How to Start a Social Media Marketing Agency
Hey my name is Ippei. These days, everyone seems to be searching for the perfect online business, and starting your own social media marketing agency is definitely one of the best options.
Just like any other online business, you’ll be your own boss, set your own hours, and work from the comfort of your own home.
You can also reach phenomenal levels of success, easily reaching annual incomes of well over six figures.
Although it’s not easy to start a social media marketing agency, this opportunity comes with almost unparalleled freedom. Because this is a purely online business, you can rake in the cash from anywhere on the globe.
If you dream of becoming a so-called “digital nomad,” then starting a social media marketing agency is an excellent way to make your goals a reality.
Or maybe you just want to have a little extra time to spend with your family. A social media marketing agency offers a strong work/life balance that’s hard to find anywhere else.
And unlike so many “get rich quick” schemes that people tend to fall for, this business actually delivers results.
In order to succeed in this challenging industry, you’ll need an effective, organized business plan. Make no mistake, there are many other entrepreneurs who are currently trying to start their own social media marketing agencies.
You’re probably going to deal with a lot of competition.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding the world of social media marketing agencies. While that hype is well deserved, it also means that you have to go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd.
It all starts with research and planning.
And by reading through this guide, you’re taking an excellent step towards fully understanding this industry and reaching for your full potential.
Get The Education
As an online business, you won’t have to invest much into your social media marketing agency – but you will have to invest in yourself.
Before you dive headfirst into this business, you should always make the effort to get the education you need to succeed.
While this article is an excellent first step towards understanding a social media marketing agency, there’s much more to learn.
An online course will help you gain a firm grasp of all the various skills and concepts. Instructors can go into depth, providing you with up-to-date strategies that deliver real results.
Sure, you could learn the ropes by simply reading articles and watching YouTube videos. But an online course will help you avoid so many common mistakes and pitfalls.
Instead of learning by trial and error, you’ll hit the ground and starting succeeding from day one.
Even if you consider yourself a social media expert, it could be a smart move to take a quick online course. You might already have all of the skills necessary to succeed, but having a basic certification on your resume helps clients understand that you’re a serious professional.
And hey, some courses take only a few weeks. You can even find free courses too!
Establish A Home Office
First thing’s first – treat your social media marketing agency as a real business…
Because that’s exactly what it is.
Establish a home office, and create an organized environment from the very beginning. Make sure that you have the necessary internet connection, computer, phone line, and all of the other essentials.
During your online course, you may learn to use various apps and online tools to excel in this industry. You’ll need to download these apps before starting your business – and many of them aren’t free.
Get The Necessary Equipment
It’s worth pointing out that in order to thrive on many social media platforms, you’ll need to post high-quality photos and videos. Depending on the scope of your role with various clients, you might be personally responsible for taking pictures and filming video content.
While an effective computer is always essential, you might also need to purchase advanced film and photography equipment, as well as professional audio equipment.
It all depends on what specific clients need.
Maybe you won’t even need to use this equipment most of the time. But if new clients ask you to film videos and take pictures for their platforms, you have the capability to deliver.
A significant part of your business plan should revolve around the all-important branding process.
A solid branding strategy can make a huge difference in your business.
Branding involves picking a name, picking a niche, choosing a logo, and creating an overall theme that you want your company to represent.
Among all of these factors, choosing a niche is perhaps the most important step.
There are countless niches within the social media marketing industry. Remember when we said that it’s important to stand out? Well, picking the right niche could be an excellent way to do just that.
Remember, the world of social media is constantly changing and evolving. New platforms rise and fall, and new features within those platforms can totally change the way businesses market their products and services.
Focusing on a very specific part of the social media marketing industry ensures that you’ll receive a constant supply of clients who also want to focus on these elements.
The most obvious example is to specialize in a particular social media platform. Perhaps your social media marketing agency will focus almost entirely on Instagram.
