When we first got in touch with Emanuela Schneider, she informed us she was working from Brazil (her on-and-off childhood home) whilst enjoying the colourful show of native Ipes trees. That is the kind of freedom that life as a freelance social media manager affords.
Emanuela has carved a distinct niche in the social media marketing landscape—specialising in the management of interior designers' presence on Instagram and Pinterest.
Though many creatives are now exploring opportunities beyond these traditional platforms, Emanuela's recipe for success remains relevant: be inquisitive, be truthful, and be approachable.
We speak to Emanuela about discovering her niche, what puts the 'social' in social media and the great advantages of living a life online...
Why social media marketing?
Once I found out that I had a knack for social media marketing, and managed to get my clients good results, I fell in love!
I love to see the before and after transformation—both in the feed aesthetic and analytics reports. I love sharing in my client's successes, whether that be a million+ hits on Pinterest or a significant increase in Google hits.
There’s nothing like great client feedback to motivate your work. But my favourite part is watching clients create connections—building their network of referral partnerships, talking to potential clients and increasing opportunities to make revenue.
Why interior designers?
I dedicated my attention to interior designers because interior design itself helped me with my own depression. Creating a space that made me feel happy and comfortable truly saved my life.
Side note: I just remodelled my apartment. My favourite room is the dining room—it has a gorgeous colour-block wall.
How do you keep learning?
These days, I work with an amazing social media marketing coach—which has really helped me to scale my business.
But even before I started working with her, I knew everything about Instagram and Pinterest marketing. I watched so many YouTube videos made by social media gurus and have read a few books as well.
I get great insights from the likes of Neil Patel and Adam Mosseri. I also find useful ideas on platforms such as Social Media Today.
Things change fast in the social media world, so we have to keep up! There’s also a lot of trial and error—A/B testing is a real thing in the business.
What is the most common social media pitfall?
Many people forget the meaning of “social” in social media—they post and pin and expect people to just show up.
Who wants to work with someone that feels closed off to connections? It’s important to be social and expand all types of connections: industry partners, potential clients and even competitors.
No matter how you look at it, there’s simply no downside to investing in communities and the human beings within them.
Cold emails—what's the secret ingredient?
Remember to be real and honest. If you just send a message for the sake of it, they’ll feel it.
If you want to form a connection with someone, you need to have a reason.
Maybe you love their funny captions or their general aesthetic—whatever it is, pick a few things and let them know. Then and only then can you begin to talk about how it might be beneficial to work together.
What makes a prospective client choose you?
Clients need to feel as though you are someone they'd enjoy having in their home.
A video (whether story or reel) is the easiest way to make them do so. Your personality comes across in the way you speak, your mannerisms, your language, and your general tone.
If you're camera shy, don't worry—go with captions or behind-the-scenes shots. Tell a personal story once in a while and remember to always be yourself.
People connect with people, not brands.
Advice for being more open and vulnerable online?
Start small. Clients may not initially think of anything they want to open up about and so I give them the option to brain dump all their thoughts throughout the day. Eventually, they’ll find something that hits that vulnerability sweet spot and will want to post about it.
Also, remember that it is your business account, not your personal account. You want to share things that your audience relates to and not just random personal stories.
Have you explored other social media platforms?
I do want to expand to other platforms—I'm currently conducting market research and I have worked with TikTok for a few clients.
Unfortunately, all social media platforms have their pros and cons. But I still believe that Pinterest and Instagram are the two most beneficial platforms for interior designers.
How do you cope with social media burnout?
As someone who deals with depression and anxiety, I feel the toll that social media takes on mental health—especially Instagram.
I love how Instagram is now timing how long you stay on the platform—without that, it is super easy to go down the rabbit hole. Once that happens, I actually go out and leave my phone at home.
Meditation and yoga really help me to set boundaries and prevent being overwhelmed.
Follower count—does it matter?
I see clients obsessing over their follower count all the time! Social media managers call these “vanity metrics” because it truly is all about vanity.
People should remember that social media is a platform for connection, not competition.
Followers and likes won’t get you business. You can have 200 followers and 20 clients or 1500 followers and only 10 clients.
What is the biggest 'pro' of freelancing?
I feel so much more comfortable being able to work from anywhere—I’m sure it shows on my own posts and client work. I do work from home but sometimes it can be quite distracting; I tend to work in coffee shops multiple times a week.
Not having the stress of someone looking over your shoulder gives you more freedom to be creative with your work. I love it!
The key to productivity?
Hire assistants! Also, use time management tools to organise tasks and workflow.
What do you love about life online?
I love anything online that hits me right in the feels, gives me work motivation or makes my belly ache with laughter. I actually have folders where I save them in their separate categories!
Want to see Emanuela in action? Read the highlights of her live Q&A, answering social media questions from creatives just like you!
For quick-fire tips, visit Emanuela's Instagram. Find out more about Emanuela's services on her website.