Do you want to start a social media marketing & management agency? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a social media marketing business with NO money and no experience plus a sample social media marketing business plan template.
Due to the importance of social media, it has become imperative that businesses take advantage of the way their brand is being discussed online by hiring people to manage these conversations and influence public perceptions positively towards them, link them to prospective and existing customers, while also building and managing their brand reputation.
Social media has been found to enhance the way businesses connect and interact with their customers and it has also been used to augment the traditional marketing campaigns. Therefore, if you are one who is always online and know how most of the social media platforms work, then you are likely going to be able to start this business.
The social media marketing and management business is a highly demanding one, therefore before starting this business you would need to reflect on how well you are going to represent your clients. The first thing you would need to undertake is studying all the social media platforms available such as Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Pinterest and more; know and understand how they work and how well you are going to utilize these social media to the benefit of your clients.
Because you will majorly be online, you will need to build a social media platform profile in all the relevant social media so that you will have firsthand experience of how these platforms work and use that to market your business. Every client that you approach for a job will want to know that you are capable of handling the job that they will assign you
All your intending clients will therefore look through your social media platform to determine if your online presence is formidable enough to help them achieve their goals and objectives. This also means that you would need to be careful as regards what you post online as companies do not want to be associated with an infamous social media handle or a troll.
Finally, even if your business is to promote individuals and companies, you will also need to promote your business as well. You have to decide what advertising medium are best for your business and may need to use a marketing mix method that consists of both online and offline means to get to your target market. Doing all these is bound to help you start and run your social media marketing and management business successfully.
17 Steps to Starting a Social Media Marketing & Management Business
1. Understand the Industry
Social media has had a huge impact on lives personally and professionally and it is being expected to improve further in the coming years. According to the 2015 report by the Social Media Examiner, most businesses are now incorporating social media into promoting their businesses and more than 90 percent of businesses especially marketers have touted how important the social media is in marketing their businesses.
According to analysis, social media marketing and management has increased exposure for businesses to about 91 percent. The use of social media has allowed businesses to experience improved search rankings, grow business partnerships, improve sales as well as reduce marketing expenses.
Most social media marketers often make use of social platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter to generate leads for their clients. Other paid-for platforms by social media marketers include; Google, YouTube, SnapChat, Pinterest, Slideshare, Podcast, Foursquare, StumbleUpon and Promoted blogs.
Social media has evolved over the last decade from being a mere platform to being one that has become part and parcel of the everyday life for users. Therefore social media marketing and management business is one that is gaining a whole lot of popularity due to the increasing number of social media users. For instance, Facebook which is the leading platform for social media marketers as at the third quarter of 2016, had 1.79 billion active users monthly. Therefore the immense potential that the social media platform brings is expected to be on a potential growing basis.
Smart phones are also playing a huge role in the growth of the industry as most people who are active on social media use their phones to visit these platforms. This has led to apps being created by these social media platforms which have also further increased the importance of social media marketing.
Globally, North America has a large command of the market and this is owing to the fact that most of the people in this part of the world own a smart phone which has therefore allowed for key players in the industry to penetrate the market easily. The North American market is however regarded as a mature one. Asia Pacific on the other hand is predicted by analysts to be lucrative due to a large population and an increasing number of smart phone users as well as a growing base of internet subscribers, which will lead to a higher penetration.
According to a report by Pew Research Center, as at 2016, more than 85 percent of the population in the united states used the internet, which was more than a 100 percent increase from the year 2000, where only about 48 percent of Americans used the internet. According to ComScore, the social media was responsible for 19 percent of all the online activities towards the end of 2015. Globally according to eMrketer, revenue for social media networking advertising reached $24 billion, which was a 34 percent increase from the revenue generated in 2014.
Due to the unique nature of social networks, the market is not forecasted to get saturated any time soon as market potential is still expected to increase as more people go online. As at 2015 for instance, most social networkers in Brazil and the Philippines were found to have spent more than 3 hours online, while their counterparts in the United States spent just an average of 1.7 hours online every day
Globally, on the average, social networkers spend more than 109 minutes every day online. This is what led social media marketers and companies to use this time to promote various products and services.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of social media marketing and management businesses are not restricted to corporate organizations and entrepreneurs but to all those who intend to promote their image or brand over the internet such as celebrities, artistes, sports personalities and all sorts of people who one way or another need the internet.