Maybe you’ll devote your full attention to YouTube. Or perhaps you’ll attempt to develop a reputation as a top-class Facebook marketer.
On the other hand, you could get even more specific and focus on a single feature within a social media platform. For example, your social media agency could focus on developing top-class Facebook Ads for your clients.
Or maybe you’ll revolutionize your clients’ Instagram stories.
With these highly specific approaches, you can target niches rather than trying to appeal to everyone that needs the services of a social media marketing agency.
Play your cards right, and you’ll receive tons of attention from relatively untapped markets.
You can target these niches through online marketing methods such as keywords, SEO, and much more.
When searching for local clients, you can also build a targeted list of nearby companies that might benefit from the niche you’ve chosen to specialize in.
Remember, it’s always more effective to use highly specific, targeted marketing methods.
Otherwise, you’re just throwing your name into the sea of competing agencies and hoping that someone notices you.
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Searching For Clients
Finding clients is one of the hardest parts of any business, but it’s especially crucial when running a social media marketing agency. Without clients, your business will fall flat on its face, and that means you’ll have to work extremely hard to market yourself right out of the gate.
A direct approach is always a solid choice.
Build a list of companies you want to target and contact them with organized, structured proposals.
You might want to ask them how their current advertising and online marketing techniques are working. What kind of returns are they experiencing? Do they have experience in the world of social media?
Be ready to clearly communicate the benefits of social media marketing. Not sure what those benefits are? Here’s a refresher:
- Brand Awareness
- Boosted Traffic
- Accelerated SEO
- Better Conversions
- Increased Customer Interaction
- Customer Loyalty
- Analytical Insights
Those are just a few benefits that your clients enjoy when they choose social media marketing, and you should be able to explain each one in depth.
As well as trying to turn your leads into paying customers, you’re also trying to “sell” them on the idea of social media marketing. Be enthusiastic, confident, and clear about the results you can deliver.
And don’t be afraid to get specific, either. You can go into detail when discussing specific social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. You should also be prepared to discuss specific techniques associated with these platforms, such as Facebook Ads, Instagram stories, and more.
Remember, many brands will already have a relatively clear idea of what they want to achieve with their social media marketing efforts, including which platforms they wish to focus on. Be ready to adapt to their goals, ideas, and priorities.
Meeting With Clients
If you’ve managed to convince your leads that social media marketing can be effective, then you can advance onto the next step – setting a meeting, negotiating, and landing the deal.
Let’s say you’ve already set up a meeting with a prospective client.
The first thing you need to do is research their business. Before you shake their hands, you should know exactly what this company represents, down to the smallest detail.
Doing your research can prove to be massively advantageous.
You’ll know what type of language they’ll respond to, as well as what types of services and features they might be interested in.
Specifically, you should try to figure out how experienced your clients are with social media. Check out their current social media accounts, and try to understand how advanced their methods are.
If they seem relatively competent, you probably don’t need to educate them about the merits of social media as well as the more basic principles of your business. Doing so might seem patronizing, and you don’t want to “talk down” to your prospective clients.
On the other hand, you should be prepared to explain even the most basic concepts in depth, especially if your prospective clients seem relatively unfamiliar with social media as a whole.
The actual negotiation process can be challenging.
There’s an entire art behind negotiations, and we won’t get into all of the various techniques and methods.
What we will say is that it’s always a good idea to have a few added incentives up your sleeve. If your clients seem hesitant about agreeing to a certain deal, you can always “throw in” a free additional service.
For example, you could offer them a free digital audit. With this free service, you’ll deeply analyze your client’s current online presence. With certain analytical tools, you can identify weak points and opportunities for a wider reach.
After you’ve provided this information to your prospective clients, they’ll see that you’re a serious professional. They might be more willing to go through with the deal at this point.
You can get really creative with your added incentives. There are plenty of additional features with various social media platforms, and you can add any of these to the “plan” that your client is looking at.
