Those of you who follow my blog may know that I officially founded my own social media management business one month ago. Whilst I have been involved with social media for the last few years, this past month has been quite enlightening. The following is a list of the top 13 lessons I’ve learnt as a social media manager and as a newly formed business. I hope you find my experiences interesting and gain some insights if you want to join the profession or if you are in the same position you can get some solace in the fact that someone else has experienced the same things you have!
Be Clear About What you Want and Keep Focused on it
This sounds incredibly obvious but you need to consider very carefully what you are expecting to achieve. Is it about spending more time with your family? Taking your talent to a new level or is it purely about making more money? Whatever your expectations, remember you need to be realistic about what you can achieve and remain focused on achieving it. There’s no doubt however that along the way it can be tough and sometimes an opportunity may present itself that may not be what you want to do, and as tempting as it might be to grab the opportunity, be it through someone’s suggestion or your own financial worry, this is when you need to be balanced in your focus. Being too scattered and grabbing whatever work comes your way can compromise your reputation, focus and your passion. After all if you take on so much work that you don’t want to do just to get money, then why are did you bother starting a business in the first place – you may as well have stuck at your old job doing something you don’t want to do there.
There is no Such Thing as ‘A Day Off’
Social media is never ‘offline.’ And from clients in different countries, knowing the different times to post for each platform, to client ‘crises’ the days do not run on a Monday to Friday 9-5 clock anymore, instead I need to be on hand at unsociable hours if and when I am needed. That being said, I work from home meaning I can work in my PJ’s if I want to and generally enjoy working as my own boss and appreciate the freedom I have and the lovely location that I am in. Life could be worse.
Time Management and Organisation is Key
Being incredibly disciplined and organized with very good time management skills is an absolute must in this field of work. With lots of clients each having their own needs and demands, if you are not organised and scheduled then things can soon develop into chaos which is not the recipe for a successful social media marketing plan. I am counted on to manage and execute several accounts for companies that trust me to manage something that can make or break their business, so it is imperative that a structured and organised plan is in place.
Managing your Own Content is as Vital to your Business as that of your Client’s
It is so important to schedule the time in for yourself to manage and update your own social media accounts. Not only does this mean you can showcase your skills and continually read and learn emerging developments in the industry, it also can lead to new prospective contacts. When you say to someone you are a social media manager one of the first things they will look at is your own personal social media accounts, so it is imperative they are updated and reflective of the persona you want to show to prospective clients.
Remember to Get out of the House
With a very tight and structured day in place it can be hard to justify a 10 minute stroll outside during the day. Adding to this the fact that some days you will purely work from home and not see anyone, it can be forgiven if you stay in your pyjamas all day, work on your laptop on your bed and not really ‘get ready’ for the day. It will do wonders for your self-esteem and general well-being if you get yourself up and ready for the day as if you are heading out to the office. Also working on a computer all day can be draining so even taking a 10 minute stroll outside can help clear your head leaving you refreshed and a chance to have a change of scenery.
Stand Behind and Defend how you Choose to Run your Business
I have my own way of doing things and I’m sure many others will have their opinions about it and prefer to do things a different way. But I have specific ways of doing things for a reason. Whilst I am open to advice and modifying my routine should a better opportunity present itself, I never take someone’s advice that I don’t agree with just to be nice or because they think they know better. No one knows you better than yourself, so if you have a way of doing things that means you do the best job you can for your clients then stick to it.
Not Everyone Will Agree With you and Want to Work With you… But That’s Fine
You will always get someone who no matter how much time, energy and evidence you present, they will just not ‘get’ that they need social media for their business. But that’s fine, because there will always be those who do want your help. You can waste a lot of your own time trying to convince someone or you can instead learn when is the time to stop and instead direct your time into connecting with people who are serious about using your services.
Modesty in the Beginning Won’t Help your Business
Owning your own business means it is up to you to be proactive to get the money coming in. Therefore you need to really market yourself in the beginning to get the initial interest of prospective clients in your business. This means you need to speak confidently about yourself and your business and really try to sell yourself to give people a compelling reason to choose you over your competitors. Once you become a bit more established you will then come to see a lot of your hard work pays off in word of mouth referrals.
You Will be Surprised by the People Who are Willing to Help you…or Not Help you
Forming and developing can be a daunting task, but there can be on hand lots of helpful advice in the form of friends, family, online forums or other personal networks. Work on the philosophy that someone can’t help if they don’t know what the problem is, so always ask if you need help. You may well find however that those you wanted to help you won’t or those you never thought of asking do help, either way learn from those surprises and use those lessons to guide your future requests for assistance.
Research, Research, Research
As a social media manager, you need to be the go-to person for any social media questions that your clients want to know. This means that you should always schedule in the time every day to read up on developing trends in the industry and also the content of those in your personal network. I learn so much through new information every day through mediums such as Twitter, Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today, all of which helps better my knowledge base and business.
Follow up With Everyone you Meet
It is one thing to meet a person and ask for their card but it’s another thing to actually follow-up with that person. Always make it a point to follow-up with everyone you meet and drive new connections and networks, if you take someone’s card and do not take the time to follow-up with them then your networking effort is completely lost. Networking has been so important for my new business to drive growth, so make sure you are taking advantage of all the connections you meet.
Don’t Lower your Rates, Lower your Offering
When you’re starting out you’re probably going to have to do some work that is below your pay grade to get experience and initial testimonials. However after you’ve established yourself and understand your rate within the industry, stick to it. If you have a client that questions your proposal, don’t lower your rates, simply lower your offering. If they don’t want to pay what you charge then simply ask, “OK, what don’t you want to do?” which just lowers the number of services you’ll provide and not your rate.
It’s Important to Schedule in Time to be Creative, Think and Have Time for Yourself
With a busy schedule of emails, meetings, sleeping and eating the weeks can suddenly fly by without any proper time for you to do the things you enjoy or the time to be creative or just to think. Try to schedule in sometime to do things that make you happy or even just to have a change of scenery. Many top influential business owners always say their best ideas have come from taking time away from the office to do something different or clear their head so always remember to take some time out for yourself; after all there are many benefits of owning your own business so make sure you enjoy them!
What things have you learnt as a new business or from being a social media manager?