December 2022 marks a full year since I graduated from college with a degree I wasn’t going to use (oops). 2022 was also my first full year in business (I got my first paying client in summer of 2021!) I’ve previously shared the story of building ABC Social Media Management and why I started my social media management business, but today, I’m here to talk about you. Specifically, the 100 things every social media manager should know.
P.S. This post was inspired by Sara of BTL Copy’s 100 Things Every Creative Business Owner Should Know, whose blogs and newsletters are some of my favorite to read.
Let’s get started, shall we?
1 – Everyone can be a social media manager – but not everyone should be.
Social media management is an amazing industry because it has a low barrier to entry. You can get started without a college degree in the field (I got my bachelor’s in International Politics), and can land a client without having to go through certifications or expensive training.
BUT, just because anyone can get started with social media management doesn’t mean everyone should. There is a serious issue in the marketing industry of freelancers letting clients down because they don’t have the training and skills to deliver on what those clients expect. When I say you don’t need a degree or certification, that doesn’t mean you don’t need experience. I’ve been working in social media and marketing since my freshman year of college, and have been involved in social media for way longer. Anyone can be a social media manager – but you have to decide if you’re committed to this career path and doing it well.
2 – You don’t have to offer every platform.
While it might feel like the most successful social media managers are offering every platform under the sun, I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true. For the first year and a half of my business, I’ve only offered Instagram and Facebook. I know many social media managers who only offer TikTok, or Pinterest, or LinkedIn. You can include multiple platforms in your packages if you enjoy working on them! But don’t feel like you have to. Here’s your permission slip. (And I’m walking the walk: you probably won’t ever see me offer TikTok management).
3 – You also don’t have to BE on every platform.
When you listen to the marketing experts, it might seem like you need to be posting on every platform – Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok – to achieve your goals with social media. And if you’re a one-woman show (or even a small team), this amount of marketing is overwhelming. I only do my own Instagram and blog/email. I couldn’t possible be on every platform and serve my clients. Focus on 1 or 2, do them well, and if you want to expand, outsource.
P.S. If you’ve seen me on Pinterest, I’m not the one managing that! My amazing Pinterest manager, Sarah Burk, is responsible for all my content there.
4 – Define your boundaries BEFORE you get your first client.
I have had my share of challenging clients, but I avoided having even more by setting my boundaries from the outset. Consider
and any other policies you want to set. Want to know what my boundaries are? I outline them in this blog post.
5 – Don’t be afraid to enforce your boundaries!
Look: the first time I put my foot down with a client, it was scary. (She actually ended up chewing me out for it and we parted ways because I don’t tolerate that behavior from clients, but that’s another story). But you have a choice: Be brave enough to set & enforce your boundaries, or grow to resent your business because clients are walking all over you (and may not even know it.
6 – Especially your boundary of not giving clients your phone number.
If this isn’t included in your boundaries… it should be. Read that again. You deserve an escape from your work. You do not have to be available 24/7 (more on this later). Preserve your sanity, and only allow clients to contact you via email and Slack.
7 – Learn the red flags that indicate a nightmare client (and avoid them)
While you will probably run into a nightmare client along your journey, you can prevent dealing with too many by looking for red flags before you enter into a contract with them. Things like
8 – Don’t get distracted by shiny object syndrome & remember to protect yourself.
When you first start your social media management business, it can feel like you need all the external things to get clients – website, brand design, lead generation. But first and foremost, you need a contract. And not a $5 template you buy from Etsy, or a contract a friend share with you (PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT GO THIS ROUTE!)
I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. But I am a social media manager who has saved herself thousands of dollars by having a proper lawyer-drafted contract in place. Make the investment before your first client. It not only demonstrates a level of professionalism and expertise to your clients, but also gives you a sense of confidence that you’re protected.
(and if a client balks at a contract? RUN. It’s for their protection too).
Wondering where to purchase a contract? I bought mine from Nina the Lawyer, but there are lots of high-quality lawyers offering contract templates! Here are a few others I follow + respect:
9 – It’s critical that your internal operations match the outer picture.
In a similar vein as above, if you spend too much money at the start for fancy branding + copywriting + a website, and you don’t put the same work into your internal operations – your client experience, your processes – you’ll have clients disappointed when what you presented doesn’t match what they get.
10 – You’re a contractor, not an employee. You don’t have to play by the “rules.”
You’re not in a corporate setting, and you’re not your clients’ employee. If you want to play by your own rules, you can. You get to determine your schedule, what you want to do, and who you want to work with. Remember that your clients do not own your time and they are not the boss.
11 – Avoid pricing yourself hourly.
A mistake I see way too many new social media managers make is pricing yourself hourly. This opens yourself up to two issues. First, you might have clients question why you’re spending X amount of hours on a certain task in their package, and pressure you to work faster to save them money. The other potential issue is that as you get better, you’ll do the same tasks in less time and make less money (when you’re more experienced). From my experience, pricing as a package is better for you and for your client.
