Your Social Media Questions Answered

This is the last in my series of five articles on the growing demand for social media writers and consultants. With social media maturing and the kinks in the technology mostly ironed out, writers like you are becoming valued assets as companies try to engage their customers in an honest way through sites like Facebook and Twitter … and make money at the same time.

What I thought I would do today is address a few key questions about getting into the social media business.

Here goes:

Q: My core focus is on online copywriting and content writing. Will I really benefit from adding social media marketing to my service lineup? Or will it just confuse people?

A: That’s a reasonable concern. The addition of unrelated services can be confusing. But in the case of social media, that isn’t a problem. In fact, social media is becoming so entwined with every aspect of marketing and writing online, it will soon look like something is missing if a freelance writer or copywriter DOESN’T include social media as an area of expertise. Everything you write for a client can and should have a social media component. This is the way the online industry is moving, and you can’t afford to be left behind.

Q: You say that millions of companies need help. Is that really true, or just hype?

A: Great question.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 27,000,000 firms in the U.S. alone. Cut out the sole proprietors, with no employees, and you are left with about 7,000,000 small, medium, and large companies.

Now remember that quote from eMarketer from a few days ago:

“Only a quarter of all U.S. small businesses (20-99 employees) and a third of midsized companies say they use social media ‘to engage with customers and prospects in a strategic and structured way.’ Another 20% of both groups say they use social media, but in an ad hoc manner.”

Yep, there are millions of companies needing help.

Q: How come all these companies don’t take care of social media internally? Are they really looking for outside help from freelancers? Is this opportunity real?

A: Most companies use social media just to promote their latest products, sales, and coupons … and wonder why their friends and followers abandon them. Social media needs to be SOCIAL, and most companies don’t get that.

Also — and this is huge — when companies DO understand that they can’t just broadcast promotional sales messages through social media, but have to actually take part and engage with their friends and followers, day after day and even hour after hour, they throw their hands up and say, “We don’t have TIME for that.”

Either doorway works for you — companies that don’t have the expertise in-house, or companies that simply don’t have the time.

Q: I’m pretty familiar with social media, because I use it a lot personally. Do I really need to invest in professional training before I look for clients?

A: Yes, you really do. You might remember from the first article in this series when I made the point that just because someone watches a lot of TV, that doesn’t mean they are qualified to run a TV station. It’s the same with social media.

Just because you are really active with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and some other channels doesn’t make you qualified to instruct companies in their use for marketing purposes. Your experience is as a personal user, not as a business professional.

That said, you don’t need to be some kind of super-guru to make money as a social media writer or consultant. You just need to know 10% or 20% more than your clients. That’s the value they are looking for … they just need help from someone who knows a bit more than they do.

And with the right training, that’s an easy learning curve for you to climb!

Okay, that’s it for this week, and this series.

I hope you now have a better understanding of how social media has become central to every company’s online marketing plans, and why this represents such a huge opportunity for freelance writers and copywriters.

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Published: September 13, 2013

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