How to Start a Social Media Marketing Agency

starting a social media marketing company
Irene Wind
A writer by day, a bookaholic by night, and a social media geek by nature, Irene shares only best practices in social media management.
≈ 12 min read
Upd. on: 7 Oct 2021

Table of contents

  1. Introduction: How to Start a Social Media Marketing Agency and Make It a Success?
  2. The key activities of social media marketing
  3. Step #1: Arm yourself with information about fresh trends
  4. Step #2: Choose a particular niche
  5. Step #3: Create a portfolio
  6. Step #4: Create a strong value proposition
  7. Step #5: Decide payment options and packages to order
  8. Step #6: Use tools for optimization
  9. Step #7: Check the results of your campaigns
  10. Advantages & disadvantages of starting a social media marketing agency
  11. Summary: How to actually start your own social media marketing agency?
  12. FAQ

How to Start a Social Media Marketing Agency and Make It a Success?

Did you know that an average adult American spends 38 minutes per day on Facebook, while 16-24-years-old users devote at least 3 hours per day to social media? It is quite scary that we are used to checking our messengers and feeds during the day, no matter what we do – work, study, have a rest, etc. Due to the incredible popularity of social media and millions of people caught into its tools, marketers can derive a huge benefit from these platforms. Not all brands find a way to enter that world themselves, so they hire professionals from social media agencies to get some help. Providing such services to companies is an extremely profitable niche.

How to start your own social media marketing agency? This article will give you some tips and help you realize the opportunities for this step. Getting started in the social media marketing business is easier now than ever before. Wait. Why? Because there are so many honest and worthwhile tips from fellow social media managers that you’re less likely to commit any mistakes in this field and have a promising outset. In fact, in this article, we’re going to show you how to start an agency, making very few investments that will work for an outstanding result.

The key activities of social media marketing

First of all, let’s answer the most important question. What does it take to work as a social media marketer? Generally, social media marketing involves a broad range of activities. Commonly, SMMs are engaged in:

  • Developing marketing strategies focused on client needs

It’s important to distinguish which networks are the most popular among your customers and focus your efforts on them. What is more, considering the peculiarities of your niche and clients’ needs, your social media content should be relevant and useful for them.

  • Setting up business accounts on social media platforms

Your brand needs a business account. Good news: Facebook and Instagram allow companies to create free commercial accounts to present their goods, communicate with customers, and promote their offers.

  • Copywriting

Engaging and original texts brighten up your offers, so never ignore the importance of professional copywriting! 

  • Sharing posts

Subscribing to your potential buyers and other brands will make you visible and more trustworthy. 

  • Engaging the audience on social

Quizzes, contests, voting, and group conversations make your account lively. 

  • Increasing the number of followers

At this point, all SMMs should know that quality is more important than quantity.

  • Running paid ads

Even though the basic business accounts are free on most social media, paid ads will place your page in front of more users’ eyes. Contextual advertisement is the king of social media.

  • Tracking results and doing marketing analysis

Needless to say that SMMs must track and interpret the results of their work to find the weak points and improve existing strategies. 

Entering the world of social media marketing, brands should get ready for tedious work! The platforms might be already crowded with competitors, so they search for an easier way to get started. This is when the agencies step on the stage. 

how to start a social media management business

Now let’s discuss some advice on starting a social media marketing business to help you find your place under the sun.

7 steps you need to follow if you want to build an online marketing agency from the scratch

Step #1: Arm yourself with information about fresh trends

To start a social media management company, you’ll require the knowledge of ever-changing social media nuances and algorithms. For 2021, the following trends are predicted: 

  • SEO is important

Yes, Facebook and Instagram promotional posts should also include keywords – they help social media platforms identify the themes of your captions. Social networks sort content by relevant keywords and therefore they show up in search following particular users’ requests. To make your account appear in the right categories, add the relevant keywords to your bio, name, or/and posts. 

  • Short videos

While social media platforms provide numerous funny and engaging tools for marketing, short videos, reels, and stories are on the top of the pyramid. 

  • People connect to people

The undeniable trend of 2021 is humanization of brands. Your agency will definitely attract more clients if you will personify yourself, show your faces, and describe your values.

It is important for an agency to keep the latest trends of the market in mind. This way, you will shape your offers better and know what your customers are looking for. The three trends described above will definitely grow bigger in the upcoming year.

