Did you know that some people get paid to be on social media?

Sure, there are Instagram models, TikTok dancers, and YouTube influencers. But there’s another group making money online: Social media managers.

So, what does it mean to be a social media manager for a small business?

Social media managers help businesses create and build an online following. This can include planning and writing posts, posting social media ads, responding to customers/followers, and using images for social media content.

Check out the following tips for being a successful social media manager for a small business.


  • Make money using your favorite social media sites and apps. If you already love using apps like Instagram, TikTok, then getting paid by your clients to be on these platforms is an awesome bonus. That’s a much better plan compared to your friends trying to figure out how to make money from their hundreds of social media followers.
  • Get quick results. Receiving positive feedback from a client or their customers usually takes a while with more traditional jobs. That’s not so with social media posts. You’re quickly rewarded within a few hours, or even minutes, as a post continues to get likes, positive comments, shares, and other types of engagement.
  • Be creative. Using your storytelling skills, sense of humor, and/or unique perspective can help you create great social media posts. The results can range from building an engaged, loyal community of customers for your client to helping a business go viral with an entertaining post.


  • Social media fails are possible. Everyone makes mistakes. More than likely, your social media mistake will be rather small, such as a typo. Or maybe a post gets scheduled for the wrong time, but is still relevant when it actually posts. However, even social media pros can make bigger mistakes including careless tweets or insensitive posts. And social media isn’t known for being a forgiving space.
  • Burnout is also possible. You might start feeling like social media is taking up too much of your time and energy, even if most of your engagement gets positive feedback. Again, even some celebrities, influencers, and other social media pros decide to take a break from social media.

How to Get Started:

NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.

Here are some tips for how to start doing social media management for small businesses.

Step One
Decide which business(es) will be your clients. Do you want to be a social media manager for different types of businesses? Or do you want to focus on working for just one or few specific types of companies? This decision can help you decide which social media sites and social media strategies to focus on.

Step Two
Create your own pages on at least a few different social media platforms. Again, consider your future clients. Social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn work for a variety of businesses. In comparison, other platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest are great for certain other types of companies. Post, comment, and be active on these pages to learn about creating, engaging and managing an online community.

NOTE: Think before you post. Have you ever read a mean or weird social media post from a celebrity or a company and asked yourself, “What were they thinking?” Having to create social media posts on a regular basis takes effort. But it never hurts to take a second, or even a third, look at a post before you hit “done” or “enter”.

For example, ask yourself, “Is there anything about this post’s words or image that might offend some of my client’s followers or customers?” If you have any doubts, share a draft of your post with your client to get their opinion. Do this even if your client usually doesn’t require reviewing your content before posting.

Step Three
Network online (and in-person if possible). Ask your friends, family members, and other people you know about entrepreneurs and business leaders who might need help with their social media pages. You can also directly reach out to businesses by checking out their websites and using any of their listed contact information. In your message, clearly express that you want to help with social media management and ask for advice or referrals to get hired.

Step Four
Different businesses have different reasons for using social media. When you get a new client, make sure you and the business leader(s) you’re working with have the same understanding about how social media will help the business. Some things to consider and discuss include which social media platforms you will manage, types of posts, how often you will post, interacting with customers/followers/fans, etc.

Step Five
Get organized. Even the most casual social media strategy needs some type of schedule and organization to truly work for you, your client, and your client’s customers. Create a social media content calendar to set aside time for writing posts, finding images, responding to comments, etc. Consider putting these times into a calendar on your phone and setting reminder alerts. Look for social media management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite, which help you schedule posts ahead of time, along with other services that make managing social media pages easier.

How much to charge:

Younger social media managers can expect to make about $8 – $15 per hour when they first start working with other entrepreneurs and small business leaders.

Social media managers usually raise their rates over the years as they gain more experience and get more testimonials from happy clients. For example, some young adults who graduated college within the past few years charge about $25-$35 per hour.

The highest pay rates are usually charged by social media managers with a lot of experience, especially if they’ve had viral posts and/or high-profile clients. Some of these experienced social media pros charge as much as $200 per hour.

You can also consider charging a client a monthly rate or a per-project rate, based on your desired hourly rate.

Taking it to the next level:

1. Set up a website for your own social media manager business.

You still need a place to send potential clients and others interested in your business. You can start with a free website platform like Squarespace, Wix or WordPress to help you set up your website. Start with a simple website that includes a short description of yourself, a list of your services, and how people can contact you about your business.

After you earn some money, consider using paying for a domain name for your website that is easy to remember.  

2. Never stop learning.

Follow at least one or two podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs, or other content that discuss social media.

Look for free and/or inexpensive online courses related to social media and marketing.

Also, consider learning about creating and editing images, using social media tools, working on online advertising campaigns, and building your SEO (search engine optimization) skills.

Image credit: Adem AY on Unsplash

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