I mentioned two weeks ago that I finally made the leap from 9-5er to freelancer. I’m still acclimating to the change and trying not to feel guilty about waking up at 9:30AM and working in my underwear. Listen, I know that sounds all wonderful-like and you’re thinking, “Shut your face!”, but I have to figure out stuff like getting my own health insurance, paying quarterly taxes and hoping that none of this falls apart, so there.
My freelance works involves two regular writing gigs and one social media managing gig.
It still dumbfounds me that anyone would pay me for my writing. There is this semi-prevalent concern that one day people will call me out on the fact that I can’t write at all. But if I’ve learned anything from my “How to Make it as a Freelancer” research, that attitude is a no-no. Believing in yourself is the only way you’re going to be successful. So far both publications I write for haven’t said, “Get lost, assface!” so I must be doing something right.
The social media managing gig stemmed from a conversation I had with the producer on the film I currently work for at a mutual friend’s birthday party. I started going off about Twitter and blogging and we both realized that I was a nerd had the skills to be a good social media manager (and losing the skills to being a normal, healthy human being). She offered me a gig on her movie and so far it’s been a blast. Having gotten really into social media because of my blog, it’s been interesting and exciting starting from square one on another person’s project. It’s like planting a seed and watching it grow.
I used to not like social media. Or rather, I hated Twitter, had no idea what LinkedIn was, and wrote my blog without advertising it on any platform other than occasionally Facebook. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin- the #8 most socially networked city in the country– that I realized how important social media has become with anything and everything. If you have something to sell- business, band, blog, you name it- you are greatly missing out by not partaking in social media. Granted people have sold ideas and products for centuries without the use of Twitter, but now we have this 100s of millions-reaching marketing and advertising resource to us for free. A resource that is effective depending on how much you put into. The more dedicated you are, the better the results. It’s challenging, it’s engaging, and it’s fun. You get to meet people from all over the world, people in your city, celebrities, reps from major corporations and startups, artists, and people who have nothing to sell at all- they just love social media. As I mentioned before, for an only child you spent a lot of time talking to stuffed animals as a child, social media is the megaphone to the world I had always dreamed of.
I’ve been utilizing the tools I’ve learned from managing my own social media accounts to my new gig. What to do and not to do (like tweeting every single lyric to your favorite song back-to-back). I joined Hootsuite and keep my fingers crossed that I don’t have a #gettinslizzerd moment (considering I don’t drink much anymore, I doubt I’ll have a boozed-fueled rogue tweet such as the one that appeared on @Redcross, but I do have to be careful not to drop the f word, Jeff Goldblum-musings, or late-night Wendy’s takeout rants on my work account). I’ve learned through the years about social media etiquette, the fine line of self-promotion, how to create conversation, how to build up followership through meaningful content and connections, and the art of summing up what you’re trying to say in 140 characters or less. It’s a world I love and am excited to be a part of.
But enough small talk. So how does one become a social media manager? Well, I’ll be honest, I have no seminar to sell you or a long list of steps to becoming one. I have one very clear and simple answer- you have to love the living shit out of social media if you want to become a social media manager. If you do, then you’re already a step above the rest. You have a skill that many others don’t. You’ve learned the game. You have become a master of something, a “thought leader” in the ever-expanding bubble known as social media. You also have the resources to find that social media managing job. You’re going to know where to look for those jobs and who to talk to.
So what are you waiting for?