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How to Get Clients as a Social Media Manager – Tips and Strategy

Many people are interested in how to get clients as a social media manager. It’s not an easy task, but there are many ways that you can go about finding potential clients. In this article, I’m going to share some of my best tips and strategies for how to get clients as a social media manager and how you should approach them once you find them!

how to get clients as a social media manager
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How I Got Started

I started my career as a freelance social media manager about 6 years ago. I wanted to be able to work from anywhere and plan my own schedule so I ditched my 9-5 job. This was the best decision I could have made. At the time, there weren’t many courses or resources out there on how to get started as a social media manager. I had to learn everything by trial and error.

Now you might be wondering “Can you become a social media manager with no experience?”

Yes, this is totally possible! If you want to know how I can help you.

I’m soon launching my course the Social Media Manager Academy which will teach you step-by-step how to start your own profitable SMM business. Sign up to the waitlist HERE to claim $200 off the launch price and to get notified when it’s launched.

In the beginning, it was really tough trying to find clients. I would cold email businesses that I thought could use my services, but most of them never replied. Or if they did, it was to say that they weren’t interested. I would go to networking events and meet-ups, but most of the people there were looking for employees, not freelancers.

After a few months of struggling to get clients, I finally got my first paying client. And then another one. And then another one. It slowly started to snowball and I was able to quit my day job and become a full-time freelance social media manager.

Related article: How to become a freelance social media manager with no experience

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    Tips How to Get Clients as a Social Media Manager

    Now you might be wondering how do I get my first social media marketing client?

    If you’re just starting out with your social media manager small business, it may be tough to get your first few clients. But don’t give up!

    Here are some tips on how to get clients as a social media manager:

    1. Use Free or Low-Cost Work to Develop Your Resume

    This is a good tip for freelancers who are just starting out. I offered my services for free (and sometimes in exchange for other services) to assist me to build my resume and obtaining testimonials. If you’re just starting out as a freelance social media manager, this is the first step when your thinking about how to get clients as a social media manager.

    The free work was also useful for meeting people in the industry and getting them used to work with me. Once I got some testimonials from my previous clients, it made it easier to convince future prospects that I could do the work for them.

    2. Network with other freelancers and businesses in your industry. 

    This is how I got some of my first few clients, by meeting people at networking events and through word-of-mouth recommendations from previous clients or friends of mine who were also freelancers.

    When you’re networking, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Most people are happy to help out a fellow freelancer, especially if they know that you’ll do great work for their contacts.

    You can also help the process along by offering discounts or giving a “thank you bonus” to clients who introduce you to new ones.

    3. Set up an Online Portfolio and Start Blogging.

    This is something I wish I had done when I was starting out. Having an online portfolio and a blog demonstrates that you’re knowledgeable about social media and it also helps you to get found by potential clients. You can also include case studies of previous work that you’ve done, which will help to show your skills and how you can help businesses achieve their goals.

    Related: How to Make a Social Media Manager Portfolio: The Ultimate Guide

    4. Share Relevant Content on Social Media.

    This is a great way to show your skills as a social media manager and how you can help businesses. When you share relevant content, it also helps to show that you’re keeping up with the latest industry trends. This will make potential clients more likely to trust you and consider working with you.

    5. Follow Up After Meeting Someone or Sending Them a Proposal

    Don’t be afraid to follow up after you’ve met someone or sent them a proposal. It shows that you’re interested in working with them and that you’re proactive. A simple email or call can go a long way in helping to seal the deal.

    6. Set Up a Lead Generating Evergreen Funnel

    This is how I grew my client base to where it currently is. Once you have a steady flow of clients coming in, set up an evergreen funnel to generate more leads and make sure your services are always available for businesses that may need them.

    So how do you create an evergreen funnel? Basically, you’re providing something for free such as a webinar, an e-book, or even a local workshop. The content should be quite closely linked to what you do.

    You give away valuable information that your ideal client would be interested in, then you conclude the e-book or webinar by informing them about how they may collaborate with you (or what product they may acquire).

    how to find clients as a freelance social media manager

    How To Get Clients as a Social Media Manager Online

    Now you might be wondering how do social media managers get customers?

    We will start with how you can find clients online.

    “Warm” Online Leads

    It is always easier to reach out to people you already know to pitch your services when you’re thinking about how to find clients as a freelance social media manager.

