, you still need to advertise yourself so that clients are aware that you are accessible as a freelancer.

Here are some suggestions to get you going :-

events for networking. You may meet new people and put yourself out there by attending networking events. You might want to go to events where you can meet individuals in your specialised industry if you have a certain niche. Remember your fellow independent contractors as well. They may even refer you to their clients. They might offer insightful advice about operating as a freelancer.

LinkedIn. An effective LinkedIn profile might make it easier for potential clients to find you and request your services. You can network with peers on the platform and add portfolio items to your profile.

groups in social media. Members can exchange freelance social media tasks in numerous Slack and Facebook groups. It’s a terrific way to network with other freelancers and stay up to date on trends.

via word of mouth. Referrals from former and current customers are often quite helpful. After working with a satisfied client, let them know that you’re open to referrals since they frequently have friends or contacts who share their interests.

content promotion. Consider launching a newsletter, blog, or YouTube channel if you want to develop a more consistent and long-lasting stream of customer referrals. Your material should include a CTA stating your freelancing social media services and include themes that potential customers would be interested in (for example, “social media tips for [your target industry]”).

Step 5: Master new abilities

Building relevant talents will help you stand out on resumes and attract clients.

The following are some talents you might want to focus on:

Using influencers
Paid social media marketing
Reputation management online
Repurposing content

Social media freelance rates in 2023

Because there are so many factors to take into account, setting a price for your freelancing social media job can be challenging. Your social media management charge should be determined by the budget and scope of the work required by your customer, as well as your experience, value, and business expenses.

Additionally, it depends on the client’s requirements for social media. For instance, a client might want community management, content production, post scheduling, monthly analytic reports, and Instagram strategy.

Knowing what a potential client needs is helpful before providing a quote.

You may find out if there are any potential red flags by setting up a discovery call and asking questions about the client’s business strategy, target market, marketing budgets, KPIs, and any prior experience dealing with independent social media managers. It aids the customer in getting to know you and determining whether you are a suitable fit for the position.

So what are the ballpark figures for the fees charged by independent social media managers? According to ZipRecruiter, this is the average salary in the United States :-

yearly salary: $52, 613
$25.29 an hourly rate on average
most wages fall between $36,000 and $60,000
Top incomes ($84,500 annually, 90th percentile)

You must also choose whether to charge an hourly rate, a monthly retainer, or another agreement (such as a percentage of income per lead generated), depending on the extent of the task.

The ideal retainers for long-term projects are monthly ones because they allow you to avoid spending a lot of effort tracking your time.

6 recommendations for independent social media managers

Always maintain a current resume.

Potential employers don’t always require resumes. A good portfolio and recommendations are typically sufficient. However, they do occasionally inquire, so having a current résumé on hand is a smart idea. To get started, utilise one of our free social media manager resume templates.

Hint: To improve your reputation, you might also want to compile client testimonials from the past and present. To showcase your knowledge, you may also write case studies.

Be in touch with your clients.

Securing continuing projects or retainers is the most effective approach to expand a sustainable firm. Your client usually requests that you handle social media on a monthly basis because it is a continuous requirement. But only if they believe you can accomplish this. Communication is a key component of that trust.

It’s your job as a freelance social media manager to communicate clearly. Be punctual and honest if there are any delays. The greatest approach to keep current clients (and perhaps even get a few referrals!) is to provide an amazing client experience.

comprehending taxes and billing

Always make sure to have prospective clients sign written contracts that outline your preferred arrangements for payment as well as consequences for late payments. The standard payment period is 30 days.

You might want to invest in invoicing software so that you can issue timely invoices with due dates and payment reminders. Along with spending tracking, some accounting software also incorporates invoicing.

Remember to set away a portion of your income for taxes. It’s essential to consult an accountant to calculate the tax rate because the amount of money you should save will vary depending on your local regulations.

To save time, use social media management tools.

Purchasing tools might enable you to manage social media more quickly.

Using a dashboard-based social media management platform like Hootsuite, you can plan posts, generate analytics data, and reply to comments and direct messages all at once. Additionally, since you won’t need spreadsheets to identify trends or draw conclusions, you can get rid of them.

Find out more about how Hootsuite can make managing numerous clients‘ social media accounts simple here :-

Utilise Hootsuite to manage your social media presence more quickly. From a single dashboard, you can publish and schedule posts, locate related conversions, engage your audience, measure performance, and more. Get a free trial now.

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