Speaking of plans, a tiered approach to pricing is the best option. You should establish gold, silver, and bronze plans – or a system with a similar approach.
Let’s say your client is interested in your silver plan, but you’re having trouble closing the deal. You could decide to throw in an additional feature that they would only get with the gold plan, free of charge.
Another tip is to keep your pitch brief and relatively simple. Remember, “overselling” your services is never a good look. It makes you look desperate. Be confident, lay out your services, and give your clients plenty of time to react and process your offer.
Advanced Selling Techniques
Once you’ve actually set up a meeting with a client, the next stage is absolutely crucial. You’ve invested too much time and effort into marketing and research to lose your client now.
So how do you ensure that you walk out of that meeting with a deal?
There are advanced selling techniques that you should definitely try. These techniques are split into two categories: Emotional Selling, and Logical Selling.
It’s important to pick the right technique for the specific client you’re dealing with. In some cases, you won’t understand which techniques will be effective until you’ve been speaking with them for some time.
Some people respond better to emotional selling techniques, while others respond more to a logical approach. You might have to “test the waters” by trying both techniques on a specific client to see which one is more effective.
Emotional selling takes advantage of human emotions by manipulating them and steering them towards a purchase. Here are some common emotions you can use to make a sale:
- Greed: Take advantage of your clients’ greed by implying that they need to act soon in order to benefit. Perhaps you’ll promise a certain number of sales and conversions within a few months. Make sure to deliver on these promises if you make them.
- Fear: If your clients think that your offer has a time limit, they might be afraid to lose out on the benefits. The time-honored “limited time only” approach works surprisingly well.
- Altruism: Why not focus on the fact that social media allows companies to connect with their customers? If your clients think that social media marketing will actually help create a better customer experience, they might also jump at the opportunity.
- Envy: Play on your client’s competitive nature by implying other brands will win if they don’t engage in social media marketing. This is true, by the way.
- Pride: In many cases, you’ll be negotiating directly with the head of marketing or their immediate underlings. Let them know that this is a cost-effective and extremely productive form of marketing. Imply that their decision could lead to their own career advancement.
- Shame: Create a hypothetical scenario where your client doesn’t agree to the deal, and the company suffers a result. Allow them to imagine the shame of not making the smart move for their company.
Logical selling techniques are all about focusing on the facts. This selling technique gets straight to the point, laying out the numbers and statistics. You’ll let the results do the talking for you.
Logical selling points rely on the following elements:
- Product Knowledge: Know your product inside and out before the meeting. Figure out what your social media marketing agency can provide for your clients. Ideally, you should have clear estimates in terms of sales and conversions.
- Customer Knowledge: This goes back to researching the company beforehand. Figure out the goals of the company, and communicate how you can help achieve them. If possible, tell your clients about similar companies that you’ve helped in the past.
- Diagnostic Questions: Instead of simply telling your client what you can achieve, you might also consider taking the time to ask important questions during the negotiation process. Asking diagnostic questions shows that you’re willing to adapt to the unique needs of your client.
- Timing: The timing of your meeting can also be an important factor. Many companies offer seasonal products, and you could talk about methods targeted at different annual sales trends that the business might experience.
Those are only a few examples of factors that logical sales techniques rely on, and there’s plenty more to consider. But if there’s one thing that all logical sales techniques rely on, it’s research.
So if you’re planning to focus on a logical approach, remember to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, and thoroughly investigate companies before you meet with their representatives.
The Importance of Delivering Results
If all has gone to plan, you should be able to win over plenty of clients with these selling techniques.
But of course, this is only the first stage of running your social media marketing agency. The next stage involves actually providing results for your clients, and this is definitely one of the hardest parts of running this business.
Although finding clients can seem impossible at times, there are few consequences if you fail. If you don’t find clients or fail to negotiate effectively, you can simply move on to other leads. Although your business won’t succeed if don’t find any clients, a single failure isn’t a big deal.
