A Smart Way for Writers to Make Money: Offering Social Media Services

A Smart Way for Writers to Make Money: Offering Social Media Services

As a writer, you are likely already using social media to promote your published work — or you should be! And since you’re already a wordsmith, cobbling together clever and engaging tweets, Facebook posts, and descriptions for Pinterest and Instagram comes fairly easily to you.

Knowing this, have you considered putting your writing skills to work by offering social media services?

Businesses everywhere are jumping into the world of social media, but tons of them just don’t have the time or know-how. While they may not always advertise their need for a social media manager or content creator on Linkedin or Craigslist, you can easily identify five businesses in your city that are doing a poor job with social media. (Of course, you’re not limited to local clients when it comes to social media, but they’re a great first option.)

How to find social media clients

Start with your existing clients, the ones who already know your work as a writer. Simply shoot them a message letting them know that you are now offering social media services and ask whether they know anyone who needs this kind of support — or if they need it themselves. If your clients are willing to contact their networks, craft an email to make it easy for them. Add an incentive by offering a free hour of work in exchange for each referral.

To land new clients, reach out to some of your favorite local restaurants, retailers or bars. Just like you might pitch an editor by leading with a compliment on their recent work, you can do the same when you contact a business you already enjoy.

I’ve been able to land a few new clients by gently pointing out an easy way to improve their social media, like claiming their Facebook vanity URL, beefing up their Facebook About page, or adding milestones to their history. Including tips like these in your pitch shows that you know your stuff and adds value for the business — you’re helping them out before they’ve even hired you.

Another option is to include some statistics or tips on ways social media supports a business’ goals, such as these posts from Stellar Blue Technologies and Business2Community.

Finding ongoing work with your new clients

Signing a new social media client opens the door to the possibility of taking over additional writing-based tasks. Maybe you could launch or contribute to their blog, or write and distribute their monthly newsletter. Perhaps they need some canned response emails, press releases or updated website copy.

When you begin new relationships with businesses that constantly need content marketing, you set yourself up for steady gigs that don’t require pitching an editor or scouring a job board. And that’s a nice place to be.

How to price your social media services

Approach pricing for this work in the same way you do your writing services. You may want to offer an hourly rate to start out, but eventually I’d recommend moving to a monthly retainer package. This is basically your hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours you anticipate spending on work for the client.

Webpage FX has a detailed rate sheet for their social media services to give you an idea of what you might want to charge. Of course, you might want to start out with a lower rate to land that first social media client, but you’ll be able to raise it as you gain experience and client testimonials. The Write Life founder Alexis Grant also offers resources to help you build your social media business.

Keep in mind that you will average at least one hour per day (sometimes three to four hours), every day, creating content and responding to customer messages, so be sure to add some cushion to your rate. Social media never sleeps, and extra tasks occasionally creep in, so reevaluate the project scope periodically.

Will you start offering social media services, or do you already?

Filed Under: Freelancing
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14 comments

  • Nice post, Shawndra. Social media really is a wild west; most companies don’t want to spend the time necessary to respond to their communities. And the result is many poorly managed accounts that actually work against the companies reputation, rather than bolster it.

    By the way, that’s a great idea to offer referral incentives to your current clients. I think I might just do that myself!

    • Thanks for commenting Danny! Those companies that you’re seeing do things poorly are exactly who I approach to offer my services. They might not be willing to yet, but eventually they will realize how crucial it is to do social media well for their bottom line. Let me know how the referral incentives go for you too!

  • Alexis Grant says:

    Great post, S! I’m a big fan of making money off social media services — those kinds of skills are very in demand now!

  • Hugh Smith says:

    Great idea Shawndra! It’s amazing how may otherwise savvy business owners have no clue about social media and how it could impact their businesses.

  • Hi Shawndra,

    I like how you got down to the nitty-gritty of a valuable service businesses need (that most freelancers don’t know how to offer). Everybody says, “Hey, why don’t you add social media services to your business?” But you’ve laid out a simple, workable, thoughtful roadmap that illustrates the “how.”

    You’ve given me a couple things to think about, and that’s always a worthwhile use of my time. 🙂 Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  • Catharine Symblème says:

    I can’t tell you how timely this article is! (Yah, it kinda creeps me out when the universe reads my mind like that.) Good information on setting rates, especially — perfect!

    I just took on my first “official” social media client, after doing some little freebies for my business owner friends. This gig sort of landed in my lap out of the blue, and, as it turns out, yep, he also needs to have his Google Places, Angies List and other online profiles updated, and I’m writing a sales page for his website. Since this guy’s broke, I offered to work for a 10% commission. Since his average job is around $3000, that’s $300 for me. I can deal with that to start!

    So I’m more than a little bit out of my comfort zone, but am taking the learning curve, and plan on having a fair amount of fun at the same time.

    Keep up the great work!

    • That’s so cool, Catharine! Congratulations on landing the job. It’s funny how stretching outside of your comfort zone is unsettling, but also fun — and it’s amazing how quickly your comfort zone expands!

      Let us know how the gig goes!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

  • Awesome post! Writing jobs take on so many different forms these days and social media is an industry which is rising especially fast.
    Thanks for the post!!!!
    Sarah

  • White foord says:

    I love this post very much.please keep sharing of knowledges with us.

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