How to become a social media consultant in 8 steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 2 September 2022 | Published 30 November 2021

Updated 2 September 2022

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Social media is an important component of any marketing strategy in the modern day. Social media consultants help businesses optimise their online presence by identifying areas of improvement and allocating appropriate resources. You can become a successful social media consultant by acquiring a certain level of education and skill. In this article, we discuss what a social media consultant is, describe what they do and outline how to become a social media consultant.

How to become a social media consultant

The first step to learning how to become a social media consultant is knowing what one is. As a social media consultant, you help clients plan and create effective social media strategies. You draw upon a range of marketing techniques to improve a company's online presence on a contractual basis. This means engaging with various social media platforms and acting as the client to determine their target audience and create content accordingly.

This allows you to set social media goals for companies over a long period and locate their selling points. Third-party consultancy agencies often employ social media consultants to assist companies that are just starting out or changing their brands. This is because these companies are typically small and don't have the resources to hire a fully trained social media team exclusive to their business. Since they work independently of businesses, social media consultants usually have multiple clients at once.

Related: Target goals vs planned goals: definitions and examples

What does a social media consultant do?

A social media consultant has several responsibilities, but your ultimate aim is to increase traffic on a company's social accounts. A lot of your duties align with this objective and include:

  • mapping out a clear social media strategy that companies can easily follow

  • integrating SEO content on a client's social media pages

  • overseeing various social media communities

  • developing multiple content forms, including infographics, articles, blogs and videos

  • uploading content onto client websites and social media platforms

  • identifying areas of improvement and recommending new ideas to clients

  • collaborating with marketing and sales staff within a company

  • ensuring that content across all platforms is consistent with the brand's message

  • researching client competitors and identifying their key strategies

  • communicating with customers and answering any questions to increase customer engagement

  • creating unique and original content that allows a client to become a trendsetter in their industry

Related: How to develop a winning social media content strategy

Social media consultant salary

The national average salary for a social media consultant is £24,916 per year. Salaries can fluctuate according to geographical location, experience and the company you work for. For example, social media consultants in London in an average salary of £25,937 per year. Be sure to expand your search to surrounding areas when applying for social media consultant jobs.

Related: How to become a social media manager: A step-by-step guide

8 steps to follow to become a social media consultant

There are different career routes you can take to become a social media consultant. Some individuals choose to take the educational route whilst others choose to build industry experience:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

Consider earning an undergraduate degree in a field that's relevant to social media consultancy. Some examples include public relations, marketing, business and communications. These degree schemes include modules that provide you with the foundational knowledge to build on with experience. Make sure you choose modules that relate to social media marketing and content creation where possible. A postgraduate degree in these fields is useful but not a requirement.

Some universities also offer internships or in-house opportunities relevant to the social media consultant role. For example, you can manage your college or department's social media account or involve yourself in marketing campaigns.

Related: Different types of marketing degrees (definition and FAQs)

2. Choose your niche

The social media industry is extremely broad, which means some social media consultants choose to build a career around a specific component. This allows you to offer clients specialised knowledge and build your experience in this area. For example, you may choose to specialise in social media graphic design or content creation if you're creatively minded. Digital marketing and content strategy may be more suitable for those interested in the administrative responsibilities of social media consultants.

Related: 15 digital marketing certifications for online marketing

3. Gain entry-level experience

Although there are some entry-level social media consultant roles available, you expand the range of opportunities available to you if you gain experience in your niche first. This is because some hiring managers prefer candidates who have industry experience before they enter a consultancy-based role. Some entry-level roles to consider include:

  • copywriter

  • media executive

  • marketing assistant

  • social media coordinator

Related: How to write a social media cover letter (with example)

4. Start networking

It's important to network with others when starting out as a social media consultant, both online and in person. The connections you build can help increase your client following and provide a chance to learn from industry professionals. You can also discover new job opportunities through your network connections. Begin networking by sharing your services or skill set with others, even if you're still working in an entry-level position.

Your experiences can help others who're interested in the field. Remember that these relationships take time, so start as soon as possible and be patient. Social media platforms are another good way to network with others. You can also create your own blog to expand your reach. Some organisations offer individuals the chance to network with others through conferences or industry events. Additionally, you could reach out to local radio stations in your area that have podcasts or series dedicated to your field and ask to be a guest.

Related: 8 ways to get marketing experience to begin your career

5. Join local groups and associations

There are likely several local organisations and networking groups in your area that focus on social media consultancy and content creation. Within these organisations, you can find people who share your interests and can help you develop your skills in important areas, such as SEO or email marketing. When starting your own business, reach out to these agencies and ask to help them with their workload. Most associations work on a contractual basis and are happy to outsource their workload.

Related: How to become an SEO expert

6. Make an engaging social media account

Create a social media account that showcases your creativity and skill set. You can use your account to promote your business or share any events that you're participating in. Increase your following by providing value, such as social media tips and industry events.

It's important that you demonstrate a passion for your role by interacting with others and posting frequently about your projects. You don't need a defined brand or polished website before creating a social media account. If you require assistance, draw on your network connections to help you get set up.

7. Build a portfolio

When you start working on projects and building your experience, make sure you compile your work in a portfolio. You're more likely to reach more recruiters and hiring managers if you have a digital portfolio and a hard copy. A portfolio helps prospective employers learn more about your experience and your personal brand. It also allows clients to view your work before acquiring your services. Be sure to include case studies and select content that showcases your abilities. Diversify your portfolio to show your versatility and reach more clients.

Related: How to make a digital portfolio and tips for success

8. Consider starting a social media management company

Many social media consultants choose to start their own independent businesses once gaining experience with other marketing firms. This is particularly the case where they have a loyal clientele that ensures they generate some income when starting up their new business. It's important that you only consider this when you're in a good position in your career. If you choose to start your own social media management company, consider setting yourself up as a private limited company (PLC).

This allows you to keep track of your expenses and income more easily and on a regular basis. As a business owner, it's vital to make yourself familiar with your client's needs and requirements. Deliver proposals that align with their interests and offer additional services that you may have learnt in education or through past experience. If a project is too big to undertake on your own, consider hiring a freelancer to help. Be sure to include a customer reviews or testimonials section on your website to build trust and demonstrate your legitimacy to future clients.

Related: 10 Useful Social Media Scheduling Tools

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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