Therefore, it would be unwise to limit social media marketing and management to just corporate organizations, this therefore means that the demographic should be more encompassing in order to include individuals from all walks of life as well as companies and organizations from all sectors.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
The social media has now become an integral part of running a business. More businesses both small and large are increasing their adoption of social media marketing and management as a tool to penetrate and get a huge share of the market. Because of how vast the social media industry is, more businesses cropping up have started targeting a segment of the market by offering niche services in order to hold their own side of the market.
Niches have caused most of the businesses to stand out. It should however be noted that while large scale social media marketing and management have been able to offer more of niches, small scale companies have had to offer one or two niches.
Therefore some of the niche areas that you might decide to major in when starting your own social media marketing and management business are;
- Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Management
- Social Media Merchant
- Social Media Influencer
- Content Strategist and Marketer
- Social Media Graphics Designer
- Niche Website Operator
- Online Newsletter Writer
- Social Media Advertising and Analytics Specialist
- Meme Marketer
- Social Media Customer Support Rep
- Digital Marketing Specialist
- Social Media Copywriter
- Video Ads Creator
The Level of Competition in the Industry
When it therefore comes to running a social media marketing and management business, one cannot use barrier as an excuse especially as this business is one that is run on a global level with companies competing with each other for international clients. What clients are usually particular about are that their products are promoted and that they are able to reach their intended target market.
Therefore, there are several social media marketing and management companies scattered all over the United States of America as well as on the internet. If you are therefore looking to start your own social media marketing and management business in the United States of America, you should be aware that you will not only be competing with those in the country but all over the globe as well.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
The social media marketing and management industry is one that is intensely competitive and therefore for brands to become popular and well known, they must have deployed strategies that will allow them to stay on top and become popular. Some of the strategies that can be responsible for popularity include; their niche ideas, aggressive tactics, successful campaigns and pro-activeness.
Some of the leading social media marketing and management brands in the United States of America and even globally include;
- Bluestem Brands, Inc
- Appleseed’s Holdings, Inc
- Cogent Communications Group, Inc
- Cxo Media, Inc
- Digital Insight Corporation
- Mediacom Communications Corporations
Social media marketing and management has helped businesses to get increased traffic to their websites. Therefore social media marketing and management companies have allowed businesses to connect with their potential and existing customers, while also positively influencing public perception of these businesses.
By proffering the right solutions, social media marketing and management companies have been able to help businesses take charge of inbound and outbound interactions on different social media platforms.
Some of the social media tools and strategies used have been able to boost the awareness of brands on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs as well as on other social media platforms.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Even though there are no existing franchises yet in the social media marketing and management business, it is important that as an entrepreneur, you have your goals and objectives in place and are able to use this to prioritize what is most important to you during the course of starting and running your social media marketing and management business.
Starting your business from the scratch is one sure way of ensuring that you understand your business from the ground up and are able to shape the direction in which you want it to grow. There are however challenges that will be faced during the course of starting and running your own business but if you are determined, you are likely to rise above this and make your business become successful.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Every business faces threats and challenges at one point or the other during the course of starting or running their business and this business is no different. Some of the threats and challenges that you are likely to face during the course of starting or running your social media marketing and management business are; competing with already established and successful brands, dealing with changing technologies and trends and also dealing with new entrants into the industry.
As an entrepreneur, there is hardly anything you can do about the threats and challenges you are likely to face, which is why it is important that you understand the business you are going into so as to know how to handle challenges whenever they arise.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
One can easily get overwhelmed by the legal and financial issues involved in starting up your social media marketing business, which is why you need to hand over the choice of what legal entity is best for you to an attorney or accountant who has experience in the industry you intend going into.
In the United States of America, there are various legal entities available for an entrepreneur and they include; sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited, partnership, corporation, Limited Liability Company, and L3C. While each of these legal entities has its pros and cons, you should not in any circumstances consider a sole proprietorship or a general partnership kind of legal entity.
