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Why Hire a Freelance Social Media Manager

Why Hire a Freelance Social Media Manager


  1. What does a social media manager do?

  2. When do I need a social media manager?

  3. Why should you engage a freelance social media manager over an employee?

  4. How to hire a freelance social media manager

  5. The TalentDesk advantage

‘Why would I need a social media manager?’

If you have found yourself wondering this, you may be under the common misconception that the job is all about publishing posts. After all, when your brand is still growing and budgets are tight, why would you hire someone when you can simply put up those posts yourself?

But here’s how it usually goes. 

You start out with good intentions. But soon, you start noticing the various nuances of social media management. Different platforms have completely different posting requirements. While you’re struggling to get them straight, the algorithms change. Meanwhile, all those customer messages and queries across accounts go unaddressed. The more pressing parts of your job take precedence, and your posting frequency slows down. And when you do post, you don’t see much growth or interaction anyway.

However, social media marketing has undoubted advantages – especially for young brands looking to level the playing field with their more established competitors. As one study showed, 86% of businesses saw increased exposure through social platforms, while 67% noted lead generation advantages.

So what are you doing wrong? To understand that, and to see how you can solve these challenges, let us first delve into what a social media manager actually does.

What does a social media manager do?

  1. To begin on an obvious note – they post consistently

    Publishing posts on various platforms is, indeed, an important part of a social media manager’s job. But as we have seen above, it is difficult to keep up with social media demands when that is not your core task.

    Consistency is key here. An account that publishes frequently is seen as more credible. Audiences are more likely to engage and interact with your brand – thus also helping you increase your reach. This is what social media platforms want, so their algorithms do not favor inconsistent accounts – the less frequently you post, the lower your content will be ranked on your audiences’ feed.

    So how frequently should you post? On Instagram alone, it is recommended that you post 3-5 times a week. But here’s where it gets tricky – this number varies based on factors like which platform you are using, who your audience is, how many followers you already have and more.

  2. They design your social media strategy

    This brings us to what is perhaps the most important part of a social media manager’s job – creating brand strategy. There is no one rule that fits all brands – your strategy will depend heavily on your specific brand objectives.

    Your social media manager will work to understand these objectives and then craft a strategy that will cover everything including:

    - The kinds of posts you you should put out
    - How often you should be posting
    - Which platforms you should use
    - When in the week or day you should post
    - How your social strategy should be integrated with other online and offline campaigns and more

    Each of these factors play a role in the overall success of your social media marketing efforts – and figuring it out requires all the time, knowledge and practical expertise that the professional brings.
  3. They carry out content research

    If you’re posting as often as you should be, you’ll soon find yourself running out of ideas about what to post! Your content should be fresh, informative and interactive, while keeping trends in mind. Ever seen a brand put up a fun and engaging post, immediately following a newsworthy event? That’s a social media manager at work!

    Here again, there’s no thumb rule for the kind of content that will work. Your social media manager will carry out research to see what your competitors are doing, what kind of content is resonating well with your audience, and what information you should publish to stand out as a thought leader in your field.

    Based on this research, they will create a social media calendar to plan out everything that your brand will post across different platforms in the coming months.
  4. They conduct post analysis and reporting

    Just posting (albeit consistently) is not enough – you also need to know whether the content you’re putting out there is actually working.

    A social media manager will use analytic tools and platforms to track the impact of your posts. They will extract the numbers that will tell you how your brand is performing in terms of reach, engagement, clickthroughs, conversion and more.

    These insights are invaluable in shaping your brand strategy every month – they will tell you whether your content is getting you closer to your objectives, and what you may need to change or update to reach your goals.
  5. They handle customer engagement and social listening

    This is a very human aspect of a social media manager’s job. When done well, social media is a two-way street. Every post you put up may spark conversation with your customers. They may react to your products, have queries about price and orders, tag others on your posts and more.

    Addressing their queries, comments and reactions keeps you connected to your audience and builds loyalty – and a social media manager will help you do this seamlessly. They will conduct social listening, which will help you gauge whether your audience is reacting positively to your posts. Additionally, they will also spot potential trolls, issues and red flags, and handle them in a timely way.

When do I need a social media manager?

Once you understand the kind of impact these professionals can create, you will have a better idea of whether hiring a social media manager is worth it for your brand. If you are finding it difficult to be consistent, or are getting overwhelmed with the different variables and requirements on each platform, bringing a social media manager on board may be the best way forward. 

Think you’re doing everything right but are not seeing results, or don’t know how to go about measuring your performance? That may be another indication that you need an expert to step in. This will save you a lot of time and work, and ensure that your efforts are more streamlined rather than arbitrary.

Why should you engage a freelance social media manager over an employee?

Have enough reasons to hire a social media manager, but are hesitating to take the leap? Consider engaging the services of a professional on a freelance basis. There are several great advantages to this.

They enable your team to focus on core tasks

If you are a young business with a small team, you may not want to devote resources to bringing a dedicated social media manager on board. But this often means that those responsibilities get passed on to employees – who may have other core business goals to focus on. Social media then either gets deprioritized or creates an overwhelming workload for the employee in question.

Engaging a freelance social media manager can be the perfect solution, with your brand getting a dedicated expert for the task while leaving your employees free to do their jobs and grow your business.

They make it easy for you to scale with demand

If you are a digital, PR or marketing agency who handles social media projects for various clients, you may experience significant ebbs and flows in workloads. This gets difficult to handle with full-time employees.

