According to a survey published by SEMrush Academy, the most important skills to employers who are hiring social media marketing experts are:
- social media marketing strategy
Do you have these skills? Do you also have the skills you need to start and maintain your own social media marketing agency?
If that’s the case, then you don’t need to be working for other social media marketing agencies. It’s time to carve out your own piece of the pie and fully cash in on your skills.
Social media marketing is a big business. It’s a big business, because it funnels billions into businesses. If you’re a social media marketing expert who’s ready to launch your own business, there are a multitude of factors you need to weigh before going all-in.
To be productive and profitable, you don’t necessarily want to position yourself as handling many different types of social media marketing. For long term success, you’ll want to specialize in one of the various kinds of social media marketing.
What you choose to specialize in can vary depending on your skill sets and interests. Social media marketing agencies often focus on a specific industry, influencer marketing, social media outreach and engagement, social media advertisement, or social media content creation.
Rarely do successful ones try to do it all.
Catering to Specific Industries (if You Want to Make Real Money)
The best thing you can do as a social media marketer? Know your market.
Part of knowing your market is understanding the industry you’re targeting. It’s not just about establishing yourself as an expert in social media marketing — you really want to establish yourself as an expert in the industry you’re working in.
All the social media marketing skills in the world aren’t going to mean anything if you don’t have an intimate understanding of your client and their target market.
You will also want to decide if you are going to position yourself as a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) agency.
If you’re B2C, you will be using your skills to sell your services directly to the end-user of the service. If this doesn’t entirely make sense, it’s because most social media marketing agencies are B2B businesses. They focus on businesses that need their services to attract consumers to their own service or product.
It’s also possible to reverse engineer this process. By looking at what social media platforms you are most savvy to, you can decide which clients you want to build a business around.
If you’re adept at Instagram, for example, you will be an excellent fit for businesses in the travel industry, eCommerce, and retail. Conversely, if you crush at LinkedIn or Snapchat, more industrial or B2B markets might be a better fit for your agency.
Once you’ve established your target industry — and whether you’re going to follow a B2C or a B2B model — you will want to choose what kind of social media marketing your agency will specialize in.
There are quite a few options to choose from:
#1: Influencer Marketing
Every industry has influencers. On social media, these influencers can sway the thoughts and actions of their many targeted followers. When paired with the right brand, that can lead to a windfall of sales, as well as name recognition for a company.
Viral Nation is by far one of the most powerful examples of an influencer marketing agency. It specializes in creating ROI-focused, captivating social media influencer campaigns. As part of its services, it functions as an influencer talent agency, pulling in talented content creators on various platforms.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty breakdown for influence marketing startups:
- One of the most difficult agencies to launch because successful agencies will already have relationships and contacts with top influencers.
- Once you have powerful influencers, finding customers can be relatively easy.
- If you’re good at managing relationships, the workload for this type of marketing is one of the lightest.
- Due to a relatively ubiquitous approach to influencer marketing, competition is stiff.
Social media marketing agencies focused on influencer marketing are expected to accurately identify influencers who best match a client’s target market. The research required to identify the right influencer requires more than looking them up on Kred or just chasing down someone with millions of followers.
You will also need to ensure that the influencer doesn’t have any off-brand skeletons in the closet that could lead to them doing more harm than good for your client.
If you’re going to compete when it comes to influencer marketing, one tool you’ll want in your toolbox is BuzzSumo. The tool helps find trending influencers and the most shared content they produce. Basically, it will allow you to analyze content performance for any topic on a variety of platforms, helping you identify partnership opportunities.
Once you’ve established a connection between an influencer and a company, you must take charge of creating conversations, programs, and social media products that the influencer can roll out in line with your client’s branding.
Social media marketing agencies that specialize in influencer marketing aren’t in the game to become influencers themselves; they’re there to pair the right people with the right brands.
#2: Social Media Outreach and Engagement Marketing
Though social media outreach marketing is different than engagement marketing, both involve organic tactics.
Though Lyfe Marketing engages in various types of social media marketing, the company's abilities to engage and drive organic traffic makes their approach worth investigating if you’re interested in engagement marketing.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty breakdown for social media outreach and engagement marketing startups:
- There aren’t a lot of upfront costs associated with launching this type of social media marketing agency, making it a relatively easy one to get off the ground.
- Drumming up clients can be a bit difficult at first, as clients will want to see quantitative results of your abilities to drive organic growth.
