This blog post was written by guest contributor Viveca Chow.

In this day and age, social media has led to a world of convenience. It has become so convenient that you can now use it to your advantage and make a living out of it. Brands are constantly looking for social media managers, influencers and marketing experts, so much so that these positions have become in high demand. Living in New York City, I found my footing in content creation and started my blog Vivaaace. Working in social media has led me to meet and collaborate with brands I would’ve never dreamed of.

But what does this career path actually entail? How do you go about building an online presence for yourself, and where do you even begin?

The beauty of having a career in social media is there are truly so many options. Not only in the position, but in your preferred work lifestyle as well. If you are the type of person who knows you want to dedicate your skill set to one specific brand, you can do that. If you want to explore, you can reach out to all sorts of different brands and freelance. There is so much flexibility in this field because the brands are simultaneously finding what works best for them and growing alongside you.

Regardless of the position you choose to take on, if you’re in the realm of social media, you’ll probably end up working in some aspect of marketing for a brand. There are lots of ways to become a social media consultant, but there are some basics to keep in mind. Here, I’ve put together some of my best tips for getting started.

Develop a Media Kit

If you choose to become a digital content creator of any sort, having a media kit will be your No. 1 priority. A media kit is basically a mini template that allows your potential clients to see what you bring to the table. From pictures and videos to blogs and podcasts, everyone has their niche. You want your media kit to include your inspiration, previous collaborations, services and prices.

The layout of your media kit should also reflect your style, so I highly recommend working with a skilled graphic designer to figure out your own branding. If you’re freelancing, don’t forget that you are constantly marketing yourself. So, all your marketing tools would include:

  • Website
  • Instagram
  • Media kit
  • Portfolio
  • LinkedIn
  • UpWork

All of these should be their absolute best to help build your online presence.

Upgrade to Business Accounts

If you’re doing something as visual as content creating, I highly recommend switching your social media accounts to business accounts so you can see your analytics. Consider making your Instagram your portfolio. A lot of social media experts get work through Instagram. Your social media engagement with everyone should be highly active. You should always be connecting with new people every single day via comments or direct messages. A lot of work in the social media realm is dependent on referrals, so if you do great work for one client, they’ll likely drop your name for someone else, and so forth.

Find Brands to Partner With

Once you have your media kit and portfolio ready, it’s time for you to find partnerships. If you have no idea where to start, try connecting with brands you love. These should also be brands you identify with and believe in. From experience, there is nothing worse than forcing content out or working for a brand that doesn’t align with your values. It also helps to narrow them down to what area you want to focus on. Is it fashion, technology, health and fitness or entertainment?  Find the one that works for you.

Once you have picked several brands you love, it’s time to send over a cover letter and media kit. Connecting usually means emailing, but depending on your line of work, direct messages on Instagram can work, too. Your cover letter should be short and sweet. These brands get hundreds of emails regarding potential business partnerships, so this is the time to name drop the big brands you’ve previously worked with. Let them know why you feel connected to their brand and what you feel you can do for them. If you are a social media manager, make sure you attach previous analytic comparisons for a brand before they worked with you and after they worked with you. Remember to include your contact information.

Offer Complimentary Collaborations

At the beginning of your career, you can offer complimentary collaborations to get your foot in the door. Free 14-day trials are also common when you’re just starting out. Once you get increased traction, that’s the time to charge for your services. One thing I will say is that, because social media marketing is still an up-and-coming work field, a lot of brands won’t realize they should pay you for your work, especially if you’re freelancing. Don’t feel guilty about asking for payment. You should be as upfront about the costs of your services as you are the results they produce. You have a unique and sought-after skillset, so don’t feel pressured to work for free. This is your livelihood.

Take Your Social Media Game to the Next Level

As a social media expert, you’re likely to be one of the most influential people within a brand or company. You’ll be working to build out marketing strategies, including content, partnerships and performance marketing to engage fans, partners and customers. If this all sounds like something you’re interested in, you should consider earning an online master’s in communication technology like the one from Point Park University. Within their degree program is the option to choose an emphasis on social media, which will undoubtedly further your skill sets. And because it’s online, their program is designed to help working students succeed sooner with flexible classes.

As an alumna, my favorite aspect about attending Point Park University was the ability to grow into my fullest potential because of my mentors’ unwavering guidance. It’s a very rare experience to feel individualized attention at an institution, but Point Park encompassed that fully. I always felt seen and heard no matter what. In such a positive environment, I was able to blossom into the professional I am today.

Named one of the 2017 Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Master’s in Communications, Point Park’s online Master of Arts in Communication Technology program offers a nurturing community of peers and professionals where students can prepare for tomorrow’s workforce.

Viveca Chow is a Broadway actress and content creator in New York City, New York. You can follow her on her blog or on Instagram @vivaaace.