In the L3C kind of legal entity, members are directly taxed on their income except when they want otherwise. This kind of legal entity allows the entrepreneur to attract investments from private investors. The corporation kind of legal entity is classified into the S corporation and C Corporation and taxation is made on income depending on the classification of corporation chosen.
Due to the fact that every entrepreneur wants a legal structure that allows for easy rising of capital and also involves tax benefits, the best legal entity might not tick all your requirement boxes but should be able to meet some basic requirements.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Having catchy names for your social media and management business is very important as this is the name that will indicate to people that you are in the industry. It is important that you choose names that are not only creative and unique but one that can be easily remembered by existing and potential customers.
Below are some unique business names you can choose from in order to start your own social media marketing and management business;
- Savvy Media Hub, Inc
- Social Analytics Guru, Inc
- Tom Price Social Media Management Firm
- Debby’s Content Marketing, Inc
- Shannon Social Marketing, Inc
- Anon Global Social Media Consultants
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Having insurance policies is very important and deemed necessary if you intend running your business in the United States of America. The importance of having insurance policies cannot be overemphasized as it enables you to be protected from any incident that will occur during the course of running your business.
If you are confused on what insurance policies to pick for your business, you might approach an insurance agent or broker, who will help you decide what policies will best suit your business. Below therefore are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you intend starting your own social media marketing and management business in the United States of America;
- General Insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Errors and Omission Insurance
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Business Owner’s Policy Group Insurance
- Payment Protection Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
The social media marketing and management business is one where you will be offering services that are promotional in nature to your clients. The platforms you will be using are ones that have long been in existence and therefore there is no unique idea that you will be using that will require a patent. More so, ideas and tactics in this industry can be used by anyone and is not peculiar to a particular company. This is why most entrepreneurs in this industry do not bother themselves with getting an intellectual property protection.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Asides from whatever results you might produce, having several professional certifications not only demonstrates your expertise but also allows your social media marketing and management company to stand out. If you want corporate clients to notice and take you seriously, you will need to work towards acquiring certain certifications especially in your area of specialization.
Therefore some of the certifications that you can achieve if you intend starting your own social media marketing and management business include;
- Social Media Marketing Certification
- Social Media Marketing Training and Certification
- Social Media Certificate Program
- Social Media Marketing Master Certification
- Certificate in Social Media
- Social Media Marketing for Businesses
It should be noted that the more certifications and qualifications you desire, the easier it will be for you to get high profile social media marketing and management businesses from corporate clients.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Having the necessary legal documentation in place before launching your business in the United States of America is very important as the law is very strict on this. Not having legal documentation in place could lead you to not only have problems with the law; but you might be penalized and banned from running the business.
Therefore some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have if you intend to legally run your own social media marketing and management business in the United States of America are;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement
- Contract Documents
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Insurance Policy
- Federal Tax Identification Number
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Even though the social media marketing and management business might not look like a business that needs so much to start up, having to be online for a considerable amount of time requires resources. This is why it is necessary to have a business plan in place. With a business plan you can easily convince an investor to invest in your business so that you will get the necessary finance that will allow you to run your business till the point your business is able to generate revenue to run itself.
Some of the financing options that you can explore to generate start-up capital for your social media marketing and management business include;
- Generating money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks
- Sourcing for soft loan from family members and friends
- Raise money from investors and business partners
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Most entrepreneurs who are just starting up usually operate their social media marketing and management business from home and use this to build the business up to a level where they are going to have to lease or rent a commercial facility. In running the business from home, you can outsource some aspects to dedicated social media entrepreneurs like yourself and then supervise what they have done, which means you will have to be online all the times.
As your business starts to grow, you might need more hands to help you run the business and therefore, you will need to lease or rent a commercial facility that will enable you run your social media marketing and management business professionally especially as some of your clients may love to visit you in your office.
While leasing or renting a facility, it is necessary that you choose a location that is not only close to your target market but one that is visible and easily accessible to your clients. You can get a realtor to help you choose the best location that will enable you lease or rent a facility for your social media marketing and management business within the hub that will have the best impact on your business.
