As many of you might know that follow me regularly, I’m a full-time consultant for the Shaklee Corporation working on blogger relations, digital strategy, metrics and social media campaigns and efforts. A wonderful job and I love it because I get to do what I really love and we’ll how many people can truthfully say this?
Many bloggers are interested in a job similar to what I have with Shaklee but many are not sure how to find positions like this, what they should be paid and if they are even qualified. Now ordinarily, I would talk about this subject at SLP Connections where I focus more on the business of what I do but today I decided to venture out into my blogging space in hopes of reaching a larger audience because this is a topic not widely talked about in the open amongst bloggers but I get private messages about this often!
What qualifies you as a consultant?
First let me say I did not set out to be a consultant and think that because I was on Twitter, Facebook or because I have a blog I was automatically qualified. No. In fact, I doubted myself at first but my story is simple and I think many find themselves in this predicament. After two years of blogging and using social media successfully for my own blogging business and brand I had small niched green companies and entrepreneurs emailing me and asking me for assistance to build their brand online. At first they just asked me questions and I gave them answers for free. Answers I learned the hard way from hours and hours on the computer, reading books, experimenting with my own social media channels and blogs, watching others online closely, reading article after article online and attending free and paid webinars taught by some stellar online entrepreneurs.
In a nutshell, I went to school the hard knocks way and taught myself spending a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears!
So was I qualified to begin consulting and am I today? Yes and as time goes on I get better and better! I was able to teach others what I know, offer them qualified advice based on my own experience because in a nutshell I live, eat, breath social media and blogging and have learned a lot about social media campaigns, working with bloggers and PR and what not to do! A consultant has to be an expert in a field and specialize in something to offer advice and consult with a company or small business. For me personally, I’ve become an expert in this field and I continue to educate myself and read, attend webinars, stay up to date with the latest trends and see what is working and not working. I have to continue to offer my clients the best advice as a consultant and do my job well. I also have to create strategies, execute plans, deliver reports, oversee campaigns, understand metrics, deal with different company’s software, protocol and work with budgets. It is very multidimensional and not as easy as showing someone how to use their Twitter account!
Tip: A good consultant knows when to say they do not know and seek the paid advice of someone who does.
Now ask yourself, are you qualified to be a consultant? Social Media Today wrote a good article about what sets apart the “real” social media consultants and those that think they are. It’s worth the read and it might make you chuckle.
Okay I’m Qualified Now What?
If you have people asking for your help now and you’re ready to really consult with other companies, brands or small businesses there are a lot of places to begin. Even just getting your feet wet and helping a few small businesses locally get started with social media is a good place to start. Use these as your references and testimonials to begin with and build from there. Freelancing can allow you to set your schedule and rates to fit your business needs.
Tip #1: Have a social media assessment plan as a consultant to use with your clients. Tools that you like to use for metrics and management and create a social media strategy plan with your client to set clear benchmarks and goals! Consulting is really about understanding the client and figuring out the best plan for them within their budget to deliver results.
Tip #2: If you freelance have a standard contract, invoice hourly or by project and be sure to set a standard invoice expectation where you are paid one month in advance, if possible. Otherwise set your terms to be 7-14 business days upon receipt. Many large companies will take weeks to pay!
Find a Job as a Social Media Manager
If freelancing is not for you and the hourly gig here or there won’t sustain your income maybe you need a traditional J-O-B! There are some excellent online sites offer different job postings for social media, blogging or online community manager positions. Look at the job description and be sure you meet the qualifications before applying.
What Should I be paid as a Social Media Manager?
© 2012 Onward Search
Good question and the pay scales are all over the place depending on your experience and region. I did some research and found a great Pay Scale range but really Onward Search offers a great infographic that displays the differences in salaries. It also comes down to what your job description is and the expectations. Just managing social account or being an online community manager is not as much works as being a social media direction or overseeing campaigns, developing strategies, monitoring sentiment online and assessing metrics.
Hopefully this is helpful if you’re interested in consulting! Do you currently consult for a company and if so what tips or advice do you have for someone wanting to get started?