The first step to start a social media agency is to determine your agency’s mission and vision objectives. An agency’s mission objectives will define the brand, its target and the means to achieve that purpose. A vision statement will frame the future aspirations of the company. This should define the agency’s enterprise, objectives and values.
The second step should entail the registration of the business; these laws differ according to the Country/States. Your agency should also register for taxes to be legally complaint. Envision a growing agency and open separate bank accounts, procure essential permits and licenses required by countries of the agency’s target clientele. Determine products and services that would fall under the expertise of the agency’s hired staff.
Some of the services you can offer as a social media agency include:
- Content creation: Content can be scripted, pictorial or visual.
- Gaining organic followers: Growing quality followers, creating email lists, etc.
- Generating leads: The use of effective advertising strategies and paid campaigns to increase the patronage of clients towards a business.
- Analytics: The use of digital tools to measure the performance of services on a social media platform.
Construct the marketing agency’s social media presence
A social media marketing agency should have a perfect portfolio of its social media presence. Create a company website with a detailed list of services and products, in addition, curate special pages that boast of the proficiency of the agency’s team.
Your website can sketch information on package pricing of products and services, but this should form the basis of a general offer, the client should be informed that specialized services can only be done with prior consultation with a member of the agency’s team.
Create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., and use online campaigns effectively to amplify the agency’s online presence. A social media presence can help to market the agency’s products and services. Add testimonials, analytics and other visual aids to demonstrate the success of the agency’s online strategies for prior clients. The data for this can come from the team’s early work within the field.
In relation to manifesting the agency’s expertise in the field, the website can also feature a blog, podcasts, videos etc.
Focus on offering services to a specialized sector/industry
Some industries are more uncomplicated to get results for and are easier to sign on, enabling the agency to charge a higher retainer for them. Such clients will fuel any start-up and bring in a lot of much needed capital for the fledgling agency. In general, such businesses are in soaring demand among a broad range of people who want their product or service.
Prospecting businesses that provide essential services would mean there is an existing market to be tapped into, rather than creating a new niche of consumers for an innovative start-up product. In addition, businesses that offer essential services have a lot of sub industries that are just beginning to take form.
When starting out, it is easier to reach out to single branch businesses than businesses with multiple branches, since the executive branch of a small business might be more willing to hire a newbie agency to grow their business.
In order to score the agency’s first set of clients, scout out prospective clients via digital platforms and business listings within the target niche industry of the agency’s specialization. Before pitching digital services to the business, it is essential to base the pitch on personalized information on the business.
If the business has an online platform, the agency can offer a pro bono digital audit to evaluate their current digital strategy, with the resulting data, pitch the agency’s services. After the agency scores its first set of clients, the performance of the agency’s strategies to meet business goals, should garner more clients.
Niches are always wired and the visible digital success of a business within that industry will make the agency’s services desirable to other businesses within the niche.
Build custom packages to cover different client specific niches
Social media marketing is the management of social media pages. The agency’s services can range from:
- The Basic Bundle: Entails tasks such as content creation, general posting and scheduling of posts.
- The AD Bundle: The management of a company’s paid online advertising via social media, ad creation and ad management. It encompasses tasks that have to be accomplished in order to generate an increase in revenues for a month. As the business’s profit increases, it would be willing to increase its spend money on advertising.
- The Personalized Bundle: Digital marketing services can be varied, if a business requires only a specific set of services, or when businesses have quite an array of tasks to fulfil, the agency can offer specialized custom bundles.
Most pricing is value based, and largely depends on how much revenue a successful social media campaign can bring to the business.
Price agency services
- Value Based Pricing: Social media marketing pricing should be value based, when pricing the agency’s service for a business, rather than having a set price for bundled or individual services, it is better to price services based on the amount of profit the agency can make for the business. In simpler terms, price services based on how much value the agency can bring to the business.
- Hour based Pricing: When setting the bare minimum on charges, do a general analysis of the range of pricing charged by peers and within the contemporary market. In addition, analyze how many hours of work would go into a service, it should also include salaries, taxes, establishment costs etc., this metric should output a range of possibilities towards pricing.
- Performance-Milestone based Pricing: Payment based on performance ensures that the client pays when milestones have been achieved. This model of pricing might work well for businesses that are dubious about how digital services could affect their business in a positive way. As social media marketing pulls in more clients for the business, the pricing on higher milestone goals can be increased.
Create social media marketing contracts
Analyze laws and regulations, within countries you hope to find clients in, this is rather important because countries in the E.U. have imposed restrictive laws on digital platforms to protect customer rights and data. The liability and fines imposed when these laws are breached are huge, and your agency will be held accountable. When creating contracts, understand the nuances of how data should be handled, and stay within the limits of legality of the law.
Generate e-contracts and paper contracts, the agency can use a third party website for this or create such an interface within the agency’s own website. The clients sign on the contract should be followed by the generation of an invoice for the first payment, but in case of milestone payments, setup a reliable payment system.
The contract should sketch out client expectations and the agency’s undertaking, in addition it should also frame billing terms and conditions to avoid legal ramifications.
Tackling the recruiting dilemma: Full-timers Vs Freelancers
If you are just learning the field, it isn’t advisable to hire staff until you are well versed with the processes of your agency and all the ins and outs of the job, and have all the necessary products and services worked out thoroughly.
The staff are anchored around performing tasks while the agency head’s key role is to strategize on issues of the overall business. An agency head should have work experience in the field in order to know processes enough to delegate.
The versatility and skill of being good at delegating tasks is essential when building a team, the dynamics of the shift from doing your own work to delegating work and running a team are rather different.
Since freelancers work on project basis, fix hourly rates for projects depending on the overall cost of the project. It is more profitable for agencies to analyze the amount of hours a project would take up and pay freelancers accordingly.
Make distinctions between specialized (multiple skill-set) freelancers and common task (singular skill-set) freelancers, and have a definite scale of pay the agency is willing to shell out.
Setup tools to track the performance of services offered
Even though the agency has the best of teams, the way markets perform and the different elements that make it rise and fall cannot be ascertained fully. This is where analytics as an agencies essential tool comes into play, it will help to determine whether the efforts of the agency work effectively for a particular business.
Setup processes to constantly monitor analytics to improve your agency’s digital strategy within specific markets. This does not count in business specific analytics, but is an exercise to make the agency’s strategies more effective and a tool to learn.
Agencies that have established good rapport within their specialized niche get a lot of new clients through referrals from clients and contractors. Practicing ethical marketing habits and rendering genuine results will sustain the agency and ensure its linear growth organically.
To conclude, a social media marketing agency should:
- Possess the ability to comprehend a client’s business and audience.
- Be able to digitally articulate a brand, according to the vision of the business.
- Increase engagement and business revenue of clients.
- Specialize in running successful social media products and services on key digital platforms.
- Have expertise in the fields of social media campaigns and the ability to work with analytics tools.