By Ashlee Anderson
You love social media. From Instagram to Twitter and Pinterest to Snapchat, you spend a lot of time posting, pinning, tweeting, and snapping to stay connected with friends, family, and followers.
And because so many people are using social sites, businesses too have taken to these social platforms to reach these many potential customers.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Businesses also use social media to create buzz around product launches, set up contests, offer coupons, and even provide support and customer service. In other words, there’s a huge demand for social media pros to help businesses with their online presence.
This means, if you’re social media savvy, you can turn your love of social media into a thriving online business by offering professional social services.
But, as a beginner, you may wonder how you get paid work on social media. Can social media services translate into a successful business? It all starts with a niche.
Start With A Niche
Instead of trying to cover all of the many aspects of social media — content creation, management, different platforms, various industries — decide on a specific niche.
A niche can be anything from focusing solely on a single platform, i.e., Instagram, or offering a standalone service, i.e., content creation. You could even target a specific industry like lawyers, veterinarians, restaurants, bloggers, or hotels.
Niching down makes it much easier to find your potential clients, hone your skills, perfect your pitch, and start landing work!
Remember, you can always expand your services later on down the road. But in the beginning, aim for a specific niche and grow from there.
As a beginner, it’s better to do one thing well than trying to do too much too soon. You’ll find it much easier to gain traction and garner a positive reputation in one arena rather than attempting to tackle all of social media at once.
The Different Sides of Social Media
Whether you realize it or not, many businesses today outsource their social media accounts to various professionals.
This can include designers who create social graphics to writers who specifically craft perfect updates and tweets.
Each type of social role has different responsibilities. Understanding these differences from the beginning will make it much easier for you to niche down your online business and decide which types of services you’ll offer.
Social Media Assistant
Social media assistants may work specifically with one person on the day-to-day operations of social media. For example, many bloggers and small businesses use social media assistants to help them stay on top of their social profiles.
Social media assistants may respond to messages on social media, help schedule social posts using automation tools, or even create graphics using platforms like Canva.
Assistants usually aren’t in charge of reporting analytics or creating marketing plans to help grow social profiles. Instead, they focus on carrying out specific tasks given to them, often by social media managers or marketers.
Social Media Moderator
Remember I mentioned how many businesses today use social media as a means to respond to customer questions, complaints, and comments?
Well, social media moderators are often the people who are in charge of responding to or ‘moderating’ these user-generated comments on various business social profiles.
Moderators may monitor social profiles for mentions and respond according to brand guidelines. Sometimes, they may even proactively reach out to users to help provide a better customer service experience.
Social media moderators aren’t tasked with creating new content for social profiles. Instead, they help businesses respond to user comments and questions in a timely manner.
Social Media Marketer
Social media marketers often develop campaigns for businesses. That is, they tie in social media with a company’s long-term goals or objectives.
This could include things like generating better leads or developing greater brand awareness. Marketers will use analytics to demonstrate how well a particular social media campaign is working and make adjustments accordingly.
Social media marketing requires an in-depth understanding of the business side of social platforms. A degree in marketing or previous professional social media experience is often required to be successful as a social media marketer.
Learn The Business Side of Social Media
As an avid social media user, you probably understand the basics of how platforms like Facebook and Instagram work. But when you’re looking to go from personal user to professional user, you’ll need to develop a better understanding of the business side of being social.
Online courses are a great way to build upon your existing social media knowledge so you can confidently start your own online social media business. The best part? There are several free options to help you get started:
This free course is offered by popular social media automation tool, HootSuite. Students learn the fundamentals of social media marketing, including concepts like profile optimization, advertising, and content creation.
This six-part course has a completely free version offered by Northwestern University via Coursera.
From start to finish, many students can complete all courses in six months. By the end, students will have a full understanding of “social media tools and platforms to design, manage, and optimize social campaigns to promote growth.”
Offered by Constant Contact, an email marketing company, this free beginners social media course helps you understand the basics of popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Find A Course That Works For You
If you want to explore online classes and courses that appeal to your specific niche, check out popular sites like Udemy or Skillshare. Both have free and premium course options available, making it easy to learn no matter your budget.
If you’re leaning toward starting a Pinterest social media business, a niche-specific course like Become a Pinterest VA Today may be exactly the learning you need to get started.
It Pays to Be Social
Social media shows no signs of slowing. As more and more businesses turn their attention online to reach new customers and manage existing customer relationships, there will be an ever-growing demand for social pros to help.
If you’ve always had a love for all things social media and want to use your knowledge of how social media works to earn a living, consider any number of online businesses to take you from personal user to professional powerhouse.
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Ashlee Anderson is a freelance writer, blogger and gig economy enthusiast who enjoys the freedom and flexibility of working remotely. After starting a note taking business in college, she’s continued to work for herself as a solopreneur ever since. Today, Ashlee continues to embrace solopreneurship and the endless possibilities to make money as an independent worker. She encourages others to ‘think outside the cubicle’ so they too can find happiness in working on their own terms. Follow along with Ashlee over at Work from Home Happiness where she shares plenty of practical advice, ideas, and beginner-friendly ways for freelancers, solopreneurs, and remote workers to use their existing skills and experience to earn a living from home.
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