12 – Define exactly what your social media management offer includes (and doesn’t include).
Don’t leave it to chance (or interpretation). Outline exactly what your client will get in terms of number of posts, type of posts, captions, hashtags, communication, calls, analytics, and engagement. Clarity leads to better, happier working relaitonships.
13 – Base your packages off what you want to offer, and what your ideal client needs.
When crafting your packages, first consider what you want to do (in terms of platform and content creation). Then consider what your ideal client needs (and ask them what they want to see as well!)
14 – Your prices are not up for negotiation.
I’ll add a caveat: There are absolutely times you might flex on your pricing in exchange for a client removing a deliverable or adding something in exchange. I’ve flexed on pricing when I would benefit from it too (but extremely rarely). In general, you don’t allow potential clients to barter your price. It’s a take it or leave it situation.
15 – There will always be someone who can do it cheaper. This doesn’t mean you’re too expensive.
Budget is in the eye of the beholder. For some small businesses, $300/month is absurdly expensive – and for others, $1500/month is cheap. Every business values marketing differently, and while it is up to you to demonstrate your value, just because someone can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Don’t take it to heart if someone says your pricing is too expensive. It just means they aren’t the right client for you.
16 – Don’t be afraid to state your prices. Share them transparently.
There’s a lot of icky practices in the online business space, and one of them is hiding your prices until someone gets on a call and you can “handle their objections” – aka, pressure them to make an investment that they truly aren’t ready for. Your potential clients should be able to view your pricing on their own time and make an un-pressured decision.
Curious what I charge? You can download my pricing + services guide here.
17 – Charge a late fee for invoices that aren’t paid on time.
Don’t spend your valuable time chasing down invoices! I allow a 3-5 day grace period, and after that, late fees check in. Confirm with a lawyer the exact laws for your state on how much a late fee can be, but absolutely protect yourself against clients who “forget” to pay their invoices and affect your cash flow.
18 – Social media manager does not necessarily also mean photographer, videographer, graphic designer, etc.
Technically, a social media manager is someone managing the day to day of an account – posting, responding to comments, keeping tabs on the inbox – and isn’t even typically responsible for the strategy. In the online space when businesses are hiring 1 social media manager and don’t have an in-house team, most packages do come with the strategy. But as an SMM, you don’t have to do all the things. You don’t have to also photograph your clients (which severely limits your ability to work with clients because of geographic factors), you don’t have to do video editing if you don’t want to, you don’t have to include graphic design. Craft your packages around your strengths.
19 – And if you do tasks outside of the typical scope of social media strategy and management, increase your pricing.
If you are including the tasks above, whether because you have the skills to execute or have a team supporting you, you should not be pricing yourself the same as someone who is strictly managing content.
20 – Remember that businesses who do marketing in-house have a team supporting them – if you’re a solopreneur, remember that you’re taking the cost of that team of their plate. You can raise your prices.
The average salary for a social media manager is $50,000 a year – and their responsibilities often do not include the graphic design, the video editing, the lead generation. With a package price between $1000-2000/month, you are far below that $50k a year. You are not being unfair to your clients when you charge fair, market-rate prices.
21 – Set up a content approval process that works for you and your clients.
My go-to process is to have clients review, provide feedback and approve in Airtable (you can snag my content calendar template here!) But whether you use Airtable, or Google Sheets, or discuss via a scheduling platform, create an easy way for clients to see content planned ahead of time and give feedback.
22 – Charge for last minute content requests.
Your time is not your client’s time. They are paying for a set amount of deliverables. So if an “urgent” content request comes up (and nothing is really urgent in marketing), decide whether you’re able to accommodate – but charge for that last-minute change. I charge for requests made within 48 hours of a post going live.
23 – Find other social media managers to network with and lean on.
You don’t have to do this alone. Connecting with other people who get your industry – and the various struggles – like no one else can is so important for the longevity of your business. I’m in a couple Facebook groups and memberships where I can share tips and struggles with other SMMs, and it’s always helpful for my business.
24 – Remember: friendship over competition.
It isn’t possible to serve every single business who wants a social media manager. Other social media managers are not your competition (unless they know that you’re working with a client and try to poach them from you. Then they’re sleazy and aren’t worth connecting with. And yes, someone did this to me.)
25 – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
With clients, with lead generation techniques, with marketing platforms – don’t rely on only one thing to keep your business afloat. When you have more than one basket, you lower your risk.
26 – Courses + e-books can help – but the real learning comes in the doing.
