A social media agency’s growth thrives on acquiring new clients and retaining the existing ones. If you have recently launched your social media agency and are looking to find your first-ever client, we have some awesome tips up our sleeve to help you do that. But if you are someone who finds your agency looking to bring in new clients, here are a few ideas for you to consider.
Use Social Media to Usher in New Clients
How can you claim yourself to be an expert if you cannot usher in new clients using the same service you sell?
To begin with, you need to know your clients’ demographics, consider their personas, and the social platforms they are likely to use. For example, Facebook is the most popular among Gen X users while LinkedIn is dominated by professional and business oriented users. Let’s read on to find out how each of the social media channels can help you get clients.
LinkedIn is an ideal platform to carve out your niche clients. It is a great place to start because it gives you details not just about the prospect but also about their designation and their company. This lets you tailor and pitch your message according to their business challenges.
Now, imagine this—wouldn’t it be cool to have details of prospects delivered directly to your mailbox every week? Begin with LinkedIn’s advanced search where you can use the filters to find prospects using keywords, title, location, and the industries that they belong to. Here’s the best part—select 2nd degree connection under Relationship and hit search. This will give you a complete list of people who match your criteria. If you are happy with the search result, save the list. This way LinkedIn will send you a list of people who newly join LinkedIn and match your ideal prospect.
From your mutual connections, find the one you know well and ask them for an introduction with a nice note. Here’s a template that I frequently use:
It was great meeting you last week at the Marketing Conference. I enjoyed our conversation about innovative strategies that social media agencies can use.
I remember you mention Pravin at SMhack and how he’s building a social media management tool. It’ll be highly useful if you could introduce me to him so that he can gain some insights on how social media agencies work.
I know you have a busy schedule, so I’ve included a short note you can use to make the introduction easy. I look forward to hearing back from you.
I would like to introduce you to Monica, who runs SMMA, a social media agency for small businesses. I thought it might be interesting for the two of you to connect and see how you might work together. Monica helps brands find a strong presence on social media in their respective industries. Her social media strategies have created a strong impact in the way her clients are growing their businesses. Monica will be contacting you in the next couple of days and I’m sure it will worth your time. If you’d like to reach out to her, here are her contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org | 99965xxxxx http://www.linkedin.com/in/monicam
This approach is particularly successful for the simple reason that it demonstrates that you value your contact’s time and also helps you get connected quickly to your prospect.
Let’s say you have your list of ideal prospects but do not have anyone to introduce you to them, then fret not! Make the introduction yourself! Start crafting your messages and remember, you might not be the only one contacting your prospects. So, you’ll need to make sure that you make a great first impression. Here’s how you can ensure that:
- Make sure your message stands out
- State your agency’s unique selling point upfront
- Showcase your expertise
- Most importantly, identify your prospects’ challenges and demonstrate how you will solve them
Here’s a good example of an introduction message.
I’m Monica and I came across your profile while doing some research on LinkedIn. I see we share similar interests in digital and social media marketing. I run SMMA, a social media agency for small businesses. I have a few questions regarding strategies that you use to build your brand’s social presence. It will be insightful to hear your thoughts. Also, I see that you have been facing a dip in generating leads for your brand. I can share a few strategies to boost lead generation. Would you like to connect with me? We could have a quick 15 min discussion next week.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Now that you have done your part, wouldn’t you like for clients to find you? First, you need to make it easy for them. But how? Find the keywords that your ideal client uses to search for your services. Brands that look for social media agency typically use search queries such as social media management or social media agency. Though you might be the owner or (co) founder of your agency, do not give in to the temptation of using those words on your profile. Instead, use keywords such as Social Media Expert, Social Media Management Expert—the ones that your ideal clients are most likely to search for. Add that with a good reason for them to connect with you and you should be set!
Now that you know how to go about connecting with people on LinkedIn, start building your network. The more connections you have, the easier it is to establish contacts with prospects.
Like-minded professionals form groups to discuss things pertaining to their industry or interest. Don’t just stop at joining a group. The key to gaining momentum in an online social world is to be active and share your expertise and a lot of engaging content. Community Managers Group and Social Media Today are two of the many groups you need to join today!
With just 140 characters at your disposal, it’s quite a skill to reach out to prospective customers across the globe. However, once you get a hang of it there is no stopping you from becoming a Twitter star! And, there are numerous ways to achieve that.
