In today’s digital and online economy, business ventures that might have been considered superfluous or risky in decades past are now commonplace and can make successful, long-standing entities.
One example of this is a social media agency. Social media’s use in marketing, as well as its influence in the world at large, has become predominant. Companies in just about every industry now incorporate it into marketing plans and budgets, and this will likely only continue to expand. Starting businesses in the area of social media provision can prove highly viable.
Social media agencies can be highly agile and flexible. Unlike other types of businesses, you could start a social media agency with virtually no startup capital. They can be started while working another job and be built gradually over time to negate risk. They can remain small and flexible, involving only yourself or perhaps one or two others, or be built into large enterprises, hiring lots of staff and outfitting a physical office.
However, as with any business, starting a social media agency involves risk and hard work to get it off the ground. It’s vital to do your homework and plan effectively to make sure that the company you build can weather unforeseen problems along the way. This article will help prepare you for what you’ll need to anticipate and what things will propel you the most easily towards the end result you’re going for, no matter how you want your social media agency to look.
Beginning A Business Endeavor
Starting any business requires some preliminary steps, and starting a social media agency is no exception. Here are 5 steps to start your social media marketing (SMM) agency correctly:
1. Make A Business Plan
Whether or not you plan to seek investment, partners, employees, or physical space for your agency, starting a business requires thinking through all the details. There are countless templates and how-to guides available online to help you write a business plan. These can make useful resources to guide this process.
Think through areas such as resources required; profitability; product and pricing; target audience; marketing strategies; sales funnel; operations and overhead; growth; team (if any); milestones you hope to achieve along the way; and any other important elements that might be pertinent. This is a vital first step to make sure you are equipped with a thoughtful, fully-formed roadmap before you begin.
2. Know Your Locality
It’s advantageous to do research about the place you plan to register and operate your agency for several reasons. First, each state has its own process for registering a business. It’s important to make sure you understand the particulars of what you’ll be required to do in order to begin trading, file taxes correctly, receive payments, and compensate any staff or subcontractors.
Second, though your agency may plan to market itself completely online, it is likely that you’ll have prospective clients or customers in your local area. It’s important to understand the market immediately around you so that you can determine whether any paper, in-person, or physical forms of marketing could contribute to your marketing mix.
Third, it’s important to have an idea of what similar services are being offered by competition in your local market. Whether you’re interested in building relationships, developing collaborative efforts, or simply keeping tabs on what else is out there, knowing what kinds of agencies or digital media and marketing offerings already exist gives you powerful context information, can inspire your own efforts, and sometimes create mutually beneficial arrangements or relationships with other entities.
3. Count The Cost
It’s hugely important to predict your outlay before beginning. This doesn’t just refer to monetary costs, though that is an important part of the process. How much will this cost you? Though starting a social media agency doesn’t require a huge amount of money upfront like some types of business startups, it’s not free.
Registering your business, using paid advertising to secure your first clients, hiring staff, buying equipment or specialized software, and more can all be examples of costs incurred during your startup process. Beyond monetary costs, think about what this type of undertaking will cost you in other resources as well. It will take time, attention, energy, focus, and determination. It will take long nights and working on the weekends. Are you ready to take that commitment on? Are your family members, significant other or partner, friends, and social life ready for you to take it on as well?
4. Know Your Market
The more exactly you can define your target audience, the better your marketing efforts will perform and the more equipped you will be to meet the needs of your customers. Having a sweet spot – a very targeted niche market – can often actually make the difference between being mildly and wildly successful.
Get to know people who function as the points of contact in businesses that could prove good fits for your customer base. Learn their problems, their tendencies, their hopes and dreams. Talk to small business owners about their marketing and social media needs. These activities will pay back dividends as you start to build your business.
5. Understand The Specifics Of Social Media Agencies
As businesses, social media agencies have some particular nuances and characteristicsthat are good to understand before beginning one. One major example is how social media companies differentiate themselves. While identifying and emphasizing points of differentiation is a part of any business formation, this process can be unique for social media agencies.
You might market to a very tight specialization or type of customer – for instance, you could know everything there is to know about a certain industry and only work with clients in that market. Or you could specialize in a certain social media platform. You could offer a unique package deal that incorporates other expertise, like SEO, influencer marketing, or content management. Whatever your distinguishing features prove to be, it’s important to have a good understanding of how they differ from other social media agencies and why your company is superior.
Final Thoughts On SMM Agencies
One last consideration for building your social media agency to stand out from the crowd is earning professional certifications. Several large social media platforms including HootSuite, HubSpot, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more offer academies or curriculums designed to make you an expert. They can equip you with superior understanding and knowledge to make sure you’re providing the best value and results for your clients. Those certifications can provide huge expert status and credibility for your agency.
Whatever you have in mind for your social media agency, these tips will help you make sure you have thought through the details and are prepared to hit the ground running to build a successful enterprise.