Don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking you need to keep buying courses or e-books to be a better social media manager. Yes, some education is important
If you’re looking for educational resources, I cannot recommend these highly enough:
(and yes, I’ve purchased every one of these)
27 – You 👏🏻 are 👏🏻 not 👏🏻 responsible 👏🏻 for 👏🏻 sales
End of. Marketing does not equal sales! They are two entirely separate departments at medium and large businesses, and for a good reason. You can do a damn good job and your clients still may not see sales – and that’s not your fault. There are so many steps to the customer journey and not every step is under your control. Do not let clients bully you for their business problems, and never accept a job that will only pay on commission.
28 – Even though social media management can feel like a 24/7 job, give yourself time off.
You don’t have to work on weekends. Your laptop doesn’t have to open until 10pm. You don’t have to constantly be putting out fires. Use post schedulers, set office hours, and remember that you deserve to have a break.
29 – Don’t neglect your own marketing for your clients’ accounts.
While clients can keep you very busy, don’t totally neglect your own marketing efforts. You may not be taking new clients now, but you might need to in the future – and keeping your community nurtured will mean you have warm leads for when you are opening up spots.
30 – Offer something below your done-for-you management services to help people who can’t afford the investment.
Not everyone is right for, or can afford, social media management. Offer a call or audit to have a way to serve businesses who have a smaller budget. This way, you’re not undercharging for management but you can remain somewhat accessible.
31 – But don’t bend on your prices for people who don’t see the value.
I recently saw a Facebook post from a social media manager who shared her rates with a potential client. That client was shocked that this SMM would charge more than $400/month, but this doesn’t mean that the rate was too high. Some people simply don’t see the value of social media marketing – they’re not the right people for you. Don’t waste your time trying to convince people of your value, because even if they do sign, they’ll constantly be looking for you to prove that you’re worth what they’re paying you.
32 – Avoid overpromising.
When you get on a sales call, it can feel SO exciting – and you want to do or say anything that will get you that client. But if you overpromise, you’ll create unnecessary stress for yourself and likely disappoint your new client. Never guarantee results – it’s unethical to do so. You can speak in general terms of what you’ve been able to achieve in the past, but you can’t promise your potential client will see the exact same effect. You also shouldn’t overpromise in terms of deliverables or timelines. It’s always better to underpromise a little bit and exceed expectations, than overpromise and fall short.
Need help nailing a sales call? This blog post from HerHQ helps you see how to make sales calls easy.
33 – Don’t feel like you have to give away work for free to get clients.
I see too many new social media managers offering free work as a way to get clients, and too many business owners asking for a free trial to see if they’re happy with the service. I don’t believe in this, because I don’t think anyone should work for free. Another reason I’m not a fan of free work is I’ve seen what happens: If someone wants your work for free, it is going to be a constant uphill battle to get them to pay you. After all, why, would they want to spend money if they’ve already gotten it for free?
34 – With that being said, beta rates can be a great way to get your feet wet.
While I’m not a fan of free work, I do believe charging beta rates can be a fantastic way to get the experience you need to grow your portfolio and attract new clients. You can’t come out of the gate charging $1000s of dollars a month – I started at $400/month.
35 – But don’t let clients get away with underpaying you for too long.
Beta rates are for newer social media managers (or experienced ones testing out a new offer) looking for experience. After 3-6 months of experience, you’re done with the beta rate and you raise it. Don’t let clients lock you into a below-market rate and take advantage of you for longer.
36 – Spend time in the sun (it’s good for your soul).
This is something I do almost every day (it definitely helps that I live in Florida). Stand up and get outside, even if it’s only for 5 minutes!
37 – And give your eyes a break from the screens by picking up a book or non-tech activity.
As a social media manager, I know all too well that you go down hours-long rabbitholes on your phone or laptop. Don’t forget to close the computer and do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. Your eyes and head will thank you!
38 – A dip in analytics don’t mean you’re not doing your job.
Reach, engagement and follows can take a dip any given month for a variety of reasons. If you had a reel go viral, you will likely see a dip the following month. Engagement rates can go down over the holidays with a lot of money spent on paid ads and sponsored content. This doesn’t mean you’re not doing your job, and isn’t a reason for you or your clients to panic. Now, if you’re seeing downward trends for over 3 months, it is time to take a look at your strategy.
39 – Don’t take critiques or feedback personally. They’re giving feedback to the business.
As a people pleaser – and a very sensitive person – feedback can feel personal. But when it comes to clients, it’s not. Reframe it as they’re giving feedback to the business, and every criticism is a piece of information is something you can use to improve your processes going forward.
40 – It’s better to keep clients for the long-term than constantly hunt down new clients.
You have to spend a lot more time attracting and nurturing new leads than you have to spend to nurture & keep an existing client. They’ve already invested in you – focus on keeping them happy, and on your leads second.
41 – But don’t be afraid to fire a client that is causing more stress than they’re worth.
