How to open a Social Marketing Agency
Today, there is a clear trend to open a mini SMM agency. Such a business model allows you to earn good money, be free and work from any place in the world with clients from different countries. In this article, we will talk about opening such an agency and where it's the best to start.
First, let's determine the criteria. By the word mini agency, I mean a team of up to 10 people. Therefore, all the information in this article will be directed to opening such an agency and starting earning first money without being an employee in the company.
Step 1. Choose your mindset
First, you need to find out your strengths. They are hardwired in each person and are difficult to change it. It's easier to understand what is easy for you and build on that.
I divide marketing agencies into creators and technicians.
It is important to understand that one doesn't exclude the other. It doesn't mean that if you are a techie, everything is bad with your creativity. It's just something easier for you. And the sooner you understand, what comes easy for you, the better.
Creators - if you like to come up with the design, design profiles on social networks, draw beautiful pictures for posts, make cool stories on Instagram, come up with a strategy, create brands - then you are a creator.
Techies - if you like poking around in software, track metrics, count conversions, optimize processes, make A/B tests - then you are a technical specialist.
It is important to understand that the strategy for attracting customers will depend on this. If you are a creator, you will attract clients for whom it is important. And what's more important they will come to you from those industries where creativity is necessary. For example, businesses in the Beauty industry, design, etc.
It is very important to make this clear, because you may have problems, when you will propose to create beautiful pictures for the construction business, or suggest counting conversions, ROMI, ROI for those who are engaged in manual sewing of dresses.
I'll tell you a story.
My friend is an interior designer and he is a super system person. He has good management, he respects deadlines, etc. But he always loses tenders to design studios that are creative, they do design well, but are not effective in management at all.
The fact is that in the interior design industry, the main thing is to make a beautiful design, not to be effective in management. He uses his strengths in the wrong industry.
I will give an example of several directions.
Facebook ads expert (Targetologist) - the one who launches paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram. He isn't involved in the design of sites, profiles in social networks. He receives a task from the client like "I need 100 leads, to my site, for such a price." Technicians are suitable for this task.
Instagram profile manager - A person who maintains social network profiles. Mostly on Instagram.
His tasks include "To amuse subscribers", "feed" them with content, and during this sell the product to customers. He makes photoshoots, creates beautiful pictures and a content plan, comes up with promotions, responds to comments and direct messages, negotiates collaborations with bloggers to attract new subscribers.
For this task creators are the best.
Step 2. Become a specialist
After you have decided on who you are, you need to become a specialist in the field you like. If you are a techie, you should learn how to run Facebook ads, understand how to track conversions, etc. You must be well acquainted with Facebook ads manager or a similar system.
If you are a creative person, you should learn how to make beautiful post design, stories, and so on.
You need to become a person who can do the work from beginning to end with his own hands.
Today you can find many lessons about how to do this on YouTube. Take a few paid courses on the topic you've chosen. At the time of training, you will understand better what you have your heart for. Creativity or technology.
Technology is easier for me.
I can easily figure out the settings of any software, but making a story with a beautiful picture and heartbreaking text is a real challenge for me. You may be different.
Step 3. First cases
You have completed the courses and now you have skills. They are not perfect yet, but you can already do something. It will be difficult to sell your services without examples of what you did. People like to buy in the style of "I want the same as you did the previous one". But how can you do it without having a portfolio?
The easiest way is to become the best student on the course.
When you are trained by an expert, he can always recommend you to someone else. To do this, you need to be the smartest student in the class. Teachers of this kind always show their successful students in order to find new ones.
Typically, such people already have customers, but they have a lot of work or have high prices. That's why they recommend their students. Such a system has been running for thousands of years.
In the beginning, Leonardo Da Vinci painted portraits of everyone, but then only nobles. But he had "traffic" that could not pay him the full amount. Therefore, some of the paintings were made by students.
The second way is to do work for someone free. There is nothing shameful here. All artists in the beginning draw for free, and then they take money.
This is how the world works.
Make a couple of projects for free; ask in return a client's review. He will record a video about working with you. You will have examples of your work; you can show them to other potential customers.
Step 4. First clients
Getting skills of working with the tools is much easier than getting the first clients.
Clients themselves won't come, especially the first ones. Therefore, you will have to make efforts to attract them. But the most important thing is to understand to whom and what you sell. Otherwise, you risk wasting a lot of effort without results.
In the first paragraphs, I've already said that you need to understand what you specialize in. But now it's important to understand what type of business you are targeting.
It's best to choose one niche and position yourself as an "expert in this industry".
For example, you are good at setting up Facebook ads for the construction industry. You study the cases of other specialists and go into this topic.
On the market, you must be the best specialist in "Lead Generation in the Construction Industry" or some other.
If you are a creator, then it's better to choose niches from the Beauty industry. For example, you specialize in maintaining Instagram for brands promoting hand-made clothing or some other women's products.
A big mistake is trying to please everyone.
I understand perfectly well that at the beginning you want to start earning in any way and you are ready to do everything. It's possible, but it's better to move consciously in one direction.
Maybe you will specialize in driving traffic to webinars or promoting a personal brand of different coaches.
Today, the SMM market is so saturated that you cannot do everything. A specialist who works in a narrow specialization will always win the competition for a client from those agencies that do services to everyone.
