Most business owners know that a consistent, thoughtful online presence can be incredibly valuable to their marketing efforts, but many still miss the “why” of the equation. This lack of focus can lead to watered-down messaging and blurry social strategies.

Upwork freelancer and social media manager Taylor Smith says, “Many businesses still don’t recognize how integral social media is in today’s world. Think about a daily commute on a bus or train: Everyone is on their phone! That’s your place and time to shine and create a lasting impression with your customer base.”

But as algorithms continually evolve and businesses struggle to see a return on their efforts, social media can feel like an uphill battle. It’s not enough to just post online—you have to create a hub and a community that provide real ROI. And that’s when engaging a pro who knows which levers to pull can make all the difference.

A social media manager can help your business

  • Build lasting relationships
  • Maximize conversion opportunities
  • Drive lead generation and nurturing
  • Transform and cultivate your customer base to create long-lasting relationships
  • Use short, engaging videos for more effective social storytelling

You’ll also get the benefit of someone who isn’t suffering from “social media fatigue,” something Smith says is a major value-add of hiring a specialist. “Once the task of doing social media isn’t ‘fun’ for you anymore and becomes a chore, it’s worth investing in someone else to create your content. That way, everything stays fresh and top of mind.”

Even still, social media won’t be successful if you’re just shouting into the void. You need to create content—and create communities—that your audience cares about enough to genuinely connect with.


“Overlooking a social media strategy can cause you to fall behind in today’s day and age, and your business can end up lost in the mix,” Smith says. “If you don’t have the time or the energy to invest in your social media strategy, it’s definitely worth outsourcing.”

That’s because building communities takes time, effort, and expertise. “Likes” aren’t enough anymore—it’s engagement that matters. And that’s where a pro like Smith comes in.

Below, she shares a few ways she helps clients tackle social media strategies.

1. Don’t post just to post—have a plan, and reply to everything you can.

“I worked with a client who was posting content just to post. Social media became such a daunting task because they were no longer producing well-curated content—just ticking boxes on every platform possible. While it’s important to stay relevant and top of mind, you also want to be memorable and provide value, or you risk getting filtered out of someone’s feed.”

Ask questions, talk “to” your audience instead of “at” them, and respond when you can. If they know you’re listening, they’re more likely to engage.

2. Create a strategic editorial calendar for your social media.

An editorial calendar isn’t just helpful for publishing content—it can be a valuable guide for social efforts as well.

Smith says, “I always encourage my clients to create a structure and plan posts around their editorial calendar,” which she will tailor based on the client’s primary goals. “Say I’m working with a client who owns a seafood restaurant and their overall goal is to increase the number of patrons who come in to dine each month. Maybe each month’s content would have a theme related to different types of seafood, with each of the posts relating back to the restaurant and encouraging clients to come and try their food,” Smith says.

With that topic in mind, the calendar can be filled in with a variety of content types. “Say the featured food is lobster. I’d plan to feature tantalizing photos, share related content, and offer special deals to followers, intertwining the restaurant wherever possible. Photos of dishes straight from the kitchen and a blog post from the chef—for example, ‘Top Five Simple Lobster Dishes to Make at Home from Chef Chris’—help keep the food and the restaurant on the brain.”

3. Identify and target the most effective social channels for you.

Smith warns against going after every channel. Instead, have a pro help identify which can deliver the best results. “Not all channels work for all industries or businesses. Don’t spread yourself thin by publishing content in places where you’re not seeing a return. I like to help my clients find what works through rounds of A/B testing, then execute a plan that focuses on the best channel(s).”

One client was posting on every platform and seeing no results. “We started with posting on select channels, presenting only the most valuable and meaningful content. We optimized posting times and tracked success over a period of time.” Dialing back their posting allowed the client to focus on what worked and go from there. “We noticed huge growth on their LinkedIn page, whereas Instagram remained stagnant, then evolved from there.”

4. Build trust and brand loyalty through your blog.

It’s always a good idea to keep different parts of your marketing strategy connected, especially when it comes to content and social. “A company blog is a great way to feed content to your social media community, and it can offer a deeper level of engagement that builds trust and fosters brand loyalty,” says Smith.

A social media pro can identify areas where your brand might be able to offer insights and thought leadership through some well-researched blog posts. This is content marketing at its best, and social is an excellent way to promote it and build upon it.

5. Find ways to incorporate video when you can.

Video and social media are nearly one in the same these days, making video a great investment for anyone serious about his or her social media presence. “Videos show legitimacy and are a simple way to create a memorable and long-lasting impact,” Smith says. “They’re a great way to captivate and engage with your audience. High-quality production value can help create a sense of trust and connection too.”

It’s also a great vehicle to make a large impact quickly, by condensing lots of information into an easy-to-digest format. It’s worth the investment, Smith says, adding “While some videos may take longer to produce, many times they can be utilized for more than one initiative, making them invaluable.”

Some of the most popular videos are Facebook Live videos, which can get unprecedented engagement. You don’t need a full-scale production studio or expensive equipment to pull these off. A social media expert can guide you through your first live video broadcast, whether you’re showing off a new facility, doing a Q&A, or unboxing a product.


Here are some quick tips to getting started with a social media freelancer:

  1. Set goals for your social media presence, whether it’s to drive sales with promotions, connect with customers, or boost awareness with influencer marketing.
  2. Determine which channels will best support those goals. Will the content be your own published content, video, visuals, promotions, contests, etc?
  3. List the types of posts you’d like and how frequently you’d like to post. Social strategies should always be evolving, so be sure to experiment, test, and review metrics often.
  4. Break out your social media needs into discrete projects, then delegate them. Map out what you’ll do internally and what tasks you’ll farm out to freelancers, whether those are social admins, analytics pros, graphic designers to create assets, or video editors to help you create social video.
  5. Establish a point person to keep an eye on your channels, handle any crises should they arise, and periodically meet with your freelancers to ensure they have all the content and assets they need.

To build a pool of talented freelancers to help you get started, look for social media strategists with experience that aligns with your business. Get help with these guides:

How to Hire a Social Media Marketer
Finding the Right Social Media Marketing Pro with a Great Job Description
10 Social Media Marketing Interview Questions & Answers

Once you’ve got a plan in place, check out these 10 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid.

An amazing social media presence won’t happen overnight and will likely involve a bit of trial and error. But with the help of freelancers, you’ll quickly have a solid foundation of content to build on.