Wondering how to onboard social media marketing clients and build your footing? You are in luck, More Argwings Kodhek a.k.a. “Marketing Maasai,” a whiz who has been in the marketing game for 7 years, shares his proven tips.
So you want to be a freelance social media manager? Where and how do you start? Clients won’t simply fall into your lap, but with the way social media continues to grow, there are lots of opportunities to get started. You just need to have a solid strategy which is where the “Marketing Maasai” can help.
More Argwings Kodhek is the Head of Marketing at Made by People, a product design & development consulting firm leveraging HCD & agile software development to build impactful products/services for Africa. He has also been in the digital marketing space for about 7 years.
More also does social media management for small businesses and coaches budding talent in the social media marketing industry. He specifically targets people interested in switching careers to social media marketing or gain that extra edge with their SMM skills. He also offers a social media onboarding package with everything you need to get started as a social media marketing freelancer.
As for the name, in his own words:
“The name Marketing Maasai was created simply because I am a Maasai in marketing. It started off as a Twitter account that was supposed to be a pen name to talk about everything related to social media marketing.”
Now let’s get to the juicy stuff… what’s the first thing one should realize when learning how to onboard social media marketing clients as a freelancer?
According to More, if you try to engage people on social media as an agency or a business, they won’t really respond because they’d think that you’re trying to sell them something. The more “salesy” you sound, the less you’ll be able to interact with them. Today, people want authenticity more than products. Ironically, people will buy products if you are more authentic.
You also need to know how to onboard your social media marketing clients as a freelancer, so they feel like they’re in good hands. Before starting your onboarding process, you need to think about these factors:
Onboarding is one way to showcase your professionalism in your craft.
My first step when onboarding a new client is actually talking to them to understand their problems and needs. This really helps you break down where to create solutions for them.
The scope of work
From there it’s a matter of understanding EXACTLY what the client needs from you. Do they need you to post content every 3 days? Are you going to create and manage their community? Will you be running ads for them? These questions will help you know your scope of work and what is expected of you. You can also take this opportunity to to ensure you manage expectations. Remember that you are a freelancer, not a miracle worker.
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Social media audit
After that first conversation, do a social media audit. I like to do this twice; once before the consultation and a second after. The first one gives me an unbiased impression of their social media pages, how often and what they are posting, what people in the same industry are doing, etc. The second audit is more in-depth.
You will look at the metrics to understand how their pages have been performing For example, how has their content been doing? What are the impressions like? How are their followers engaging? Have they run ads in the past and how have those been performing?
After getting a good understanding of their problems, you go into creating a content strategy, or their marketing strategy. One of the most important things to cover in the strategy is what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
If there are multiple platforms, you’d need to understand the different demographics for each of them. For example, you would not expect to push the exact same content you have on TikTok to LinkedIn. This will help you speak in the “language” that the demographics on that platform want to be spoken to.
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With your strategy in place, now you can jump into the creative fun bits of creating the content calendar. Think about the kind of content you would be creating while making it platform-specific. Also, consider the captions and the types of images/videos you will use. If you are creating designs you have to ensure you follow the brand guidelines to maintain that brand excellence that they may want to keep. Every business owner loves their brand colours, it would be another step to make your client happy.
After you’re done with the creative parts, tell your client when to expect a certain piece of content to go up and on what platform. The content calendar serves as a simple way to get your work approved by the client while making it easy to track what you’ve done, and what needs to be done. Think of it as your social media to-do list.
2. Be human
A huge part of social media management is actually being as social as you want to make a client's platform. You might hear a lot of ranting and raving about how someone posted an ad and it didn’t go viral yet they paid KES 1000/- for the month. Remember as a professional, you should not make it seem like you are better than people; think of yourself as Olivia Pope, but for social media matters. The more human you are, the more understanding you are the more likely you are to sign on a new client.
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3. Know your stuff and be confident about it
If you don’t learn more about what’s happening in the world of social media, how will you create solutions for your clients? Keep reading, doing courses, and trying to grow yourself, because marketing (especially social media marketing) is changing rapidly every day. You don’t want to be left behind with old ideas hoping for the best when you create a new campaign. This will set you and your clients up for disappointment.
If you want to claim to be the best in your field, put in the work to prove that. Keep up with what’s happening in the industry to continually grow and improve. To top that off, you have to be confident in yourself as the right person for the job and believe that your ideas will be the changing point for that client. However, this doesn’t mean being overly confident to the point of a god complex.
4. Don't be money hungry
As much as you are in business to make money, it is not the only thing you’ll have. A happy client will always refer you to someone else for more business. If the first thing you mention at the first meeting is your rates, you will definitely put someone off, because it looks like you are only after their money.
5. Offer solutions
When talking to new clients you have to listen very closely to what they say and how they’re saying it. This will help you know their exact problems, whether it’s poorly performing ads or no consistency with social media posting, and guide you into the solutions you can offer them.
In my experience, this is what sells you the most since it’s like a trial period for your client. It lets people know you’ve understood their problems and know how to fix them, while helping to build your confidence. Software engineers call this the “rubber duck effect,” where you speak out a problem which in turn, gives you a better understanding of the issue and its potential solution.
6. Manage expectations
Managing expectations is already half the job. I will keep saying, you are a problem solver and not a miracle worker. Also, social media is not a magic wand that you wave about and poof! You get that one client who’s ready to pay a premium rate.
Many factors go into getting the perfect client. Time is one of them. Just because you’ve started posting every day, doesn’t mean the content will go viral. I usually tell my clients to expect clear-cut results in about 6 months, this gives me time to understand their industry and their platforms perfectly.
In this period, you’ll understand how their demographics will take content, understand how to run their ads, and so much more. You’ll also learn a lot before getting the results you want. It may seem like a gross overestimation of time, but it gives you room to experiment and perfect your strategy.
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LinkedIn: More Argwings Kodhek