Once you have decided on a niche, you need to find clients. And to do this you need to understand where to catch them. Today, there are many ways to do it.
Business conferences - the easiest way is to visit business events and trainings. There are hundreds of them in every city.
You can open Meetup.com and see what events are taking place in your city. In the same way, carefully monitor advertising on Instagram or FB. The organizers of such events attract by launching advertising. You can attend such events.
You can read how networking works in other articles, as it's a very broad topic. I'll just say the main thing.
You need to come to people, get acquainted and say what you do.
Believe me, at conferences people are embarrassed and wait for someone to talk to them. When I go to the conference, I set myself the goal to get acquainted with 20 people.
I see a group of people or one person, I go up to him and say "Hello, let's get acquainted then, what are you doing?" And if it's a group of people, I always say "Hello, what do you think about the conference?" You need to ask a person a question, he answers it and the conversation begins.
The number of clients directly depends on the number of people you will talk with. When you talk with 20 people, you will stop being afraid. The main thing is to start.
Freelance sites - today there is a huge number of freelance websites like upwork.com. You can go there, look for vacancies and send an application. That's all. There is no secret. The more applications are sent, the more clients you get.
Content marketing is a more complicated and long way, but it gives the best results. You are blogging on your social networks and your subscribers will know that you are involved in SMM.
You can find new subscribers at the business conferences by exchanging subscriptions to your profiles. You can tell in social networks how you made a project, what problem you've faced, what result you've got.
Step 5. First employees
If you do everything right, you will have many clients. At that point of time, you won't have time to do all the work. It's a good sign and you can start taking the first steps to build a marketing agency.
Delegation – you can find a person who wants to work but has no experience. Remember yourself in the first paragraphs. You delegate part of your work to him and supervise its implementation. When you already have enough orders you can raise the price. This will allow you to hire other freelance staff.
Transfer of leads to other freelancers - at some stage you will receive orders you don't know how to do (or don't want to do).
For example, you are a technical traffic specialist in the medical industry, and you receive orders for developing beauty brands. At that moment, you should have useful contacts with other professionals.
So, you can give the client to other specialists for a percentage.
Also, you can hire other specialists in this niche to your agency and expand the product line and target audience. Now your agency can do several types of work.
How much does an SMM agency earn?
SMM Automation Service Promorepublic did excellent research on how much a marketing agency earns. On average, an SMM agency generates profits up to $ 30,000.
About partnership in CMM agency
The question of partnership is very large, but I'll try to explain the basic principles.
At the initial stage, when you work as a freelancer, there is a great temptation to make partnerships with the person you like. Of course, this factor is very important, but your partner should complete those competencies that you don't have.
As a rule, we like people similar to us. Partnerships must complete each side.
Also, there is another problem.
You want to partner with someone who has other skills. For example, you are a creator, and your partner is a techie. This is better than creator/creator or techie/techie. But at some stage, when you have enough customers, you can "buy" competent specialists.
It is much more difficult to find a good manager or a person who knows how to sell and has a vision for development.
We return to the fact that we must first deal with ourselves. It is the most difficult part. You need to clearly understand who you are. Specialist? Charismatic visionary? Manager? At the initial stage, in any case, you need to become a specialist, but with the further development of the agency, you will either be a visionary or a manager.
The best variant of partnership is when one partner is an irrational, charismatic, visionary and seller while the other is rational, calm, tough manager.
There are two key processes in a marketing agency.
This is the attraction of clients and the implementation of the commitments. As a rule, a charismatic partner is engaged in brand promotion and sales, and a calm manager builds the process of making a product.
In your case, the product is services for setting up advertising, creating a brand for your clients, etc.
If you know how to do your work well, but don't know how to sell, you need to partner with a charismatic seller.
If you know how to sell, but don't know how to do monotonous work and meet deadlines, then you need to partner with a manager. This is extremely important. It's a big problem when partners have the same competencies.
I have seen how businesses broke up because of this dozens of times. My first 3 businesses were unsuccessful because I chose partners with the same competencies as mine.
Mistakes in making SMM agencies
Start with legal stuff, not clients. When people want to open a business, they immediately begin to make a company, hire an accountant, a lawyer, etc.
This all ends up after half a year when they run out of money and the company goes bankrupt. It's better to start with clients. Only when you have 5 regular clients, you should create a company.
Pay for advertising. At the initial stage, you should find the first clients in a partisan way, without investing money. I wrote earlier how to do this. Don't pay for advertising in the first stage.
Do all kinds of services to all customers. Today it doesn't work this way. You will always lose to an agency with narrow specialization. Become an expert in one niche, get a stable of clients and only then do other types of work.
Rent an office. Today, technology allows you to control processes remotely. Don't expand staff, don't rent an office. It's better to spend this money on promoting your brand.
Take people to the cadre. It's a big mistake when you first hire people and then look for work for them. You will have a constant headache to keep them busy. As a result, you will work for your employees, not other way around. Get started with freelancers. Pay for the completed project. In any case at the initial stage don't take people to the cadre.
Try to get big clients. It doesn't work. You are small and you need to start with small ones. If you try to sell your services to large corporations, you will waste your time. Start with a small business that employs 5-10 people.