How To Become a Social Media Consultant

Updated March 10, 2023

Social media consultants work to optimize an organization's social media presence. These strategic experts help companies and clients identify areas for improvement and reroute them to marketing success. Understanding what it takes to become a social media consultant can help you decide if it's a job you may be interested in. In this article, we explore what a social media consultant is, describe the job duties of a social media consultant and offer steps to take to become one.

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What is a social media consultant?

A social media consultant is an individual who specializes in social media strategy and planning. Companies and clients often contract their services to develop and improve a company's social media presence through marketing techniques and strategic practices. In addition to helping companies locate areas for growth, they also help companies set goals for social media campaigns.

Related: What Is Social Media Marketing?

What does a social media consultant do?

Social media consultants work to enhance a company's brand management, customer engagement and organizational communications. Their role includes being a content integrator, navigator, trendsetter and analyst and having the skill set to fulfill each of these responsibilities.

Social media consultant job duties can include:

  • Mapping out a social media strategy

  • Developing and posting content like graphics, videos and articles to social media channels and websites

  • Overseeing social media communities, communicating with customers and answering questions

  • Collaborating with sales and marketing staff to keep a consistent brand message across various platforms

  • Remaining knowledgeable about what client competitors are doing and strategies they are using

  • Recommending improvements and new ideas to an organization's management

How to become a social media consultant

Here are some steps to follow to become a social media consultant:

1. Get an education

Earning a bachelor's degree in communications, public relations or marketing can provide you with the foundational knowledge you use to succeed as a social media consultant. Those interested in eventually starting their own social media management company or working as an independent consultant may want to pursue a business degree or take business electives.

Related: How To Get a Job in Social Media

2. Choose a niche area

Because the field of social media has many components, social media consultants select a niche to focus on so they can provide specialized knowledge and services to their clients.

Some areas to specialize in include:

  • Social media consulting

  • Content strategy and marketing

  • Social media copywriting

  • Content creating

  • Digital marketing

  • Social media graphic design

3. Gain entry-level experience

Some social media consultant jobs may be available at the entry level, but other employers may prefer you have some experience in your niche area before taking on a consultant-based role. For example, if you want to become a social media consultant with expertise in copywriting, working as a copywriter can help you gain valuable knowledge that will aid you as you advance into a consulting position.

4. Network

When starting out as a social media consultant, focus on networking with others both online and in person. Building relationships with others can help you build up a client following, share your expertise, learn from others and potentially discover job opportunities.

5. Make an engaging social media account

To demonstrate your expertise in social media, it's helpful to create your own social media account to showcase your skills and creativity. Here you can promote any events you are participating in and other relevant content related to your career.

6. Build a portfolio

As you develop in your niche and begin taking on your clients, compile your projects on a website as you work. This allows you to show future employers your experience and your personal brand.

Related: How To Make A Digital Portfolio That Gets You Hired

7. Consider starting a social media management company

Once you gain more experience working with other marketing firms, consider creating your own social media management company or working as an independent consultant. You can use past clients to help raise awareness about your services and build up a client base.

Skills for a social media consultant

Below are some skills that can help you become a successful social media consultant:

  • Creativity: In order to develop new content, social media consultants generate new ideas and approaches in order to reach a company's goals.

  • Data analysis: When looking to see how effective a social media campaign or action is, social media consultants review data, such as the amount of user engagement, and turn it into actionable information.

  • Communication: To effectively convey their messages online, social media consultants create excellent copywriting to attract and hold a reader's attention.

  • Project management: Since social media consultants balance multiple projects at a time, they use organization and management skills to complete their work efficiently.

  • Search engine optimization: To help drive traffic to client pages, social media consultants use search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Conversion rate optimization: When looking to get an audience to perform a particular action for a company, social media consultants use conversion rate optimization to increase the amount of users who take action.

Related: Social Media Skills: Definition and Examples

Social media consultant salary and job outlook

Salaries depend on an individual's location, experience and the company they work for. A social media specialist, or consultant, makes an average base salary of $38,754 per year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes social media consultants in a general category with advertising, promotions and marketing managers. According to the BLS, this job group will see an employment growth of 6% from 2019 to 2029. This is due to an increase in organizations relying on social media for their marketing and branding.

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Social media consultant vs. social media manager

Companies can choose between a social media consultant or social media manager when seeking to develop their social media presence. While both are social media experts, here are some of the differences between a social media consultant and a social media manager:

  • The companies they work for: Social media consultants are helpful for companies just starting out and creating a brand, whereas social media managers are more helpful for established companies.

  • Their familiarity with the company: Since social media managers work with a company long term, they tend to be more knowledgeable about the company than a social media consultant, who is often working with several companies at once.

  • Their primary employer: Social media consultants typically work for third-party companies like consulting agencies, while social media managers typically work in-house with one particular company.

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