Social media…..we are all engaged in it on a daily basis. Whether you are on it for casual viewing, or you are using it to promote your business or side hustle, it is rare to come across people these days that have not heard of Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. When these networks first came out, I do not believe people realized how influential they would have become to businesses of all sort, whether small and upcoming, or large and established already. Today, utilizing these skills of social media are becoming more essential for small business now a days, because it is how everyone communicates with each other. Never would have I thought I would have gotten a gig as a social media manager for someone, let alone a gig that was NOT paid and putting in hours of work for free at first. Why might you ask I did this all for free, while also trying to balance school? Let me dig into my reasons why I decided to do this….
As a Physical Therapy student, I realize the massive amount of student debt I will be coming out of school with. With this in mind, I am always thinking of ways to decrease the amount of debt I may have in the future. From what I have learned with the many mentors in my life, I have come to realize the best way to offset my debt to the best of my ability is to learn new skills (besides skills in Physical Therapy school that everyone will come out with), and APPLY them. This is one of the reasons I decided to become a social media manager for free initially, so that I can learn everything from how to reach people on social media, edit podcasts, and create website postings for another business, so that I know how to set it up for my future business someday.
Asocial media manager is a person who manages social media (duh). Just kidding; to give more detail, it is someone who directs, posts, and represents some company or brand through the use of the digital world we have, such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. For me, this also includes editing podcasts for PTs and helping them spread it across social media. To become one as a student, there are multiple paths you can take. The way I became one though, and the way many other people I know became one, is based on who I knew! As people say, “Your network is your net worth.” Seriously, every client I have gotten has been someone that is in my network of PTs I know, or somebody that is a friend or acquaintance of a PT I know. The more connections and networking you can do now as a student will SERIOUSLY help you in some shape or form later on. If your network isn’t huge yet, start with who you know currently. Private message out to people who may need your help with social media management. You can also make a post on your Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform you have to let people know you are wanting to work with clients!
Now, you must be wondering, “How does this guy have time to do social media management and podcast editing, while a full time PT student in school?” Time management is the simple answer. I know how much time I need to delegate to certain tasks while in school, and how much time I have for extra side jobs such as social media management. So for the answer of “How many hours will this take?” will be the answer you will hear a lot in PT school….IT DEPENDS. It depends on what the title of social media management is for that specific person you end up doing it for. I can speak for my first experience, this included not only reposting things on social media platforms, but editing podcasts, and creating blog posts. I had something to do every day, that took me about 45 minutes-1 hour each day, depending on the task. This may or may not be included with your social media management. You may have more work; you may have less. Definitely talk to who is offering you a job with social media management, and get to know the job you are taking on before you commit yourself to someone.
Now, the money. You are probably wondering how much you can make. This answer also DEPENDS. My first social media gig, I did for FREE. Never would have I thought I would have gotten a gig as a social media intern for someone, let alone a gig that was NOT paid and putting in hours of work for free. I’ll address why I did that for free in the next paragraph. However, after this first job, I ended up charging for my services. I mainly focused on editing podcasts from there on out, which I charge about $35 an episode at this point. My friend, who does more of the social media management with postings on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, charges about $50-$100/hour, depending on the client. Now, did we start off charging that much? No, we did not. We worked hard, and gained the experience first, before feeling comfortable charging this rate. Talk with others that do social media work and see what they charge. If you can provide enough value for your client and are confident in your price, your client will pay for it.
If you aren’t making money doing social media management, that is OK. I think there is still massive value in you doing social media work for a Physical Therapist as a student. What I found of benefit when I did it for free for a Physical Therapist is seeing how a business is ran using social media in a field I am pursuing. The field of Physical therapy is changing rapidly, and many more PTs are utilizing social media to get their message out to the world. If you, as a student, can learn the ins and outs of utilizing social media for a clinician, not only will this help you for if you want to do this for your own business after graduating, but this is a MASSIVE thing to add on a resume that could be a great talking point to make you stand out. How do I know this? Because it has already happened to me. In school, I had to interview for a clinical that was in a cash pay clinic I wanted to be in. During the interview, they saw I had experience managing and organizing social media for PTs. THIS was a massive talking point that caught their interest, due to the fact they were out of network and were more into marketing than other Physical Therapy businesses. You never know when these experiences will help you on a resume, and especially as I said, since we are moving into the digital age, it is becoming a skill that is becoming more and more desirable to employers.
As for the drawbacks of this, to me, there really isn’t too many. The main one I would say though, depending who you are, is that it can be very repetitious to do social media management. This is sometimes the reason why PTs want to hire somebody like you to take on this task. They have lots of other tasks with their job, and usually, this is not one of them they want to spend too much time on, so they would rather pay somebody to do the job for them. The only other drawback would be figuring out initially how to use different programs, like Hootsuite, to repost content onto other platforms. After the initial bumps in the road of just learning how to “get in the flow” of doing social media management, there really aren’t too many others I can think of.
So, I hope you have a little more knowledge than 10 minutes ago before reading this article about being a social media manager as a PT student (or Pre-PT student). Social media management is a great resume builder, builds great non-clinical skills for your toolbox for the future, and I truly believe you can learn a lot from doing it right now as a student!