12 Steps To Begin Your Career As A Social Media Manager


This week’s blog post is part of the ongoing monthly series, “A Day In The Life Of A Social Media Manager.”

When I was twenty I had no idea that I would try out many different kinds of jobs or that each one would become a stepping stone to the next. Phone sales, daycare, working in schools, writing my first children’s book were the building blocks to where I am now. I was just living life day by day doing what felt right at each moment in time. Now 23 years later I have my own business. I’ve become an entrepreneur in paving my own way like so many others. I wanted change, to be able to rely on my own income and not be tied down to low paying jobs in my local area or bogged down by unemployment trends.

I received an email today from a wonderful lady wanting to know how can she start a similar career path and what steps did I take to get here.

First of all I must say it takes a lot of discipline to create your own business. You must have a game plan and be committed for the long haul. If you have a job, keep it. Grow your business on the side until you are ready to jump ship into your new life. If you have the means to head full-time into your new passion go for it! I would love to hear all about it. Share your website with me and my readers and keep us posted along your journey. I’m here to support you!

Here’s the breakdown of the steps I took to launch my new life.

Key things to become successful in this line of work:
1. Grow your experience. Take courses, study key players and practice what you preach.

2. Build your skills. I began building my online web presence for my children’s book then it expanded from there. I took Kate Buck Jr’s complete Let’s Get Social Course. I printed out all the materials, put them in a three ring binder and followed every instructional video to the detail. Creating my website, social sites as i went along so I had it handy for myself but also so I understood it all. I actually went through the course twice and still refer back to it once in awhile. Kate also has a private social media manager’s group on Facebook for everyone who takes her course. I really enjoy this group, it’s full of wonderfully supportive people. This industry is not like other’s that are secretive and don’t want to share. Social media managers/coordinators love to help each other out and suceed!

It’s just like taking a college course but you have to be disciplined to block out your time to learn. You’ll learn about Facebook pages, WordPress, Hootsuite, LinkedIn and so much more. It’s worth the reasonable fee to jump start a new career. I have heard colleges are now modeling their social media courses after Kate’s course and other courses online.

3. Build your own website, Facebook fan page, Twitter profile, etc. You have to show you know what you are talking about. This also helps you get found by potential clients through the search engines.

4. Internship. If you are having trouble getting started you can find someone who will let you intern. Contact an author online or visit a local business and ask if you can set up their Twitter account and build a Facebook Business Page for them and manage it for free for a few months. This gives you practice, experience and possibly a paying client when your done. Be sure to get a testimonial.

5. Join groups for social media managers on Facebook and on LinkedIn. Learn by watching everyone and asking questions.

6. Read mashable, Likeable media and anything else you can to learn more about social media. These sites will help you keep up on what’s current and new. This is an industry that will keep you on your toes.

7. Create a business plan. It doesn’t have to be large and elaborate but enough to help you figure out your next steps.

  • Study and gain skills needed. (This is always ongoing)
  • Pick your niche in the field.
  • Reliable computer, cell phone and other digital devices are perfect for the job. (Save your receipts for tax write offs)
  • Business license. Check your country/state regulations.
  • Build your online presence.
  • Start putting out the word you are available. Find an internship, share flyers/business cards locally and always be on the look out to let people know online you are open for business.
  • Become very organized. You will need to find a way that works for you to organize your clients, daily activities, contracts, receipts and more.                                                                Create a basic proposal and contract file that you critique per client.
  • Set up a Paypal or Freshbooks account. Always require payment in advance.
  • Be as honest, dependable and reliable as you possibly can. You are your business. Everything you do reflects back on you.
  • Grow your connections daily.

8. Once you begin have patience and believe your next client is emailing or calling you soon. Feel it happening. When you first begin a new career it can take a bit of time to feel you are actually good enough to pull it off. Surround yourself with a positive support system who believes in you.

9. When you get your clients, do the work on time, connect through email and phone when needed and make yourself a valuable asset to their business team. For example I have a client I do monthly social media management for but he also emails me for input on his monthly newsletter. This gives me a chance to add information, invites and social links to his newsletter, share ideas and become a valuable part of his networking team. (I do this as an added bonus) If you are actually in charge of a client’s newsletter charge for it.

10. Stay consistent. Learn from entrepreneurs and business owners. Keep your blog and social sites active. You are your brand. Your work is an example of how you will handle a clients social tasks, blog posting, newsletter services and more.

11. Think Long Term. As you grow you’ll have to decide. Do you want to have a certain amount of clients that you can easily handle the work load for or are you willing to expand by hiring your own employees?

12. Finding Clients.  Begin by creating a profile on Odesk or Elance and find your first client. Even little part time clients add up, building your confidence, resume and testimonials. Spread the word online and offline you are open for business. Stay active online. Write guest blog posts to spread yourself out amongst different audiences. Target your niche. Are you wanting to work with doctors. Join groups that cater to doctors. Search online and find their contact link and send them a professional letter representing your services. Join your local chamber of commerce.

My clients have came through word-of-mouth and Google. I haven’t paid for any Google advertising. They found me through online searches. Network and your clients will arrive! 

4 Responses

  1. Patti Cooper

    Hi Carol, just wanted to tell you I loved this article! I also am taking Kate’s course, and my site is almost finished. Although after looking at your site, my seems very lacking. I need to include much more info. I knew nothing about social media management when I started, but I’m learning every day and I’m loving it. You really share so much information and seem to have just about everything someone would want to know! Thank you for that. I’m off to do some more research for my site, and will look forward to your newsletter!

    • Carol Lawrence

      Patti, Thank you so much for stopping by. Congrats on taking Kate’s course. Please share your website. I would love to hear about your progress as your business grows. Keep in mind, my website grew over time. At first it was missing lot’s of information. As i had time and put my skills into practice I updated it. I’m still updating it. If i could give you one tip it would be to have an active blog. This will help you get more exposure. Take care and please stop by again.

  2. Ana Millan

    Hi Carol!!
    Thanks for this great article! I took the Let’s Get Social back in June 2010 and it has been a blessing for me. I got laid off from my full time job back in Aug 2011 after 20 years and that has been the best thing that happen to me. In December 2012 will be my 1st anniversary of my business https://www.facebook.com/Bfound.SocialMarketPlace. I partnered with a co-worker and we have our office here in Cidra, Puerto Rico. It was a bit challenging since here Social Media is not well known as a tool to advertise your business. Like you said in #12 word of mouth has been the key. One i had those two first clients , the rest just came in. Today we have over 12 paying customers and growing.

    • Carol Lawrence

      Thanks for sharing your story. Congratulations on creating a successful business. There are so many opportunities for people right now who want a brand new career. There’s a huge need to fill and I think businesses are figuring it out. Word of mouth and great customer service. Don’t be afraid to expand your services beyond your City. Being virtual has limited limitations. 🙂