Joke De Nul is a freelance community manager and social media strategist based in the south of France. With experience on both the agency and freelance ends of the social media spectrum, plus experience with impressive clients, Joke has plenty of valuable insights to share.
Below, Joke shares more about her beginnings in the field, how she established a client base and determined rates to charge, and her favorite tools, along with tips for those new to the field who need to build up experience.
What lead you to your career as a social media and community manager?
As a kid, I always loved computers. Three times a year I went on 'computer camp' to learn about visual basic, turbo pascal, web design, etc. I have been fascinated by the internet for as long as I can remember, so I studied web design and interactive media. I
started digging into social media as it was emerging and I loved to do little fun projects with some webtech friends. One day, I saw that the first social media agency in my region (with just one employee), was looking for 'fresh blood'. I did everything I could just to be able to get an interview. I like to think I got that job because of my multimedia background combined with marketing experience and of course all those free time fun projects that got me on the radar of that employer.
I worked there for three years and learned a lot. Now I'm working as a freelancer and although it wasn't easy to separate from that awesome agency, I'm absolutely loving it. Oh, and I moved to the south of France instead of staying in rainy Belgium. One of the perks of the job 🙂
How do most of your clients find you?
Because of my background, I have a network of people I have worked with that recommend me. I don't really like to tweet/blog/Facebook about social media on my personal social networks, but people seem to find me via those networks too.
How do you determine what to charge clients for your freelance social media and community management work?
Good question. Because I worked at that agency, I knew the market prices. I would recommend that everyone work at least a year in a relevant sector/position before starting as a freelancer. If that is not possible, try to search a local social media group where you can ask questions or find a mentor.
Do most of your colleagues work as freelancers or as full-time employees of companies?
I consider social media freelancers my colleagues, since we work on common projects so often and struggle with the same things. I see employees of companies as colleagues and some even as potential clients. 🙂
What are your favorite social media or community management tools?
I actually really like to work with the browser versions. One of the few social media tools I like to use is Engagor. I swear by Google docs and Dropbox for all other things.
Are there any resources you would recommend to aspiring community managers? How does one get started if one has no experience, but a lot of ambition?
Build your own social network around an account. A client will probably not be as interested in working with you if you do not maintain an active, engaged Twitter account. Once you've got that under control, make an account for something other than yourself. Experiment with tone of voice, graphics, technical stuff, and once you are ready, volunteer to do social media for someone. I think volunteering is much more valuable than an unpaid internship (unless it is for school, obviously. :-))