One of the most underused tools on Twitter is the Twitter Search. No one gleans its benefits in finding new connections but this tool is your invaluable ally. Using it is pretty straightforward!
Search for tweets using keywords related to your service—‘social media management’, ‘social media hacks’, ‘social media tips’, ‘social media marketing’, to name a few. Once you identify relevant tweets and your ideal prospects, do a bit of cold tweeting. Participate and contribute to those conversations.
Next, you will need to get listed in Twitter directories. These are nothing but online versions of Yellow Pages. Twitter directories don’t just increase your agency’s visibility on Twitter but they also make it easy for prospective clients to look you up or for you to find them.
Here’s a list of top Twitter directories (in no particular order) that you can submit to.
- Local Tweeps is a local Twitter directory (US, Canada, and the UK).
- Legal Birds gives you a list of legal professionals on Twitter.
- Twiends is one where other people find and follow you.
- TwitterPacks which recommends fellow Twitter users based on interest or geographical location.
- Twibs is the place to find businesses.
Twitter is also known to be a place where you can engage in ‘influencer marketing’. Use the Twitter search skills you’ve just mastered to find people who have a magical spell on the clients/prospects you are targeting. Follow them, mention them in your tweets, get them to engage with you, and establish a rapport with them. One way to do that would be to ask them questions that can be answered.
Participating in Twitter chats is another way to do it. Ah! But where do I find these chats you ask? Here’s a ready-to-use list just for you.
When you see a tweet, you indefinitely see hashtag(s)! So, what’s all the fuss about it anyway? It was first used in 2007 solely to create groups of Twitter. Today, the hashtag shoulders an entirely different responsibility. It is now used to gain access to public posts that use the hashtag that you are click searching. This makes it easy for people to find you or your tweets. And if they like your tweet, they will eventually check your profile out, perhaps follow you, or even become your client.
Like for LinkedIn, it isn’t just enough to create an account to get followers. With over 313 million monthly active users on Twitter, it is quite a challenge to stand out. Creating the first good impression is right within your own profile. Make sure it is optimized by following these three simple steps
- Add an image that showcases your business
- Add your website URL in the bio
- Populate your profile with insightful tweets
That was easy, wasn’t it?
As a final note, keep yourself updated with all that’s happening in your industry on Twitter. A good social media management tool can come in handy. And, never, ever sell your service right off the bat!
Facebook is a place where most people practically err… virtually live. With brands using Facebook as their primary social marketing channel, each of them is clamoring for the ad real-estate. And Facebook for its part is continuously refining its algorithm to provide relevant and quality content to its users. This means the more engagement your post gets the longer it stays on top of the feeds and is displayed to a larger group of audience.
You must by now have a Facebook page, but how complete is it? Since your Facebook profile is the first thing that people check to look for information about your business. Most importantly, it ranks highly through SEO. Fill out the about section of your page to include details about your opening hours, location, contact, and business.
Once your page is complete, start with a search. Use relevant keywords to search for posts or users looking for services in social media management. Jump in with suggestions asking the user to check your agency out. Offer a free competitor analysis—a smart way to do this is to use an efficient social media management tool.
There are different forms of content that can be shared on Facebook. Videos top the list owing to Facebook’s algorithm which favors videos when showing content to users. There are two ways to share video content on Facebook – native and third-party videos. By now, you would have guessed which of the two works better than the other. This is because, natively uploaded videos auto play in users’ feeds, therefore increasing views and engagement.
Facebook has been promoting its Facebook Live feature by adding your live events on top of your followers’ news feeds. And what better way to seize this opportunity than to use Facebook Live to promote your services.
Pro Tip: Facebook videos (depending on the user’s preferences) might play without sound. Your video needs to be engaging enough even without sounds. A good way to ensure that is by including subtitles. Oh, and post how-to videos. A lot of them!
Remember we just talked about how your Facebook profile can be your first point of contact for your prospective clients? Wouldn’t it just add credibility to your service if prospects read positive reviews from your existing clients? Get your existing clients to review your business and convince visitors to become new customers. Show them that you are the real deal in social media management services.
What we said for Twitter works for Facebook too when it comes to influencer marketing because it indisputably plays a huge role in social media. Connect with influencers from within your industry to share your posts on their Facebook profiles. Simultaneously, create posts that showcase the influencer as an expert in the industry. Influencer marketing is a two-way road and a good way to create social proof.
