Social Media: The Biggest Freelance Opportunity of the Year
I don't know if you saw Joshua Boswell's recent letter about the Web Copywriting Intensive. I certainly did – and as I read it, something big jumped out at me.
You see, in the letter Joshua explains how he'd been interviewing top copywriter Bob Bly, and the topic came around to Bob's biggest regret in the last 10 years.
Here's what Bob said is his biggest regret about the last 10 years:
"That I hesitated adapting to the Internet. For many, many years, I ignored the shift in technology. I can see now that it has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"So, my counsel is that you don’t hesitate, Joshua. When you know things are shifting, take action. Make the move and enjoy the rewards."
And that made me think about a similarly game-changing shift that's happening right now.
For freelancers taking action now, this big shift should represent substantial revenues and profits in their freelancing business.
Freelancers who hesitate, on the other hand, may look back 10 years from now and, like Bob and the Internet, call this their biggest regret of the decade.
Here's what's going on …
Is Social Media The Next Internet?
Okay, I'll admit. That's kind of an odd-sounding question. But from a freelancer's perspective, it's important. Because what the Internet has done to copywriting, design, research, and other freelance fields, social media will do all over again within the next couple of years.
Copywriters like Bob who failed to adapt to the Internet lost projects, lost clients, lost revenue, and lost the opportunities to create substantial success and leadership in the new medium.
Now social media is following a similar path – and as a freelancer (or aspiring freelancer) you need to be watching carefully.
Don't believe me? Take these recent stats …
- In 2010 Facebook trumped even Google as the most-visited site on the Internet, according to a study from Hitwise, an Internet analytics firm
- A Vocus study of B2C marketers found 85% saying social media will become a more prominent part of their marketing strategy in 2011
- And a StrongMail survey found social media isn't being used in isolation – 28% have already integrated social media with their email efforts, and 43% are making it a big priority moving forward
So what do these stats mean?
- Social media is taking over as the "place to be" online
- Marketers are putting more weight behind social media going forward, and …
- Marketers are integrating social media into their overall strategy, which means they expect to be in it for the long haul
Not only that, in 2011 social media advertising spending alone (not including staff, freelancers, software and tools, and all additional expenses) is expected to cross the $2 billion threshold. And that number has grown 30% in two years.
There's a huge trend in business and marketing toward the use of social media.
Like the Internet just a few years ago, the freelancers getting on the front of this trend – now – are positioning themselves to profit.
What You Need To Know To Profit Using Social Media
One of the quickest ways to start earning thousands of dollars using social media is to help businesses set up and maintain their social media presence. Remember – 85% of businesses expect to do more with social media in the next year. And you can be certain that spells opportunity for social media consultants.
Three big opportunities for social media consultants through 2011 and beyond will be:
- Teach businesses and marketers how to do their own social media
- Develop social media strategies for businesses
- Offer "do it for you" social media services
The goal here is to get businesses up and running – and accomplishing their business-related goals – using social media.
Some businesses will use social media as a tool to attract more customers. They'll be looking for you to show them how to turn a first exposure through social media into a website visitor, who then either makes a purchase through their website or visits their store.
Others will simply want more brand "buzz" in the marketplace. They want to get videos and other multimedia content in front of as many users as possible, with the goal that when those users need products like theirs, they'll earn a customer.
And still other companies will want to address customer concerns and complaints currently happening on Twitter and in other social media, using it as a new customer service medium.
And these are just three of eight goals a business might choose to accomplish using social media.
How To Start Collecting YOUR Social Media Profits
If you learn how to accomplish one or more of the eight business goals using social media, you can then teach, strategize, and implement social media for substantial freelance profits, starting immediately.
And the pay is good, too. Consultants regularly earn $150 to $300 an hour for social media strategy sessions. "Do it for you" services run in the $2,500 to $12,000 per month range, depending on the level of service. And I didn't have to do much research to find consultants asking $10,000 for a single day of on-site instruction, teaching social media strategy to business executives.
Here's more good news. You don't need to have tons of experience, or even jump in full-time to start profiting as a social media consultant. With the right instruction, you can become highly competent at using social media to accomplish business goals within 30 days. And then you can add social media consulting services to your current freelance offerings or even jump in 100% as a full-time social media consultant. Either way, this is a great opportunity to collect your share of the billions being spent on social media this year.
No matter what you decide to do, don't ignore this trend. Like Bob Bly said, "When you know things are shifting, take action. Make the move and enjoy the rewards."
Social media is the biggest freelance opportunity of 2011 – and will likely continue to be so for years to come. If you act now, the rewards will be great.
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