Step-by-Step Guide to Start a Social Media Marketing Agency
Are you burdened with lots of work in the office? Do you feel like the company you work for owns you, and even kills your private time unreasonably? Are you thinking of an independent career that gives you relief from the boring 9-5 job schedule, and that gives you the freedom like only you can decide for yourself what to do, when to do, and how to do? If your all answers are ‘YES’, opening your own independent business can probably be the best option for you.
Way a Company Can Be Successful With Social Media Marketing:
Starting a business takes a lot of effort to make it successful. You need to know certain things before starting any business. Some of them are understanding customers’ buying behaviors, proper budgeting, finding real opportunities, and successfully closing the deal. We have a few articles that will give you some insights into these skills. After reading those, you can think of starting your own business.
Why Social Media Marketing?
However, I want you to think about a specific scenario. Say, for example, you are searching a business that requires the lowest amount of capital to start as you can’t afford much. On the other hand, your strength is you have the proper skill set. This is the ideal situation where you can think of a Social Media Marketing Agency.
In this article, we’ll know what SMMA is, and how it is relevant in this fast-changing competitive business world. At the same time, the main focus is to inform you about some tips and strategies for building a SMMS.
Introduction to Social Media Marketing a Guide for Absolute Beginners:
Social media is a marketing tool that is different from traditional marketing. As it is a newer one, many businesses struggle with it. But it’s one of the strongest channels for driving growth where the business can generate leads and revenue. It’ll especially change the way businesses go to the market and get done. To put it in a nutshell, social media is all about having an interesting, informative, and engaging conversation with the market.
In fact, social media marketing is a part of digital marketing which itself is a booming industry. How this industry is growing is a sheer surprise. Now, we are going to look into this matter in the following figure that shows the estimated annual revenue per firm of American digital agencies.
As we said earlier, social media marketing is a part of digital marketing. Now, how much of digital marketing is covered by social media marketing is a matter of discussion. We need to draw a comparison between social media marketing and other digital marketing services. In the following figure, we’ll look into it:
Most in Demand Digital Marketing Skills:
According to the statistics given above, Social Media Marketing is the 2nd ranked popular service provided by the Digital Marketing Agencies in 2020 among Web Development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-click (PPC), Content Marketing and Email Marketing.
Why Social Media Marketing is Effective?
As Social media users are growing rapidly, the prospect of social media marketing is rising higher every day. Most of the internet users use more than one social media account and use their off-time in social media. And do you know that every internet user spends close to 2 hours a day across different social media accounts? There are at least 4 to 5 social media which has a considerable amount of traffic. 91% of retail brands use at least 2 different social media platforms to communicate and reach their customers. To understand the significance of SMMA properly, you should consider the following facts:
● The total market size of the Social Media Management Market is $17.7 Billion. Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is 14.1%. (ResearchandMarkets)
● Ad spending is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020-2024) of 7.6%, resulting in a market volume of US$132,245m by 2024. (Statista)
● In 2019, the industry was estimated to reach $6.5 billion. (Forbes)
Why is Social Media Marketing Important for Small Businesses?
Social media has become a blessing for small businesses. Before the rise of social media, marketing was very costly and inefficient. But now because of a super-effective social media algorithm, you can reach the maximum targeted customers at the cheapest price. This is why the conversion rate from social media traffic is very high. Many of the successful E-commerce business owners say that 80% of their sales came from social media-driven traffic, and they use highly skilled digital marketing agency that reached to right people and increased sales. They got many loyal customers from social media who repeatedly purchase from them.
Why Do the Big Companies Use Social Media Marketing?
Not only the small companies, but many giant companies are also working day and night to understand how to use social media to grow their business because social media knows more about them than they know about themselves. They are also relying on SMMA. They think it is both economic and effective for them to hire an SMMA as they are more expert and more specialized in it.
Benefits of Hiring a Social Media Agency:
Social media marketing agencies invest all of their time to learn about people – what they like, why they like it, how they like it, and all nuts and bolts of new platforms and tools. They analyze customers’ buying behaviors and hire experts for these activities which are too much expensive for their clients. In fact, they are putting lots of money on social media. They believe that it’ll scale up their clients’ businesses.
