Social media for small business

Do you use social media for personal use and enjoy creating fun content to engage your followers? Do you have a significant social media following for your own business, and would love to help other local businesses build their online audience and increase their revenue, especially as so many small businesses have suffered during this pandemic?

Providing social media services to small businesses for over 10 years, I’ve experienced successes but have also encountered the pitfalls of offering social media services, including feeling burnt out with content creation. It’s one thing to create your own social media content, but here’s a check list that will hopefully give you some additional things to consider when offering your content creation skills to others. After all, you will want to make a worthwhile revenue stream for yourself as well.

Let’s assume you have background knowledge in creating and optimizing social media content already.

1. Who are your customers? Simple question but vital that you know who they are. Do you have a specific area of expertise that will make it easier for you to create relevant content in a specific industry or profession? Remember if you are targeting similar types of business in a relatively small geographical area your clients could well be competitors, so the style of content you post will need to be very different for each client. They may not want you creating content for their competitors.

2. Are you planning on offering social media packages to clients or giving them more of an a la carte menu of services? I’d highly recommend initially using a project timer like Toggl to actually work out how long it takes you to complete the tasks that you are offering, and you can use your own social media for practice. Don’t forget to add in that extra time you will need to invest with new clients getting to know their business, their target demographic, marketing goals and also you will need access from them to their social media accounts, logos and any images they want you to use. That first month you may need to tidy up and optimize their accounts. Don’t underestimate how long that takes or you will under price yourself.

3. Hidden costs to you will include images (unless your client is providing all of them), social media scheduling software, and additional time where you will have to reach out to a client with a lead or someone asks a question on one of their social media platforms which you need their help with. Take into account how busy their accounts are and how much time you will need to monitor for comments and reviews daily. Be clear when you are monitoring their accounts as nobody can monitor 24/7 unless you have a team working around the clock!

4. Be very clear on the scope of work you will completing. For example, will you give monthly reporting and how will that be delivered to them? When do you need information for the following months content sent to you? When will you need to deliver content to them for approval? What will the approval process look like? Will you limit the number of content revisions they can make?

5. Your social media services will likely include social advertising so how will you run these campaigns and help the client achieve their goals? Manage expectations as some clients will think social media is a magic bullet to solve all their marketing problems. Social media does not make a bad service or product sell, and reviews will reflect that. Occasionally a potential client will say they want to market to “everyone” and they have to be gently told this is not possible. Markets are segmented and for social media advertising your client needs to first know exactly who they want to reach. Before you run any social ad be very clear what their monthly goals are. Who will pay for the advertising and is it included in your monthly pricing? Who’s credit card is being used and which ad account will you be using to pay for this and use analytics from?

6. I always make sure I have a contract in place with each client before I start working with them as it’s important for both parties to understand the scope of work, responsibilities and that “legal stuff” regarding limited liability.

7. It took my a long time to see the value of what I provide my clients, and honestly that first meeting is as much about you deciding if you want to work with someone as it is about them wanting to work with you.

8. I’ve learnt to limit the time I invest in evaluating their social media presence before we start working with each other. I used to spend hours evaluating a business and then realized that my time is not free. Give enough information in that initial consultation but don’t spend hours giving your expertise away.

Good luck with offering social media services. Remember you are the expert and just because someone has a personal social media account does not make them an expert in social media marketing strategy. 🙂 Have confidence in what you are able to provide.

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