While social media may seem like all fun and games, doing it well takes more time than most businesses are willing to devote. Even businesses who plan to manage their own social accounts benefit from working with freelance social media managers and trainers to develop their strategy.
Working with a freelancer is different than hiring an employee. In some ways, identifying exceptional freelance social media talent is easier. Because freelancers work with many customers, there will often be recommendations on LinkedIn or testimonials on their websites.
According to Due.com's new Ultimate Guide to Freelancing:
There are approximately 53 million freelancers in the U.S. contributing $715 billion in earnings to the national economy.
Whether you are a company seeking to hire a freelancer or someone interested in earning an income from freelancing, that guide contains valuable advice.
Finding Freelance Social Media Managers
Top social media talent should have a strong LinkedIn profile that shows their experience. While LinkedIn endorsements only tell you what someone is believed to know, recommendations on LinkedIn can reveal people what people who have worked with the manger think of their work.
Anyone specializing in managing social media accounts casts doubt on their abilities when they have not optimized their own accounts on at least the major social networks of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Ideally, they should also have optimized bios on Pinterest, Tumblr and possibly Instagram, Meerkat and Periscope.
Freelancers will typically buy domain names that point to their strongest portfolio or resume details using either their name or the type of work they are seeking. If you have someone in particular in mind, try:
- Variations on their name using first initial or middle initial
There are new TLDs (top level domains) that may come into common usage such as .expert .company and .guru; however, they aren't often used today.
Serious social media users will typically rank on page one of search engines for their name and/or brand name. Even though there may be dozens or hundreds of other people with exactly the same name, their prominent use of social media networks ensures that they are typically easy to find.
High Demand = Higher Pay
Demand for the best qualified social media talent is high. Expect to pay a premium to land someone who has a strong following of their own they can use to promote your brand. Pay well for experience and the ability to track social media ROI and results. If your first choice is too busy or is outside your allotted budget, ask if they can recommend someone else. This is one of the safest, most efficient method of finding qualified talent.
Anyone who has ever used Twitter or Facebook may claim to be a social media expert. Do your due diligence and look at their accounts carefully. Do they use language you would not want associated with your brand? Are there any images that your customers or clientele would find objectionable?
What they share in their own accounts reflects their belief system and what they find acceptable. Even if they were more conservative in managing your accounts, it is typical for the identity of your manager to be public knowledge or at least discoverable, so what they share in their private lives will reflect on your brand. Make sure the people you choose to represent you fit with your company image and culture.
Must Have: Social Media Policy
Whether you manage your social media in-house or hire a social media manager, it is essential for every company to develop a social media policy that clearly lays out what is and is not acceptable. Be very clear about language, humor, images and videos.
What you may feel would be common sense will not be how others were raised. Each person's "normal" is based on the people around us and the environment we've grown up in. Words that would never have been used in polite company a decade ago are now commonly used even in the media.
Social Media Today provides these 57 Social Media Policy Examples and Resources. Choose a few companies with cultures similar to your own and review their policies. This can ensure you do not overlook important decisions when developing your own.