SMMA Checklist: Start a Successful Social Media Marketing Agency from Home:
So, it is now clear why SMMA is one of the trendy and lucrative businesses nowadays. Like every other small business, starting a social media marketing agency has some challenges. This challenging endeavor needs experiences, hard work, and passion. After all, some tips and strategies can help you overcome the hurdles in a better way. The following are some tactics, like a step-by-step guideline, for starting a Social media marketing service agency where you can make a multimillion-dollar business.
1. Acquire Digital Skills & Be a Social Media Expert:
Acquiring skills is the first step for starting an SMMA. You should keep in mind that people will not hire you as their social media partner if you don’t have sufficient qualifications – experience and skills in SMMA. Again it is very normal that you won’t have much experience and skills in starting. So you need to educate yourself about the skills in Digital Marketing first. You must follow the sector with sharp eyes.
You should have a holistic approach to digital marketing. Grasp the dynamics of the basics such as PPC (pay-per-click marketing), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Email Marketing, Content Marketing, Web Development, Graphic Design, etc. You can invest in learning through online courses to boost your knowledge and credentials.
2. Stay Up-to-date & Present Yourself on the Internet:
After developing the necessary skills, you must stay up-to-date with the continuously changing market, and it requires dedicating time, energy, and money. In this regard, being a contractor before becoming a founder can be a good strategy. In fact, many successful founders believe so. It can help you understand organic lead generation and how to engage with customers and potential customers. This understanding will carry your business to a professional level.
Generally, clients hire those agencies that have a great experience and it’s a disadvantage for you as you are a starter now. However, you can establish your online/social media profiles as a key opinion leader in the industry, which can attract the business owners. As a social media agency, it is a must. You have to make yourself visible in the community. Tai Lopez said on his social media marketing strategies, “Start marketing yourself”. You can start developing your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter profiles and can also write in different blogs or forums. It is the most essential step towards a successful social media marketing agency.
3. Select Your Niches & Determine What You Can Offer:
Niches are the main focus of your operation. It will be wise to take small steps at the beginning. You can follow two types of niches –
• Industry Niches: This is a method to follow the audience that you intend to target. At the very beginning, you can start working with the sectors where you have some interests or familiarity. You can also focus on attracting high-value clients like doctors, lawyers, and dentists because they won’t struggle to pay you.
• Platform Niches: You need to pick the right social media. You can initially focus on a single or a few specific social media platforms instead of many such as Facebook or Instagram.
After choosing a sector and a social media platform that are your niches, you can continue determining the scope of the services your agency is going to offer. Some of those services might be social media management, content writing, paid social media strategy, community management, creative design, etc.
4. Get a Business Model, Register & Obtain Financing If Necessary:
Business Model: After choosing your niches and determining what you can offer, it is time to make a business model. A proper business model will help you to build a solid foundation for your agency. It includes fixing the ownership, selecting a name, complying with local laws, and many more as follows:
Ownership: You can start by only yourself which is a sole proprietorship. If you start with some of your partners then it is a partnership, and you can also start an LLC depending upon the number of total founders of your business. Especially if you’re looking to scale things up quickly, an LLC might work better.
Picking a Suitable Name: The selection of the brand name of your business is very vital because it will determine the first impression in people’s minds. If clients are confused about what to call you, they’re probably not going to hire you! So, create it creatively. You can also check that the domain name for your preferred name is available or not.
Checking Local Laws: The next task is to check your county’s laws and resolve the legal issues including registrations and taxes. It’s important to go over your country, state, and local laws to ensure that your business complies with them.
Opening a Separate Bank Account: You should also open a separate bank account for your business which will look a bit legitimate and also create more brand value. A different bank account can help to increase your purchasing power with higher credit limits, and you will also get some legal and tax benefits as well.
Raise Funding If Necessary: Funds are also an important element. Many startups are forced to stop due to a lack of money. You can raise funds from your friends and family. You can also take out a loan for your startup. Most of the loans ask collateral which is with low interest and also has longer payment terms. You can also find some loans without collateral but they can charge you more interests. Look around your cities! After operating your business for 2-3 years, many more business financing options will open up.
5. Fix Your Service Pricing and Financial Policies:
You need to make ready the proper pricing plan, payment schedule, and mode of payments. Typically there are three options that are used by digital marketing agencies – monthly retainer, project-based, and hourly. A fixed monthly fee creates consistent billing patterns and dependability for both client and agency. Often a one-time project such as a video or a campaign is paid upon project delivery. Normally an individual social media consultant charges upon experience $20-40$/hour. You can have a look at your competitor’s pricing plan as well.