Creating a budget for the facility you intend leasing for your social media and marketing business is very important so that you do not put a strain on your overall budget.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
The social media marketing and management business is one that is operated from the internet and can be run from anywhere as long as the instructions of the client are understood. Most entrepreneurs running this business rarely meet with clients.
This therefore means that this business is one that does not need to have so many facilities in order to offer its services efficiently to customers. The social media marketing and management business has features that distinguish it from other forms of online businesses.
When it comes to choosing what kind of facility you would need for your social media marketing and management business, it should be one that will be very conducive for your employees. Also, your budget for the business will have an influence on the size and location of your facility. If you have enough capital, you might need to consider the option of leasing a facility for your office as opposed to renting one.
The number of employees you will need to have at hand if you intend to run your social media marketing and management business successfully are; a Chief Executive Officer (owner), an Admin and Human Resources Manager, ICT Consultant, Business Development and Marketing Executive, Customer Service Executive and Accountant.
From the above breakdown, you will need a minimum of at least 6 key people if you intend to run your social media marketing and management business successfully.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The social media marketing and management business is made possible by the internet and the availability of social media platforms. There are several processes involved in ensuring that you are able to run your social media marketing and management business to the expectations of your clients. The first step is in creating a social identity that will define what your brand is.
In this industry, the way you position and identify yourself is the way you will get approached by your target audience as well as industry stakeholders. Therefore in order for you to create the right content for your client, you will need to identify who you are and also know who your target market is.
Creating a social strategy where you can execute your policies, metrics, procedures, tactics and tools is very important as this will enable you to run your social media campaigns successfully.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Marketing your social media marketing and managing business is very important as this is how you will get noticed by enough clients to generate the intended revenue for your business. Most of the revenue you will need to run, grow and sustain your business will be on how much effort you have put to marketing.
Before you can create effective marketing strategies that will allow your business to get noticed, you must first know what niche you intend to offer your clients and this is where the importance of a business plan comes in because you would have carried out a market survey in order to set your marketing goals.
A market survey is very necessary because this is how you will get to know your target market, their defining characteristics, where they are situated, what they expect from you and what you should expect from them as well. If you have no defining characteristics for your target market, you are bound to create marketing strategies that might not be so effective.
One important thing that companies want to see before they contract you for your services is what success you have achieved with your social media platforms as well as that of other clients. This is why before you can market your services to your intended market; you will need to have a compelling profile that has seen you perform what you said you can do. To get this profile, you might need to carry out services for individuals and small start-ups who might not require much from you unlike an established company.
You should be able to defend your profile especially when you are called upon by an intending client to do so. It is therefore important that you are good in the areas of the services you intend to offer.
Below are some of the platforms that you can use to market your social media marketing and management business;
- Ensure that you introduce your business by sending a mail introducing your company, your niche areas, the clients you handle, your contact information as well as what your charges are to potential clients as well as industry stakeholders
- Ensure that your business is listed in online directories
- Use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram to market your services
- Encourage your marketing and business development executives to engage in direct marketing
- Distribute your business cards, handbills and fliers in different strategic locations
- Place adverts in the newspapers, magazines as well as on radio and television stations
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
No one starts a business – especially one whose major operations are online – and not bother with growing it to a certain level in such a way that it can be nationally and internationally recognized. To be able to achieve this status, investing in publicizing your social media marketing and management business is surely the way to go. It is no wonder that already existing businesses that are successful to a large extent still go out of their way to spend a lot in publicizing their brand.
There are several ways by which publicity can be used to boost the awareness of a brand. These ways are cheap and yet effective because they have a wide reaching means. The internet and social media platforms remain one of the most effective ways by which businesses can reach their target market both existing and potential clients to get their message across.
Therefore, some of the platforms that one can leverage on in order to boost the brand as well as promote and advertise one’s business are;
- Leverage on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Goople Ads, YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat as well as other platforms to promote your social media marketing and management business
- Place adverts in popular blogs and forums in order to increase awareness for your business
- Install bill boards in strategic areas in order to increase awareness for your business
- Have your loyal and satisfied customers give testimonials on your website about your business
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in various strategic locations
- Place adverts in newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations