A freelance social media team is a great asset, but only if it's managed well. Learn how to manage your team effectively and get the most from the partnership.
If you’re looking for an efficient and productive way to scale up your social media marketing efforts, you may consider working with social media freelancers. These professionals are usually experts in their field, which helps you assemble a diverse and effective team to handle all your social media presence.
Plus, as they work remotely, social media freelancers won’t require any extra office space or equipment, which keeps your overhead costs low. Managing a thriving freelance social media team, though, is easier said than done.
You can't interact with them in the office, and they need greater flexibility and autonomy. They may also feel less invested in your business objectives and customer relationships.
So, how do you make sure that your social media freelancers performs at its best, feels connected to your business, and delivers amazing results?
Keep reading our guide, where we’ll discuss eight tips on how to effectively manage a freelance social media team to help you get the most from the partnership.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the social media freelancers you work with. This will help you assemble a well-rounded team with the necessary skills to handle every aspect of your social media strategy.
It will also help you delegate responsibilities to maximize each social media freelancer’s skills. For example, does one of your freelancers have excellent graphic design skills? Great, then it would make sense to assign them the bulk of the design work for your social media posts.
In some cases, though, it’s not immediately clear what your social media freelancers’ strongest and weakest points are – so how do you approach this? Well, the most obvious way is to check their resume and past experience, for instance by reaching out to some of their clients.
You can also talk to them about their skill sets when you hire them, including soft skills such as teamwork and time management – vital features when working as a social media freelancer.
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Next, you should define each person's role and responsibilities and communicate this to the other team members. This will help to prevent confusion or the frustrating feeling of ‘stepping on someone’s toes’. Similarly, it will also help each social media freelancer know who to liaise with whenever they have a question or doubt.
For instance, if your social media freelance team is formed of one copywriter, one designer, and one content planner, you should make sure that each one of them knows exactly who to contact when they need help with planning, writing, and design work.
Once you’ve established roles, you can go ahead and assign tasks based on skill set or expertise, or even seniority. Is one of your freelancers a digital marketing expert with over a decade of experience? Then, you should assign the most important marketing tasks to that person.
To optimize the process even more, consider using the RACI matrix to assign roles:
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You also need to be clear about your goals for each social media channel and how they connect to your wider business goals. Based on these, you can set goals for the team as a whole, as well as objectives for individual freelancers.
Goals and objectives keep your team focused and make it clear what you expect from them. Also, by communicating these goals to everyone, you can help them understand their business impact. The result? More committed freelancers who perform much better.
The goals you choose should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
As an example, say one of your company goals is to increase your social media engagement rate. Your team goal could be to increase engagement by X amount per month. From this, you can set individual objectives, such as:
When you’re managing a remote team of freelancers, clear and open communication is vital. Freelancers must be able to contact you with queries as well as communicate with one another when the need arises.
A monthly video conference is a good way to check in with the team as a whole. If needed, you could even add one quick weekly catch-up. Just be sure not to schedule too many meetings as this can be counterproductive for a freelance team.
For less urgent communication on day-to-day tasks, you may want to set up a team chat channel on a platform such as Slack, for example.
Facebook Workplace is another ideal solution for remote collaboration. Here, you can create a group chat, run a video conference, and do lots more without switching between platforms.
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If your social media freelance team is likely to change over time, you may also want to establish clear workflows and processes, to keep in place whenever a new person joins. Pre-determined workflows, in fact, improve consistency and efficiency, enabling each social media freelancer to understand your social media processes from the beginning.
As an example, here’s a hypothetical workflow for content creation and publication:
For your freelance team to be effective, they must collaborate and share knowledge. The same goes for any in-house employees they work with. Collaboration improves efficiency, while knowledge-sharing helps to prevent silos and improve work quality.
For instance, if you hold regular team meetings, and let freelancers take part in team-building activities, they will feel a lot more involved with the business as a whole. And if freelancers feel like they belong, they’re more likely to work together, share knowledge, and help each other out.
To this effect, it can help to invest in a team collaboration app such as Slack or Google Docs. You could even build an online knowledge hub that everyone can contribute to and learn from. This is also a great place to keep company style guides and other important documents.
But creating a genuine culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing is also a mindset. It all starts with encouraging your team to ask questions, give feedback, and feel free and safe to express themselves. If freelancers feel they can express their feelings and ideas openly, they’re more likely to cooperate on their shared social media projects.
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Make sure your social media freelance team has access to the resources they need to do their job. This includes style guides, company culture, and tone of voice: basically, everything they need to create content that represents your brand.
As we said before, an online knowledge hub is a great place to keep this information. There are plenty of collaboration and knowledge-sharing platforms you could use to help you build this tool. You could also create an onboarding pack tailored to each role on the team. And, of course, make sure they know who to contact with questions, complaints, or feedback.
Professional development is another element you’ll want to consider when dealing with your freelance team. Just because those people work as freelancers, in fact, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have access to the same professional development opportunities as in-house employees.
Encourage them to attend webinars and online workshops, and offer training to help them improve. You can also tailor this to suit where they are in their freelance journey and which areas they’re struggling with the most.
Let’s take finances, for example – one of the most complex and time-consuming areas to handle for newbie freelancers. If one of your team members has only just started working as a freelancer, why not provide them with training on self assessment accounting that’s relevant to the tax laws in their country? Your freelance pool, in fact, may comprise people from the US, the UK, Australia, and beyond.
Conversely, a more seasoned freelancer who’s already confident with accounting may appreciate more in-depth training to help them progress in their job – such as a social media copywriter becoming head of content, or an analyst learning how to leverage a social media listening tool.
Freelancers value career development just as much as regular employees. By taking the time to help them, you can encourage them to make your company a regular client.
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Finally, you should track and analyze your social media freelance team’s performance. Time tracking is especially important if you pay freelancers by the hour, but it also gives you insights into how they use their time. If you notice areas of inefficiency, you can give them tips on how to build productivity.
There’s a range of time-tracking apps online, such as Clockify and TimeCamp. Some of them are even free and many help to align work schedules and time differences from around the world. Talk to your team first, though, to find an app they're comfortable with
On top of that, consider using online payslip software that is verified by the IRS or HMRC, etc., depending on where your freelancers are based.This will make sure that your freelancers are paid on time, promote transparency, and make it easier for them when tax season comes around. Helping to foster a good relationship based on open communication.
In parallel, you should also monitor your social media freelancers’ performance to check they’re achieving their goals and working productively. For example, schedule regular reviews to discuss their progress and give feedback. Also, when you first hire them, set mutually agreed KPIs, such as:
You could also measure more specific social media metrics, such as community engagement and reach, to see if the content they’re creating is effective.
Image sourced from financesonline.com
Social media management is different for freelancers than it is for employees. A freelance social media team requires greater freedom, and team members are usually remote. And, unlike in-house employees, they’re not part of the company structure.
To manage a social media freelance team effectively, communication and collaboration are vital. It’s also important to set clear goals, define each freelancer’s role, and create efficient workflows for getting work done. And by analyzing your team’s performance, you can help them be more productive, which helps both them and you.
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