Self-employment is on the rise in Canada, with over half a million Canadians making the choice to work for themselves each year. During periods of high joblessness, the self-employed ranks increase even faster. Some research suggests that older entrepreneurs fare better, likely because they’ve had more years to accumulate startup capital and business experience. But there are many self-employment strategies that suit younger entrepreneurs. Social media consulting is one of them. It doesn’t require much money to get started, and it utilizes a skill that many millennials already possess. You can launch a career as a social media consultant by educating yourself, marketing yourself, and remaining realistic about what the job requires.
Just because you make frequent Facebook status updates and know how to throw funny filters on your Instagram photos doesn’t mean you’re ready to start a social media consulting business. Managing social media accounts for businesses is quite different than using social networks to enhance your personal life. In addition to posting catchy status updates and pictures, you’ll need to understand concepts such as paid social media ads, campaign tracking, and viral content promotion. Luckily, there are classes you can take to gain a basic education on social media marketing. Don’t worry, they cost significantly less than a college degree and can be completed in a much shorter time. You can also enhance your education by keeping up with companies that are having success on social media to get an idea for what they’re doing right. Consider following businesses like Starbucks Canada and JetBlue.
You could be the world’s best social media consultant and still starve if no one knows about you. For your business to succeed, you have to market it effectively. Perhaps the most important aspect of your marketing is what you do on social media. After all, why would a business hire a social media consultant to help with its marketing if the consultant’s own social media marketing isn’t on point? The first step to your marketing should be setting up a website and social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Your website needs to be clean and crisp, and it should explain in clear language the benefits your business offers. If you have a portfolio of current clients, definitely include it. You’ll want to make sure you post regularly to your social media pages and do not neglect them. Customers get a bad feeling when they pull up your Twitter account and see the dreaded egg for your profile picture and no posts for the last 18 months.
While social media consulting is a low-barrier-to-entry business and, theoretically, you could be up and running by the end of the day, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s easy money. You’ll face many challenges along the way. The low-cost business model invites a lot of competition. Most big cities are teeming with social media marketers. For your business to take off, you’re going to have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the herd. Also remember that social media dynamics are constantly changing. Many strategies that worked on Facebook as recently as six months ago are obsolete now. In addition to running your customers’ campaigns and marketing to new clients, you always want to set aside time each week to keep up with the latest social media trends. Becoming a social media consultant offers a low-cost way to work for yourself. Before getting started, make sure you educate yourself, have a winning marketing plan, and understand the challenges you’ll face in the business.