As a relatively new sector, Social Media management has really developed into a full-time career over the last few years. With such huge audiences using social platforms every day, brands recognise the importance of having a presence on social to help stay relevant but managing these channels takes time, patience and an understanding of the individual audiences.
Starting his career in social media managing ‘pages’ on Facebook for university students in 2012, Simon Caine didn’t expect his part time passion would become his full-time focus. We spoke to Simon about his ever-expanding role in social media as a Community Manager, how he keeps up with industry trends and what his advice would be to anyone considering a freelance career in community management.
With growing demand for social media freelancers, we first asked Simon what he looks for when reviewing briefs from clients before agreeing to them?
I look for exciting content creation opportunities. I want to tell an exciting story online, so including that (or part of that) information in the brief will catch my eye.
When it comes to working with clients who may not know much about social media, Simon has some advice to help them work in harmony with freelancers:
Know the message you want to get across first. Far too many brands start with a channel and not a message. Once you have the message, narrative/story you want to tell, picking a platform becomes a lot easier.
For anyone thinking about a job in social media, or for clients wondering if they should be focusing on social media, Simon has two key pieces of advice; “social media is not real life! And “not just reading the headlines on Twitter!” It can be a rather hostile place if you’re inexperienced and as Simon says, it’s often not reflective of real life.
Working with social media freelancers provides a huge benefit to clients who recognise the need to have a strong presence online but understanding their growth or progress often presents further challenges. Simon shared his own tactical way of handling situations like this
Most of the time I put aside my own feelings as keeping the client happy often involves something bigger than I understand. For example, the report I'm working on isn't actually for them but for someone higher up who never uses social media.
Staying on top of industry changes and social trends come natural to Simon
I love it. So keeping up-to-date isn't really an issue. Also, I'm probably not up-to-date as there's too much going on. I just focus on improving 1% every week and by the end of the year, I'm up by 52% on last year.
If you’re new to social media or want to secure more clients as a freelancer, Simon’s top tip is to “be REALLY nice. All the time.” There is more focus on reputations online than ever before and prospective clients can quickly find social profiles and decide whether they’re working with right person to represent their own brand.
Finally, Simon’s parting words for fellow social media professionals looking to expand their own network is
When you're trying to build connections, comes as high as your work being great. Also, remember that it starts with what you know, then who you know, and finally who knows you. So get promoting yourself as much as you would any brand you're working on!
This is Simon’s second nomination in the Freelancer Awards which he finds incredibly humbling
I still don't know who nominated me! But it is wonderful to know that someone, somewhere loved the work I did so much that they'd put me forward for something like this (if you're reading this, thank you again!)
If you’d like to work with Simon on your next social community campaign, why not book him here.