Create packages with your best effort. Many of the agency owners recommend creating four to five packages and keeping a basic service with VIP options. You should also be clear on whether you are charging VAT or not.
You need to think about having an accountant or buying software that will take care of your invoices, taxes, salaries, etc. As a founder, you should be more serious about this to avoid unnecessary problems creating financial issues.
6. Establish Your Online & Offline Presence:
● Set Up Your Website: The website is the ‘front door’ of your business so you need to make sure that it accurately represents your brand. You must also display all the information a client wants because he/she will decide to contact you after browsing your website. Provide all the details about the services that you offer, about your/your team’s expertise along with contact details. Create a separate landing page for your ‘Pricing’ page. An ‘about us’ page is required that tells your story and achievements, success stories, case studies, academic credentials, known companies you’ve worked for, previous working experience, customer testimonials, partnership agreements, Certifications Mentions from other websites, etc.
● Set Up Company Blog: A blog helps to spread you more in the community. You can publish one or two articles weekly on social media happenings that will attract visitors to visit your website. This will also prove your knowledge and expertise in this sector.
● Create Social Media Accounts: As a social media marketing agency, social media presence is a must for you. Otherwise, you will really look odd. So, create your own business accounts and keep sharing different content.
● Set-up your Office: If you choose to have a physical location of your social media marketing agency then find an office space and make it ready.
● Get a Toll Free Number: Getting a toll free phone number can give you an extra benefit. Potential customers can call you anytime and discuss with you whatever they need.
● List on Google and Wherever You Can: Make sure you’re listed on. You can also add your office on Google Maps. Another thing is to get your agency listed wherever you can. It is easy to start from the free listing, and later if you have enough bucks, you can go for paid listings.
● Make your Business Cards: Business cards can help to share your business status with others. You never know whom you’ll meet when. You should not miss the opportunity to connect with a great client just because of not having a business card.
7. Hire Staff to Make a Good Team:
If you want to grow your business and get to the next level, you’ll have to hire people. However, most new business owners don’t have the resources to hire a fully-fledged team from the start. It is a must; otherwise, it will be tough for you to manage all the things. So, you can start with a virtual assistant for administrative tasks, an accountant for financial processes, and a marketer for lead generation.
You can later consider hiring some other posts for your business. Some examples are-
● Social Media Manager: A person who is an expert in social media will be in this post. He/she will help you with regular social media operations such as creating a content calendar, scheduling posts, community management, report making, etc.
● Lead Generator: This individual’s main task is to find companies that match your client persona, look for the decision-makers, and then compile their contact information in a database.
● Content Marketer: This individual focuses on creating content to establish your company’s online presence by conducting keyword research, writing engaging blog posts, and getting your website to rank.
Make sure that your team members have good communication skills in addition to technical ones. Teamwork is the key in this regard. You have to tackle your team skillfully. You need to have the ability to engage with the people. You also need emotional intelligence to deal with them.
You can hire these roles on a freelance or contractual basis. In this case, you only pay for the taken services or hours rendered and don’t need to spend on worker’s compensation or unemployment insurance. However, Employees always expect security from employers. Unless you offer them benefits and pay them well, they aren’t going to be interested to work for you. In this case, contractors can play an efficient role. So, you can find some contractors to play the roles.
8. Find and Fix Some Social Media Tools:
A lot of important tools are rising to increase the efficiency of social media management. So, you must choose carefully some of them for your daily use. For example, with the automation scheduling tools, you can set your social media posts in advance, and Image Makers helps you create catchy graphics and banners. In the beginning, it is enough to utilize these essential tools according to the scale of your business. However, you will of course need more sophisticated tools as your agency grows. You can use Slack/Discord/DingTalk for daily communications; Trello/Asana for task management; Google Meet/Zoom for online meetings; Google Drive/Dropbox for file storage; Hootsuite/Buffer for social automation; Canva/Figma for designing and so on.
9. Kick-off Your Agency and Find Your First Customers:
Now, you are ready to roll! You have done with setting up your agency. Finally check your website, email, phone number, social media profiles, etc. If all are working then fix a date to kick-off!
You can arrange a PR to publish on local newspapers and online portals or blogs. It should include the details of your agency, plan, services, quotations from you, etc. To get the best impression, please add some professional photos. You can also think about to create an online launching ceremony where the participants will receive gifts from your agency.