While posting creative, engaging, and relevant content will bring you audience attention, topical content can kick it up a notch. Since these are topics that people are most interested at the moment, they are most likely to be shared. So, seize the opportunity by its neck and capitalize on it. But it is important to make sure that these posts are relevant to your product!
When there is so much to be shared on Facebook, why not simply schedule them? Thankfully, there are tools that make it so much easier to queue content. All you need to do is take some time every few days and schedule posts. To boost the posts’ performance, queue them to be sent out at optimal times. Yes, auto-scheduling is the magical crystal ball that knows when your posts are likely to get maximum reach.
Instagram can be tricky particularly when content is limited to photos and videos. But if done well, it can delight and grow your followers and encourage them to use your services.
The mantra is to start with the bio section of your Instagram profile which works as a handshake or introduction between your agency and the prospective client. Keep it interesting so that they are intrigued to scroll through your feed. Include a URL which leads them to a landing page with a single and clear call to action. You can use the Instagram business account which allows a CTA right within the bio.
As a social media agency, your goal is to inspire prospects with your work so much so that they would want you to take over their social profiles. This happens with visual content that can trigger some kind of emotional response. For example, pick a social hack and turn it into an image or a GIF or give followers a peek into your work culture using Instagram Live. Good content is more than just a sales pitch!
What’s Instagram without hashtags?
To become a part of the conversations related to your industry, you need to seek them out. The way to do it is to (re)search which hashtags are trending and highly used for your industry. Using relevant hashtags also allows your profile or post to be found by prospective clients.
Of course, you can create your own unique hashtags and promote it. Let’s just say one of your clients brags about your work using your hashtag—totally cool, isn’t it?
As a last tactic, consider partnering with complementary agencies. To do that, you need to begin by following relevant agencies, small business. Turn on post notifications for these profiles and engage with posts that are relevant to you. Send them a direct message and offer to collaborate with them. Though it may sound a little sneaky, it is okay to go through their followers’ lists and engage with them while they are still active on the app.
Pinterest is more than just a simple bulletin board. Marketers confess to not using Pinterest for B2B marketing. Let’s turn this around for a social media agency such as yours. But you don’t have visual content, you say? How about a few ideas to get the snowball rolling?
No content strategy is devoid of blog posts. So, we are going to go ahead and assume you have a library of interesting posts. Now, pin them to your board using the images in the blog posts as photo pins. Wasn’t that plain easy?
Turn those informative blog posts into visual content such as infographics. Pinterest is optimized for infographics, so they’ll look pretty impressive on your boards. If you have tips or social media hacks to share, then use the text-over-image format to convert those social media hacks into pinnable images.
Collaborate passively by pinning posts by influencers from your industry or repinning inspirational posts from other agencies, brands, or social media gurus.
Pinterest is highly optimized for search. A simple search on Google will show you that pins come on top of the search results. The description of a pin is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of a pin. While you may find many people, leaving out the description, it isn’t a good practice because you will be missing out on the opportunity of being found. Use SEO-friendly words and phrases in your description and keep them 200 characters long for maximum engagement. Now that prospective clients have seen and read your pin, wouldn’t you want them to act on it? Though there is a link in the pin itself, it is good to add a CTA in the description. Research has it that pins with CTAs are 80% more engaging than pins without them.
Use a vertical aspect ratio in your pins for the simple reason that longer pins take up more space, therefore, getting noticed easily. This works particularly for well for mobile.
There is yet another option in the world of pinning for you to explore—rich pins. This Pinterest feature lets you create more dynamic pins. These pins have all the information you wish to provide within the pin itself. But since only business accounts can use these pins, you may need to set them up separately. Check out how you can do that here.
Partner with non-competing businesses
Your clients, no matter which industry they are a part of, run their businesses through different channels other than social media. They are in a constant need for services apart from social media management. For example, website design, content generation for their blog, SEO, etc. These are services that you do not offer but can partner with to delight your clients into signing up with you.
Alternatively, there are companies that seek out social media agencies like yours to help manage their clients’ social profiles. For example, there might be an SEO or design agency whose clients are looking for someone to manage their social media channels. Such partnerships make your service seem familiar and less risky for a new client. Either way, they are no less than win-win situations for both the partnering agencies.
What’s more, your partnership can also go cross-promotional. You can both talk about each other’s services in your newsletters, blogs, etc. You can recommend each other on social channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Oh, and do not stop with partnering with just one service. Explore different services within your industry that you can build ties with. Eventually, you might have a well-knit group of trusted professionals with a continuously growing list of clients.