On the other hand, a single unsatisfied customer can destroy your agency’s reputation. Local companies can communicate with each other and state their dissatisfaction with your services.
In the digital world, clients might leave scathing reviews which dissuade new clients from choosing your services.
This is definitely a situation you should try to avoid. But doing so is easy if you make every effort to deliver results.
It sounds simple – even obvious. But delivering results is one of the most challenging hurdles you’ll face as you run your social media marketing agency.
This is where online courses truly prove their worth.
These courses provide you with the skills and tools to satisfy your customers, and that’s why you should seriously consider one of the many available courses on the web.
Crucially, these courses will help you master the use of various online tools and apps. Today, these apps are absolutely essential if you want to deliver real results for your clients.
You’ll find that every other social media marketing agency is using these apps – and they’re using them effectively. Unless you want to be left in the dust, you need to get with the program.
While you can use many techniques as you run a social media marketing agency, these tools can provide all kinds of benefits. Unless you’re using them, you’re basically just another random person with a social media account.
These tools can also help you measure your results. Reporting tools are essential because they let you know whether your methods are actually working. And when you do start to deliver real results, you can use these reporting tools to show your clients how much progress you’re making.
This is how you build customer loyalty and establish clients that will stick around for years or even decades.
In an ideal scenario, your business will grow in tandem with your clients. As they start to earn more money through the increased sales that you’re providing, you’ll also gain more experience.
You’ll develop a symbiotic relationship where you’re both earning money together. As you gain experience, you can use more advanced methods to increase your client’s sales even further.
And when your customers are satisfied, they’re even more likely to recommend you to other companies. Remember, many businesses have strong connections to other brands, and your name can easily get passed around – especially when your clients are bragging about all the new sales they’re experiencing thanks to you.
If you’re having trouble achieving top results, there are a number of steps you can take to fix that.
The first and most obvious step is to find a mentor.
A mentor can be the difference between success and failure in any business – especially in the world of social media marketing. If you’re entering the world of social media marketing for the first time, a mentor is pretty much essential.
So where can you find a mentor?
Search online, and you might be able to find a forum or message board with tons of helpful individuals.
But for best results, try to search for an experienced mentor that you can meet face-to-face. When you’re able to actually have a conversation with your mentor, you’ll get a much deeper level of guidance.
There are plenty of networking events that might be helpful, and you should be able to find a local mentor if you search hard enough.
If you’re really having trouble providing your customers with results, you can also simply pay for results.
Okay, it’s not quite as simple as that. You can’t just simply pay money and have your agency succeed.
But you can use paid ads to boost your efforts on social media. Many social media marketing agencies rely on this method, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with it.
Paid ads on Facebook or Instagram might be a great way to boost your business when you’re just getting started. Although it’ll cost you money, the payoff can be well worth it if you play your cards right.
This is yet another subject you can learn about in an online course.
Finally, you can get new ideas by spying on your competition. If you’re not getting the results you’re aiming for, you’re probably doing something wrong… Or you’re not doing something that everyone else is trying.
Either way, it always makes sense to peek at other successful brands and influencers and see what methods they’re using.
You might get a ton of inspiration from a little bit of research, and it’ll help you stay up to date with the latest trends.
And when it comes to social media, staying on top of the latest developments is crucial. Because this is such a fast-moving industry, you’ll need to constantly keep your eyes peeled for new features, new techniques, and new types of content.
While this article should have provided you with a solid overview, we certainly didn’t go into depth.
To learn even more about the specific details of a social media agency, you’ll need to take an online course or do more research.
And in order to fully learn about all the ins and outs of this industry, you’ll need to spend many hours educating yourself.
We tried to focus some of the most important key points that you won’t learn about in an online course – things like selling techniques, the importance of a mentor, and picking a solid niche.
At the very least, we hope we’ve inspired you to take the plunge and actually try this business for yourself.
Doing so could be the smartest choice you’ve ever made.