    Warm online connections include people who are currently connected to you or your friends and relatives.

    Using the internet, you may reach out to people you already know, or are familiar with, in a variety of ways.

    Reach out to some of your current connections on:

    • LinkedIn
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Pinterest
    • TikTok
    • Twitter 

    All of these platforms can be used to land a first client. One platform might work better for you than the others; so give each of these a try.

    You may start out with conversations about your new business using private messages. I strongly advise you not to start directly with a sales pitch! Instead, begin a with a small simple conversation – and learn what each person does and likes before you talk about your services. Asking questions is a wonderful approach to begin a discussion; picking something from someone’s bio to ask about is one method to be successful. People enjoy telling stories about themselves!

    Related: 14 Client Red Flags Every Social Media Manager Should Be Aware Of

    “Cold” Online Leads

    Next up are your options to find your first client through cold pitching online. These options include social media groups, job boards, internet research, and email campaigns.

    • Facebook Groups – search for groups in your niche and where your clients hang out. You can also join job listing groups as well as local groups.
    • LinkedIn Jobs – Look for opportunities and projects that match your keywords and skills.
    • LinkedIn Groups – search for both groups in your niche as well as local groups to join.
    • Online Communities/Forums  – become an active member in communities that are relevant to your target audience. Provide valuable insights and contribute to discussions. When you’re seen as an expert in your field, people will start to take notice.
    • Google Alerts  – set up alerts for certain keywords and phrases related to your services so you can see when they’re mentioned online.
    • Twitter Chats – find chats that are relevant to your target audience or clients and join in on the conversation. You’ll be able to expand your network and promote yourself in the process.
    • StartupBlink  – this website aggregates opportunities from a variety of startups that you may be interested in. Many startup founders are very open to discussing how they can work together, so don’t miss out on these opportunities!
    • Quora – Quora is another platform that can be used to find cold leads. Try searching within your niche or how you might solve certain problems for people in your target market. Someone may need the services that you provide!

    Please don’t spam groups with desperate posts about your search for clients. Start by answering questions, providing value and guidance, looking around, and getting to know other members. The next step in this approach is to take the discussion to a private platform to expand those connections before asking about job possibilities and open opportunities.

    The following list of locations to find your first client as a social media manager includes search sites and job boards.

    Here are some examples:

    I know numerous freelancers who make a lot of money on these websites listed above, but others claim that the clients they discovered through them were not the high-quality customers they desired. Getting your first client may be more crucial than the quality of that person in whatever you’re searching for in a customer. This is, of course, a question of personal preference.

    Here are some more ideas on how you may use internet to find that first customer:

    • Explore Businesses and Brands Online – Start talking to the owner on your preferred platform.
    • Your Social Media – share relevant news for your industry and provide a lot of value and you will automatically end up having clients knocking on your door.
    • Your Website – You must first define your services so it’s clear what services you are selling. Set up a landing page with a freebie (an eBooks or a checklist etc.) so you can get new potential clients on your email list.
    • Your Blog – start your own social media manager blog and show your authority and that you’re an expert. Keep an eye on the comments to check if someone is asking a question.
    • ‘First Client Bonus’ – set up a ‘first client bonus package’ and promote on social media. Tell your audience that only one spot is going to be available.
    • Online Advertising – Use Facebook advertising to generate traffic to your landing page.
    • Guest Posting – reach out with a guest post proposal to brands you like and whose blogs you read.
    • Cold Email Pitching – Send emails to the businesses you’ve researched and want to collaborate with. Remember that it’s a numbers game when you’re taking this approach. You’ll need to send out a lot of introductory emails as well as a lot of follow-ups in order to obtain a decent number of replies. To increase your odds on becoming noticed and stand out among others, you can create a short loom video and attach in your email pitch to make it more personal.

    Related: 13 Services to Offer as a Social Media Manager

    How do social media managers get customers

    How to Find Your First Client Through In-Person Meetings

    Next up when you’re thinking about how to get started as a social media manager is to look for clients through in-person meetings.

    What could be more effective than meeting individuals in person to demonstrate who you are? Starting with someone you already know can be a great option. Even when dealing with these warm connections, always stay professional and make sure to have a contract.