So, go ahead, make a list of companies/services you can partner with. A good place to start would be Capterra.
Host Webinars, Podcasts, Talk Series
As a social media agency, we understand you are constantly faced with the challenge to be seen as the expert. We face that all the time too! Demonstrate your expertise in social media using various channels like webinars, podcasts, or talks where you can present your ideas on how to win it big through social media marketing.
There are free tools and services aplenty to help you set up and host such sessions, with Google+ Hangouts being our favorite. Send out an invite that people can’t refuse to accept. Make it easy for them to sign up for your webinars. You can even convert these registrants into leads later.
There are different ways to search, find, and reach out to potential clients. Start by talking to your primary circle—your friends and family. Ask them to refer your service to the people whom they know and who are looking for a social media agency.
Another way to do this is to participate in local meetups where people come together to discuss their small businesses. Use this opportunity to learn about the new businesses in your locale, their challenges, and offer a solution on how your social media agency can help them. Take enough and more information to the table to gain credibility. Leave a business card for people to reach back to you.
Host an event where you can offer to give free reviews on a brand’s social marketing strategy. Do a thorough marketing analysis of the brands that sign up for the event, find out how their competition is performing, and come up with ideas on how they can make their strategies better. You will need a good social media management tool to help you accomplish this massive task in a jiffy.
Paid Ad Campaigns
Now that we are done with organic reach and conversions, let’s try our hand at paid social ad campaigns.
LinkedIn has three ad formats, namely Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Text Ads with targeting options that span across company, experience, education, and interests and identity. To leverage on it, you will require a good strategy in place. So we put together a few tips to help make LinkedIn advertising work for you.
A powerful copy comes a long way in achieving your campaign goals. Share insightful insights that showcase your expertise and knowledge of the industry. Do that using simple text. Save the jargons for internal meetings! Visuals are equally important. Find a high-quality image relevant to the text. You could use images from free photo sites and not burn a hole in your marketing budget.
Targeting your audience based on groups is a better way to reach people who might be seeking services like the one you have to offer. Take some time to create client personas. Then, go on to find groups your ideal clients may be a part of. Come up with a list of groups you want to target and use that in your campaigns. The next way to target your ideals clients is by demographics. For example, if you want to sell your social media management service to the marketing heads in and around New York, LinkedIn can help you with that. Remember seniority is an important option to consider since they are usually the decision makers.
Just like LinkedIn, Twitter too has different types of ad formats. Each ad format directs you towards a specific goal that you have set for the campaign. Since many of the ad formats drive similar goals, it is important to test the ROI of each type and use the ones that work best for you.
Twitter, like any of its fellow social channels, is a mixed bag of audience types. To sort through them to find your niche, use the advanced targeting options which include keyword matching, followers, email lists, TV targeting, remarketing, and event targeting, etc. And, there is an exclude option which allows you to exclude the people you do not wish to target in the campaign.
Now that you have decided who your target audience will be, it’s time to write that stunning copy. A few key points to remember while crafting your content—keep your tweet short, ask a question, avoid hashtags, emphasize a sense of urgency, and throw in some free goodies (a free consultation, perhaps?).
Partnering is another trick you can use for a better ROI of your campaign. We know that this is simple. Offer to promote a complementary agency’s profile or website in return for the same. Improvise the tactic by offering to run a paid ad campaign of their profile or service if they will do the same for you. However, this type of strategy is exclusive and is best restricted to influencers.
And yes, like we mentioned earlier, copying your competitors is totally allowed.
Facebook has come a long way in the area of advertising on social media. It has different permutations and combinations of content that can be used to advertise your service. It has brought in sophisticated ways of user-targeting. Its filters do not stop at age, gender, or location, but expands into job title, pin code, level of education, interest, etc. Why, it also allows you to target existing clients, using the Custom Audience feature, to nurture them into landing yourself another project. All you need to do is upload your the client details and you will have a ready-to-use set of qualified leads to present your ads to.
The more recent Lookalike Audience feature lets you target those people who are like your existing clients. This removes the guesswork when trying to find new prospective clients.
To make it easier, Facebook allows you to place these ads on Instagram as well!
Draw some inspiration from successful Facebook ad campaigns and launch one for your agency right away.
The ad campaigns on Instagram have to run from within Facebook Ad Manager and the targeting options available have been already been discussed. But there are a few dirty tricks that you can use to boost the performance of your campaign.