It’s very likely that your friends and family members have a business or work that can use social media marketing services. You can also find your first clients in Upwork or Freelancer or at PeoplePerHour. These websites have hundreds of job postings related to social media marketing and can be a good starting point.
10. Start Approaching to Local Businesses:
There are many ways of approaching local businesses but before that, you must be aware of the industry well. You must know how a business is run and what performance standards are expected, etc.
LinkedIn can help you find potential clients in your area. You can run events, also can host or moderate webinars which will put you in contact with CEOs and CMOs of companies you may communicate with for your business purposes. Speaking on panels establishes you as a thought leader that will be additional credibility for your business image.
After finding some local small businesses, you can offer your services to them at a discounted price. It will be easy to create your portfolio in this way. Sometimes some clients will just need you to create social media pages, schedule posts, and track engagement across platforms. You may also be asked to engage with users commenting or sending inquiries through social media. These tasks are quite easy to perform, and they enable you to serve more than one client at the same time.
11. Create & Continuously Improve Your Portfolio
Now, you are approaching some clients and hopefully, you will get some tasks from several small businesses. However, to get contracts from slightly big companies you need to create a portfolio of your SMMA. As a beginner, you must make sure that the portfolio you have is very simple and it’s not a fake. Time by time you can improve your portfolio.
To build your portfolio fast, you will still have to provide services at a low cost. And getting testimonials and positive reviews from customers will help you sign up more and bigger customers in the future. Your portfolio can also include in-depth case studies and upcoming goals for your specific clients.
Your main goal is to get 5star reviews from your customers to gain trust from other potential customers. For getting positive reviews, communicate with clients effectively, always give more, make time for them, and overall be strategic and friendly. You can also ask your friends and clients to write a review on Google Maps. It is really a thing the business owners check!
12. Start Marketing Your Services
● Be Smart With Your Lead Generation Efforts: Optimize your LinkedIn profile to get connected with potential clients easily. Add keywords on your profile such as, “affordable social media agency” or “social media PPC ad agency”, etc. This will help you to appear in the community more frequently. To increase your number of customers, you should follow LinkedIn closely to add new connections. You can also prepare a list of local businesses that you want to target and send e-mails to their decision-makers.
Joining some professional groups on Facebook and LinkedIn can help you engage easily with business owners. This opportunity will help to offer some proposals for them. Sooner or later if you establish yourself as a key opinion leader in that community, they will accept your proposal. However, this strategy can take a long time.
● Tell engaging stories to attract followers: You can start by recording a simple video about your clients for their websites. Friends and family are some of the potential sources to get clients. You can offer a free evaluation of their website and later can say how to improve their current business on a free trial basis.
● SEO & PPC: An important aspect of growing your website traffic would be to optimize for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Keep in mind that it is always tough to get your first clients because the market is competitive enough. You should not be hopeless. You can run Pay Per Click campaigns on different platforms.
● Develop a Social Media Strategy: You need to post content regularly on various social media platforms to create awareness about your agency, services, and establish your expertise. Put importance on the tools offered by social media sites to create content that will help to gain more engagements. Post on social networks without any interruption and also stay up-to-date with ongoing and upcoming trends. You can share team photos, photos of events like birthday milestones or parties, etc. Sometimes provide a donation to the local businesses and charities if you can, and share on your social media profiles to raise brand awareness.
13. Track Your Progress and Keep Going
Now, you have your niche, business plan, website, social media accounts, portfolio, etc. Your excellent team is working for you. Your business name is expanding gradually, and you have also started getting clients.
It is very important to carefully track and evaluate your performance and progress. Always keep your eyes open on the industry, and feel the ongoing developments of this sector. This will help you create your future plan and make your vision big.
It is your main duty to satisfy your existing customers and let them feel you were really worthy of hiring. You need to prove that you’re making your clients money. So, track your marketing efforts and show them the results.
So, what we have found …
Social media presents an incredible marketing opportunity. And it’s a wonderful tool for running a marketing agency. Just utilize it. Don’t be afraid to take this opportunity. Maintain a continuous relationship with your clients which will help you to build trust between both of your businesses. Keep showing real and attractive results of their investment on you.
In fact, building something that is fully yours which can bring big potential with a big profit is really praiseworthy. Running an SMMA is just like that. However, it takes time to get the 1st client.
That’s why this article defined SMMA and its impacts on today’s business world. And then it provided a guide for an agency owner outlining 13 steps to build a successful brand. Just follow these steps and succeed in this field.