Caroline Hill is a Social Media Manager / Web Editor from South London, UK. In the flood of social media platforms and news feeds she still finds time for leisure.
You can find her here:
- Hi Caroline, tell me who you are and what do you do as a freelancer?
Hi Daša, many thanks for getting in touch; it’s a pleasure to be a part of your new blog. I generally describe myself as a Social Media Manager / Web Editor, but my job entails wearing many hats such as a marketing manager, campaign manager, email manager, graphic designer, social media trainer and more.
- How long have you been working as a freelancer now?
- Why did you decide to become a freelancer? Did you think about it for a long time or did your decision come suddenly?
I worked with my husband in the family printing/publishing business as a News Editor & Social Media Development Manager for several years, but when he was forced to retire due to ill health, I set out on my own. I did consider joining a company as an employee, but no job could offer me the freedom – as a mum, pet owner and potential carer – being a freelancer could.
- Are there a lot of freelancers in your business?
Although as a profession, social media management has only been around for a relatively short time, there are a lot of social media freelancers out there. However, the job specification is very broad – comprising B2B, B2C, Paid /Advertising, SEO, marketing, ecommerce, PR, content, analytics, community manager, influencer outreach social media and more – and there are so many social media platforms out there (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest etc.) as well as so many industries to cover… it is almost impossible to be proficient in all areas, so people tend to specialise in one industry or area of social media management. Because of this, I find there are still plenty of jobs out there for everyone. Furthermore, it is one of the few professions that can be carried out remotely just as effectively as on-site, so it’s a great career choice for freelancers.
- Who are your typical clients?
I don’t really have a typical client, they are all unique! 😀 I have worked on a freelance/consultancy basis for several clients, agency and client-side. B2B and B2C, including a B2B publisher with magazines covering the facilities management, building services, flooring, cleaning and hygiene sectors; three marketing agencies; a client targeting the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector; a fitness sector client; a tutoring company, an international pet food brand, a self-improvement web application client and an international restaurant chain.
- How has your business changed over time?
Social media never stands still; it changes daily. For example, I ran a training course on LinkedIn one week only for the platform to update a week later meaning some of the techniques I had taught didn’t work anymore. You really have to ‘stay on your toes’ in social media ….
- What’s your favorite reference from a client?
This one from my tutoring client 😀
“Caroline completely transformed our Google+ account – taking us from hundreds of followers to thousands, with millions of views. She was outstandingly meticulous and professional throughout, providing a constant stream of creative and engaging posts and took a friendly tone when replying to the community.”
- How did you gain your first customers?
My first freelance customer was sourced via a freelancer website. However, most of my clients get in touch via LinkedIn or are recommended by previous customers – nothing beats these word of mouth referrals.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
I am fortunate that I have not needed to advertise my services up ‘til now. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t invest time, energy and money in developing and marketing myself, for example by regularly updating my social media accounts, updating and optimising my online presence (on LinkedIn and freelancer websites) and building and optimising my website so people can find me when searching for someone with my specialties. I also invest in training to expand my skills.
- How does your typical working day look like?
Oh goodness – tough question. My days are very varied… there is never a typical day! I generally check for emails from my clients first thing in the morning, then check their social networks for any messages or notifications that have come in overnight that need responding to. I then search for new content to update social networks that I freepost to.
Next, I might prepare a social media schedule (content calendar) for the following week for a client’s pre-approval before scheduling.
I might write or edit a client’s new blog post and upload to their website, work on their marketing material or prepare a weekly newsletter.
I also plan campaigns, send proposals for new work, update my social media or work on my website…
- What about other days, when you don’t work?
I love spending time at home but as I am at home all week, I like to go out at weekends. I often hop on a train up to London and walk along the River Thames. I also enjoy going to the theatre and having meals out with friends and family.
- How many hours / days per week do you work?
One of the disadvantages of being a freelancer is that there is always work to be done so it is very hard to switch off. However, I try only to work Monday to Friday. This isn’t always practical though, as one of my clients is open seven days a week, 365 days per year, so although I can preschedule their weekend posts, I still have to be available to check their accounts have posted as scheduled and be available for customer service responses and any emergencies that arise. Furthermore, social media is a 24/7 business and often things crop up at unusual hours that just can’t wait until Monday morning.
- Which books do you recommend to freelancers?
Books for social media? None I ‘m afraid. As I said earlier, the world of social media is always changing so a book may become irrelevant the minute it is written. I much prefer to read online articles or watch a video related to the platform or campaign I am working on at that moment in time.
- Which online resources do you regularly use?
There are several apps and platforms I use to make my work more efficient…too many to name, but here are a few: Hootsuite & Tweetdeck for listening, scheduling & posting, One Tab for saving all the websites I visit and Mailbutler to manage my Mac Mail effectively.
- Top mobile apps on your smartphone?
- Hootsuite for checking scheduled posts on the move
- All the social network apps – Facebook, Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc. – much of my work can be managed from my phone…
- Feedler, for managing all my RSS feed subscriptions (for news reporting & client industry news)
- Google Drive and Dropbox so I can access all my client files from any device
- The place where you find your peace?
My bedroom, no electrical devices allowed! 😀
- Your plans for the future?
I’m enjoying freelancing at the moment, so hope to continue to grow and build my business.