- This is one of the more intensive forms of social media marketing as it requires a lot of social listening and timeliness.
- Because you can differentiate yourself from the competition with innovative engagement methods, you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd.
Social media outreach marketing agencies, such as Lyfe Marketing, specialize in using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and so on to build new relationships and brand awareness. Social media engagement specialists, on the other hand, are more focused on building an online following.
Despite their differences, the methods you will use when specializing in either social media outreach or engagement are very similar.
In both cases, you will be relying on organic outreach in hopes of driving engagement. With outreach, activities include developing prospect lists for your client and direct messaging them with a call-to-action. With engagement marketing, you will be pursuing several tactics for growing followers, likes, and comments on social media channels.
#3: Social Media Advertising
Social network advertising spending in the United States is expected to climb to $37.71 billion by the end of 2020. That number alone is an excellent reason to join other social media marketing agencies that specialize in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on social media platforms.
MetricTheory is a standout example of a company that specializes in paid social services. The company is effective in cross-referencing target audience information with device insights to create powerful campaigns.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty breakdown for social media advertising marketing startups:
- Launching is fairly easy if you have the skill set.
- Establishing a customer base is moderately difficult, but it is significantly easier if you can effortlessly explain how you crunch the numbers to improve conversion rates.
- There is a moderate workload with this type of agency. How much time it will consume boils down to how fast you can process data.
- This is another competitive niche in social media marketing because there are so many marketing platforms that allow potential clients to achieve reasonable results.
To be successful with creating this type of agency, you’ll need to start from a foundation of data analytics skills and possess a creative edge. There’s a lot of testing and making sense of numbers to improve conversion rates.
If you do go the route of social media advertising, you might consider widening the types of marketing services you offer to include other PPC options, such as Google Ads. Many of the same skills are still applicable and you’ll be able to cover a wider range of audiences by understanding how to navigate both types of paid ad platforms.
#4: Social Media Content Creation
If you’re a particularly creative person who enjoys not only understanding social media trends but anticipating what kind of content will drive the next set of trends, focusing your social media marketing agency on content creation might be your best fit.
Few companies create quality social media content in-house anymore, especially if that content is part of a larger marketing campaign. Because of this, Creative Drive and similar companies have developed to fill this important niche in the social media marketing agency market. Specializing in social media content, Creative Drive prides itself on being able to optimize content on all social media platforms.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty breakdown for social media content creation startups:
- Launching is fairly easy — it will help to have strong samples and a good website.
- The need for content is rife, which makes the easiest type of social media marketing agency to find clients for.
- Unless you are farming out content creation, this is one of the most time-consuming types of marketing you can get involved with.
- Though there’s a lot of competition, the need for content means that it is still viable for new agencies to establish themselves.
Of course, if you’re going to offer a content creation service, you will also need to be well-equipped with the tools necessary to schedule posts and articulate why specific posts will get better results when pushed out at certain times of the day (and how that changes across clients and audiences).
If you’re going to be working with larger organizations with multiple locations, but similar social content, you can now prep more scheduled content in the new Social Report Content Library (Beta).
You can easily create post templates for your organization to use in your projects and schedule posts across multiple projects at the same time.
For example, say a client hires you to run the social media for 10 different pet stores across America. I know that puppy posts always do well for all of them. So I can create dog joke posts that can be scheduled across each and have great content at the drop of a hat.
After creating this fun 'Dog Meme' content in Social Report, we can save the templates in the content library and have it easily available to be scheduled across any of the pet stores social media channels.
As we use these categorized content library templates, we can continue to analyze the performance and make data backed marketing decisions that help your clients.
Being able to easily schedule content and break down social media analytics for your clients so they can understand how a campaign is performing is essential.
Final Thoughts: What Types of Social Media Marketing Agencies Do You Want to Create?
Your skills as a social media expert should help guide your decision about which of the social media marketing agencies you should establish. This is an industry that pays dividends to those who double-down on their strengths.
Along those same lines, you will also want to focus on what type of social media marketing you’re best at but also focus your business on what industry you know best. Not only will you be able to create better campaigns for your clients, but you’ll likely already have contacts in the industry that can help your budding business bloom.
No matter what, before you launch your business, you’ll want to have powerful social media software at your fingertips. Reach out to the experts at Social Report and find out how they can help get your social media marketing agency off the ground.
Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.