Here again, engaging social media experts on a freelance basis can work out well for everyone. Your clients get a dedicated manager for as long as the project is on – and once the project is over, you don’t have to worry about a full-time employee on your payroll. This makes it incredibly easy to scale up or reduce costs as your needs change.

This freelance model also works well for other businesses whose needs tend to fluctuate. For example, if your brand has seasonal events or has a product launch coming up, you may need increased social media focus during those times. But having a full-time professional on your team beyond that may not make sense.

They bring broader perspectives to your team

An in-house social media manager may be working on only one or two accounts, and will develop in-depth expertise into those brands.

But if you are looking for someone to bring more diverse insights and perspectives to your team, a freelance professional would be a better bet. They are likely to have worked on a wider variety of campaigns across industries, used different tools, and developed experience across diverse markets – and now, they would bring that knowledge and expertise to you.

They offer focussed expertise when needed

In some cases, you may require someone with a certain background knowledge or niche expertise. For example, if you are launching a very specialized tech product, you may need a social media manager who knows the ins and outs of that technology.

In these cases, going the freelance route enables you to bring a very senior professional on board from anywhere around the world. Without the overheads of hiring a full-time employee, you also free up more of your budget – which you can then use to pay for greater skills and expertise.

How to hire a freelance social media manager

Understand the role involved

Many employers look at ‘digital marketing’ as an umbrella role, without understanding the niche skills that come under it. Expecting your social media manager to fulfill every function is an easy way to set yourself up for disappointment.

We have already touched upon what a freelance social media manager does – but it is just as important to understand what they don’t do. For instance, carrying out a photoshoot for your product launch is unlikely to be a part of their service offerings – however, liaising with your photographer and directing them on the brand photography requirements, might be.

Similarly, your social media manager might work collaboratively with your graphic designer, copywriter or performance marketer – but they are unlikely to carry out all of these tasks themselves. Understanding the scope of their expertise will help you set the right expectations from the start.

Identify the KPIs you want to achieve

Define your business goals and establish what kind of social media metrics will get you there. This in turn, will help you determine the KPIs for your social media manager.

For example, as a new brand, you may want to increase the number of followers on your page. The KPIs you set will thus be around brand awareness and reach. If you’re a more established brand on the other hand, you may want to focus on driving brand loyalty. Your social media manager will then need to work with engagement and lead generation KPIs.

If you do not already have a background in social media marketing, you may find yourself struggling to set realistic objectives and KPIs. But the good thing is, you don’t need to figure it out on your own. This can be a collaborative step – any experienced freelance social media manager should be able to advise you on this.

Define responsibilities clearly

Once your KPIs are set, you’ll find it easier to define your social media manager’s responsibilities. As we have discussed above, your brand objectives will determine the strategy they will need to execute, the number of posts they will have to publish, the kind of reporting and analytics they will have to present and more.

This again, can be a collaborative step – with your freelancer using their experience to determine whether the responsibilities you are proposing are in line with the goals you want to achieve. For example, reaching 1 million followers with one post a week is simply not feasible – and they will tell you so!

When you have agreed upon a set of responsibilities, ensure that each task is clearly and specifically outlined in your freelancer contract.

Assign a budget

The factors above will help you set a realistic budget for the tasks you want the freelancer to handle for you. Of course, the more experienced the professional, the higher you can expect their rates to be. But based on your objectives, you may be able to strike a balance between cost, experience and their level of involvement.

If you are looking to build your social media marketing strategy from scratch, or are looking for someone to handle 360-degree social media operations for you, you may want to opt for a senior professional with diverse experience. But if you have already developed your strategy in-house, and now simply need someone to execute your posting schedule, you may be able to get away with engaging someone at a lower budget.

Identify the interview questions that will help you find the right candidate

You may need to talk to several professionals before you find the right person for the job. Having the right set of interview questions handy will make the process easier.

You will, of course, want to cover the basics – like their expertise, the industries they have worked in, the campaigns they have handled, and other details about their experience. Then get into the specifics of what tools they are familiar with, what methods they use while strategizing for a brand and so on.

Don’t forget to ask some questions to ascertain whether they will be a good culture fit for your organization. Although you are engaging them on a freelance basis, this is important because a social media manager will be a crucial part of your digital operations and will work closely with different members of the team. For example, they may need to liaise with your copywriter, designer, videographer, etc.

The TalentDesk advantage

When you are ready to engage a freelance social media manager, you will find that a platform like TalentDesk comes with some pretty great advantages!

Hiring becomes a whole lot easier, to begin with. Through our integration with PeoplePerHour, we are able to bring you a vast database of top social media experts from around the world. Just apply the relevant filters to find professionals with the right experience, seniority, rates, location and more.

Once you have identified the professional you want to hire, we make onboarding simple too. Our customized onboarding processes enable you to build contracts, outlining the specific requirements you have. We also ensure that you collect the necessary personnel documentations, NDAs and more. This is significant because a social media manager will have access to a lot of classified campaign information that you may not have made public yet.

A freelance social media manager works on their own time and from their own premises. However, collaborative work is a huge part of their job. Our robust project management and communication features make the engagement easier on everyone involved. They help simplify processes so you can track project progress, budgets and deadlines most effectively.

Finally, our payment features ensure that you are able to pay your freelance professionals on time, with just a click. We offer multi-currency capabilities, so payments remain hassle-free – even if  you engage the top experts from halfway across the globe.

Discover the advantages of TalentDesk for yourself.