One of the worst things I’ve done is hold on to a client for too long, and caused myself more stress and anxiety than I needed to. I have been lucky to find some incredible clients, and also to have had a secure financial position throughout my business journey so I wasn’t dependent on less-than-ideal clients for financial necessity. But if you can take the financial hit, let go of the clients who make you dread opening up your email – there is a better, more aligned client out there for you! EVERY TIME I let go of a client who just wasn’t the right fit, the universe always responded by sending me an opportunity I was craving (if you can’t tell, I’m into the woo woo stuff).
42 – Remember that your clients are bringing you on as the expert – if they don’t trust you, it just makes your job harder.
You’re the strategist. You’ve done the training. You know what you’re doing. If your client doesn’t want to trust you, they’re not getting the most out of their investment and also making your job way harder. This doesn’t have to be a reason to immediately let go of a client, but make sure to explain why you’re recommending this path and how it will benefit them. If they really don’t want to listen to you, I’ve found you’re better off letting them do their own thing without you – their resistance will only cause you headaches down the road.
43 – But collaboration with clients is the best way to see success.
With that being said, the best clients are the ones who want to be partners in their social media strategy and give you what you need to see results. They should want to be involved (in some capacity) but follow your lead and recomendations.
44 – You don’t need to convince someone to work with you. Stand strong in your value and focus on working with clients EXCITED about the investment.
Begging energy is not cute. You don’t have to bend over backwards to make an investment work for someone, or jump through hoops to convince them that they should invest in social media management. Provide past results, provide testimonials, provide proof of your skills – but don’t let someone make you feel like you need to beg them to work with you.
45 – Picking a niche is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Every social media manager coach talks about the importance of picking a niche. I’m really glad I didn’t get trapped in my niche, because the clients I work with now are SO different from who I thought I’d be working with! When I started I thought I wanted to be in the skincare + wellness space.
I was so very wrong.
Through the work, I realized that the industry I actually loved was interior design, home decor and vacation rentals. It also proved that this was the space where I could really get results with my social media marketing. Don’t pidgeon-hole yourself into a niche too early and miss out on the experiences that will tell you where your focus should be.
46 – Make your processes easy for you and your clients.
More than your branding, your tech, your client gifting – your processes are how you will impress and keep your clients. Make it not only easy for you to repeatedly execute, but also easy for your clients to understand. You never want to have your clients feeling confused or lost. The simpler, the better.
Bonus tip? Overcommunicate. Tell your clients everything that’s going on. Make it clear you care about them and want them to understand what you’re doing.
47 – Your onboarding process is the chance to make a good first impression – do it well.
The most important process? Your onboarding! This is the first chance to impress your new client and show them that they made the right decision. Walk them through everything, lead the way with confidence, and prepare for an epic partnership.
And if you want to steal my onboarding process that gets comments like “you are so on it with your entire website, lead capture, and client set up”? You can do so here.
48 – And by the way – charge for onboarding!
A mistake I made with my early clients is I didn’t charge for onboarding. I crammed onboarding into a short period – less than two weeks, usually – and didn’t pay for this critical work. I changed this after three clients, and have not had a complaint since.
Now, my onboarding process is four weeks long (so it takes up the first month of management). I charge the same monthly fee as management months for my in-depth, extensive research + strategy development month, which allows us to truly hit the ground running in month 2.
49 – Market to clients on the platform you want to serve them on.
It will be easier to attract clients if you can show your expertise on the platform you want to serve them on – in most cases. Now, I’m not saying you need 100,000 followers on Instagram to land Instagram management clients. I certainly don’t! But show off your chops on the platform you want to work on.
50 – Put what you want out into the universe when it comes to the clients you want to work with.
Look: I know not everyone is into the woo-woo stuff. But I have seen an impact on the quality and quantity of leads that come my way when I put it out into the universe who I want to work with. Claim your specialty. Talk yourself up. Go out and put yourself out there. And most importantly, believe that you are going to succeed.
51 – You’re going to make mistakes. Own it, but don’t let it break you.
Do your best work and make every effort to not make a mistake, but accept that at some point you will. It’s impossible not to. Whether it’s a scheduling glitch, a typo, an error in billing, or something else – it’s a matter of life when you run a business (and if you’re a human, tbh). A mistake will not break you – how you handle it can. Respond to it accordingly based on how significant the mistake was; Did you make a typo on a post? Let your client know and fix it when you see it. Did you make an error that impacted a client’s revenue? Apologize sincerely and ask what you can do to make it right. But remember that mistakes will happen, and you will survive.
52 – Nothing on social media is a fire drill. WE WORK IN MARKETING.
Heard this TikTok audio? I live by it. (Almost) nothing on social media is a fire drill. Because of the 24/7 immediateness of social media, clients can feel this urgency that things have to happen right now. But that’s just not the case. It’s not a fire drill because marketing is the long game. When clients start to panic, politely calm them down and remind them that we aren’t heart surgeons – we’re social media managers, and posts don’t have to go out righthissecond to work.