    “Warm” In Real Life Leads

    Warm connections may help you get your first client; they are individuals with whom you are already familiar with:

    • Family, Relatives and Friends
    • Previous collegues or a previous boss.
    • Fellow Alumni
    • Neighbors
    • Teachers, College Professors or Advisors

    If these warm connections are unable to hire you, ask them for introductions to individuals who might benefit from your services as a social media manager. Make sure your request is submitted in a professional manner, and that you have a method for tracking your referrals.

    “Cold” In-Person Leads

    There are many places where you may engage with people and start conversations that can lead to a potential new client. You never know who you’ll meet and what they might have to offer! Be ready to connect to everyone and everywhere, don’t be afraid to start a conversation!

    Below there are some tips on how social media managers we know have found their first client.

    Potential Businesses You May Approach:

    • Coffee shops that are popular in your city.
    • Fitness clubs and gyms where you’re a member.
    • Businesses who sell products or services to the same target audience as yours (review their clients, how they market themselves online etc.)
    • People in your local community or neighborhood.
    • Small local businesses and nonprofit organizations you want to work with
    • Local Chamber of Commerce  – this is a great place to meet new people! Ask for introductions from the person who referred you, if possible. If they have nothing available at that moment, it’s fine to ask how you may become a member of the chamber.
    • Networking Events  – these are a great way to meet new people and learn about other businesses in your industry.
    • Conferences  – this is an opportunity to get face time with potential clients, as well as learn more about how they operate their social media.
    • Local Sporting Events  – attend games and chat with people in the stands, many of them will be fans of the team and may have a business they’d like to promote as well.
    • Your local community center  – this is a great place to find both individuals and businesses.

    You can contact these cold leads via email, telephone, or even in person. However, it’s important that you do your research beforehand so that when they receive your message, they know how best to contact you.

    Make sure that your message is professional and includes how they can reach out to you as well as a bit about yourself. Try not to include any attachments, but feel free to send along links if it’s appropriate for the person receiving the email (i.e: links of previous work or something of interest related specifically to their business).

    Including a Customized Video Pitch

    Another great way to stand out is by including a customized video pitch. This can be especially beneficial if the person you’re trying to reach is someone who’s difficult to get in touch with, or if they’re located in another part of the world.

    When creating your video, make sure to include how you can help them achieve their business goals. If they’re unable to watch the video, make sure that your contact information is included in the email!

    What To Do When You Get Rejected

    When reaching out to potential clients, it’s important not to be discouraged if you get turned down or aren’t given a chance to present how you can help them. That’s why it is important to be persistent!

    If possible, try and get an expert opinion on how you can improve your pitch before contacting the client again. If they’re not interested at this point or haven’t responded yet, there are plenty of other businesses out there who will appreciate what you have to offer!

    If a potential client is not interested in hiring you at the moment or doesn’t think it’s necessary, try and find out why by asking them questions about how social media works for them right now. It may be that there are ways to offer a trial or a discounted rate, which you can use to get your foot in the door.

    Be courteous and respectful when reaching out to potential clients – even if they don’t have interest right now, there may be another business that may want what you have to offer!

    What Do You Need to Prepare Before You Start Pitching

    There are a number of methods you can use when you’re thinking about how to promote yourself as a social media manager and how to find clients.

    Some SMMs will continue to use the same platform, networking event, or strategy for additional clients once they’ve established their first client. They may be leveraging these contacts to help them market themselves and their services more effectively.

    Other SMMs start with a number of different strategies to attract clients before finding their first client.

    Whatever method you choose, make sure to have prepared:

    • a portfolio or presentation ready to showcase
    • your pricing packages
    • your pitching process laid out
    • having a clear and repeatable social media manager client onboarding process
    • having a client contract template prepared. I highly recommend this freelance legal bundle created by Amira who’s a lawyer. Her templates is what I’m using for my clients.
    • a platform or system where you can handle your invoices

    Related article: The ultimate social media manager checklist – Your daily to-do list.

    how to find clients as a social media manager

    Conclusion

    The process of how to get clients as a social media manager can be difficult, but the rewards are worth it. Even if someone doesn’t want what you’re selling right now, don’t give up! There will always be another business that could benefit from your expertise with social media management services.

    Don’t forget to sign up to the waitlist HERE to learn more about how to grow a profitable SMM business so you can be your own boss and work from anywhere.

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