How to Grow a Social Media Agency to Be Proud Of
I’ve answered the question of how to start a social media marketing agency in a previous post. The next step is to scale it up. And if you reached this guide, you might’ve noticed that growing a company is a different animal altogether.
If you want to learn how to grow a social media agency, you’ve landed on the right page. In this article, I’ll teach you how to build a growth strategy for your agency, start your lead generation efforts, and optimize your agency workflows.
How to build a social media agency strategy
It all starts with a vision. Without it, you can easily get drowned in an ocean filled with other social media agencies.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What are you best at?
Who is your ideal customer?
How can you serve them best?
What sets you apart?
What is your overarching social media strategy?
Now, even with all these details nailed down, and everything backed up by a solid business plan, there’s a high chance that someone out there is doing something similar. They’re your competition, and that’s okay.
Instead of thinking of them as boxing match opponents, consider them a team to learn from. Study what they’re doing and how they present their brand and services—and build on that. You can do better, or simply take a different approach, or target a slightly different market—there’s room for everyone here.
The good news is that the pool of potential clients is only getting bigger. More than 64% of the world population uses the internet, the creator economy is booming, and social media’s the place to be if you want to build a brand. So naturally, there’s enough space for everyone not just to survive but also thrive.
Here are some quick tips on how to run a comprehensive competitor analysis for your new social media agency:
create a spreadsheet with all the relevant competitors and their details
analyze your competitors’ websites and social media profiles
assess their services, style, tone of voice
research which channels they’re targeting and how they use them
check their pricing and service offering
take note of their customer service practices
Once you’ve collected all the details, it’s time to assess. What do they do well? Where can you go further? How can you differentiate from them? And finally, how can you make the social media content you produce stand out?
Knowing everything about your competition is key to growing your social media agency. Remember that choosing a niche is not something that limits you, but offers you more room to do what you want, the way you want it, with the people you want to do it.
Further reading: social media marketing niches
How to get leads for your social media agency
Having a vision is great, but it doesn’t put money in your bank account, nor does it pay your providers and employees. Leads, or more specifically, conversions do that.
So, once you have your strategy in place, and once you know what market you’re after, it’s time to convert potential clients into paying ones.
There are several methods you can use for this.
Build a social media presence
One of the best and least expensive ways to get more inbound attention driven to your social media agency is to build an audience. LinkedIn and Twitter tend to be particularly good for this, as their algorithms favor organic content, with a strong focus on sharing over selling.
That doesn’t mean you should only focus on these channels and forget about the rest. Facebook is still relevant in many niches, and so is YouTube. TikTok is taking over the world, and creator platforms like Substack are gaining traction thanks to their powerful growth features. There’s a place for you out there, if you want to build an audience.
The downside to this? Bringing your tribe together takes time. It won’t happen overnight, so you might need a second tactic to fuel your agency for the time being.
Use LinkedIn to connect to your ideal customer
LinkedIn is particularly useful for B2B and professional services, so if that’s what your social media agency provides, this should be a go-to platform for you. The idea here is to connect with potential customers—people who would benefit from what you offer—as well as relevant influencers and thought leaders in your industry.
Remember that this isn’t just about sending random connection requests, though. You want to be strategic. Identify the right leads and start engaging with them on the platform through comments, messages, likes, and shares. Once you’ve established a relationship, you can take it further by pitching your services or offering a free consultation.
The not so fun part about this tactic? Like personal brand building, it takes time. But once you have a few of those relationships going, it can be extremely gratifying and even lucrative.
Cold calling and cold emailing
Cold calling and cold emailing are still valid methods of lead generation, although they tend to work better with established companies or large organizations than small businesses.
The idea is to research the target company and determine who’s in charge of their social media activities. Once you have those contacts, you can reach out directly with a tailored message.
The key here is to make it personal. Don’t send generic emails, and don’t call with a copy-paste pitch. Take the time to learn about the company and its needs, and craft your message accordingly. In other words, show them you understand what their pain points are and how you can help solve them.
Last, but definitely not least, remember that buying email lists is dangerous from a legal standpoint. GDPR, CCPA, PECR, and other regulations are in place to protect consumers from unsolicited emails.
