Are you a lead generating, audience building wizard when it comes to social media? So many small businesses are looking to outsource their daily social media tasks that you can start your own social media marketing company fairly easily. If working from home with the possibility of making a six-figure income (or at least enough income to replace your current 9 to 5 job) sounds like a dream come true, then read this article to learn the pros, and a few cons, of starting up your own social media agency.
Choose A Niche In Order To Stand Out
So you want to start a social media business, great! There’s just one little problem, there are a lot of businesses offering social media services out there from small virtual assistant freelancers to large full blown marketing agencies. Trying to get noticed could be difficult if you offer generic social media management to general customers. The solution to this problem is to “niche down.” Think about who your ideal client would be. This is your business, you should only attract customers you enjoy working with. What industries do you have the most experience with and connections in? What do these clients look like, how old are they, what do they sell, how much money do they have, what are their hobbies? Once you know all of this you can create a specific marketing message to attract your dream clients. You could focus on social media services for Real Estate Agents, for example. Choosing a niche will help you stand out in a crowded market.
Write A Business Plan
Don’t start your social media marketing agency journey without a road map or you could get lost. If you are serious about creating a sustainable, money-making business, you need to sit down and write a detailed business plan. You’ll take the time to figure out your business mission, what business model you will follow, how your organization will be structured, how you will finance your startup and more. This is an excellent time to contact a lawyer about business laws in your state and decided if you want to start an LLC or other type of business.
Set Up Shop
Who wants to buy social media services from a business that has no online presence? Before taking your business live and looking for clients, here are a few things you need to do in order to look professional. At minimum you should have:
- A business name, logo and branding guide (colors, fonts, etc).
- A URL and a website.
- One or more social media accounts loaded with content and ready to give value.
- Enroll in any courses you want to take to help you run your business.
- Sign up for any tools or subscriptions you will need to run multiple accounts such as keyword finders, organizational tools, email responders, social media post schedulers and more.
- (Nice to have) A blog.
- (Nice to have) A Facebook group for your target audience. Example, “Real Estate Social Media Growth Hackers”
- (Nice to have) A lead magnet and sales funnel system for getting leads through online ads.
How To Find Your First Clients
The very first thing you’re going to need is social proof, that’s real reviews from people who have used your services. If you haven’t already been dabbling in freelancing you might not have any clients to get reviews from. No problem, offer a simple service for a reduced rate for a limited time. Offer this deal to family, friends and on social media or inside Facebook groups. The reduced fee will be in exchange for an honest review and use of their name, photo and review on your marketing materials. Start with at least three clients.
Now you’re ready to find some real clients and here is where the fun begins! You can use organic social media posts, paid ads or word of mouth to find possible client leads. Don’t forget old school methods as well like talking to local businesses and joining your local Chamber of Commerce. If people are liking your blog and social content, get them to subscribe to a newsletter in exchange for some value-added free product such as a mini e-book on a topic they would be interested in. Once you build an email list you can routinely market to them through a drip email campaign. You can do something similar using your Facebook page with a new thing called “chatbots.” They allow you to mass message your followers.
How To Stay Organized
Once you have multiple clients, things can start to get complicated. You’re going to need a database for all of your clients, leads and connections. You might also want to invest in a social media management dashboard or scheduler. These can be pretty pricey for an agency license but could become an invaluable tool when you hit the big times.
Platforms like Slack, Asana, Trello and Basecamp can help you keep project details straight and on time. Especially if you hire people to work with you as freelancers or employees. You need a way to track what everyone is working on.
Don’t forget to keep your finances straight as well. Open a business banking account and use an expense tracking software like Quickbooks to keep records of sales, payments, subscriptions and more.
Hire A CPA
Speaking of finances, business laws and taxes can get complicated and expensive. It’s a very good idea to find a trusted CPA to help you track your business finances and help you file your taxes. This part of the business isn’t as fun but if you ignore it, you could end up with huge fines down the road.
Cons: Risks and Liabilities
Welcome to the dark side of running a business. Even a simple social media marketing business is not without its risks and liabilities. We’ve already mentioned tax risks but there are a few other things to look out for. The way you structure your business can mean the difference between going out of business or losing all your personal assets as well if you lose a lawsuit. Contact an attorney to help you determine what kind of business you should set up. They can also help you with drawing up a simple employment contract as well to help you protect yourself.
Another risk with starting any small business and quitting your day job, is that your income is now unstable. You can’t count on a regular paycheck amount, especially in the first few months. If you lose one large account you could find yourself struggling to pay your bills. The solution is to have some money saved up, at least three months of your living expenses, before going solo.