53 – Strike a balance between serving your clients and not allowing yourself to be treated like a doormat.
Part of being a social media manager is being good at customer service. Serve your clients well – deliver what you promised, be there for them when you need, go above and beyond when you’re able to. But don’t let them treat you like a doormat. It’s a delicate balance but one that must be struck.
54 – Remember to get to know your clients as humans too.
You know when you really start to love your job as a social media manager? When your clients aren’t just your clients – they’re friends as well. I laugh on client calls, know about their family, get excited when they get great news. Yes, you could be all businesslike – but what the heck is the fun in that? Be a human and get to know your clients as humans too.
55 – You can learn a lot without spending $$$$.
There are so many social media manager courses, academies, and masterminds out there on the internet that you might feel you’ll never be able to learn enough to start working. And that’s not even to mention the general “how to build a business” courses! But while a course or two, especially when it teaches you a specific skill, can be immensely helpful, there is so much free information available that you can learn from. From podcasts (here’s a list of some of my favorites!) to Facebook groups to blogs, there are a ton of free resources you can educate yourself with. Don’t miss out on those!
Wondering which facebook groups you should join? Here are some that I love being a part of:
56 – Don’t forget to read books as well!
I have read so many books that have impacted the course of my business. Some of my favorites are memoirs from other entrepreneurs and founders – those stories offer so many lessons that you can bring into your own work.
57 – But don’t get so bogged down in all the free that you’re not able to activate.
One thing to remember when you’re learning from all these free resources: don’t forget to actually go out and do the damn thing! You have to put the tips and tricks into practice to see how they’ll work in real life.
58 – Mentorship is invaluable.
In February of 2021, I made the very first investment I’d ever make in my business: Team AP Consulting‘s Square One Accelerator group program. Taking this step helped me turn my idea for a business into a reality by the end of my junior year of college. I’ve since invested in another group program with Ashli and am in her membership. Her continued mentorship and guidance is something I’m so grateful to be able to lean on as I grow. Do not overlook the value of a mentor!
I also believe having too many cooks in the kitchen can be a bad idea, and sticking to one or two mentors is the best move.
59 – Pay to get in the room.
I’m not talking about an overpriced mastermind at $30k when you haven’t landed a client yet – but join a membership related to your business (I recommend The Do-Ers, Ashli’s membership that I’m also the community manager of 😉). Having a space to network and connect with other entrepreneurs who get it makes the journey so much less lonely. It’s a place for advice, for learning, for referrals, and for friendship.
60 – But you don’t have to pay for friends.
Sometimes, I feel like people are paying for over-priced masterminds because they want business friends. And here’s the thing: you can absolutely become friends with the people in your programs and memberships. My business bestie was in Square One Accelerator with me (and we’ve never met in real life! Btw her name’s Maxime and she is an incredible brand & web designer that you need for your business). But friendship shouldn’t be the reason you’re paying for a community. You can make friends for free! Reach out to people you look up to on Instagram, message people on Facebook when they post something you relate to, and say to someone “I want to be biz friends!” (Ok, maybe that’s not your style, but that’s honestly how I’ve bonded with a lot of my business besties. I’m a weirdo).
61 – Be cautious when working with friends or family.
Oftentimes, friends and family are the first people to want to invest in your business. Maybe your family member has a local boutique they want you to run marketing for, or your friend’s small business could use a social media audit. I’m not saying don’t work with someone you’re close to – but be very careful. They usually expect work for cheap or free (it’s happened to me a ton!), and feel that your business boundaries don’t apply to them.
Trying to convince your friend not to text you (because they have your number anyway) at 8pm about a post they want to go up right now, or having to explain that work outside of the scope does cost more, can make them frustrated. And then your friendship or relationship can be impacted. If you’re going to work with friends or family, be sure to emphasize the relationship comes first and protect both parties with a contract and open communication.
62 – The right investments can move your business forward by leaps and bounds.
I’ve made some amazing investments in my business. From my business mentor, to my website, to outsourcing to a Pinterest manager, and not to mention my contracts – the right investments have given me my time back, brought in new leads and clients, and elevated my business to the next level. Don’t be afraid to invest.
63 – But you don’t have to have all the things right away.
At the same time, there can be a lot of pressure in the online space to invest invest invest. When you’re starting your business, you likely don’t have a lot of extra money. So don’t feel that you need all the things in the beginning. You can get away with a services guide instead of a website. You can opt for a group program or one-off call rather than really pricey 1:1 coaching. Don’t overspend or worse, take out a loan or apply for a credit card (as some shady business coaches will pressure you to do) to join a program that you can’t afford.
64 – DIY until you can pay to outsource – you’ll learn a lot that way.