Put your best foot content forward! With Instagram, do not take the usual path of crafting a copy and pairing it with an image. Instead, you already have a bunch of images your existing followers have interacted with, liked, and commented on. This means you have content that has already been tested. Pick the one that your followers loved the most and promote it. This is a better way of improving your chances at a successful ad campaign.
Instagram images were static but the recent zoom feature update allows users to zoom in on both images and videos. This is a great way to come up with interactive content.
For example, hide something within the image that the user will have to find. Use your prospects’ curiosity to your advantage!
And let your ads not scream ads so that prospects are not irked into ignoring them. You can easily camouflage an ad to look like a regular post. You can achieve this in two ways. Firstly, include real people in your images. Secondly, before the launch of an Instagram ad campaign, start posting non-paid value posts in line with your ad theme.
Experiment with videos and if you have run out of ideas, your existing followers can help save the day. Curate and share their videos to promote your agency. Nothing like appreciating your existing clients while building new client relationships.
The carousel format is a great way to tell a story. As a social media agency, you can use to create problem-solution themed carousel where the first image states a problem and the rest go on to solve it. This type of content is not just informational but will be a great hit among prospective clients.
Before we launch into paid campaigns for Pinterest, note that Pinterest is optimized for click-through rates rather than conversions.
What does this mean for you as a social media agency? It means Pinterest will drive bottom-funnel conversions. For example, it can help with email sign ups than with direct sales.
Like Instagram, see which pins have worked best for you in the past and repurpose them for your paid campaigns. Use Pinterest Analytics to find out which pins have most organic reach. For some inspiration, check out this Pinterest board.
To make the most of it, pair Pinterest’s interest targeting with keyword targeting and your campaign is all set to go live.
Pro Tip: (Social) Marketing is like a mad science lab. If you don’t test the campaigns you run, you lose. So, be it LinkedIn, Instagram, or any social channel, keep testing and measuring performance to enhance your campaigns based on the insights driven from the previous ones.
Social Management Tool
Had it been just one client or brand, things would have been so much easier for you to handle. But when you have more than one client with multiple social profiles expecting you to manage their social media presence, you need a wingman—a trusted social media management software.
A good social media management tool can assist you in handling multiple clients without compromising the quality of your service. With a bunch of such tools available, how do you go about choosing the right one for small businesses/agencies like yours?
So we came up with a checklist to help you with that:
With multiple client accounts to handle, the social media management tool should allow you to create, manage, and switch between client accounts seamlessly.
Working with multiple clients means multiple team members managing different client profiles. The tool should provide a way to let you add multiple team members and assign them tasks of handling clients’ profiles. (Ahem, ahem. How about a tool that has no cap on the number of users you can bring onboard?)
Task and Team Management
The social media management software should provide an ease of allocating and assigning tasks to your team members based on priority and approver permissions.
Moreover, working with a team doesn’t stop at assigning tasks and client profiles. The social media management tool should help you manage and monitor how each of your team members is performing and handling the assigned profiles.
It’s not just your clients that need to know about their competitors but you should too. After all, you are the one responsible for managing and building their social media presence. Imagine having to monitor and analyze not just one, but multiple clients’ competitors. A good social media management tool brings you all that information without you having to sweat it out.
Content publishing and scheduling
The key to a good social profile and a good social media management software is active conversations. The tool should allow you to not only publish content but also help you save time by automatically scheduling posts for optimal times to achieve maximize reach.
Unified social inbox
With separate mailboxes organized in one place, you can stay up to date on everything happening on all your clients’ profiles.
It can become difficult to select suitable content from each industry specific to all your clients’ businesses. With a social media tool for agencies, you can find content suggestions based on niche keywords which in turn help in keeping your clients’ profiles active.
Client and Reports
An in-depth report on how your clients’ profiles are performing helps you find out what’s working and what’s not. With this insight, you will be able to build a better social media marketing strategy for your clients—a sure way to impress them.
(Psst… Check out SMhack!)
While it is great to have new clients sign up for your services what happens to the ones you already have? How do you ensure that while you are busy signing on new clients, your existing ones don’t take the exit? In our future posts, we’ll be talking to you about how you can make every customer a long-haul partner.
And if you are just planning to start a social media agency of your own, then don’t forget to take a look at the list of services that we think a social media agency should offer to its clients.
Think there is something that we might have missed out? Share them as comments. We’d love to hear your thoughts.