Also keep in mind that convincing people to actually buy from you when you cold call them is tough, particularly in a world where everyone’s bombarded by information.
People think of pay-per-click advertising as some sort of magic wand that’ll automatically get them all the leads in the world. The reality’s a bit different, though. Yes, PPC is a lot quicker than, say, content marketing or social media.
However, you’ll still need to put in the work to design and launch a successful ad campaign. And there will still be some trial and error involved, especially as you’re collecting your first batches of data. The right targeting, messaging, positioning, and visuals will all be critical factors here.
Grow your industry knowledge
Once your ads have been approved and are running, you’ll want to track their performance closely, to optimize them as much as possible.
Content marketing and SEO
Although two different branches of marketing, content and SEO tend to go hand in hand. You can’t have SEO without content, and while you may be able to pull content off without SEO, it will be difficult—and probably costly too.
The good news? Content and SEO can be relatively inexpensive—and yes, they still work.
The bad news? Neither content marketing nor SEO will show overnight results (nothing does, but these two tend to be slower).
These are some of the main tactics you can use to start generating leads for your social media business. As a general rule, you want to focus on inbound marketing (personal branding, content, or SEO), as it’s cheaper, more effective, and more sustainable in the long run. Plus, it stacks up: every post, every article, and every page you create now will continue to bring in attention and conversions.
However, if you’re just starting out, investing money and testing different strategies can be beneficial. It will get the ball rolling and provide you with important data to find a strategy that works for you.
How to build a portfolio for your social media agency
If you’re on ground zero, building a relevant portfolio can feel like a daunting task. Here’s what you can do, however, to gather some social proof for your social media and digital marketing business.
Offer your social media services for free, maybe even to an NGO you resonate with.
Collaborate with influencers or other social media professionals to create successful campaigns.
Keep track of the success stories you have, so you can showcase them in your portfolio.
Share case studies and other relevant data that prove your skills and services are effective.
Gather and display testimonials and reviews from clients, especially during checkout.
Create expert round-up content that’s helpful for your target audience.
Encourage previous clients to recommend you to their peers.
How to Automate & Optimize Your Agency Processes for Growth
Once you’ve found success in generating leads and getting your first clients, it’s time to think about optimization. Investing in automation tools is one of the best ways to do this. You can use these tools to streamline communications, manage client information, track tasks and campaigns, generate reports quickly and efficiently, and so much more.
Related: marketing automation for agencies
Some of the essential ingredients to add to your agency tool stack include:
A social media reporting tool (preferably white label)
A tool for order management
A tool for targeted email campaigns
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform
A tool automation platform (like Zapier)
A design tool (like Figma or Canva)
A white label form builder to design beautiful forms that convert
A PPC spying tool (like SpyFu or Semrush’s special PPC)
An SEO tool (if you want to grow your business with SEO)
A white label referral software to grow your business
How to grow a social media marketing agency FAQ
How do I promote my social media agency?
To promote a social media agency, you should look into lead generation techniques (either outbound, like cold emailing or inbound, like content marketing). PPC can also be a good option if you have the budget for it. Keep in mind that it’s a financial investment that you need to keep going; once you stop your campaigns, leads will no longer come in.
How do I get clients for my social media agency?
Getting clients for your social media agency starts with lead generation. This can be done through outbound tactics (like cold emailing) or inbound methodologies (like content marketing and SEO). Additionally, you can extend your personal social media network, build trust, and land leads that way.
Is a social media marketing agency profitable?
Yes, social media marketing agencies can be very profitable. You can start one with almost no money at all, run it from wherever in the world you want—and you’d still have a good chance of making a more than decent profit.
How do social media marketing agencies make money?
Social media marketing agencies can make money by charging their clients per hour or per project, social media management for one or more social media accounts, offering services on a subscription basis, creating downloadable, passive income assets, selling ads on their own websites, and general marketing services and consultancy.
There are many ways to grow a social media agency
Nobody has a secret sauce for growing any kind of agency—social media included. If you follow the tips above, however, and if you stay consistent in your efforts, results won’t cease to appear.