Something I honestly should have done, but didn’t, is learn every aspect of my business. I actually hired my website designer because I spent two hours on Showit, got frustrated, and decided that I needed an expert. But when you DIY each part of your business – from your marketing, to your website, to your sales, to your operations – you’re then able to understand each piece better, and are more ready to communicate to the person who’s taking it over what you need.
65 – Some things don’t need to be outsourced, and don’t fall prey to the messaging that it should.
There are businesses who don’t need a social media manager.
Honestly, not everything in your business needs to be outsourced. It obviously can be – but if there is something you like to do, you’re good at doing, and it gives you an ROI on your time, there might not be a reason to outsource it. For me, this would be my Instagram. It’s my biggest client acquisition source and I’m good at it, so I wouldn’t choose to outsource my content.
66 – Don’t feel like you have to have everything perfect to be good at what you do.
As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I’m telling you this from experience. You can be very good at what you do, and still do it imperfectly, and you’re still doing a service worthy of fair pay from your clients. I promise you, you don’t have to have it all figured out in order to succeed. You don’t have to be the number one [insert industry here] in the world in order to make a living from this. Perfection doesn’t exist, and chasing it will only hurt your ability to enjoy what you do now (says the girl who obsesses about every word in her Instagram post, but I digress).
67 – There is something to be said for manifestation and the “woo”.
I’m very into the woo. Not everyone believes in it, but honestly? Manifesting and journaling and gratitude work. By putting out into the universe what you want, and putting yourself in a positive frame of mind where you are already grateful for what you have and accepting of what comes, you get more of what you want.
My favorite journal? The Me Time Kit, with a journal, affirmation cards, and eucalyptus oil.
68 – But don’t forget to put in the hard work too.
However – as much as I love the woo, it doesn’t replace putting in the work. You have to also be willing to roll up your sleeves and sometimes, hustle. You can’t manifest your way to seven figures (sorry, business coaches trying to sell you a course to do just that.
69 – Knowing exactly who you’re speaking to is key to seeing success from your marketing efforts.
You need to be so clear on who you’re talking to when you post. When you write an Instagram caption, when you share a blog post, when you send an an email – know your recipient. Know what they want, what they do, where they’d shop and what they wish they could achieve. Be SUPER freaking clear. You’re not talking to the masses.
And don’t forget: it’s ok to piss people off. In fact, it’s a really good idea to piss people off. If you’re not making someone mad with your content, you’re probably not taking a strong enough stance.
70 -With your content, avoid speaking only to DIY-ers with tips and tutorials.
One of the biggest mistakes I see newer social media managers make is only sharing tips and tutorials. While these are easily shareable content and can get a lot of engagement, by sharing DIY content you’ll attract the wrong type of follower. You don’t want people who want to learn how to do their own marketing – you want people who are so over the Instagram algorithm and want you to do it for them.
71 – Highlight the value and transformation of what you do.
In your content and marketing, talk more about the why and the impact than the how. Share what social media management can mean for their business. Include social proof and transformations you’ve created. Allow your followers to see what it would be like to have a social media manager.
72 – Find ways to overdeliver without stretching yourself thin.
You hear me talk about scope and avoiding scope creep till the cows come home. But, sometimes – when it’s your decision – you can find ways to overdeliver and surprise your client. Know your client got a press feature? Post a story that isn’t technically included in their package. Do a couple extra minutes of engagement when you know they’re pushing towards a big goal or event. See a way for them to make a great connection or have a fantastic opportunity? Mention it to them. You can go above and beyond without being taken advantage of.
73 – Take action to increase client loyalty.
Similar to the above tip, don’t just do your job and press “send” if you want to deliver a truly exceptional service. Of course there are days you’ll just get the exact tasks done and need to “clock out”, but to build client loyalty you need to surprise and delight your clients throughout their experience with you. Things like
Building client loyalty doesn’t require sending gifts, but it does require paying attention to your clients and making them feel special. That loyalty is what will lead to long-term relationships. A good portion of my clients stay for 6 months or more, and this is why.
74 – Block your days. Thank me later.
This is something I learned from Michelle of MKW Creative Co – block your days by task! This is what my schedule looks like roughly:
This may not work for your brain, and feel free to adjust as needed – but by having a clear plan for each day, I find you’ll often be much more productive.
75 – You don’t have to drop everything when a client wants to talk to you – they work around your schedule.
To me, one of the best parts of working for myself is that I set my own working schedule. I work between 30-35 hours a week (sometimes 45-50 if it’s a really busy week) but I decide when I work those hours. I don’t take calls before 12pm because that gives me my mornings at the barn. I’ll work for 3 hours, go to the gym for an hour, and work for another 4 when I get home. This flexibility is amazing – don’t let your clients take it away from you! I require 24 hours notice to book a call, and they book on my call calendar with my set availability.