Step #2: Choose a particular niche

Deciding on social media marketing, one enters an extremely competitive field, so it’s crucial to figure out the sectors where you can bring a disruptive experience. In this way, you can start building the reputation of a marketing agency that targets a specific sector. This means being a specialist agency that works with a particular niche, like education, fashion, nutrition, etc. The best advice for a small business or/and freshman – start as a focused specialist in one area. 

However, your agency may be a source of marketing help provided to particular businesses or everyone. Including more sectors in your portfolio and expanding the specter is a great idea, but this is something you should do as your business grows bigger. It is important to work with niches you specialize in to bring the best offers and reach the highest results. 

On the contrary, if you haven’t decided on your niche yet and struggle to get your first customers, you may want to try a number of options simultaneously. This is a nice field for experiments and a way to find the right segment.

Step #3: Create a portfolio 

To connect with new clients and present yourself in a positive light, showcase what you’ve already done. People are hungry for success stories, testimonials, and customer feedback. Numbers of what your social media marketing agency has achieved can be particularly effective. Let your potential clients know that by hiring your social media marketing agency, they will free a lot of time they used to spend on social media before. They could use that time more efficiently. 

  • Present the concrete problems and show how you solve them
  • Publish testimonials and comments from your previous customers. Don’t forget to add customers’ photos as PromoRepublic does. Or else – you can add some video testimonials – they work as a great social proof perfectly
  • Show the minimum and maximum of what you can do – publish different service packages for diverse budgets and needs
  • Don’t forget to mention the prices

To make a long story short, you’ll need to launch a website with all the information above and learn how to sell your services. Current website builders allow you to create one at a cheap price that won’t take you more than $300 a year, including your domain name.

Step #4: Create a strong value proposition

A value proposition is something that makes your company unique and provokes your potential clients to choose your services. As we have already mentioned in the previous paragraph, you should prove that you are the right choice for your prospects and explain why. In a couple of words, this is a straightforward proposition that answers the following questions:

  • How can your services solve customers’ pain points?
  • What are the concrete benefits you can offer?
  • What makes you better than your competitors?

The last question is the trickiest one. The Internet is full of social media marketing agencies and your potential customers will definitely do research before choosing one. Be precise and give reasons that cannot be beaten. For example, tell that you help businesses find their unique style, make them grow, or drive sales through social media. Show how exactly you do that and present particular instruments/principles you use not to sound abstract.

social media marketing trends

Step #5: Decide payment options and packages to order

One of the main things a potential customer will want to know about your services is their cost. Here are the most common payment options for agencies:

  • Monthly services – customers pay a monthly fee for your services.
  • Daily or hourly services – this option is used for services with no concrete dates of completion, like mentoring, training, or on-going cooperation. They are usually paid when ordered. 
  • Payment per project – such services usually include one-time assistance, like audits, consultations, training, etc. As a rule, these programs require payments in advance, 50/50 payment, or on completion. 

Make sure to include the tools you provide, volume of content you deliver, and information about your specials or add-on services. It is crucial to provide packages for different cases and budget amounts. Also, don’t forget to be clear on additional taxes, fees, VAT, and currency you accept.

Step #6: Use tools for optimization

Starting a social media marketing business will sooner or later lead you to the feeling that you’re spending too much time on collaboration inside your team and with your clients (we hope you’ll get a few immediately). As it did to Marilyn Heywood Paige, Vice President of Marketing at Inciting Marketing Solutions. See her success story with PromoRepublic here.

Tabulating all the clients that you have on a bunch of their social media pages, you’ll realize that there are around 20 pages to manage. At the same time, you might need to approve every post with the client before publishing. That doesn’t sound simple. “The back-and-forth process, when you’re talking about a dozen different clients, will drive you insane,” admits Marilyn. PromoRepublic has simplified this process. So how does it work?

best social media management tool that makes client collaboration easy

Create a separate workspace for each of your clients. Add your team and your clients to the workspace. Doing so, you will allow them to approve what you’ve prepared in real-time or leave comments when anything should be changed. Forget about the spreadsheets, they won’t do you any good, at least when managing twenty social media networks! It’s really as simple as that. PromoRepublic will save you precious time that others spend on back-and-forth approval processes. Also, it’s only $39 per month! With other expenses, starting a social media marketing agency won’t cost you more than $500 of the initial investment.

