If you are thinking about quitting your 9–5 to become a social media marketer, the best thing you could do to get ahead is learn how to build an audience on your chosen platform organically — this means creating engagement (likes, follows and shares) without the aid of paid advertising. It is important to start your journey with organic advertising as it will help you learn the basics and nuances of your chosen platform before diving into the world of paid advertising — we’ll get into that another time!
Commit to using only one platform for 30 days. This will help you focus on the task at hand. Write up a simple strategy outlining what you will post and when you will post your content. When creating your strategy, always think about the purpose of your planned content and why it would be beneficial to your audience. Always aim to offer value.
If possible, plan the whole month in advance but remember to leave space for flexibility and creativity.
Recording the performance of your campaign will help you understand what works and what doesn’t. To do this, all you need to do is create a simple data collection sheet on Excel or Google Sheets — to get you started, here is my beginners social media performance tracker. Record the number of comments, likes and shares your posts receive and also record reach and impressions. This will be enough to work out your key engagement metrics. Commit to recording data at the same time every week. This vlog shows more detail about the key Facebook and Instagram metrics.
If Facebook or Instagram are your chosen platforms, make sure you create business profiles. Business profiles offer a wider range of insights and data which help you understand who engages with your content — feel free to explore and check out all the options available and share what you find interesting in the comments section below. You’ll be surprised at what is available for free.
In addition to extra insights, business profiles will allow you to create sponsored adverts with Facebook Business Manager, but for now, let’s stick to doing everything organically.
At the end of your 30 day test, look back through your data and determine what worked best. Which posts generated the highest number of engagements? Which posts delivered the highest reach?
Repeat the test for another 30 days, but this time ONLY replicate the best performing content. The more you do this, the more you will understand what works and what doesn’t for your chosen platform.
A great way to learn more about social media marketing is to identify and learn from influencers in the field — for example Mari Smith crushes Facebook advertising and Sue Zimmerman is the queen of Instagram marketing. Following influencers is a great to stay relevant and be informed about every update, tip and trick as and when they are released or discovered.
I’m a big believer of self-study. Personally, this has been the most beneficial element of my own progression over the last four years. If you are serious about becoming a social media marketer that helps brands communicate better with their audiences, I recommend listening to podcasts and reading blogs as often as you can. There are some GREAT websites out there that offer amazing information for FREE. My favourite sites include Social Media Examiner (blog and podcasts), Social Media Today (blog), Hootsuite (blog) and Hubspot (blog). Whatever you are looking for, you can definitely find some useful content on these sites to help you progress in this industry.
If you are jumping on the social media bandwagon to make quick money, this is not the career for you. You might be able to get away with it in the short term, but you will limit your growth and the possibility of referrals (especially if you buy likes and followers for clients). Try building a platform for long-term growth rather than dashing for a quick payday!
If you are completely new to social media marketing, you can try Google’s Digital Garage. It covers a number of topics in online marketing and gives a great general overview of the industry. Try all areas of the course as it will open your eyes to the possibilities online marketing offers.
Once you’ve started testing organic strategies on your own profiles, reach out to friends or family members that have a business but struggle to create amazing social media content. What you offer will be 10x better than what they could do for themselves. Be confident, implement your findings and test things you find on Facebook groups and other online sources.
The most important thing for you to do right now is GET OUT THER AND START TESTING FOR YOURSELF. Watching influencers is great, but it can be distracting and also lead you to compare your effort to theirs. You have to remember that influencers are influencers for a reason. If you are patient and committed to learning the craft of social media marketing, you will see results.
If becoming a social media consultant is daunting, it’s important to remember that clients do not know the intricate details about running social media campaigns. By studying and implementing the tips mentioned above, you will create paid opportunities in a matter of months. Start small and take on more work as your knowledge and expertise develop. Whatever you do, don’t jump head first into paid advertising as it is likely you will waste a lot more than you can offer.
If this article has been useful, I would appreciate if you leave a comment below and share how it has helped you progress as a social media marketer.
If you would like me to write an article about Facebook Business Manager, comment FB BUSINESS MANAGER below.
Now it’s over to you. Get out there and join me in this crazy world that is social media marketing.