76 – But a little flexibility never hurt anyone 🙂
I do stick pretty strictly to my schedule. But I’m not a monster – if something comes up, I will move things around for a client as long as it’s not a consistent issue. I’m not allowing a standing 8am Monday morning meeting (god forbid lol), but if one week the only time that works for my West Coast client is 9pm est? No problem, I’ll eat dinner and hop on the call. When I can be flexible, I am – but it still gets to be my choice to be.
77 – Don’t plan content that has to be manually published for a holiday. We all deserve a break.
We don’t post reels on holidays. Any content going live on a holiday has to be something that is pre-scheduled, because ABC Social Media Management is off for all major US holidays. Post a reel the day before or after 🙂
78 – Once you’re able to (and maybe even before), bring on support to handle client or admin tasks that you don’t enjoy doing.
One of the best things I did for my business and my sanity was hire an engagement assistant to take client engagement off my to-do list. While I love doing engagement, I simply didn’t have the time to do it for all my clients. 30 minutes a day, for 5 clients, was 2.5 hours a day. I was quickly running out of time when I added that on to call time, content creation and editing, and marketing, and knew I was going to limit my capacity if I stuck to doing it all myself. Whether it’s engagement, graphic design, scheduling, video editing, or admin work, when you’re able to – bring on help.
79 – Honesty is the best policy when it comes to clients, team and all relationships.
Don’t try to hide things from your clients or team – even when it puts you in a bad light. Whether it’s about analytics, a posting error, a change in policy: always be honest and upfront.
80 – Speaking of relationships – they’re key to building your business. Tell EVERYONE about what you do – you never know what it could lead to.
Don’t shy away from talking about what you do! You never know who knows who, and which person in your network could connect you to a dream client.
81 – Ask for referrals from clients when you’re delivering good news.
Referrals can be a great way to get new business – and who better to recommend you than the people you’re already working with? My favorite time to ask for those referrals is when I’m delivering a fantastic analytics report or sharing a great win.
82 – You’ll get a lot further making friends with people than looking at new connections as dollar signs.
I think a mistake way too many online entrepreneurs make – not just social media managers, but all OSPs – is treating new connections as potential clients way too quickly. We’ve all been the recipient of those obviously-going-to-be-a-sales-pitch DMs before that person has even taken the time to learn our name. It’s gross and doesn’t feel good. I’ve made WAY more sales (and had a way better time in my business) looking at new connections online or in real life as an opportunity for a new friend. If a sale is right, it will come up naturally. But go out and make friends! (Come be my friend. I promise I don’t bite 😜)
83 – Remember to nurture your existing community.
If you’re too focused on growth growth growth, and are caught up in getting more reach/followers/eyes on your business, you might be forgetting to nurture the people who already decided to hit follow. Don’t ignore them! You already got their attention. Remember to engage with them, respond to their comments, care about them and thank them for their support.
84 – And put your business in front of new eyes with outbound engagement.
The best way to get your business in front of quality new eyes is to engage with new audiences. Connect with people in your ideal target audience to get their attention (in the right way – don’t do it with basic “love this!” comments that everyone sees through. Again, be their friend). If you need more help figuring out engagement, check out my blog post outlining engagement and how it fits into your content strategy.
85 – Give back with what you’ve learned.
Help other social media managers who are new. Answer someone’s question that’s going to take you five minutes in the DMs. Don’t gatekeep. I’m not saying you have to give out free advice all day every day in your DMs – some matters do require a 1:1 call and you should charge for that – but don’t forget you were new once too, and reaching out to someone for help takes guts. Even just pointing someone in the direction of a resource is immensely helpful!
86 – Look not just at your day-to-day, but the long term vision.
Don’t get too bogged down in the day to day that you forget about your overall vision for your business. Why are you building this? What makes you want to be a social media manager? And what long-term goals are you moving towards.
87 – Build your business around your life, not the other way around.
When you own your own business, you get to set the rules. Your business fits into your life; Don’t force your life to fit into your business. For example, one of the main reasons I don’t take calls before 12? I ride from 8am-12pm. My life is not just my business – no matter how much I love my work and my clients. My life is so much more, and my business fits into it.
88 – Make your why bigger than the money aspect of your business.
If the only reason you started your own business is to get rich, you won’t find it sustainable. When you’re having a rough day, or your income dipped this month, you won’t have a reason to keep going. My why doesn’t have to do with the money – I could make much more in a corporate marketing job. But the driving force behind my business is my desire for time freedom. I love setting my own schedule and pursuing my passions on my terms, and that makes every hard day worth it.
89 – There are absolutely seasons where you need to hustle.