Step #7: Check the results of your campaigns

Every social media manager should be results-oriented. If we don’t get exposure from the public, why are we in this industry anyway? PromoRepublic has taken care of that too. With our post analytics, you’ll be able to see the reach of your post, the number of clicks, comments, and efficiency. Doing a social media marketing analysis becomes a lot easier with our tool, as you can use one single place to check up on that.

Having clear reports about the efficiency of your campaigns, you will get a full picture of your successes and failures. This information is a short way to improvement, so take advantage of it and boost the progress of your social media marketing company. 

Advantages & disadvantages of starting a social media marketing agency

And now let’s talk about pros and cons of running a social media marketing agency. Here they are.

Pros:

  • You are learning all the time

If you and your team members enjoy staying in the “know”, this business is for you. Running your agency, you will have to explore new strategies, tools, and tactics all the time. This field is constantly growing and following this pace is crucial to stay on board.  

  • Marketing your own company becomes easier

When you serve customers and help them grow their business, you tackle numerous issues and cases. You get tons of experience and knowledge, which are priceless! What is more, they let you improve your own brand.

  • You can work with customers from all over the world

Digital marketing allows you to find clients online without focusing on a particular country. The trends and principles of social media advertising are almost the same worldwide. If your customers speak English, there are no barriers to your business. 

Cons:

  • People think you are wizard

If you cooperate with someone unfamiliar with social media marketing, people assume that you know everything and can do miracles. Learn to manage your customers’ expectations and don’t be afraid to explain that a particular task requires more time or money.

  • You will spend too much time on your PC

Get ready that your marketing agency will require at least 10 hours of your time per day or even more. Don’t forget to have rest and “recharge your batteries”. 

  • Some campaigns need to be restarted

Repeating the same work is not the most pleasant thing to do. However, if you work on a campaign and realize that it doesn’t hit the announced KPI, you will have to start it all over again. You will have to comb through the links, audience targeting, landing page design, texts, and other elements of the project to find the problem. Whenever you have to restart or edit something, stay calm and attentive to avoid making a new (or even worse – the same) mistake again.

Summary: How to actually start your own social media marketing agency?

So, starting your social media agency is a huge step forward, and making it might be a real challenge. We suggest that you should follow our simple advice to know which direction to follow and avoid common mistakes. 

First, you need to do research and find out more about the latest trends of modern social media marketing – if you are a newcomer, this information will help you shape the offer and gain more understanding of what to do. Second, choose your niche and decide whether you are going to focus on one segment or spread your offer around different spheres. Next, create a portfolio with successful cases, customers’ testimonials, and stories of beneficial cases you already coped with (if you have any at this stage). Also, you should present the proposition value to your potential customers and explain how your services will improve their situation. Don’t forget to form service packages along with prices. Finally, make sure to track your results all the time and optimize your strategy. Follow these steps for starting your own social media marketing agency in 2021 and your chances for success will definitely increase!

FAQ:

How much money do you need to start a marketing agency?

Everything depends on your ambitions and plans. In general, as a service-based business, a digital marketing agency requires less amount of initial cost to start. However, you still have to hire people (at least, a developer, content writer, SEO specialist, graphic designer, and SMM) and let them sit somewhere if you are not working with them remotely. At a rough estimation, you may need $6000-$10000 to give it a nice start. 

How do I start a marketing agency?

Here are 5 simple steps to start your marketing agency:

  1. Pick a niche
  2. Create a portfolio 
  3. Present your offer engagingly to differentiate yourself from others 
  4. Create service packages and set prices
  5. Hire staff

How much does a marketing agency charge?

It depends on the services you provide and the charging principle you choose. In general, a small agency may charge about $500-$5000 a month per customer.

How can I start a marketing business with no experience?

Start with formulating your ideas and aims carefully. What is the niche you are going to enter? Which unique features are you going to offer? What are the potential problems you may encounter?

Next, make sure to do in-depth industry research to find out more about your competitors. What makes them popular? 

Lastly, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. Which problems do they have and how can your marketing business solve them?

Based on the critical questions stated above, you will have to create a concept, financial model, promotional strategy, and operational procedure. The best advice for everyone who has no experience and wants to enter the marketing world – find yourself a mentor and ask him/her to guide you. This will increase your chances for success and exclude some common errors newcomers usually make.  

We wish you good luck with starting a social media marketing company and hope this article helps. Share your experience in the comments below to keep us updated about your progress!

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