Local freelance social media manager’s days revolve around engagement

Social media is a big part of everyone’s life. For Nicole Billing, her world revolves around it.

By Emily Zambrano

ST. PETERSBURG – Nicole Billing is thriving as a freelance social media manager and has been since May 2021.

Her days include multiple moving parts that demonstrate how much work goes into managing popular social media sites when you’re passionate about what you do.

“When you run a popular account, it’s easy to feel like you’ve made someone’s day by interacting, which just feels wholesome and nice,” Billing said.

Every freelance job requires discipline and planning, and over the years Billing has developed a productive and fun workday for herself.

“The great thing about social media management is that every day looks somewhat similar so it’s easy to fall into a routine,” Billing said.

Billing’s routine consists of making a checklist of everything that needs to be done for the day. This can include engagement, stat tracking, creating campaigns, etc. By allotting a certain amount of time for each task, Billing is able to ensure she spends her time wisely and effectively.

Nicole Billing has been a freelance journalist and social media manager for the last two years.
Courtesy of Nicole Billing

She likes to start her day slowly through engagement, which usually consists of scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, commenting on posts and replying to comments on the company’s page. After this, she checks her email for any messages from brand partners, making sure to stay in touch with them in regards to any questions or assets (promo codes, images, etc.) they may have.

Billing spends most of her day working on email blasts that are sent out to subscribers. These are email campaigns that partners pay for to promote their product, and Billing works with them to create it. She generally works on three to five of these a day.

In between all these moving pieces, she makes sure to keep her calendar and schedule up to date to keep everything balanced in her routine.

Billing makes sure to create a checklist of these tasks every day. Dividing her time in this way allows her to avoid any missed or late deadlines.

“I make sure that everything gets done in advance so that there is wiggle room to correct mistakes or push trendy content,” Billing said.

Whether it be an Instagram post, story, reel, giveaway or any other visual content you might find on her pages, Billing makes sure to schedule engaging with followers and replying to comments into her day. This helps her appreciate the successful feeling that comes with these interactions, as well as learn what content the audience likes to see.

An example of this was when Billing would run a Facebook Live every Friday; the audience loved her and her team, and she was constantly engaging the audience, according to the Facebook account @GlutenFreeandMore.

A few months ago, Billing was working full-time as a social media manager for Simply Gluten-Free. With this position, she was working a typical 9-5 and worked with colleagues to ensure everything was done right and on time.

“When I worked with her, Nicole was always willing to lend a helping hand no matter how busy she was and always came up with innovative new ideas,” Billing’s former co-worker Julia Gennocro said.

Now, working freelance, her days are fully under her own control. This kind of job comes with a lot of responsibility, but Billing is able to keep herself disciplined and focused and gets just as much work done as she would in a regular office.

She recommends using social media management checklists that can be found online for anyone starting off with this type of work.

Right now, Billing is working with mostly allergen-friendly food/wine companies, such as Planet Oat, Pastene, Cocina 54 and several more. Although she would like to explore more niches in the future, she loves watching the reactions and engagement of this audience.

“Watching how much engagement [posts get when they perform well] makes me feel successful at my job and like I was making a difference for those in the allergen-friendly community,” Billing said.

Right now, out of all the social media platforms out there, Billing’s favorites are Instagram and TikTok.

“I think that humans are visual creatures and this is the ultimate way to attract their attention,” Billing said. “They also tend to feel more personal, which is great for connecting with your audience and forming relationships.”

Social media has a large role in today’s world. It’s people like Billing who have a huge impact on what we see, so it’s important to consider their opinions on what they do.

“Ultimately, I believe that social media is a great tool for keeping us connected, sharing information, and promoting one’s business or product,” Billing said.

However, she also agrees that social media can be detrimental to a person’s health if used incorrectly, and the breaks and moderation of use are essential. She emphasized the importance of remembering that social media feeds are branding tools and that not everything that is online is real.

Currently, Billing is enrolled in a Digital Marketing Certification course so she can take her career to the next step. She will be incorporating this course into her daily work routine for the next six months in hopes of learning more in the marketing/branding field.

Another thing that Billing is working toward is combining her passion for talking and communicating with people with her passion for social media. The end goal: become a radio program or podcast host.

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