I’ve had weeks that I needed to be up until 11pm for work. That I was cutting rides short to be on meetings that would move my business forward. I’ve given up short-term fun to buckle down and get a large project out. I don’t subscribe to hustle culture as a permanent thing in your business, but if there’s one thing my mentor has taught me, is that sometimes you do have to roll up your sleeves and get into the thick of it.
90 – But don’t sacrifice your self-care for your business for too long. You need to take care of yourself too.
At the same time, hustle season can’t last forever. You need to prioritize your self-care (and I don’t mean just cute bath bombs and face masks). Squeeze in a workout, even if it’s just walking around the neighborhood. Get enough sleep – I am set on getting the 8-9 hours I need to function properly, even if it means closing the computer before work is done. Give yourself a break. You are a huge force in your business, and if you break down, so will your business.
91 – Even though it can feel easy to do everything online, don’t forget the importance of meeting up with people in person too.
Starting my business during covid, it felt normal to do everything over zoom. But over the last year, I’ve realized the impact of meeting up with people in person. You connect in a different way. I’ve met Square One alum in Atlanta, gone on a retreat in Austin, and went to brunch with a local business friend. It’s just not the same as Zoom. Find ways to get offline and connect – it is beyond refreshing, for you and your business.
92 – Remember to drink water while you’re working.
Is this social media manager specific? No, but it’s Amber specific and I’m a social media manager 🤣 Don’t forget to hydrate even when you’re staring at your screen for four hours!
93 – and while it can be easy to go for fast food + microwave meals, try to eat healthy too.
If you’ve caught my Instagram stories, you know I’m a big mac and cheese or frozen meals girlie. And that’s fine sometimes – but don’t forget to eat fresh veggies and proteins too. To do your best work, you have to fuel your body and your mind.
94 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help – you never know what new perspective someone can offer.
Reach out, even if you don’t know the person well yet. Whether it’s about a difficult client, or a money situation you’re just not sure of, or a challenge that arose with one of your softwares – don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.
95 – But don’t be offended if someone you reach out to says they don’t give out free advice – their time is valuable too 🙂
Each business owner has different boundaries around giving out free advice. My personal rule is if it will take me less than 5 minutes, I’ll usually answer. But if it requires in-depth, personalized advice, I’ll usually ask the person to book a paid call with me so we can really dig into their issue. Don’t be offended if someone won’t give you advice for free – other people pay them for their time and expertise, and remember you aren’t entitled to that same treatment. It all comes down to respect.
96 – Create your own bonuses and treat yourself when you hit a goal in your business.
You’re your own boss, so don’t forget to reward yourself when you do well! I love setting up “bonuses” for myself when I hit certain goals. When I hit 5 retainer clients, I bought my favorite tequila. After my biggest revenue month so far, I treated myself to a massage. It doesn’t have to be huge, but don’t forget to reward your hard work.
97 – Don’t feel like your goals have to be the same as everyone else’s.
There’s so much talk about “six figure businesses” (and now it’s seven or eight figures). But that doesn’t have to be your goal. Maybe you’re ecstatic to be a solopreneur making $80k a year working with 7 clients you love. Perhaps you don’t want this to be more than a part-time job, and you don’t want a crazy busy client roster keeping you up until midnight working. What would make you happy and allow you to live the life you want? That’s your goal. It doesn’t have to match the rest of the internet’s.
98 – Remember that a lot of online marketing involves some lying and shady shit.
When you look underneath the hood of businesses claiming to have 6 or 7 figures in revenue, they’re not talking about all the ads they run. Or that it’s actually lifetime sales, not in the last year. They don’t bring up their client retention rate. Or the amount of lawsuits and chargebacks they had to deal with. These business owners aren’t talking about the hard parts of business. Their focus is on marketing their one solution to your problem and when you don’t get the same results? It will be your fault. There is so much lying and dishonesty in the online space. The reason I tell you this? So you don’t feel bad for not hitting seven figures in thirty days while you work 1 hour a day like that Facebook ad is telling you you should be able to.
99 – Don’t feel like you have to lie or “embellish” to get to where you want to do.
Be honest. About your experience, about your abilities, about what clients will get from you. You don’t need to lie and fib your way to success – that makes your foundation flimsy and is something you will always be struggling to maintain.
100 – Believe that you are able to achieve what you set your mind to.
All this advice comes down to – believe in what you’re doing, and believe that you are capable of reaching your goals. Whether that’s to be a six-figure social media manager, or to bring in a part-time income to help your family, you can do it. You’re capable, you’re ready, and I believe in you.
This career path is a challenging but incredibly rewarding one. If you find yourself with questions as you embark on your social media management journey, I’m here to help. I offer 60-minute pick my brain calls where we can strategize your packages, your pricing, troubleshoot client issues, and set you up for sustainable growth.
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ABC Social Media Management® is a Florida-based social media management company serving female entrepreneurs worldwide through comprehensive management and strategy services.